The Birth Plan

My mom likes to tell this story about me: 

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By the time I was pregnant with Jack, I had watched my sisters and many friends move through pregnancy and delivery with varying levels of maintained sanity.  I was a keen observer. I was also a graduate student at the time.  That last part means I had a lot of time to think about these kinds of things (…may be why the thesis took so long!) And so I spent a lot of time envisioning the labour and delivery.  We took the traditional birth-preparedness course and read books like What to Expect When You’re Expecting and The Birth Book: Everything You Need to Know to Have a Safe and Satisfying Birth.  We mapped out our birth plan and even pre-registered at the hospital in case everything went way too fast.  (We can dream, we can dream!) 

Alas, that little Jack was in no hurry to get out and so after a while it was decided that labour would be induced.  Not part of the birth plan but I could be flexible on those kinds of details.  Especially in the overripe condition I was in! So it was on a wintery Tuesday morning in April at 6:00 a.m. that the nurses attached the I.V. to my hand and started sending Oxytocin into my veins.  They comforted me by saying that it might come harder but it would definitely go faster this way.  Did I mention, though, that little Jack was in no hurry to get out??  Though the contractions came on hard and fast, he stayed put.  Little by little my birth plan was being shredded to smithereens.  At the five hour mark I asked for ice.  At the twelve hour mark I started to get kinda grumpy with Greg.  (He may phrase it differently…!) At the twenty-two hour mark I succumbed and asked them to stab my spine with a needle, releasing sweet numbing goodness into my body.  (An epidural had not be written into the birth plan either!)  At the twenty-eight hour mark, my OB came into the room, quite surprised to see me there still. “You ARE still here!  I didn’t believe it.  Let me have a look.”

And that was when the final blow was delivered.  She immediately ordered an emergency c-section.  She called the nurses in to prep me for the operating room and left herself to scrub in.  I hadn’t said a word.  Shock I suppose.  But then the god-send of a nurse that had been gifted to me that morning came and sat beside me.  “Are you okay?”, she asked.  And I lost it.  Totally and completely.  I cried and cried and cried.  The ugly cry.  When I finally caught my breath and found my words again, all I could muster was “But I didn’t read that chapter in the book!!”

Thankfully the doctors and nurses in charge of the delivery had.  And for the first of two times, their skills in that operating room saved our lives.  

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And that is the story of how “But I didn’t read that chapter in the book…” became my line in Tales of the Kirkland Family.  



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