After typing up my two-page birth
plan, I had five copies printed out on highlighter-green paper and laminated. After
going over this plan with my "birthing companions" (my husband and my
mother), these copies were placed in the suitcase I would be bringing to the
hospital, so as to be handed out to hospital staff who would be attending to
I had drawn up this document
after attending a breastfeeding class, an all-day birthing class and a
three-week hypnobirthing course. Though I had always been the type of person
who rolled her eyes at "breast is best" pronouncements and who
thought attempts to have a natural birth were utter lunacy, suddenly I was
making plans to allow only intermittent monitoring and to refuse an epidural.
For example, item number four on
my birth plan: "I would prefer to wear my own clothes while in the
hospital—rather than the standard hospital gown—during intake, labor and
Item number six: "I would
like a calm, relaxed atmosphere in my hospital room, with a minimum of noise,
dimmed lights and access to my music and meditation tracks."
Item number nine: "As I will
be practicing hypnobirthing, I will breathe the baby down when the time feels
right. So no counting/pushing, and no discussion of pain tolerance or pain
"Heck," I told people.
"If it weren't for push-back from my husband and my mother, I'd do a home
When active labor finally ripped
me out of a fitful sleep in the middle of the night a few days before my due
date, the pain was so bad I puked.
I puked twice more at the
hospital (by this time I was in a hospital gown, despite what my birth plan
said), and every contraction was accompanied by moaning and writhing. When my
mother suggested I practice my yogic breathing (yes, I'm a yoga teacher, which
is partially why hypnobirthing appealed to me), I cackled like a madman.
Motherhood: never what you expected. So don't bother making plans.
When my doctor told me I was
still only at seven centimeters, my response was basically: "What!? NO.
GIVE ME DRUGS."
And everything after that was
rainbows and unicorns. I even got in a nap and some light reading.
It seems that motherhood itself
is much the same. To illustrate, here are Things I Declared Pre-Baby That
Eventually Led to Foot-in-Mouth Disease:
I refuse to waste my money on such frivolous items as nursing pillows
when regular pillows exist.
One single day after returning
home from the hospital, I ordered a nursing pillow. Then I got a backup one because I had a coupon. Then I ordered a pumping bra. And an infinity scarf
that doubled as a nursing cover-up. And cold compresses for my boobs. There's this
fantastic post over at The Billfold on the cost of breastfeeding, and I
have purchased many of the items therein. And I have not regretted a single
I probably won't be breastfeeding for long anyway.
As I write over
on my own blog, I never intended to breastfeed. And the only reason I gave
it a shot was because my husband asked me to. I never expected that it would
stick and that, even more than that, I would prefer it to both pumping and
formula feeding. I won't lie. The first month was hard and it felt like I was
suffocating and I cried a lot. I changed my mind approximately a thousand
times in regard to what I wanted to do going forward. But when my daughter inexplicably
spent a full 24 hours refusing the boob, I
was sad about it!
I will only dress Emily in gender-neutral clothing. Down with pink!
I will dress Emily in any damn
outfit that has been gifted to her—pink, green, yellow or blue—because I
didn't have to pay for it.