Get tips from the trenches with this information-packed blog from the authors of The Rookie Mom’s Handbook and Stuff Every Mom Should Know, Heather Flett and Whitney Moss.

When It Doesn’t Go How You Planned

Photo: Rookie Moms

One of my favorite questions to new moms is, “What was your biggest surprise?” Though most of us do obsessive observation of friends and heaps of reading, the reality almost never matches the fantasy. For some of us, it’s childbirth itself. For others, it’s breastfeeding. Or all the crying. Or regaining our sense of self.

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My first big “didn’t go as I planned” was labor and delivery. I made a birth plan and investigated all the options for my first baby’s grand entrance; I took childbirth classes; and I briefed my husband and doula on all my preferences. Even with my research, opinions, and intentions, I knew that things might not go just as I imagined, but I still wanted to go on the record with a few key requests: wear my own clothes, use a yoga ball and limit interventions, especially not pitocin.

The rest of my choices were written down and I made sure that my birthing team knew how strongly I felt about each.

Unfortunately, my baby and body had other plans. My birth plan flew out the window within moments of checking in to the hospital’s maternity wing. The nurses identified that I had super high blood pressure and pre-eclampsia and would have to have an IV with magnesium drip to prevent seizures (or worse!).

Though my team was still clearly advocating for me, all my earlier choices were cast aside in favor of putting on a hospital gown, laying in bed with many IV cables, and a pitocin drip. Ugh.

Of course I was disappointed at my forty-four hour labor but it also gave me some insight. I concluded that, “One way or another, those professionals at the hospital will get the baby out.” And a healthy baby and mommy are what matters most.

I don’t want to stress you out with my experience. I know most women don’t have the same issues, so I don’t mean to imply that just because things didn’t go my way they won’t go your way. I really hope you have exactly the birth you want. Certainly my own second childbirth was nothing like this first one; it was fast and easy and ended with chocolate cream pie!

About Heather

Heather Gibbs Flett co-founded to inspire moms to have more fun after her own challenges with rookie motherhood. Together with her BFF Whitney Moss, she also wrote "The Rookie Moms Handbook" and created a local site for parents in the Bay Area (

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As a new or expectant mom, what has been your biggest surprise?

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