Our Birth Story: Part 1 The Birth Plan
Most people these days have a birth plan. In case you didn’t know, my wife and I recently gave birth to our first child. A son by the name of Christian Timothy Haas. He is happy and healthy and at birth, he was 8 pounds 8 ounces and 21 inches long (he has since exceeded his birth weight in just over a week). I know that everyone has their own birth story, but I wanted to get the chance to not only share ours with our friends and family, and document it for ourselves. We had a birth plan, or a strategy, for how we wanted things to go. However, as you will soon see, our actual birth story does not follow our birth plan at all.
Our Birth Plan
I’d like to start off by explaining some of the things that we included in our birth plan. First, we planned on being as natural as possible. This meant no real pain medications, no epidural, and just letting things progress as they normally would according to the human body. For the most part, we were both on the same page the entire time. I fully supported whatever Melissa wanted to do, and we agreed on all of the big things. We didn’t like the stories that we heard of induction and epidurals and the risks involved.
For months and months, Melissa practiced Hypnobirthing. A practice that when she first mentioned it caused me to raise at least one eyebrow. The idea of hypnosis and things like that seemed to delve into a spiritual side that I was not really comfortable with. Fortunately, it is only a phrase that has a negative connotation as hypnobirthing is actually quite safe. She even ended up finding a Christian Hypnobirthing app on her phone that she highly recommends. A better word for hypnobirthing might be meditation. It’s not that much different than breathing techniques and simply telling yourself that everything is okay, you are in control, and you can handle what you are currently dealing with. The Christian version focuses more on reflecting on God and the strong person that he has created you to be. This included focusing on various scripture references and other affirmations.
Melissa practiced nearly her entire pregnancy as this was a big part of her birth plan. This was going to be her go-to for pain management and getting through the labor pains. Countless nights she would fall asleep listening to the recordings preparing herself for the day she was going to need it. She was encouraged by friends and other testimonies that she had heard. I even watched her read a large book on the subject. We were both happy with her decision and progress.
Naming our Baby
Choosing a name for our baby boy also proved to be quite difficult. Early on we were certain that we were having a girl. We didn’t know for sure until the gender-reveal party, but we both felt confident that we were having a girl. As such, most of our naming conversations revolved around trying to find a girl name that we agreed on. We had some that we were okay with, but we have nothing locked in yet. This turned out to be a good thing because, well… He’s a boy! This didn’t make coming up with a name any easier. We went back and forth and we both had our favorites, but then one day we were both sitting on the couch and Melissa asked me what I thought about the name Christian. My response was, “yea, I like it, but is it a little too easy and obvious?”
Preparing for Baby
Part of the birth plan included making sure that we had a home ready for our baby boy to come. This, of course, meant making sure that we had clothes, diapers, and other essentials for the coming bundle of joy. However, Melissa’s pride and joy definitely became the nursery. She started telling people the theme was going to be monsters. This mostly just meant monsters in general, but it also meant Monster’s Inc. (her favorite movie). People bought her a lot of things, her mom helped to paint and made matching curtains. I bought her wall art and she painted a few murals. All this came together to create a themed nursery that she is very proud of.
Another thing we did was attend classes. We attended a general birthing class together all day. This included a tour of the Glens Falls Hospital Snuggery, the place we planned to give birth to our baby. This was informative and helped us to make some decisions about how we wanted to handle the changes and stresses of having a baby. Melissa also signed me up for “Daddy Boot Camp.” This short class was basically a small group or support group for first-time dads. We shared our fears and expectations and received some practical tips for taking care of our new baby.
Finally, we worked with our employers to make sure that we had vacation time established and set up. Fortunately for me, New York State recently came out with something called the Paid Family Leave Act. This means that I am able to take up to 8 weeks off for baby bonding. Melissa also gets this on top of her 8 weeks of full pay for maternity leave. This means that we are both able to stay home and learn how to take care of our new baby together. Our original birth plan had me only taking two weeks off. However, I am now looking to take 4 weeks off. This is a wonderful blessing to our family.
Melissa had a fantastic pregnancy. No. Seriously. Any stereotype out there about pregnancy she blew out of the water. She was a champ! She was never sick or nauseous, ate whatever she wanted (except bad things like cold cut lunch meat), and she never sent me on weird craving runs in the middle of the night. Also, she never complained about being in pain or uncomfortable. The only thing she ever experienced was some acid reflux in the middle of a few nights towards the end. Unfortunately, she never even increased her desire for pickles.
My wife made every other pregnant woman look bad (no offense other pregnant women). Outside of a growing belly, she was her same self for the nine months. Because of this, we had high hopes that this was going to be an easy birth and go according to plan. At one point she even told me that she felt this was going to be a really easy and quick labor. If you are a pregnant woman or have ever had a baby yourself you are probably rolling your eyes in jealousy.
Plans not going accordingly. Bye-bye Birth Plan.
Now here is where the problem came in. Melissa’s pregnancy was so good and so easy that I think it made her womb too comfortable. Our baby didn’t want to be born. She tried everything. All the old wives tricks. We walked for miles. She ate pineapples and drank pineapple juice. We didn’t expect spicy foods to work because she had eaten them the entire pregnancy but we tried it anyway. Nothing made Christian want to make his grand entrance.
As we approached the two-week late marker the doctor’s tone changed from optimism to compromising. Melissa might still be able to have her natural birth, but she was going to have to face induction. No one we had ever talked to had anything good to say about induced labors. We heard they were long. That they were hard and were more painful than normal labors. Nevertheless, we were out of time. The changes to our birth plan had begun.