Some time ago I mentioned that I wanted to share my birth plan and I think it’s time to do so now. I started to write this post not really having any plan how I’ll show everything so we’ll just go into this together. I’ll describe a few things, I’ll talk a little bit about what I’m afraid of and so on.
I want to highlight that I do realize there are different rules in different hospitals and what’s fine here doesn’t have to be fine somewhere else. I’d like to know more about your experiences! I’m talking about one of the hospitals in Georgia.
Birth plan isn’t mandatory here but writing one is very common. Doctors, nurses and midwives encourage women to create one so that it’ll be easier for everybody during the whole process and before. There’s no official sample that patients would have to use so each person writes whatever’s good for them but if you ask for help, you’ll get help.
Overview of what I want:
* I want to have a natural labor and delivery which means no medications and as few interventions as possible,
* I want to stay home as long as I can and go to the hospital “for the last moment” which means when my contractions are around 3-4 minutes apart,
* I want Nathan to be with me at all times and our photographer to take photos all the time,
* I want my daughter to be with me from the very beginning for the whole time and I don’t want nurses to give her anything.
I’m posting my birth plan below in form of pictures so you can download them if you want. Below that you’ll find comments to some of the points but I won’t talk about all of them. However, if you have any questions or doubts, feel free to leave a comment and I’ll address everything.
I’d like to move around freely at all times – this is very important for me to be able to walk, change positions, stand, sit, squat and so on whenever I feel like it. If you don’t get an epidural it’s very important to stay active because it helps with managing the pain a lot. A lot of women who try to deliver naturally lay on the bed for most of the time and in this case chances that they’ll manage it are extremely low so there’s no surprise that they resign. Later I’ll talk more about positions.
I’d like to be able to snack and drink instead of having an I.V. (unless I become dehydrated) – it seems so obvious, right? But it’s not. I read a lot of stories from hospitals in Poland about how nurses treated patients who wanted to eat, for example, an energy bar. Of course, there are situations when eating won’t happen (epidural, c-section) but when everything is fine then I can’t imagine being hungry for so many hours during the time that requires so much energy from us.
I don’t want to be offered any pain relief (…) – it’s been very important for me to have a natural birth almost from the very beginning of my pregnancy. At first I was thinking that I might use something different than epidural but later I decided not to. Why? Because each pain relief has its own side effects that I don’t want to think about. Most of them affect not only a mother but also her baby and in many cases people have no idea about it. In MANY cases epidural causes women not feeling their legs or anything from waist down and they don’t even feel when they have to push – I can’t imagine that! I highly recommend to all of you who are interested to read more about this but on websites about natural births rather than the ones who praise all kinds of chemicals and things like that.
I’d like to choose a position I’ll deliver in – in my opinion this is very important especially for women who want to deliver naturally (because if you have an epidural then you’re kind of stuck on the bed anyway). Laying on the bed is the WORST position you can pick to deliver your baby because of many reasons. For example, when a baby is going down through the pelvis, your tail bone tilts to the back to give the baby more room to go. When you’re on your back, your tail bone is immobilized which causes more problems for the baby to go out and more pain for you. Many people compares pushing your baby to pushing when you’re on the toilet but in my opinion you can’t compare these two things because, be completely honest with me – who poops laying down? Nobody I guess, at least not many people. This position if very unnatural. There’s also the thing about backaches that a lot of women feel when they’re pregnant and so laying on your back won’t help that at all. Also, note that sleeping on your back isn’t recommended from the middle of second trimester more or less and in the third one it’s not recommended at all – so why giving birth on your back would be fine? Moreover, in this position you don’t use a gravitation help at all because it doesn’t make things go to the wall but to the floor. So a much better position would be for example on all fours and even better one – squatting. Then your pelvis is wide open and your baby goes down in his own speed, often women don’t even have to push. If you hear from your doctor/midwife that they won’t let you pick your own position because laying on your back on the bed is the right one, then you need to know that they say it because they care about their own comfort – it’s easier to sit down on some chair next to the bed and not having to do anything else than, for example, squat or even lay on the floor, right? I HIGHLY recommend reading about those things more because it’s really worth it and it’s always better to have facts you can share with your doctor.
In case of a c-section I would like to have double stitching – this is very important for me because you never know what can happen and in case of an emergency it’s worth highlighting this one if you plan on having more kids and deliver them naturally. In my hospital they always do double stitching but I know that it’s not like this everywhere.
I would like a skin to skin contact with my baby immediately after she’s born + I would like to delay all the procedures such as measuring for the first hour after delivery – this is simply such an incredible moment that I can’t imagine not having that! It has to be something amazing and if my baby opens her eyes a few seconds after she’s born, I’d like to be the first person she sees. A contact like this is a great thing if it comes to bonding with the baby but not only. It also helps the baby to regulate her body temperature, her heart rate, it calms her down (birth is a traumatic experience for babies). Baby hears her mother’s heart beat and this is something she’s heard for this whole time inside! Access to mother’s breasts is very easy too and it’s important to start breastfeeding during the first hour after delivery – sometimes babies are the ones who initiate that! Delaying all the other procedures has the same reasons.
I would like to be informed in details about all the procedures and tests performed on my baby beforehand + I would like all the procedures to be done in my presence and my consent (or my husband’s in case I can’t) – I can’t imagine the situation when a nurse takes my baby and does all those things they usually do and me laying in the bed being tired and not knowing what’s going on at the same time. Nope. And they can measure the baby even when she’s in my arms.
I don’t want a vitamin K shot + hepatitis B vaccine + any antibiotics (including eye ointment) without prior consent – if it comes to our consent it’s only about the last thing because the first two are a NO. These are things you have to read about yourself and make your own decisions if you can because as far as I know a hepatitis B vaccine is mandatory in Poland (I don’t know about the rest).
I don’t want the baby to be cleaned at all – this white coat that baby is born in is a natural moisturizer, cleanser and protects from infections. Also, newborn babies aren’t good in controlling their body temperatures so being bathed right after birth won’t help with that. We don’t want nurser to even wipe the baby – I want to have her in my arms the way she’s born.
What am I afraid of?
“Are you nervous?” – I hear this question very often. I always say no because in general I’m not stressed enough to be worried all the time and not be able to think about other stuff. But I do have moments when I start thinking and then some stress comes. I’m not afraid of pain because I’m fully aware that it’ll be there and it’ll be bad. I’m afraid of having some unexpected situations that will put my daughter in danger and that I might not have enough energy to go through the whole thing without sleeping, normal food and in pain. And that’s all. I read a lot about the fact that there’s a moment when some hormones are released and it causes a woman to have this shot of energy to finish everything but there’s still some fear that I’ll lack that. Not mentioning the obvious thing which is not knowing when anything will start happening but this is easier to manage because each day of pregnancy is unknown. I’ll have Nathan who I know will do everything he can to help and make things easier. I don’t put any expectations on myself either because I think they can only make things worse and I don’t want to be disappointed later when something will go not the way I wanted and this is very possible. I know what I want but I also know that I can’t predict anything so I’m open for different options. And in case I can’t handle the pain, I won’t think I’m worse or anything like that but I’d like to handle it, of course.
What my doctor says about all that?
I did consult the whole plan not only with my obgyn but also with other doctors working in that place because I never know who’ll be there when I come. All of them liked what I wrote and my doctor said that this is how they like things to be done. The other one said that they’d do everything they could to help if I decided to deliver standing on my hands which was a joke obviously but a cool one because it showed me that they’re really open.
I think that’s all I wanted to write in this post and I hope I didn’t forget anything. I’m curious about your plans if you had/have any and your stories about all that.
Talk to you next time!