I did everything that you hear about doing. I read the baby books, decorated the nursery, registered for the sound machine and baby tub. I took prenatal classes with my husband where we put diapers on teddy bears and practiced buckling the car seat. We took a hospital tour. I packed my bag. I went to prenatal yoga where I would visualize my labour and breath through the pain. I had a plan. I was ready. And I had no idea how wrong I could be.

My labour didn’t happen suddenly…

My due date came and went, and when we discovered how big my baby girl was, my OB scheduled me to be induced. This was my first lesson in letting go. It was not what I wanted… But I knew I couldn’t force my baby to arrive. That night, after many tears shed over the change in plans, I started feeling contractions at 3am. I was terrified, but excited that maybe things would go the way I had imagined. We waited a few hours and then went to the hospital. We got sent home, but since I was scheduled to be induced the next day, they said to return if things got unmanageable at home – and that came faster than I thought. I tried my yoga poses, I got in the tub, but my mind would not stray far from the pain, or the fear… Fear of the unknown, of the imminent birth, of the upcoming life change. Quickly, we decided to return only a few hours later and were admitted to hospital. We stayed there for 5 days. I went through 36 hours of labour in a fog. I couldn’t grasp how things had gone so “wrong”. I didn’t want drugs, but I had them. I didn’t think they’d use a vacuum, but they had to. I never imagined having a baby wrapped in a bilirubin blanket for days, not being able to hold her…

This was our journey, but I didn’t want to accept it as my reality.

I have always been the type of person to take control of a situation, to make the plans, and have a checklist. Through the experience of labour and becoming a mother, I’ve had to learn to let go of that, and it hasn’t always been an easy adjustment.

My first weeks at home were full of pure joy that I finally had my baby girl in my arms, but they were also full of sorrow, as I felt robbed of the birth story I had so desperately wanted. I cried equal tears of happiness and sadness. But as the days, weeks and months have unfolded and I’ve watched this little girl grow before my eyes into a smiling happy baby,

I’ve come to understand that you can’t plan everything. You can’t control every moment, especially with a little one. And even though you may desperately try to grasp onto something you can control, you have to let go if you want to move forward. My story is now just that… A story. But what I’ve learned from it is that there are things in life that will happen that you can’t plan out. But if you can surrender to that moment, you can experience somethings you never thought possible… strength you can summon in your darkest moments, love that knows no boundaries, and peace in accepting life as it comes to you.

Lesley works as an account manager for an IT/Software company and has recently taken on the full-time role of a first time mom. She lives in Tottenham with her husband Marc and their little girl Taylor.