By Kate Kole
I didn’t have a detailed birth plan. Without ever having ever gone through labor and delivery, I was unsure of how I’d feel about pain management or who I’d really want in the room when it was time to push. So, on the hospital form, I kept my preferences short and sweet. Healthy baby, healthy mama. That was it.
At 40 weeks and 6 days pregnant, I went into labor. After 28 hours, I gave birth to our sweet boy. I awaited the moment everyone promises, when all the pain and pushing evaporates and you hold your baby in your arms for the first time.
Instead, the chaos around us intensified. Our son was quickly whisked away to the corner of the room where doctors and nurses sprinted in and surrounded him. There was no apgar score, no weight check, no cutting of the umbilical cord by my husband, no loud cry by our son.
We came to find out that during the delivery, our baby swallowed meconium and had the umbilical cord wrapped around his neck.
The birth we’d envisioned didn’t happen according to our expectations.
And yet, in that moment, we experienced so much more than we could have imagined. We received the steady reassurance from our doctor that everything would be okay, we felt the comforting prayers and support of our family and friends, we saw the strength and resiliency of our boy as he opened his eyes and began to breathe, we found faith and hope in something bigger than ourselves.
Within the first few hours of his life, we learned that our baby would be transferred to the nicu at another hospital for further testing and monitoring. I’d be discharged and taken by ambulance later that evening to join him.
We wouldn’t be rooming in with our baby or staying at the hospital we’d selected. I wouldn’t be breastfeeding him like I’d anticipated. The hours and days following his birth didn’t go according to our plan.
And yet, during that time, we saw firsthand the best in the people around us, from the nurses and doctors who cared for our baby around the clock to the lactation consultant who sat with us and patiently taught me how to nurse.
Since bringing our son home a month ago, life has been both predictable: dirty diapers, sleep deprivation, and lots of cuddles, and unpredictable: a love I didn’t know was possible, learning to navigate an entirely new season of life and feeling a shift in my sense of self. I’m unable to control all the factors and emotions of each day the same way that I couldn’t control everything about our baby’s birth.
And yet, here we are. Taking things day by day, looking for the good in the world around us, trying, failing, and trying again, feeling frustrated and joyful all in one breath, learning as we go, and doing the best we can.
Maybe that’s good enough. Maybe we don’t need a detailed plan after all.
featured image via pexels