Until recently, when people would ask me if I had a birth plan I would say, “yes, my plan is to have a baby”. I thought that was enough of a plan with no further explanation needed. It wasn’t until I started taking birthing classes and talking to my doula that I thought “hey, maybe a birth plan isn’t such a bad idea”.
Originally I feared having a birth plan. I was afraid that if I wrote things down and everything didn’t go exactly as “planned” that I would be so disappointed and have regrets about my labor and delivery. I also didn’t think there was really that much to “plan”. I thought it was just about whether or not I wanted an epidural if I had a vaginal delivery. It wasn’t until I became more educated about labor and delivery that I realized there really are a lot of options and I really did have strong opinions about some of them. I also realized that a “birth plan” is really just that- a plan. It’s just a guideline of how your dream labor and delivery would be. It’s not set in stone, it doesn’t all have to happen and the best part is- in a lot of scenarios you can change your mind if you want. If it says “no epidural” in your birth plan that doesn’t mean if you are screaming in pain and begging for it that you won’t get one. The main thing is to first figure out what is important to you and what you would like to have and what you would like to avoid- in the ideal situation of your “fantasy delivery”. Below is a sample birth plan that my doula gave me (yeah I know I still need to write about my doula). This is the complete draft but I crossed out some of the things I did not want to include. What is left is MY plan. It doesn’t have to be YOUR plan and you don’t have to agree with my plan but please don’t judge it. The draft is in italics and my explanation is not in italics. Obviously I didn’t include my explanation in the birth plan but have for the sake of this blog.
We have chosen to give birth at the maternity ward of XYZ Hospital because of their outstanding facility and great staff. We are requesting your help to attain our goals and have a happy, healthy birth. In the event of complications, we will give our full cooperation after an informed discussion with the doctor and private consideration between mother, father, and doula.
First Stage of Labor:
- Those to be present at all times at the labor and birth: Father and Doula, please do not allow anyone else into my room without my expressed permission
- I would like to labor at home as long as possible and request the option to return home if I arrive at less than 5 cm dilated. I’m a little nervous to labor at home for too long being that I only have 1/2 my cervix. I’m not sure if that will speed up the dilation process for me and I won’t want to take any chances.
- No IV upon admission, please use a heparin/saline lock but only in the event should I agree to drugs
- I would like my birth room to remain a positive environment
- Intermittent monitoring with a Doppler They can monitor me all they want. I will be comforted knowing everything is OK.
- Vaginal exams only upon consent and as few as possible to avoid rupture of membranes I’m sure I’m not going to want them sticking anything in me.
- Should I need an intervention I would like it to be explained to me prior and then discuss with the father and doula
- No pitocin or breaking of water
- No analgesia or anesthesia unless requested, please do not ask about pain
- Freedom to move, walk, eat and drink during labor
- I would prefer no hospital gown – I will bring one from home I’ll take the gown. This will be no beauty contest and I have no clue what I would bring to wear. Let them ruin their own gown.
- Quiet room, no excess staff please
Second Stage Labor :
- Choice of position for pushing; please no stirrups
- Mother chooses when to push, no directing or counting
- No episiotomy
- Please place baby on mother’s abdomen after birth
- Cord to be cut by Father, after pulsing stops (delayed cord clamping)
- Breastfeed immediately to help birth placenta – no pitocin, uterine massage, or pulling of cord
- Keep lights low
- I would like to remain in the birthing tub as much even possibly birthing in the tub should I feel most comfortable there.
- If stitching is necessary, please use local anesthetic.
Third Stage Labor:
- Newborn to stay with mother at all times
- Erythromycin in the eyes, Vitamin K shot, Vaccinations- YES
- Mother will provide diapers for baby (I’m a freak about the chlorine free diapers- my hospital uses Pampers)
- Please delay all routine exams for 1 day to allow for bonding time
- No immediate bathing of baby so as to promote breastfeeding
- Please perform all physical exams, procedures (except circumcision), and bathing in room with parents.
- If warming is needed, baby is to be placed on mother’s chest with blankets.
- Breastfeeding only: no bottles, pacifiers, artificial nipples, formula, or water I’m not opposed to any of that and want to leave the option open
- Circumcision- YES (don’t judge!)
- Father to stay with baby and mother at all times
We thank you in advance for your support and kind attention to our choices. We look forward to a wonderful birth. Thank you!! NOTE: In the event of a c-section, I would like Father and Doula to be present. Please let the baby remain with mother until stitched up and ready to be moved to recovery.
So there you go- easy enough. Mike thinks I’m CRAZY but if I can have a vaginal delivery I want to hold out as long as possible for an epidural. Hopefully I can get away with not needing one at all but I want to allow myself the right to have it if I need it. I’ve fantasized about the PERFECT labor and delivery all my life. Never has that included a C-section. I know I will be majorly disappointed if I need to have one but I’m trying to make peace with that in my head now before it might happen. Whatever will be will be and all that matters in the end is that I have a healthy baby.