As you watch your belly swell over the course of your pregnancy, you'll start to to formulate an exit strategy for the tiny human growing inside you. Writing a birth plan is a great way to help make the 40 weeks go by faster and can help to reduce your anxieties over labor and delivery, as long as you don't put too much stock in your plans or get upset if your birth plan goes wrong. Here are the realities of executing your birth plan.
1. Expectation: Your water will break on the night before your due date. You'll rouse your partner, call your parents and send a text message to your friend who's going to look after your dog. You'll pause to eat a nutritious snack of a banana and peanut butter to prepare yourself for the tough job ahead of you and then grab your pre-packed suitcase and head off to the hospital, excited but ready. You'll take the time between contractions to journal your feelings in route to the hospital.
Reality: You're never fully prepared to give birth. Maybe your doctor sends to straight to the hospital from a routine office visit because they don't like your blood pressure so you are without both your partner and your bag. Or you forget to eat something before checking in and your nurse won't let you have a snack. Maybe you're overdue and the dog sitter you had lined up is now in China on a business trip, leaving you with no one to watch your furbaby. Or you open your bag at the hospital and realize you forgot to pack an outfit to bring the baby home in, and it's snowing out. Rest assured, something you didn't plan for will happen.
2. Expectation:Your labor will be calm and easy, thanks to your selection of special music, scented candles and that book you read on hypnobirthing.
Reality: Those candles that usually calm you down now make you nauseous, you're ready to throw the CD of ocean sounds out the window and inviting your mom and mother-in-law to be in the room during delivery now feels like the worst idea you've ever had. Some people do get their magical birth experience, but for the rest of us, you do what you need to do in order to get through labor and delivery, plans of mediating through the pain or using a birthing ball be damned.
3. Expectation: Everyone must be exaggerating how much having a baby hurts.
Reality: Why didn't anyone tell me how much this hurts?
4. Expectation: You'll be so focused on the labor that nothing else will matter. Everything and everyone outside the delivery room will cease to exist.
Reality: Having a baby can take a while. If you have an epidural or are managing your pain well, you might find yourself bored in between contractions and talking about everyday things can help distract your from your discomfort. I had detailed conversations with my nurses about everything from what they wanted for breakfast to which OB had the best taste in operating room music. A friend of mine who just had her second baby even took the time to hop onto Facebook and weigh in on the infamous dress controversy from the delivery room.
5. Expectation: You'll feel your entire life come into focus when you first hold your child in your arms.
Reality: Yes, meeting your baby for the first time is definitely a moment you'll never forget, but not everyone feels an instant and intense connection with their offspring. PPD and hormones may be at play, or you could just be really hungry and tired after such a big physical ordeal. If choirs of angels don't sing when you see your newborn, don't sweat it. There will be more than enough time for bonding after you get a well deserved meal and some sleep.
(image:Maria Sbytova/shutterstock.com )