My Birth Plan Failed. Not Me.

3 cm. That’s all I needed to get to. 3. Little. Centimeters. I had been in labor for 3 days by the time my husband drove me to the hospital. We arrived @ 10 pm, where my sister was waiting on us. I was put in assessment, put on a gown, got in the tiny bed, & prayed the contractions would let up just a little. A nurse came in & put a fetal monitor on me to see if my contractions were “real”. Don’t you love when they say that? Like the pressure & pain you are feeling every 3 minutes isn’t real. My contractions stayed pretty regular. Some more intense than others. A few were so bad, I pleaded with my husband to find a Dr. because I just knew something was wrong. The pain was UNREAL. They were coming back to back & were heart stopping. I started biting the railing of the bed, until my husband told me to stop. I had nothing to take that pain out on. This was my first pregnancy & all of the reading & classes & research I had done had no way prepared me for this.

I started working on my birth plan just a couple of months into my pregnancy. I have to admit, as nice as my OBGYN was, he wasn’t very supportive. He was referred to me by a couple of close friends. I liked him enough, but whenever I questioned him about different methods of birth, my questions fell on deaf ears. When I found out I was pregnant, I had planned on using a doula service & a birthing center, however the insurance I had at the time was horrible & there was no way I could pay for that out of pocket. So I did the next best thing: use the hospital. I went to every birthing, breathing technique, breastfeeding, what to expect class that I could find within driving distance. I ordered stacks of books & read everything I could get my hands on regarding giving birth. At one class the teacher asked who was planning on not getting an epidural. Out of approximately 30 women, I was the only one to raise my hand. My husband chuckled. He knew about my low tolerance for pain.

A water birth was something that I wanted from the very beginning. Sadly, the hospital did not have birthing tubs. Since I could not afford a place with tubs, I let go of wanting a water birth. I knew that I did not want an epidural or an induction. I told my husband under no circumstances will I be allowed to get an epidural. I watched The Business of Being Born about 11 times & I did not want to be a statistic. I planned my birth like I planned my wedding- everyone had a job & a place. I was the one they needed to listen to. I knew best. At the time I did not have a lot of support. My mother had died when I was 16 weeks along & I was fairly new to the area I was living. Basically I had to get through the whole “getting the baby out” thing on my own.

My birth plan was 3 pages long. No medication. Delayed cord cutting. Intermentant fetal monitoring. All that good stuff. So when I started having contractions at 39 weeks, I was ready. This was it. All of that research was going to pay off for me. Well, I thought it would. I never remembered reading anything about laying on the floor in your living room begging God to just take you now because there was no way you could make it through another contraction. I would go to the hospital, and then get sent home. This went on for 3 days. Finally we went back & wouldn’t take no for an answer. In the words of my husband “Oh you are keeping her. I am not going home with this.” (Love that man!)

The nurse finally came & checked me one last time @ 6 am. She told me that I needed to be 3 cm to be admitted. I had stalled out at 1. When she checked me, low & behold, I was 3. Glory be to God! Put me in a room PRONTO! I was admitted & the contractions were staying steady. By noon I was worn out. I wanted relief. I wanted to have a chance to relax. I made the decision to get the epidural based on 2 things: 1. obviously pain. I was tired of the pain. & 2. I was just plain tired. I hadn’t slept in days. I wanted to be able to gather some strength. So I asked for it. Against everything I had been planning, I asked for it. As soon as it was administered, I regretted it.

I felt like a fat paralyzed cow lying in that bed. The nurses had to come roll me over every 30 min. I wasn’t able to relax, mainly because I was too weirded out by not being able to move. However, I was progressing pretty well. At 3 pm I felt deep pressure. I wanted to push. I needed to push. I called the nurse to come check me & sure enough I was at 10. Jax was turned the wrong way. It took 2 hours of pushing to get him out. I was told that if I didn’t deliver him soon, I would have to have a C-section. So I pushed & pushed & pushed. I was NOT having a section. I might have given in to the epidural, but in no way shape or form were they going to cut me because he wasn’t facing the right direction. My Dr. was called & within 2 min. of him arriving Jaxon Finley was born. He was small & beautiful. But they never put him on my chest. They showed him to me & took him to be weighed & cleaned. Finally he was handed to me. I was a mom.


Every regret I had, everything before that moment no longer existed. He was here & he was awesome. Sure I didn’t have my dream birth, but I didn’t think about that. Instead I thought about our life from that point on. Later I found out that I had a 4th degree episiotomy. That is the reason my Dr. was able to swiftly get him out. Jax only weighed 6 lbs. 12 oz. There was no reason why I needed to be cut. I do not hold any resentment against my Dr. I have no room for that. I do not regret any decisions that were made during his birth. There were times afterwards that I did feel like a failure, that I should have been able to hang with the pain & stay strong. Not anymore, though. Births are a hard thing to plan. You have to leave your mind open somewhat. Most importantly, you have to trust yourself enough to back your own decisions. Jax’s birth taught me that.

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  1. Risa -  January 5, 2012 - 10:37 pm

    I really really love your story! I know first hand when things don’t go as planned. I feel bad when woman beat themselves up when things don’t go their way. I love the way you embraced it because no matter what your beautiful boy was here. Thank you for sharing this!!

  2. Jessica Murphy -  January 5, 2012 - 10:54 pm

    Births are a very hard thing to plan. Great birth story. And oh my goodness, he was the cutest newborn ever!!

  3. Endsleysmama -  January 6, 2012 - 10:33 am

    I love this story. Sometimes plans just don’t wok out! Happened to me. And we still have beautiful babies!

  4. Kaitlin -  January 6, 2012 - 2:31 pm

    Thanks for posting your story! I have put off making a birth plan because I don’t want to be a failure if I don’t stick to it. I don’t want an epidural, but if I’m exhausted, I’m open to pain relief. I don’t want an episiotomy, would rather tear naturally (most research I’ve read states that healing is easier if it’s natural). Ive discussed this with my doctor and he laughed at the thought of a birth plan… I wanted to use a midwife but my family GP wouldn’t refer me because he believed I was high risk (which im not). I’m hoping next time I can do what I want. But back to my point, thank you.

  5. Amy -  August 15, 2012 - 6:32 pm

    I think my birth plan was about 6 pages long… but my baby seemed to see things a different way! I also wound up getting an epidural, after 14 hours of pitocin, the pain had reduced me to shaking and vomiting. But hey, I got to bring home a pretty awesome baby at the end of it!

  6. Tiffany -  August 15, 2012 - 8:32 pm

    Your story sounds slightly similar to mine. I was induced and planned an epidural. My son was born Sunnyside up and I was given a 4th degree episiotomy. My “doctor” didn’t stitch me correctly and 10 days post partum I had to have surgery because it all came undone. I have so many regrets about getting an epidural. I feel like of I hadn’t have had it I would have never have had that awful experience. Thank you for your story, it’s helped me :0)

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