Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Writing a Birth Plan

Birth plans are an excellent way to prepare yourself for labor. Although I don't think they are necessary to bring with you to the hospital, I definitely recommend writing one at home. I didn't have one written out for my first son, but I had one mentally in place without even realizing it. It was experiencing labor the first time, that helped me write out what I wanted the next time. Everyone has ideas of what they want to have happen in the delivery room, and whether your birth is all natural, a C-section, or at home, you can still have a birth plan in place.

My first Birth Plan Was Something Like This
-Go to hospital at first signs of Labor
-Get epidural when I start to feel pain
- Labor pain free
-Push Baby Out
-Scott cuts cord

When I decided to get induced, my birth plan went like this instead
-Arrive at hospital at 7:00
-Have my water broken
-Get Pitocin if my labor does not progress
-Receive epidural when I am dilated to a 5
-Have baby
-Scott cuts cord
-Breast Feed

With Maverick my Birth Plan Was This
-Do not get induced until 41 weeks
-Have membranes stripped at 38 weeks
-No Pitocin unless necessary
-Go to hospital when contractions hurt and are 3-5 minutes apart
-Get epidural
-Scott cuts cord
-Breast feed immediately after delivery
-No binkies
-No formula
-No bottles
-Lots of stool softener!

As you can see, my birth plan was focused on having success at breastfeeding, and it took Lincoln's birth to help me create it. I did not bring it with me to the hospital, as I knew what I wanted and also knew my hospital supported breastfeeding. The most important thing you can do before writing a birth plan is to visit your hospital to get a complete feel for it. Most things that are on birth plans are already done anyways. Other things are not an option, so know your hospital beforehand. Nurses respect birth plans, but writing one that is realistic will help your nurse follow it exactly how you want.

Most Hospitals:
-Offer the partner to cut the cord
-Do not give formula to a baby unless instructed to
-Place the baby on the mom's chest immediately after birth
-Require you to get an IV in case you need to be rushed to surgery
-Do not take the baby to the nursery, but place baby in bed next to yours
-Require baby to be monitored during labor (this can be done with a portable device so you can still walk around during labor).
-Do not give the baby a bottle unless instructed to
-Ask if students can observe, and you can say no
-Respect your decision to go without pain medication
-Will perform a C-section only if the life of the baby is in danger

The best birth plans are short and simple, but writing a long one is a great way to start and prepare yourself. If you want to give the nurses your birth plan, make it a short list. Create a longer one for you including everything from visitors, what to wear, pictures, medication, breastfeeding, and what you want to happen at home.

Your birth plan might not go exactly as planned, but this is what makes labor and delivery so much fun! The unknown is what keeps you on edge, helps you get through the pain, and gets you through the last pushes. No matter where your birth takes you, keeping a positive attitude will ensure you an experience you'll remember with a smile. If you refuse to except that you might have to get an IV or have baby suctioned out, then you might be a little disappointed in your birth.

Lincoln's birth did not go how I planned, but it was one of the happiest days of my life and I treasure the entire labor experience. He had a hole in his heart and was whisked away to the NICU before I could breastfeed him. After delivery, I didn't get to hold him again for two hours. A part of me is glad that I didn't have this huge birth plan with expectations written out. You might say "ignorance is bliss." I have read way too many birth stories about how a mom was "traumatized" by her hospital experience because she had to have an epidural, Pitocin, and couldn't eat. Those things shouldn't make your birth experience any less special or amazing. Be prepared, be open, and enjoy it because not everyone is blessed to give birth. I can't wait to experience labor again, and I am sure the next time around my birth plan will be the longest yet! I am already planning to go natural for my third. We will see! Hopefully in two years.


1 comment:

  1. loved this! thanks Heather! i definitely was just like you on my first, and now that i'm about to have baby #2, i definitely feel a little more prepared to handle stuff :) BUT i do need to get to my hospital and take a tour to get a better feel for everything and i need to remember to ask my doctor more of these questions.