A {real} Birth Story

I am five deliveries into parenting.  I always had the exact same birth plan.  Nothing fancy or complicated: healthy baby, healthy mom.   I never cared how it happened but it was of utmost importance that it was respected and fulfilled.

#1.  I went into labor naturally, water broke naturally.  Went to the hospital and my labor progressed with the help of modern day medicine.  I went for the epidural {dear Lord, contractions hurt}.  26 hours after my first contraction, my beautiful, first- born son joined us in this world.

#2.  Went into labor naturally.  Labor progressed naturally.  Water broke naturally.  Opted for an epidural.  I received one at 7 cm.  16 hours after my first contraction, my beautiful, first-born daughter arrived.  {My favorite labor experience}.

#3.  Agreed to be induced. {yes, because I was uncomfortable with some pretty serious pelvic and hip pain and also because I had a sitter for my babes; let’s not pretend childcare doesn’t cross our pregnant minds}.  Contractions from induction suck.  4 cm begged for epidural.  Went through transition before epidural.  Got {a not helpful, dare I say pointless} epidural.  Water did not break until I was pushing.  {not my favorite labor story}.  4 hours from start to finish our sweet baby boy was placed in my arms.

#4.  Went into {early stage} labor.  Went to hospital {had a sitter lined up; I was worried baby would come quick since #3 came in 4 hours}.  Was asked if I wanted to stay or go as contractions stalled.  Heard babies crying and wanted to hold mine {let’s not pretend being sent home at 40 weeks sits well with a pregnant mind}.  Labor assisted with modern day medicine.  Opted for epidural {14 months later, pain was fresh in my mind from #3 and wasn’t a fan}.  10 hours later our precious baby girl joined us earth side.

#5. Went to 40 week check up.  Heart rate was slower than OB would have liked.  Was induced.  The standard hospital birth.  8 hours later, our darling, miracle baby girl arrived.

My birth plan fulfilled 5 times. My husband lovingly and supportingly by my side.  How lucky am I?  But I always questioned my birth experiences.  Wondered if I should have done it differently.  Somebody said I should want something else.  That I would be happier, more fulfilled and better if I did.

Should I have had an unmedicated birth?  Should I have said no to induction and augmentation?  Should I have let them break my water?

And then I realized: when I was transitioning epidural free with number 3, I did not feel empowered, strong, or capable.  I felt death {but hey, maybe that is just me}.  I did not want that birth experience and that was my choice.  I was should-ing on myself.  And I know I am not the only one.

Maybe if I would have made different labor choices, I would feel differently.  But, I didn’t; because I didn’t want to.  My choices.  My why.

Reflecting.  Social media makes it so easy to stay so connected that it makes us question what we should want versus  what we do want.

What do I care if a woman wants an unmedicated birth?  If she opts for a planned cesarean?  If she births with a midwife at home or with an epidural at the hospital?

I am not less of a mother or woman for my {real} birth story.

Past, present and future parents: every birth story is amazing.  Remember your why.  Stop should-ing on your own birth experiences.  What do you want? Write your own {real} birth story. It is the only one that matters.

Follow @birthwithoutfear on Instagram.  They empower families, mothers and all birth experiences.

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