Parenting

Deadline in the delivery room

Katie had her baby -- though not exactly as she'd planned -- and learned a few lessons on the way

First things first:
 
She’s here. My daughter arrived on November 17, with a cupid-bow mouth, a head full of hair and chubby dimpled cheeks. The minute they put her on my chest, I instantly forgave her for being six days late, for the months of heartburn (tons of hair — maybe there’s something to be said for old wives’ tales), the stretch marks and the now incredibly flabby belly. Love at first sight. (Now, Sophie, don’t use that against me when you’re 16 and want to borrow the car. The fact that I love you more than anything means that it won’t be as easy as my just handing over the keys.)
 
Now, sap aside.
 
Things do not always go as planned. Apparently. This isn’t usually my experience, but I quickly learned — what is it, lesson #3? — that childbirth is one of those situations where you can plan all you want but it might not go exactly as you hope.
 
I know every prenatal instructor tells you not to expect the gush of water or the instant, doubled-at-the-waist contractions you see on the movies, but with no other frame of reference, I kept waiting for The Moment to happen. It didn’t. I was watching a cheesy Christmas movie in bed when I started feeling these intermittent pains in my back. Two hours later, they were happening more frequently and Blaine and I decided a trip to triage wouldn’t hurt. That was it. My Moment was my calling my husband from upstais and saying, “I think these might be contractions.”
 
I also went into the delivery room with my mind mostly made up to try and go it on my own, with little pain management. But by hour 13 or so, and after five hours of bouncing on a stupid blue ball, I wanted the drugs. I felt like a wuss but I wanted the drugs. I admire women who can go au naturel, and really, I wanted to be in that club, but I was just too tired. And this brings me to lesson #4: It’s OK to change the plan. This one I’m learning over and over and it’s only been a week with our babe. (Exhibit A: Right now, Sophie is screaming; last night at this time, she was so fast asleep that Blaine and I had to wake her to feed her.)
 
By hour 24, I’d had just about enough and was dying to meet my kid. That was when the on-call doctor entered the picture. We chatted for a few minutes and she asked me what I did for a living.
 
“Managing editor at Today’s Parent magazine,” I said, my frustration with the long labour and little recent progress clear.
 
“So that means you like deadlines and schedules and bossing people around,” she said.
 
“Exactly,” my husband said.
 
“Well,” the doctor replied, “I want this baby out by nine o’clock. Get pushing.” (It was 10 after eight, at that point.)
 
It took no time for my answer. “I accept that challenge.”
 
Sophie was born at 9:11pm. And had she not gotten a little stuck, I swear it would have be 9pm on the dot.
 
So, lesson #5: While things do not always go as planned, sometimes there’s no accounting for the Type A determination.

Did your birth go according to plan? What did you learn from your labour experience?