The Birth Plan: Vaginas, Bagels, and Bon Jovi
The clock is ticking folks, and about a week ago I realized that at some point a few months from now, I will be required to birth Baby #2.
It’s easy to be calm when you’re pregnant with Baby #1. You don’t know what you don’t know, and all. But we all know how well that turned out. What, with the labor plus c-section plus OB who didn’t really want to be bothered at 3 am. And then the Terrible Horrible Nursing Experience of 2009, coupled with the great baby barf-fest of 2009-2011.
Like I was saying….a little preparation this time might go a long way.
Which is how I found myself in a workshop called “Meet The Doulas” about a month ago. No, no, no….please don’t misunderstand. We are not wealthy. We are not “hippie-crunchy”. Seriously, have you met my husband? We believe in doctors, and vaccines, and I even make it a point to sometimes throw random crap that is not recyclable in the recycling bin. I’m a rebel, y’all. An earth-hating rebel. But I had heard about these doula people, and I’ve been led to believe that they come down from heaven with their soft smiles and reassuring voices, to make your birth NOT SUCK.
Sign me up!
So I sat through the workshop, my pregnant belly tensing up as I realized that I might have to actually say out loud that I was considering a VBAC (Vaginal Birth After Cesearean). Paying the deposit to the doula folk kinda means you’ve committed to seeing this thing through. I knew that I was in for it when I started having flashbacks to my c-section, and remembered that agreeing to one meant I would have to get very friendly with a catheter, and with my guts splayed out on an operating table.
I listened to these doula ladies. I took a deep breath and really heard them as they explained that their role was to “mother the mother”. And then I fell in love with them. All five of them, with their encouraging words about empowerment and labor success. Their warm laughter, their reassuring hugs, their years of experience that built them happy little platforms of confidence to stand on….for a moment I almost (almost) forgot that I was more than happy to have a perfectly medicated, happily oblivious birth.
So now we’re official. I’m part of the doula family. I’m trying for a VBAC. And they want to have a meeting where we discuss my “birth plan”. Apparently I need a plan. So here goes….
1) I plan on having the fastest, easiest VBAC ever. I am expecting that my water will break in a place that is convenient for everyone, and requires the least amount of clean-up and embarassment. Good options include (my toilet at home, and out in the middle of our yard, right where the grass needs to be watered a bit). Bad options include (the Target cookie aisle, and the chair in my swanky hair salon). I will get to the hospital at 7 cm dilated, and will end up pushing for a leisurely 12 minutes. My baby will slide out with a smile on his face. My husband will be so thrilled, that he’ll spontaneously yell “Oh my god this is SO easy! Of course we’re having a third!” Don’t worry, I will still feel like I got to experience the ethereal bliss of labor and childbirth, even though things went so quickly. Really, I will.
2) If for some crazy reason, I arrive at oh, 2 or 3 cm dilated, please don’t tell me. Just smile and nod and say “Wow, you are the bestest fastest most calm and under control doula client we’ve ever had! Can I give you a massage while you watch Top Gun on TV?”
3) Internet Access. I’m a Mommy Blogger, and many of my friends are birth professionals. I will be Skype-ing with Tiffany (my doula friend in NJ) in between contractions, and I will need Judy (my lactation consultant friend in NJ) to have a full-screen picture of my boobs and my baby as soon as he is born. I will also be updating the Birthing, Breastfeeding, and Babies FB group that I’m a part of….every 5 minutes. This is why I will be refusing an IV, so that I can have my hands free to text and take pictures on my iPhone.
4) Baby’s Entrance. Please don’t let my vagina tear into shreds. I’ll pay you extra to take special care in this area. I’m not kidding. I may even name my baby after you. If you have a boy-sounding name, and it starts with “B”. I would also like a background soundtrack that includes Bon Jovi (the old-school stuff), the Grease Soundtrack, and Lady Gaga. And maybe some Billy Joel, if I’m getting frustrated.
5) There will be cursing. Please don’t be offended. It won’t be directed at you, but most definitely will be directed at my husband. Please also don’t hesitate to confiscate his cell phone if he handles this stress by checking sports scores or replying to “urgent” emails from his CEO. He also responds well to ordering pizza and switching the TV channel to Fox News.
6). Please make sure that my room is stocked with an ample supply of those mesh panties that the hospital gives new moms, boxes of apple juice, and those awesome enormous water cups with pellet ice. And peanut M&M’s.
7.) When my 3 year old walks into the room and announces that his brother’s name is Fireman Sam, just go with it. Likewise, when he tells you that the baby “came out of Mommy’s mouth”. If Tiffany is still on Skype at that point, please hang up on her so that she doesn’t hear that part. Not my finest parenting moment Tiff, but you can really only say the word vagina to a 3 year old so many times.
8.) If I am asleep when they come in to fill out the birth certificate, and my husband tries to name our child after a famous baseball superhero, please physically block him from signing anything.
9.) We will be bringing our baby into this world while obeying Jewish customs and rituals. No, I’m not even talking about circumcision. I’m talking about the very important Jewish tradition of celebrating with copious amounts of food that you push on other people. Please come hungry, as we plan on rewarding your patience, tolerance and care with a disgusting array of sugary baked goods. And please help yourself to the appetizer table in the corner…there’s always enough lox and bagels to go around.
10.) Nursing. Please see Attachment A, that will be making it’s way to you shortly. It includes a consent form that
allows you begs you to do everything in your power to make sure that this baby learns to nurse. Including freely handling my boobs. I’m counting on you. And I’m planning to rock the “Girls Gone Wild” look until this child figures it out.
See? That was easy! We’re so excited to have you
on our team leading our team. In addition to reading Ina May’s Guide To Childbirth and painting a canvas with a picture of my vagina opening like an organic flower, I know that it is your care and love that is going to make this the best darn birth experience ever. I’m ready. I’m embracing it.
This whole VBAC thing is going to be a.piece.of.cake.
A piece of organic, kinda-crunchy, perfectly intact vagina…..um, cake.
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