I was never a woman with a detailed birth plan – no special soothing music, warm bathtubs, or breathing methods need apply. My plan was the “anti plan” – my doctors were doctors for a reason, I figured, and they would get the baby out safely.

My only true desires were to avoid induction and C-section unless truly medically necessary. I’d read that the more interventions you have during birth, the stronger the possibility that a baby will be unable to breastfeed successfully, at least at first. And breastfeeding successfully was my single greatest wish once the kiddo was here.

As my July 1 due date approached, everything was on track. Well, almost. The baby looked great on his last ultrasound. I still had enough energy to tackle my to-do list. I had the occasional acid reflux and permanently swollen feet, but they were manageable. I didn’t even punch the strangers who kept commenting on how I must be so miserable as the temperature soared into the 90s.

There was one snag, though: my blood pressure. It was high, and starting to creep higher. My doctors scheduled me for weekly appointments – sometimes twice weekly – to watch for any other signs of preeclampsia, like unusual swelling or protein in the urine. I even got to pee into a plastic jug for 24 hours, which is exactly as fun as it sounds.


Relaxing while pregnant

Trying to keep the swelling down without much success.

My practice had five doctors on staff. I rotated between them so I’d know whoever was on call on the big day. But toward the end of my pregnancy, I always seemed to get the same one – I’ll call him Doctor Cautious.

Doctor Cautious kept threatening me with bed rest, even though I didn’t have preeclampsia. And because of my blood pressure, he refused to OK a trip to Florida at the beginning of June. (This may sound reasonable to most people, but at home I was two hours from the hospital – in Florida, probably two minutes.) Doctor Cautious even started talking about induction. And he mentioned that, yes, induction put me at a higher risk for a C-section.

In the middle of all my appointments with Doctor Cautious, I managed to snag an appointment with Doctor Reassuring. She told me that despite what Doctor Cautious had said, since I only seemed to have pregnancy-induced high blood pressure and not preeclampsia, I didn’t necessarily have to be induced. We would just keep an eye on my numbers, she said.

And so we did. Unfortunately, my blood pressure continued to climb, and on that basis alone, I was scheduled for an induction on June 24, just shy of 39 weeks. I told myself it was for the best. After all, we lived so far from the hospital that knowing when I’d need to go in was convenient and even a bit of a relief. The guesswork was gone. My husband and I booked a nice hotel near the hospital the night before my induction so that we could savor our last child-free hours.

But Baby Y had other plans…