Planning for Birth, and Preparing for the Unknown
I love to plan. Not because I’m type A (more like B+), but because I love to know where I am going so that little anxious part inside of me can take comfort. At least I made a plan, I’ll think. Even if it goes awry. At least I wasn’t caught unawares. At least I had some chance to brace myself for it, whatever it it may be.
Babies and birthing are one of those mysterious areas of life where preparing and planning, while crucial for informing our reactions, are somewhat negligible.
I firmly believe in taking a childbirth education class, unless you were raised around midwives and picked up on birth stuff. Most of us never have had any exposure to anything remotely birthy beyond a “rush to the hospital, scream, and push” scene in a movie.
I’m a big believer in doulas, a hired labor support person above and beyond your partner.
I’m a big believer in writing out a birth plan, reading as much as you can, watching documentaries, and asking women about their births.
Yet. And yet. All that planning and preparing and honing your instincts and setting your expectations to a much lower dial doesn’t mean things will go as you ever imagined them.
So while I sit here, 39 weeks pregnant, in deep anticipation of this coming labor, I still have to tell myself that ultimately, I’m not in control. I’m just not. My capable midwife, the nursing staff, the surgeons if I need them down the hallway, my loving husband who is the best birthing partner, we none of us are in control. We do our best, but birth is its own beast. We hope, we pray, we trust with an open heart.
Maybe our daughter won’t survive birth. Maybe I won’t. Maybe I’ll have a c-section. Maybe we will both have major health complications. Most likely everything will be just fine and as smooth and ordinary as my other labors.
So instead of worrying and wondering, I’m trying to actually clear my mind this round. We’re practicing our Bradley Method breathing. I’m warning that I want directed pushing so I don’t just blow through crowning. I’m facing the excruciating pain of labor as my job, my part to play to bring her into this world. It’ll happen. And then it will be done. It’s a finite activity. And nothing can be harder to recover from than my last baby’s birth, nor has any pregnancy felt more physically taxing than this one, so either way, no matter how she comes out, it will be done.
It’s Advent, a time of preparing and preparation. A time of stunning joy and sheer gratitude at our amazing Creator God Who sends His Son to save us. A time of true blessing for my little family as we prepare to greet our littlest member. I have no idea what it will be like to have four kids. I have no idea what her personality will be like. But I’m embracing the unknowns here, and simply waiting without a firm plan but with a lot of faith.