Executing Your Birth Plan: Expectations Vs. Reality

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newbornAs 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?

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