Having a baby is a joyful, exciting and wondrous time. The term “expecting” itself tells us that every parent goes into this lifelong endeavor with an expectant attitude. Hopeful. Incredulous. And once you hold that new baby in your arms, the world will never be the same again.
I was 21 when I had my first child. That daughter is now 20 years old and yet I can recall every moment of that delivery. Like it was yesterday. And from that perspective and the rare glimpse of having given birth now a dozen times, I’d like to share with you my own personal views on several important aspects of delivery day.
1: Begin With Prayer
When you realize it’s the big day, don’t forget to pray. As basic as it may sound, many times in the craziness of the momentum, we forget this simple act can save our anxious hearts. Grab your spouse and pray. It doesn’t have to be more than just a few moments and then get in the car and head to the hospital. Prayer has always helped me remember Who’s in charge of this day…and despite my best planning…it ain’t me.
2: Consider Keeping It Just You and Hubby
When my first daughter was about due, my mother was so excited to be “in the delivery room.” God bless her, but this is an idea she came up with on her own and at the time I didn’t know how to break it to her that I just wanted that memory to include my husband and I. Having my mother in the room would mean having my mother-in-law in the room as well…whom I love very much but hey– this is kinda a private matter where every aspect of my body is made public! Real quick I realized that inviting even one person would mean my delivery day would turn into a family reunion and– so sorry folks, but that’s just NOT ME. We decided to keep everyone out except medical personnel and that was a BLESSING BECAUSE…
3: Everything Doesn’t Always Go According to Plan
My first several deliveries were pretty ho-hum and thankfully quite normal. There were several born with the cord around the neck and I’m glad I didn’t have to deal with other friends or family members freaking out. And then came Judson, born missing half his hand. Thank you sweet Jesus I have no one to answer to or deal with their reaction or mine. That was a very private moment that I am so glad I experienced with only my husband and my doctor.
4: Stay Joyful, But Be Humble
Birth is said to be the most natural thing in the world and thanks to modern medicine most of us will have a delivery of a healthy baby and no hiccups. But the truth is, you just never know what you’re gonna get. It’s the right thing to have an excited and happy heart, but never take for granted that this will be easy. Lots of moms ask me about my “birth plan” and here it is:
I plan on having a baby.
Past that, I don’t care much.
I don’t care if it’s vaginal or c-section. You can pull this kid out of my nose and I’m fine. Breathing is my bottom line but past that I’ve been around this block enough times to know that God laughs when we “plan” our delivery/birth experience so I just try and go with it. Lamaze? Sure, I try and keep calm with breath control but at the end of the day I’d prefer any legal drug/pain medication concoction they can put through my veins to stop the pain.
5: I’m No Hero
I know there are some moms who do this whole deal without even a Tylenol and good for you. I’ve had 12 epidurals and several that didn’t work at all so I KNOW what “natural” child birth feels like and NO THANK YOU. Are there side effects? Yes, I’m sure. And I’ve had a tear in my spinal sac that resulted in the most horrific postpartum headache known to man…but those are the decisions I have made and for my husband and I, it’s our choice. If you wanna go “au natural”… Then good for you! It’s your choice. But I’ve had the luxury of actually enjoying bringing my child into the world with a smile and no pain thanks to modern medicine, so given the choice, shoot me up Scotty. If the worst part of the whole day is putting in the IV, then it’s a darn good day.
Labor and birth is a very personal and private matter which most women (whether they’ve given birth or not) have a pretty strong opinion of. That’s the beauty of this country…you can have your opinion and do whatever you want. But after 12 births you may want to consider what I’ve said. Think through your choices before wrapping yourself into a “public delivery” with friends, family or even your own children in the room or relegating yourself to any hard-core “only pain med free, natural birth for me” mantra that leaves you feeling like a failure when things don’t go according to your plan. Because postpartum can be challenging enough without battling through unnecessary personal put-downs or struggles brought on by dogmatic resolutions or public opinion. It’s YOUR child, your special day…and I’m praying you experience it wonderfully!