She asked us if we needed time to talk about our choices, but I instantly answered, "No, I want a C-section. Just do it. I can't do this anymore." The health and safety of our baby was all that mattered. My birth plan was dead. It was time to move on.
Within fifteen minutes I was prepped and ready for surgery. Because my left side would not hold the epidural, I required a spinal tap. I've never actually wondered what it felt like to be a log, but now I know. So, there I lay, amid a buzzing team of nurses and doctors who'd sprung into action within minutes to save and deliver our precious baby.
A blue sheet angled over my head blocked my view of the surgery and I kept falling asleep from exhaustion as I lay there visibly shivering in the cold room. My husband was at my head in full medical garb.
We had chosen not to discover the gender of our baby until birth. The doctor announced to her staff that the gender was to be revealed to me by my husband only. A few moments later, he was prompted to stand and watch our son emerge into this world. He sat back down at my head and softly said, "It's a boy."
"It's a boy?" I repeated back to him. Tears welled up in my eyes. Our son was here. Safe. Healthy. Strong. Delivered by a phenomenal medical staff that compassionately walked the line between our desires for a natural birth and medical necessity.
I could hear his first cry from across the room and I felt peace. One of the attending doctors appeared at my head, smiling, and said, "He’s beautiful. You couldn't have had him anyway. The cord was wrapped around his neck and under his arm, too."
My husband laid our beautiful son on my chest as the doctors repaired my incision. "He has that little thing on his lip like you do," he said. I smiled and visually examined his face, quietly thanking God for his safe arrival.
For a time after his birth, I felt a bit robbed of the birth experience I had planned and hoped for. Although I had written a birth plan including our desires should unexpected circumstances arise, I did not mentally prepare for the possibility. I wish I had. I had to work at letting go of my fantasy and accept reality. It took time, but now, as I watch our son grow and become aware of his world, I can assuredly pass on these words: If things don't go the way you have planned, it's okay.
Amy Braman is a first-time mother and coffee house owner residing in North Carolina with her husband and newborn son.
© 2009 Amy Braman. Permission to publish granted to Pregnancy.org. Photo credits © Amy Braman.