Perhaps having a birth plan isn’t such a “weird thing” anymore, however, it is very far from how I approached birth with my first child. With M, I was somewhat terrified. The unknown was daunting. You could say my birth plan was to just followed procedure. I did nothing to study or prepare myself for what birth was like beyond the typical magazines provided at my OB/GYN’s office, and the stories my mother had told me about her deliveries.
So, I went into labor terrified that something would go wrong, that I would need an emergency c-section, that the epidural would cause problems, etc… My mother delivered 5 babies. Those deliveries all included induction by pitocin, 2 were c-sections, and 1 was a stillborn. She had the epidural every time. Her complications included scares of dropping baby heart rates, cords wrapped around necks, and 1 baby tried to be born face first. (That was me.) Needless to say, I was scared. I went into labor putting all my trust in the relief of the epidural and the doctor.
Lucky for me I went into labor slightly ahead of schedule without problem (saving me from pitocin). My first labor was 8 hours. My second was 4 hours. Aside from getting the shakes from the epidural and it not numbing my left side very well there were no complications with M’s labor and delivery. With little A it was even better – No shakes, and I was totally numb. But, due to work, my husband was 6 hours late. Hopefully that won’t be an issue with this next delivery.
After little A, I started to reevaluate everything about pregnancy, birth, and health in general. I started to realize that women are designed to give birth. And this time I want things to be a bit different….
I didn’t realize that there were so many options and things to think about when I first decided to go natural. Then I began researching birth plans and the reasons behind why I may want something different than “standard procedure”. Obviously, my birth plan is for me.
So why share it?
I certainly don’t think everyone should make the same choices I am. However, I do wish I would have known more about my options with my first 2 babies. I wish I would have known what all the procedures were. I wish I would have educated myself about all of it and made choices and decisions ahead of time. Labor is really no time to be making decisions. All a woman can think about is getting it over with and holding a sweet little baby.
My Birth Plan
- I would like to be free to walk around during labor.
- I wish to be able to move around and change position at will throughout labor.
- I would like the environment to be kept as quiet as possible.
- I would like the lights in the room to be kept low during my labor.
- I would prefer to keep the number of vaginal exams to a minimum.
- I do not want an IV unless i become dehydrated.
- I do not wish to have continuous fetal monitoring unless it is required by the condition of the baby. INTERMITTENT MONITORING IS FINE.
- I do not want to have the amniotic membrane ruptured artificially.
- I do not want any pitocin administered for augmentation or induction.
- I prefer to have my door kept shut during labor.
- I do not wish to have an epidural.
- I realize that many pain medications exist. I’ll ask for them if I need them.
- I would appreciate guidance in when to push and when to stop pushing as the baby begins to crown, so the perineum can stretch.
- If possible, I would like to use perineal massage and oil to help avoid the need for an episiotomy.
- I would prefer to tear rather than have an episiotomy.
- I would appreciate having the lights turned low for the actual delivery.
- I would appreciate any males assisting in the birth to stand out of view of the birth.
- I would like to catch the baby if possible.
- I would like to have the baby placed on my stomach/chest immediately after delivery.
- I would like the baby to hear our voices first.
- I would like the option of either using the squat bar for delivery, or to deliver on the bed without it being fully broken down and without my legs in stir-ups, so I can move as I need to and so that the baby can be born on the bed surface rather than being caught mid-air. I would like to have the opportunity to push in a more upright position so that gravity can assist.
- I would prefer to have no residents or students admitted to my birth.
Immediately After Delivery:
- I would prefer to delay cord clamping and wait for the umbilical cord to stop pulsating before it is cut.
- Please delay all essential routine procedures on my baby until after the bonding and breastfeeding period.
- I would like to have the baby evaluated in my presence.
- I would like to delay the first bath.
- I plan to keep the baby near me following birth and would appreciate if the evaluation of the baby can be done with the baby on my abdomen, with both both of us covered by a warm blanket, unless there is an unusual situation.
- If the baby must be taken from me to receive medical treatment, my husband will accompany the baby at all times.
- I intend to have continuous rooming in and would prefer to hold the baby and keep him warm rather than have him placed under heat lamps.
- I do not want to Hep. B vaccine given to my baby.
- I do not want erythromycin ointment for eye prophylaxis put in my baby’s eyes.
- I would like to delay the PKU testing for 2 weeks.
- I do not wish to be separated from my baby.
- I would like to have the baby “room in” and be with me at all times.
- I would like my other children to be able to visit me.
- I prefer not to have pain medications offered to me. If I feel like I need them I will ask for them.
- I plan to breastfeed the baby and would like to begin nursing immediately after delivery.
- Please do not offer my baby the following without my consent: pacifiers, formula, any artificial nipples, or sugar water.
- Please do not separate me and my baby until after he has successfully breastfed on both sides.
- I do not want my baby circumcised.
- My support person is my husband and I would like him to be present during labor and delivery.
- Due to my husbands work, I would also like my sister to be present. My husband may have difficulty arriving for labor and delivery on time.