My labor and delivery resulted in the safe arrival of my beautiful baby boy and honestly, for that alone, I'm eternally grateful. I'm grateful to the team of doctors and nurses who made difficult choices and treated me with dignity and respect as I experienced one of the most traumatic but ultimately amazing days of my life. I am grateful to my mom, the best birth coach ever, who helped me get through a 48 hour birth. However, and even though the end result was worth, it there are things about my labor and delivery I would change if I could.
Childbirth can be unpredictable so, more often than not, pregnant women are told that the only thing that matters is a healthy baby. In other words, whatever happens during the labor and delivery process doesn't necessarily matter, as long as mom and baby are OK in the end. But it does matter. Birth experiences can traumatize women for years after their babies enter the world, especially if they felt that their health care providers didn't listen to their wishes or explain interventions clearly.
We have the right to make informed choices about the care we receive when giving birth, but we also need to understand that doctors may need to make decisions quickly; often in emergency situations to ensure the best outcome for all involved. I am hoping that if I have another child it will go a little more to plan and not include the following things about my labor and delivery that I, honestly, wish I could go back and change.
I Wish I Had Waited To Go To The Hospital
I thought I had waited for a long time at home, honestly. I had been in labor for hours, had taken three warm baths, took the time to nap, and only left for the hospital when the pain had got too much to bear. Yeah, I was wrong. When I arrived at the hospital I was only 3 cm dilated.
I wish I had waited in the comfort of my own home just a little bit longer.
I Wish I Had Got In The Birthing Pool
I was offered the opportunity to get in the birthing pool for a while, but I declined as I was in a lot of pain and wanted an epidural. I was worried any delay would essentially take the epidural off the table and I didn't want to take the risk.
Looking back I think the birthing pool would have relaxed me and I could have had the epidural afterwards.
I Wish It Had Been Shorter
I am really hoping that the often heard mantra that second births are shorter is true, because I don know if I could go through two days of that again.
I Wish The Epidural Hurt Less
The anesthesiologist accidentally hit the nerve when he tried to administer my epidural and it was pure agony. He gave it another shot and, to my dismay, hit the bone.
Later on the epidural wore off and I experienced the baby crowing without any pain relief. Ouch.
I Wish My Baby Wasn't Overdue
My baby was 10 days overdue and I tried everything to get him to make an appearance, including eating hot curries and going snowshoeing. Still, my son decided to stick his heels in until the new year (meaning that my family nearly missed his arrival).
Next time around I'm definitely not letting anyone know what my due date is. Honestly, the constant messages asking when the baby will arrive drove me crazy.
I Wish My Husband Had Been There
My husband suffers from migraines and got a particularly nasty one about 30 hours into my labor. He ended up being sent home by the doctor on duty, as he was in no fit state to be there.
I know he was really disappointed to miss it and that he wasn't there to support me. If I had a time machine, I would change aspect of my son's birth for sure.
I Wish My Baby Hadn't Got Stuck
Just when everything seemed to be moving along nicely and I felt all the pushing was getting me closer to meeting my baby, he got stuck. He was facing the wrong way, with his face pointed upwards, and was totally stuck with the umbilical cord tied around his neck. All of a sudden, we went from one nurse to a room full of doctors and two surgeons.
I Wish The Avalanche Of Interventions Hadn't Started
What happened next was probably the only way my baby and I would have got through the birth unscathed, but I wish it hadn't happened.
My epidural wore off, I had to have a lot of interventions in a very short space of time, and it was all just excrutiating, terrifying, and left me feeling like an old suitcase people were rummaging around; in trying to extract this shy little baby that didn't want to be born.
I Wish He Had Cried Right Away
Once my son was born he was snatched away and didn't make a sound for what felt like an eternity. The umbilical cord had ruptured and there was blood everywhere, dripping off equipment and all over my face. It looked like something out of a horror movie.
I wish I'd heard his sweet little mew earlier, as I aged considerably in those moments. When that first cry finally came it was the best sound I had ever heard.
I Wish He Had Latched On Straight Away
We had a bit of a rocky start with breastfeeding and I wish those first few moments after birth had facilitated him latching right away. Although, after the birth experience my son had been through, I am not surprised he was shell shocked. Hell, I know I was.
I am not sure if there is ever a "perfect" birth, but I know that although my baby was born healthy and safe, it wasn't the birth experience I had been imagining. If I could go back and change a few things, I would, and I don't feel any guilt or shame in admitting that. After all, there's always next time.