One of the main things I talk with my clients about is their birth plan and expectations for their labor and delivery. Not one client so far has had the same birth plan. I would say about 60% of the time labor and delivery do not go to plan. This is not a bad thing. Birth is spontaneous and cannot be planned from beginning to end. All you can do is prepare the best you can for what you hope it will be and be prepared for things to change. Embrace your labor and delivery for what it is in the moment you are in. Be calm, flexible, and believe in yourself.
My Birth Experiences
I was almost 19 when I found out I was pregnant with my daughter and going to be a single mom. I lived in Tennessee at the time and chose to move to Las Vegas to be with my mom so I could get on my feet and raise the little girl I was bringing into the world. This was a good and bad decision. Let me explain. It was great being with family I knew loved me and would love my baby, but it was not the most stable environment for me mentally.
I started showing signs of preeclampsia during my 3rd trimester. I ate horribly, I would eat any and everything I could get my fingers on. We decided inducing labor was the best option due to my health.
My C section was scheduled for October 20, 2006, my girl was due November 3, 2006.
My mom and I went into the hospital at 5:00AM? I was terrified and I had no idea what to expect. The nurse came in to give me an IV. She could not hit the vein if felt like she poked me 1,000 times and never got it. I had a bruise the size of a softball. Needless to say, I was beyond pissed and asked for a new nurse. The second nurse that came in ended up putting the IV in my hand with one stick. They put in a vaginal insert with medicine in it to help thin my cervix. We sat and waited slept on and off all day with no results. By 8PM I was dilated to 1 so they decided to start me on Pitocin. We could see that contractions were happening and moving closer together on the monitor, but I could not feel them. I could see my stomach tighten and then relax but that was it. I did not dilate past a 1 by 6AM. My doctor decided a C-Section was our next step. This C-Section was traumatic. They took me to the OR by myself I was given a spinal block instead of a spinal tap and I was paralyzed from my shoulders down and could not feel myself breathing. This is one of the scariest things I have ever felt. Can you imagine not knowing if you are breathing and not being able to move anything but your head from side to side?
I had a panic attack so they gave me a sedative and guess what I was allergic to it, so I really did stop breathing. I don’t remember a lot after the sedative. I remember my anesthesiologist standing over me he kept saying “Brittani you have to breathe. Breathe, baby, breathe.” I vaguely remember my doctor talking about vacation. I remember them popping Miya's beautiful little face above the curtain and seeing them weigh her and then I was out for hours after that. Miya Estelle Beebe was born 10/21/06 at 8:31AM 6 lbs 7 oz 18.5 in long. She had a beautiful olive complexion and a full head of black hair. My entire pregnancy was stressful and she came out the calmest sweetest little lady. She was exactly the baby I needed.
I was in no way prepared for this experience. I did not do any research about labor and delivery. I did not know I had options at this time in my life I thought that everyone had babies in the hospitals and that you do what the doctor tells you.
Fast Forward almost exactly 5 years.
This time I am 24 and have been married for almost 3 years to the most amazing and supportive man. We moved our little family to Washington . I lost 60lbs and have worked on learning who I was and was building the kind of life I wanted and deserved This time Jeremy and I spoke with the doctor about the risks to me and Josh if I did a v-back. We decided we were not willing to take the risk of losing me or Josh if we made that decision.
So we planned another C section.
My boy's due date was 10/26/11. We were all so excited to meet our little man. My doctor told me over and over as we got closer to the end that he would not schedule my c-section prior to 39 weeks. Guess what: my water broke at 6 am on 10/18/11 38 weeks and 6 days. I called my doctor and let him know that my water had broke and asked if I could shower before coming in. He laughed at me and said, “Yes, Brittani, but a 5-minute shower, ok?” Jeremy was rushing around getting stuff ready and trying to hurry me along. I was in no hurry that morning. I was calm and doing things in my own time, which really freaked him out.
We got to the hospital and they hooked me up to the monitor, it showed I was having strong contractions. Yet again, I could not feel them. I could see my stomach tighten and then gush. It felt like I kept peeing myself. We were taken back to the OR this time I got a spinal tap and I was only numb from my ribs down. I remember more this time, although the whole thing kind of felt like a dream. You know in the movies when you have a c-section they always say, “You might feel a little pressure” when they are bringing baby out?. Well, they forgot to tell me and I said, “Uh, weren't you supposed to warn me about this pressure?” I got a chuckle out of the doctor. I got to see my little man pop up over the curtain and taken over to the weighing table. I got to see Jeremy cut his cord and they brought Josh over and held him up to me, and I got to hug him. They brought me my boy right after his bath. Joshua Lucas Corbin was born 10/18/11 at 7:30 am 7lbs 10oz 19 1/2 inches long. Josh had a full head of black hair and light complexion.
This boy stole my heart, he has kept me on my toes since the day he was born. When we brought him home and I was irrationally emotional I would get out right angry for absolutely no reason. I did not realize it at the time but looking back now I am very confident that I had postpartum depression. I just did not know that how I felt had a name.
There were so many differences between both of my pregnancies and my situation during and after both. Neither of them went to plan or where what I had expected, but it is my story. I was hard and scary and amazing and beautiful all at the same time. My biggest regret is that I cannot remember all the things. I remember bits and pieces. I do not have pictures of labor and delivery or anything to show my kids about the days they were born.
This is what has brought me to birth photography. I get to help each family remember all of the details of the day-- big, small, planned, or unplanned. They get to look back and see their strength during one of the most powerful moments in their lives. These are memories they get to revisit forever!