Thinking about a birth plan

Monday, March 4, 2013

I haven't really talked much about birth or having that baby, but now that I am about 34 1/2 weeks, I think it is time to start.  None of my close friends have really mentioned having a birth plan to me, so I am not sure if they had one or not, but I have been doing lots of reading (surprise, surprise) and there are a few things that I want to make sure happen when I give birth to this little guy.

Feel to chime in with your experience or ideas/opinions!  I may be missing some key points, so please fill me in, if that is the case.  I obviously have never been through this before so I only know what I have heard and read about.

**Please note: This is assuming that I have an un-induced birth.  If I am induced or have a c-section (obviously), some or much of this list will not apply.

1.  The option to delay pain medication or proceed through birth without pain medication.  I know, I know this is probably crazy, but I have done lots of research.  I know that childbirth is probably the one of the most painful experiences that I will ever go through in my life, but reading about some of the benefits of not having the pain medications make me want to at least give it a try.  My pain threshold is rather high (except when it comes to foot cramps, which I have been getting nightly).  I ran a marathon, got an extremely painful blood blister under my second toe, bled through my sock and my sneaker, and still managed to finish the race in 4 hours and 17 minutes.  Then I ran another marathon the following year in 3 hours and 54 minutes!  I am not afraid of pain.  I want to see how far I can go without assistance because I know that it can make the actual dilation and birthing process faster.  I am not going to refuse the pain meds if I have a crazy long labor and have not slept or if the pain is just so incredibly unbearable.  I am not going to martyr myself.  If I have to be induced with pitocin, then I'd say that it is almost a given that I take advantage of the epidural.

2.  The option to walk around during labor, use a birthing ball, or alternate positions for delivery, if it feels better.  I know that some of these depend on other things working out.  I would rather not be hooked up to monitors 24/7 and have IVs unless it is absolutely necessary for the health of the baby (or me).  I have heard that laboring on your back makes things progress slower and makes giving birth harder.  Maybe walking around won't feel better for me, but I would like the option.

3.  I want my husband with me at all times.  We have been through a lot together and I feel like I want him to be there for everything.  I am not sure if you need to explicitly mention this or not.  He is the only family member that I want in the delivery room!

4.  No mirrors to watch the actual birth.  Call me vain, but I'd rather not see my vagina being ripped apart.

5.  Cameras are allowed before I begin pushing and then right after the baby is born (above the waist, only!)  I guess this only applies to my husband.  Maybe I should just tell him this, since I doubt any of the hospital staff will be wanting to take pictures of me.  Haha.

6.  I want immediate skin-to-skin contact with my baby, as long as he is healthy enough to do so.  I have read and heard that this helps with bonding, baby body temp regulation, and breastfeeding (to name a few benefits).  I don't need him to be cleaned off before they place him on my chest.  If I have a c-section that I would also like to have modified skin-to-skin contact, if it is safe for baby.  I have heard about delayed cord clamping, too.  I am not sure if these go hand-in-hand and if this should be a separate list item, but if it is safe, I would also like to have the 2-3 min delay.  I have read that it helps with iron levels in babies.  Granted I have also read that the bigger the baby, the less they need this, but oh well.  I'd like feedback on this one!!

7.  My husband will cut the cord.  I think this is pretty standard, but I wanted to throw it in just in case!

8.  I would like to bank the cord blood.  Not privately, though.

9.  I'd like to try breastfeeding my baby as soon as possible.  I have read that the sooner that you start breastfeeding the easier it is to get baby used to it.  I will need help from the nurses on this one though.  I took the class, but holding a baby doll and holding your baby are two very different things I am sure!

10.  Our baby will NOT be circumcised.  At first I had a huge problem with this one.  My husband and I fought about it for many weeks.  He is circumcised and so I didn't understand why he would want our son to be different from him.  We also live in an area with a high Jewish population.  I worried about him being looked as as different in the eyes of his peers in the locker room.  My husband is of the camp that he wishes that he had a choice and he feels like he was robbed of part of his manhood.  I guess I can't really relate, but can't really refute what he is saying either.  I did my research and joined a few message boards to get even more info.  I watched informative videos, too.  After doing all of this work, I have come to the conclusion that I am ok with not having him circed.  I thought you would have to clean under it, that it was unhygienic, etc., but I was totally wrong.  You are supposed to clean it like it is a finger, never forcefully pulling back the foreskin.  The foreskin eventually retracts on its own.  We have a meeting with the pediatrician this Friday and I am going to mention this to the doctor and make sure they understand that they will NOT forcefully retract the foreskin.  If they have a problem with this then I will find another doctor.  I have read horror stories related to this topic.

11.  I want the baby in our room, with us, after he is born.  Obviously if he would need some type of treatment then I want him in the NICU, but otherwise I want him with us.  Some people have told me to let him stay in the nursery so let me get some sleep, but I have waited way too long for this baby to put him in the nursery in the care of someone other than my husband and me.

I am not sure if I am forgetting anything here.  Right now I am in the process of reading Ina May's Guide to Childbirth.  I skipped over the first section and will go back and read it later (it deals with birth stories).  I wanted to read about the actual childbirth portion first.  Yes, this book is a little bit old and yes, she is a little crunchier than I am, but she has some interesting points.  The part about orgasmic birthing really blows my mind.

