Before getting pregnant, I didn’t know there was such a thing as a birth plan. I thought the plan was to evacuate the baby from the uterus, and then you get to take it home. Apparently, though, there are a variety of ways to customize your birth experience so that you can…brag about it? feel more comfortable? write a children’s book about it? I always just figured that my birth experience would be customized by the brand new curses and insults I would invent and hurl at anyone in the room. But besides that, you can give birth in a tub, in a bed, inyourbed, in the hospital, in a taxi…all over. You can have zero drugs, medium drugs, or many drugs. People will bring you paraphernalia to bounce/sit/squat/flail on as you labor. It is very complicated. I have spent a lot of time thinking about my birth plan, since it seems like this is a very important thing to have.
Stage 1: Arrival
In a perfect world, and if I didn’t think CPS would immediately take the baby away*, I would arrive at the hospital fully drunk. The reason for this is that when I was in my drinking prime, there were mornings that I would wake up with massive bruises and scrapes and no clue how they got there. I looked like I had been beaten with a rake, but had no idea why. Inevitably, I would inquire, and one of my friends would say something like, “Oh, you told us you could remember the dance sequences from every musical you’d ever been in, and you decided to show us, but you said that we wouldn’t get the real experience unless you were on a stage, so you did the dances on your coffee table, and you fell. A lot.” See, if I were drunk upon arrival, not only would I be enthusiastic about whatever pain I was in, I wouldn’t even remember it the next day! Also, I would be singing Broadway songs. Best case scenario.
As it stands, my arrival plan is for someone to take me seriously and whisk me into a private room and call immediately for the anesthesiologist. Which leads us to Stage 2.
* Let’s be clear: I fully expect CPS to show up at some point and take the baby, but I would like to at least have a chance first.
Stage 2: Pain Medication
My mother keeps insisting that I don’t want an epidural, that natural childbirth was good enough for her, that epidurals are strange and unnatural, and that you completely forget about the pain, and to that I say, “Fuck. That. Noise.” I have made it to the age of 29 without ever doing a single illegal drug, so I will be goddamned if I don’t reward myself for my prudishness by having a licensed professional shove a needle in my spine as soon as humanly possible upon arriving. I used to have menstrual cramps that made me throw up in the nurses’s office at school, so I am under no illusions about my ability to deal with pain in my netherregions. I am not a hero. I am also not living in the 1600s, so if there is a way to take away the pain that won’t ruin my baby, I am all for it.
Stage 3: Birth
Some women opt for low-intervention births, where they never want the doctor to check their cervix, and they want to avoid a C-section if at all possible, and they want everyone in the room to maintain complete silence or wave silk scarves around them at the moment of crowning or whistle BeeGees songs. Here is my request for the actual birth: Get. Her. Out. That’s all. Obviously, please try not to snap any of her little limbs off, or yank her out by her ears, or slice me open if it’s not entirely necessary. But get her out. I am going in there for a baby, and I am leaving with a baby. If the doctor tells me that they need to make a cut, great. If the doctor tells me that I need a C-section, perfect. You will hear no complaints from me. If you can get her out without tearing me clitoris to clavicle, that would be outstanding. But get her out in one piece, and then deal with the aftermath.
Stage 4: Post-Birth
I am still working out this plan, as I am still a little skeeved out by kissing and cradling a being that is covered in the goop that used to be inside my ladybits, and is now on display for the world to see. I want to say that I will be all Earth Mothery and not care that she’s covered in blood and discharge and chalky white stuff that makes her look like she was just at a shootout at a mobster’s cocaine factory. I am mostly sure that I won’t start laughing and screech, “Gross! Give it a bath!” No promises at this point, though.
Stage 5: Post-post-birth
I would like a drink. Immediately.