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I Didn't Take a Childbirth Class

Photograph by Twenty20

When I was pregnant with my first child, we didn't have a birth plan. We didn't even take a single birthing class. Some people might discover that about us and think we were ill-prepared or unorganized. But, in fact, not doing those things was a conscious decision.

My husband is a planner. He's great at thinking things through and coming up with the best options of how to reach a goal. He's a problem-solver. Knowing that about him, one might wonder why, then, we didn't "plan" our birth or take classes to prepare. The choice was actually simple and one that I felt sure was best for our family.

I might not have understood everything about birth, but the one thing I did know: childbirth is full of surprises. Every birth is different. I've had friends give birth in pools, homes, bathtubs, hospitals, birthing houses and cars. I've known moms with the most detailed birth plans end up with their birth story straying far, far from the script.

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I had a hunch that if we planned our birth, if we put in writing what we wanted to happen, we would be stressed if—and when—things went differently. We'd feel like something was wrong when it was just part of the birth process itself.

As it turned out, I ended up being induced at 42 weeks and found myself walking into a scheduled birth rather than the hysterical water-breaking-in-public scenario I'd played out in my head. We also had a bit of an emergency situation since my acrobatic son decided to wrap the umbilical cord around his neck four times and his heart rate was dropping fast.

I wasn't comparing this crazy scene to one I'd seen at a class or on a video. I birthed my baby and I rocked it!

With the anesthesiologist in the doorway ready to prep me for a C-section, my doctor said, “Alright, do you know how to push?” While I hadn’t been taught this “skill,” somehow those animalistic instincts kicked in and I had that nine pound baby out in four pushes because my doctor told me I had to.

While my birthing situation ended up being high stress, I wasn't scared or thinking, "But my birth plan clearly states that I am to naturally go into labor to the new PINK album while not letting suction or scissors anywhere near my crotch." I didn't compare this crazy scene to one I'd seen at a class or on a video. I birthed my baby and I rocked it!

I realize that many people are huge advocates of being as informed as possible. Some may look at our decision to go with the flow as putting too much blind faith into Western medicine, but I love my OBGYN. I trusted her and truly felt that she had my baby's and my best interest in mind.

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I'm thankful that I live in a place where i can chose to birth at home or in a hospital, natural or with the help of an epidural, with or without a birth plan. Our choice to not take a birthing class isn't for everyone but it was definitely the best decision for our new family.

In the end, my big, beautiful baby boy was born—even without a plan.

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