It's impossible to predict how your childbirth experience will go. You can plan, dream, research, envision, and even talk to a psychic or get your cards read. You can meditate, ask your mom how hers went, and reflect on any other birth experiences you’ve had. But, in the end, there's no way to know how it'll all go down. So having grand aspirations for labor and delivery is just setting yourself up for disappointment during childbirth. Trust me, because after all was said and done I was disappointed in my own.
I'm not saying I'm ungrateful for the experience, of course. In fact, I’m forever grateful that I now have my rainbow son, and that he’s grown into a healthy, happy 4-year-old kid. But when I think back on his entrance into the world, I still feel the sharp sting of dismay and the ache of lasting trauma. I switched care providers at the last minute and had a home-to-hospital transfer while pushing. My vision for an easy, intervention-free birth went out the window in a matter of moments.
After my son arrived, we quickly realized he was sick and, as a result, he was sent to the NICU. So my hope of having my family greet me with cake and balloons and flowers while I breastfed my newborn and took photos and enjoyed my first few moments with my baby just, well, never came to fruition. At a time when I should have been enjoying that so-called golden hour, I was experiencing severe disappointment, pain, grief, fear, and stress... all at once. And while there's nothing I could have done to avoid my birth experience, I'm sure I could have avoided feeling so let down if I hadn't done any of the following: