Grieving Your Perfect Birth

grieving birth experience
Original photo by Billie Woods Photography


When I was pregnant, I read a ton of literature about pregnancy and birth. At first I was terrified of labour. Society and media are fantastic at making women (and men) fiercely afraid of giving birth.

My favourite book on getting baby out changed my whole outlook on birth. Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth was a welcome blessing of support, information and uplifting inspiration that empowered me, the owner of a remarkable body that would not only grow a whole human being right inside my body, but safely and naturally push the little soul out into the world. I recommend this book to every nervous pregnant woman I meet. It was exactly what I needed.

So I felt prepared to give birth, drawing closer to the due date. Excited even. This was going to be my time to shine! My body would amaze me and all my womanly powers would be put to use in the most intense and important moment of my life this far – and probably ever.

perfect birth
Photo by Billie Woods Photography


I just knew how easy and natural my baby’s birth would be. It would all go according to my natural-as-can-be plan. I would spend early labour tinkering at our home, listening to music on the playlist I’d prepared just for this wondrous occasion, bathing my way through contractions.

When the time came, we would call our local and trusted midwife and calmly flounce on in to the hospital. I’d made a list of various means of dealing with the waves of force my body would use to prepare for the big event, and l was ready to put them into action.

It would be a challenge, but I had full confidence in my body. We would handle everything as naturally as possible. I was made to do this!

pregnant woman fall leaves
Photo by Billie Woods Photography

Unfortunately, our baby didn’t get the memo about an easy, natural birth.

I was induced a week early, with liver problems making it risky for myself and baby to go any further than the 39 weeks. This was the first step in our deviation from “The Plan”. I was so disappointed I wouldn’t be able to go into labour naturally. That my baby wouldn’t be the one deciding her time had come. I also wouldn’t be able to deliver on our little island anymore, as we were now a higher risk. This also meant no Maggie – our fabulous, experienced and miracle-working midwife we’d come to trust over the course of the pregnancy.

I grieved all these changes to my vision hard, from the moment I found out I would be induced. This wasn’t the way it was supposed to be.

I was thankful for a nurse in the induction room, who was trying her best to calm me down by talking with me about my sorrows and my fears. She encouraged me to cry, and to let go of my plan.

And I did. So I was going to have to start things off in a big hospital, in another city, without the support I had counted on, with medical intervention to get it started. But that didn’t mean I couldn’t still carry on with what was left of my plan. I could still have a natural birth, without drugs.

Err… Scratch that.

perfect birth

The induction worked like a hot damn and a matter of an hour or two passed between first contraction and getting back to the hospital (we were staying close by). The doctor checked me and was surprised that I was ready to push.

To keep the surprises coming, we also found out that baby had flipped breech for her grand escape from the womb. Awesome.

After 45 minutes of pushing, the doctors called it. I was given all the drugs I was determined to avoid and experienced my first (and hopefully only) major surgery. Because they were worried about the little bug, she was whisked off to get her lungs suctioned and checked, and all the routine tests done. Another botched plan – have baby to bond with immediately. At least it wasn’t a very long wait.

birth tests

So my birthing experience went from one end of the perfectly planned spectrum to the opposite end. It was very hard to handle at first. Even for a while afterward, watching how easy recovery seemed for all the moms who had delivered naturally around the same time, and how long and complicated and painful my recovery went.

But you know what?

It didn’t matter. At the end of the day, my baby made it out. Our little love was in our arms, in our family. She may have gotten there another way than I had envisioned, but she was healthy and she was here.

That’s what matters in the end.

parents and new baby
Photo by Billie Woods Photography

*Update* Recovering from this C-section was really hard for me, and full of unpleasant surprises. Read all about it here.

Did your baby decide to surprise you for delivery? Was there a change of plans that was hard to handle at the time, but ended out well regardless? Share your story in the comments below!

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