When Leroy and I confirmed that we were in fact expecting our first baby, of course the question of where we wanted to labor was asked. Wayyyy before Leroy and I even got married, I loved the idea of having at least one of my children via water birth. I loved the fact that it is an all-natural way of laboring and birth, with no medication, no interruptions - everything is completely mom-centered. So now that I was in fact pregnant, I was super excited to check out our options (birthing centre vs hospital).
I knew I didn’t want to have Princess in a public hospital (key word here being public). No offense to public hospitals, I mean, if I was only looking at my budget for having princess, it would've been a no-brainer to have her there. There's just this little hurdle I have regarding public hospitals - I HATE PUBLIC HOSPITALS! See, with everyone in my family working at the time, there were no babysitters for little Brin. Therefore, little Brin had to go to work with her mommy sometimes and where did her mommy work? You guessed it! A public hospital!! Which was absolute torture for me because I had to sit in one place the majority of the time, stay quiet and do schoolwork. Ok, to be honest, sometimes it was fun but I mean, it's a hospital so how much fun can a young child reaally have?
Anywho, Leroy and I began site visits to determine which would be a best fit for us (hospital or birthing centre). We went based on convenience, cost and how we felt about it (yes, liking the place was a big deal for us). After checking out everything and weighing our options, we decided to go with the birthing centre. Honestly, it checked off everything on our list - it was close to both our places of work (in case I go into labor while on work), the cost (although a bit expensive) was reasonable considering the costs at the private hospitals, we can have a water birth (yayyyy!), and of course, we liked the place. Additionally, there were other perks like they advocate for the laboring mother's support system to be present during labor (for me, it was Leroy and my mom), they practice delayed cord clamping upon request, skin-to-skin after birth for baby and dad (which is extremely important for bonding with the dad) and they advocate for the breast crawl. Great! We were set!
We did all the paperwork, made our deposit and started having our pre-natal appointments with our midwife at the birthing centre a few days after making our decision. We also continued appointments with my OB-GYN because she had the ultrasound machine that connected to a tv and I wanted to continue seeing my baby - expensive but necessary for me (don't judge!). Luckily for us, our friend Lori is a doula, so we requested that she be our support for the birth. I requested maternity leave the week Princess was due. Bags were packed. Everything was looking good! We were all set!
Now for our actual birth plan.
We were told that when I begin to experience contractions (whether my water bag breaks or not), we must call our midwife and doula, and time the contractions. She will walk us through the entire process. Contractions can start at a minimum of around 15 minutes apart so at this time, I can eat a meal in order to prepare my body for the strenuous activity of childbirth. Gradually, the contractions will get closer and closer together. If I’m at home, I can prepare to leave to get to birthing center when contractions are around 10 minutes apart (since we live approximately 30 to 45 mins from the center). If I’m at work, I can relax and wait a bit longer before coming in to the center. Whatever happens, Leroy and I must keep in constant contact with both our midwife and doula. Seems pretty straightforward right?
Well, there’s a saying - “If you want to make God laugh, tell him about your plans”. In the end, unfortunately or fortunately (depending on how you look at it), all the planning and preparing for baby girl’s arrival did not matter. She literally did her own thing and NOTHING during that night into the morning that she was born went according to our birth plan.
How did it go down? Well, that’s a story for another time.
Photos credit: Kyle Archibald (IG: @kylearchibaldphoto)