Have all of you soon-to-be mommies (pregnant or not yet pregnant) come up with a plan or are you just going to wing it?  If you are an experienced mommy, any advice would be MUCH appreciated!!

I still have to slap myself and tell myself that this is really happening.

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6 Responses to “Thinking about a birth plan”

  1. Just my few cents, but I'd be careful about creating a formal birth plan. I thought about all of the things you mentioned and talked to my doctor about them before delivery, as well as the nurses during. Having attended classes, I knew our hospitals general policies and procedures (a baby friendly hospital, so skin to skin and rooming in are standard).

    Most people I know who spent a ton of time and energy on a birth plan had nothing go according to their plan anyway, and some ended up incredibly disappointed. I found that many things I thought I'd care about I didn't and some I didn't think mattered did. Flexibility is key, I think.

    One of my nurses commented it was nice to have someone trust that she knew how to do the her job for once. I realized that's exactly what I wanted to do. I thought I knew what I'd want and need, but turns out in many cases I was very wrong. I think it's much more important to make sure your husband and you discuss these things ahead of time and agree so he can be your advocate during go time.

    Good luck!

    1. These are very good points. Thank you so much for sharing! I need BTDT mommy advice for sure. :) This is basically just me gathering all of my thoughts together in one place. I have been thinking about this stuff for a while, but have never put any of it on paper. I know that I obviously have a few more challenges that some (GD, bigger baby, etc.), so I recognize that I need to be flexible because you really never know what is going to happen. This is why I am not going to say that I won't use the pain meds if I feel like I need them or that I refuse 24/7 monitoring, IVs, etc. I'd just like the opportunity to be able to weigh in on the decisions, if applicable. My husband and I are pretty much on the same page with all of this stuff now. I will definitely talk about it with my doctor at my visit next week. He may have some valuable input, too.

  2. Hey I'm glad to have read this. We have been considering some of the same things lately too. We have been talking about circumcision A LOT, with everyone :) We are still undecided.

    I also just picked up that Ina May book and read the intro and then decided I will skip to part II and come back to the birth stories. Once I get further in we'll have to compare notes!

    I think you have a really good plan. It sounds like you are completely flexible but also informed. I think all of it will help you on the big day.

  3. It sounds like my birth plan (with the exception of circumcision. My husband is adamant that we do it.) along with go with the flow. My doctor did say that she appreciated those who knew what they wanted, but were willing to adapt.

  4. I too have been thinking about our birth preferences ... with a few weeks of advance on you! I might post about it soon, or I can send you a draft of ours if you'd like.

    This book, which I mentioned a few weeks ago chez moi, has a helpful section on what to think about: Natural Hospital Birth by Cynthia Gabriel. As Amy said, some things are not necessary to include if they're already part of the hospital's policies, i.e., rooming-in (this is the case at our likely hospital, too).

    I do think, though, that it's better to know what you want and to try for that, even if it means disappointment in the end due to the variable nature of the birth process.

  5. I've had this post saved for a few weeks to comment on. It's hard to find time to type with two hands with a newborn!!
    My thoughts- so far your plan looks great!! I 100% believe you can birth naturally. Don't be scared of the pain. If you don't end up with pitocin (I too realize that once that is one board plans for a med-free birth would be re-evaluated! I had to have an injection of pitocin to increase my afterbirth contractions to deliver the placenta and that alone was worse than the entire labor and delivery) just focus on changing positions until you find what is comfortable and breathing through the sensation. I found that contractions were intense but not unmanageable and I'm kind of a wuss when it comes to pain. If I made it through 24 hours of labor and birthed w/o meds as a wussy mama I think you'll be just fine as a kick ass marathon running mama. ;) Also- when it comes time to push I HIGHLY recommend either applying counter pressure to your perineum yourself or asking someone else to do it. This will help avoid tearing which you will greatly appreciate after the birth. I did this intuitively as it felt really good to apply the pressure as her head was moving down.

    I agree with other commenters that it is good not to get too set on any one vision for your birth. My birth plan went like this- Plan A) Labor and birth at home. Plan B) Labor at home and if something comes up, the labor is exceptionally long, or for whatever reason I decide against homebirth transfer to the hospital for a vaginal birth. Plan C) Same as Plan B but a c-section if that was deemed medically necessary. Other than that I didn't set my heart on any one idea like thinking I FOR SURE wanted a water birth or a birth in this or that position.

    The one big suggestion I have is make sure your husband is totally clear on all your wishes for the labor because at a certain point if you're laboring naturally you will go to this amazingly weird place in your head where you're there but you aren't. I got to a point where I didn't really answer any questions or engage with anyone vocally. I would probably write down your big wishes skin-to-skin post-csection, immediate breastfeeding, no formula in case you have a c-section and baby is separated from you (they can give donor milk if needed and it's kind of a big thing because formula alters the gut for up to one month, even one bottle), banking cord blood, etc. Also if you have a c-section will you want your husband to go with the baby or to stay with you? If he goes with the baby is there someone you'd want to come in to stay with you?

    I'm so excited for you to meet your baby!