Time to toss the pregnancy book


As someone who tends towards brevity, I am surprised at how hard it is to succinctly describe the birth of my second son. I just can’t wrap my brain around what happened. I can barely make sense of my first son’s birth.

One day I will get around to finishing those birth stories. Until then, I will sum both up with one phrase, “I don’t birth by the book.”

Having gone through two pregnancies, I am well versed in all the stages of labor, what signs to look for, how long each phase takes on average, techniques for pain management, etc. I also read the short blurb on “emergency delivery” in my pregnancy book, which noted that such an event was unlikely as most moms have plenty of time to get to the hospital.

I’m the exception. Me, the person who always plays by the rules and actually reads directions. My first labor followed the typical pattern: water breaking, bloody show, contractions. It just went an accelerated pace. From first sign to birth, it was about three hours. I barely made it to the hospital.

My second labor was even more unusual. I had a stomache ache and went to the bathroom. After, I felt dizzy and had to lie down. I was compelled to check between my legs, and, sure enough, the head was there. My water broke as I pushed the baby, who was delivered by my husband with help from the 911 dispatcher. The whole thing was about a half hour.

Because I unintentionally gave birth at home, and my son needed medical help early on, I often feel judged poorly for what happened. People will question my story. They wonder how I couldn’t have felt any contractions. My mind begins to swell with doubt. Maybe I could have made it to the hospital on time? Maybe I should have had a planned induction? Am I a good mother?

My midwife assured me that I am. She comforted me and told me I did everything right. A kind nurse furthered my confidence by sharing stories of mothers who also had rapid births. She explained that there is no “typical” way to labor and every woman experiences birth in her own way.

I am happy that more women are sharing their stories and are helping to end stigmas about what birth should be. I hope when women don’t deliver their babies as planned, they will receive encouragement and support.

After two unusual births, I should probably toss out my copy of “What To Expect When You’re Expecting.” Then again, if I have another baby, maybe he or she will follow directions.

4 thoughts on “Time to toss the pregnancy book

  1. One Mother to Another

    Your stories are your own and truly amazing. The bravery you must have had to go through a home birth when you weren’t preparing for one is astounding to me. Don’t let anyone talk you into feeling less than for how you delivered your babies–those are your birth stories; they can talk all they want about their own.

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