Birth plans. NCT encourage you to make one. Midwives will ask what yours is. Others tell you to write it on the back of a postage stamp for all the good it will do you. My birth plan is usually something along the lines of ‘GET IT OUT!’
Facial. Haircut. Bikini wax.
Now that my consultant has cleared me for a ‘natural’ birth, I’ve been asked what my birth plan is. So far it goes something like this. Facial. Haircut. Bikini wax. Get the car serviced. Go to Bluewater (the traditional trip that brings on labour the very next day). But I don’t think this is what the midwives mean.
The thing is I’ve never had a birth plan beyond one ambition. ‘I would like to get the baby out.’ Apparently, this is a given.
But if three pregnancies and two labours have taught me anything, it’s that although everything usually works out fine in the end, how you get there is often a different matter.
Two labours. One (idiot) birthing partner.
Birth number one went something like this. 12 hours of contractions. Hello magazine. Daddy Pig watching the cricket with an M&S picnic. And a rather too casual attitude, which meant by the time I got to hospital I was 10cms dilated.
Birth number two (an intended home birth) was much the same. 2 hours of contractions. Daddy Pig making himself a sandwich and thinking it was too soon to call the midwife. Me calling in secret from the toilet. Then a suspected breech baby, an emergency ambulance dash to hospital but a false alarm and safe delivery 45 minutes later.
‘Well, that went well,’ said Daddy Pig afterwards. ‘And we didn’t even have to worry about parking.’
Actually, I think I may have just figured out my birth plan.
Get a new birth partner.
Parking. The most important factor.
So last night, Daddy Pig and I discussed where I’ll give birth.
‘It’s decided, isn’t it? Queen Elizabeth. Obviously,’ he says. ‘We’ve done it there twice before. Why change it now? Plus the parking’s good.’
Ahh yes, the parking. The most important consideration when you’re focusing on pushing a watermelon out of your crotch. Bearing in mind we’ve had nothing short of two fines this past month, I’d have thought we could have splashed out on the birth of our third child and risked another.
Home and Away.
So I ask my yoga teacher instead. ‘Home birth is a lovely experience,’ she says. ‘How would you actually feel about giving birth at home? It’s ideal when you have other children to look after as you don’t have to worry about childcare.’
I think about Beaver and Godivy. Popping in to ask for a juice. Daddy Pig asking me if I’d mind, ‘whilst I’m up.’ I wonder if delivering an actual baby will excuse me from the rituals of bedtime or will I still be expected to fish out the pyjamas and do the milks? Because after all, in Africa women give birth whilst carrying a 5 litre pail on their heads…
And then I think about something far, far more important. The new, pale grey carpet.
All good reasons to opt for a hospital birth. But we’ve opted for a home birth anyway, with the choice to go into hospital if the kids prove too much. Or the carpet needs a reprieve.
Why? Because we are idiots.
Wish me luck.
If you want to find out how this ends, come and like Surviving Life and Motherhood and I’ll be sure to let you know…