Do you use a birth plan?
At about six weeks away from delivery, even though I seem to be lackadaisical and lethargic about preparing for this poor baby number three, I did remember to pull up my birth plan from my son’s birth, review it, and have it ready to print for this baby’s delivery. I know that for some people, birth plans are absolutely essential. Other people don’t think to make them. Still others have one aside as a suggestion, but they are okay if things don’t go according to their plans. I was in that third category with my daughter. I wanted an intervention free, medicine free birth, but I also didn’t close the door on those options, eventually embracing them with abandon while in the throws of induced labor pain. When it came to my son, I was absolutely positively not open to anything happening outside of my meticulous birth plan. I even made sure my midwife would refuse to give me medicine should I ask for it and she agreed that she would do so.
When I went into the hospital with my daughter, I had a birth plan ready to give to my OBGYN but he laughed and said, “You didn’t bring a birth plan, did you?” as if I had no expertise and could have no say in how my birth would go. My response was a nervous and embarrassed chuckle, and the well-thought out piece of paper stayed in my suitcase throughout the duration of our stay. With my son, my midwife asked to have my birth plan on file weeks ahead of delivery in case I couldn’t get it to her when I actually got into the hospital. When I got there, she and the nurse read through it like it was law and followed it to the letter. It was very empowering to have a medical professional like her actually believe in me, believe in my body’s ability to birth a baby, and take me serious. I felt more capable of birth when I was with her as opposed to the OB/GYN doctors. It’s one of the reasons I refuse to see baby doctors with this baby, even though my midwife now works in a practice that has as many doctors as midwives.
So, what should you have on your birth plan? Well, I’ve found suggestions in prenatal magazines and websites like babycenter.com. My midwife also gave me a list of things to be included in my birth plan. From all of those sources, this is what I came up with:
Becca’s Birth Plan
List names of people who will be attending plus a list of people allowed to enter birthing room here. You may also want to list people who are not allowed to attend, which is helpful for that family member who has already invited themselves to the blessed event despite your wishes.
Music on my iPod
Wear my own clothes if necessary
Take pictures/ video during delivery
Hospital Admission & Proceedures
I want my husband with me at all times.
I want to eat if I wish to.
I don’t want any IVs
I don’t want a catheter.
I want to walk and move around as I choose.
I want only intermittent fetal monitoring.
No time limits on labor.
No augmentations unless absolutely necessary.
I do not want pain medication under any circumstances even if I ask for it. Rather, I would like to do the following to manage pain: Bath or shower
Freedom to move around and choose my laboring position instinctually
I do not object, however, to a local anesthesia if stitches or an episiotomy are necessary—just nothing that will enter my system and interfere with natural endorphins or cross the placenta.
I want to push instinctively with coaching if necessary.
I’d like to be free to try any position my body feels is necessary for pushing such as squatting, hands and knees, semi-reclining, sitting, or side-lying.
I’d like to have a mirror so I can see the baby’s head crowning should I choose to do so at the time.
I’d like to avoid an episiotomy unless it is absolutely necessary.
After birth I want to breastfeed immediately.
I do NOT want to be physically separated from my baby for any reason unless absolutely necessary.
I want the APGAR and all other procedures done for my baby to happen with the baby on my chest.
Delay cord clamping for at least a minute.
I’d like my husband to cut the cord if he wants.
Postpartum All newborn procedures are to be done in my presence. My husband must be with the baby at all times if I can’t be there.
Please use the organic baby products I brought along and our cloth diapers instead of the products supplied by the hospital.
24 hour rooming in with baby
I want my children to be brought in to see me and their sibling as soon as possible after the birth.
Feeding I will be breastfeeding exclusively.
DO NOT offer my baby formula, sugar water, or a pacifier.
Circumcision If the baby is a boy, this will be done later, out of the hospital.
Discharge I’d like to be discharged from the hospital as soon as possible.
Did having a birth plan make the difference? I don’t know if it made the difference for anyone else in the room, but it made a difference for me. It helped me feel in control, capable, and in charge. I came into the room confident of what I wanted and ready to demand it if necessary, and my son’s delivery was absolutely peaceful and empowering. It was amazing to see and feel what my body was able to do on its own and I remember that day with nothing but a sweet, rosy glow.
Do you have a birth plan or do you plan on creating one? Comment letting us know your thoughts and experience.