“So, you planned it for another Saturday?” I teased a new mom, who gave birth some Saturdays ago, and smiling, she shared how, left to her, she would have preferred to have given birth on a weekday, preferably a Wednesday, so there would be less drama with the Christening ceremony.
Apparently, she had been chilling that Saturday morning, when the contractions started and started getting stronger. Off to the hospital she went, and by the afternoon, she had given birth. Not surprisingly, what was uppermost on her mind was relief and thankfulness that the baby was finally here, the day didn’t really matter, and, until I asked, she hadn’t given it much thought.
I gave birth to my babies on Saturdays, and it was totally unplanned, and honestly, when I woke up on those days, I had plans of things I wanted to do, and giving birth wasn’t on the list, but childbirth became the major incident of those days. The realisation that I had given birth to two sets of twins on two Saturdays, four years apart, didn’t sink in until later, and was reinforced when I found out that my children like parties a lot. My younger son is forever inviting people over to our house for a party, for which I’m mandated to cook some selection of meals, which he thinks are party meals.
Moving on, birth plans are gaining ground, even here in Nigeria, where it is still mostly an informal conversation, but one that women are having anyway. You know, it used to be the doctors telling you to come when you start feeling pain, and they will take it from there.
No more. You can start to talk about the kind of birth you want to have, several weeks in advance. It not only gives women control over what happens in the labour ward, something women have not had since time immemorial, but also helps ease the fear of childbirth.
A birth plan is a simple, clear plan of your preference(s) for the birth of your child. Providing a copy of the plan for everyone directly involved in the birth will help them better understand what is happening, and give them the opportunity to resolve issues before the day comes.
A birth plan is not set in stone. It just has to be flexible and recognise that things may not go according to plan.
Your birth plan is personal to you, and should reflect your wishes and preferences. You may want to add details about your medical history, but your Ob/Gyn will surely have that in your medical file. It’s worth taking into account what the options are at your clinic before you write your plan, so they are as realistic as possible.
And if you prefer not to write a birth plan, that is absolutely fine. All that matters is a healthy mother and child at the end of the birthing experience.
The only birth plan that Yinka had was to have a vaginal birth, but baby obviously had another plan. Yinka was at 38 weeks, when the scan revealed that her son, who had before then been heads down, had become breech. The doctor, while trying to allay her fears, noted that the baby could actually move into the proper position, before it was due to come out.
As most moms in her shoes would be, she was worried and prayed that the baby’s head would descend in the proper direction. The next week, she went for another scan, and lo and behold, the baby’s head had engaged the cervix. They told her to come back when she started to feel labour contractions. Not a novice, she nodded as she knew what to watch out for. Two weeks later, she was still heavily pregnant, baby’s head was still down, and he looked to be having a ball in there with his increased level of activity.
At 41 weeks, when she went to see her doctor, he suggested that they induce her and she refused, saying that she wanted the baby to start the process by itself. She wanted to wait till the end of the week, before having to consider induction.
When the week was up with baby a no show, she opted for the induction, and that was just the good part. She thought she was going to start feeling the pain, and then baby would come along. That didn’t happen. The nurses kept coming to ask her if she was in pain, but nah, baby wasn’t budging.
After 24 hours in the hospital with no improvement, it was discovered that baby was in distress, and an emergency C-section was the way out. It was not part of what Yinka had planned, but it was her reality, so she was wheeled to the theatre and the surgery took place.
It was as though heaven came down, when she heard the yell of her son, as he was brought out. As he was brought close to her face, he immediately locked eyes with her and that made everything worth it.
He hadn’t been born, the way she would have wanted but the fact that he was born made all the difference. It was discovered that the umbilical cord was wrapped around his neck, and that was the reason for the foetal distress he experienced.
That was something she didn’t think would happen, but it did happen.
It’s all well and good to have a birth plan, and work out all the details, but it’s important to prepare yourself for the unexpected and to be (very) flexible.
All the best on D-Day.
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