Newborn Emma

Today I’m thinking about birth plans.  I didn’t have one – at least not a written one – when I went to the hospital to give birth to my daughter two years ago, mainly because my doctor didn’t really want me to make one.  He felt that it was better to go with the flow (his flow, I guess).  I don’t necessarily think that’s a bad thing because you do have to be flexible.  I mean, if you are adamant that you don’t want a C-section but it becomes medically necessary, you have to be able to trust your doctor to be able to make the right decision for you, despite your desires.  But if there is anything that is really important to you and you don’t want to be unpleasantly surprised (like if you don’t want an episiotomy no matter what) you should definitely make up a birth plan.

I’m not sure if I really want to try to do a birth plan this time around because I honestly don’t care how this baby is born as long as he comes and we’re both healthy and in good shape afterward.  However, there are a couple of things I will speak up about and make sure my husband knows to speak up about (he’ll be my support person and advocate).

1.  I don’t want to induce, even if I go past my due date. Emma was 10 days late and I survived that… well, barely.  ;-)  (Note:  As my due date gets closer, I’m starting to re-think this one…)

2.  I would like to labor alone for as long as I can without any medications. I want to try to do it without an epidural but honestly don’t know how long I’ll last since my pain tolerance is fairly low.  With my daughter, I got the epidural pretty much right away, mainly because it was in the middle of the night and I was scared and didn’t realize there would be so much pain.  The pain is worse when you aren’t comfortable and relaxed, that’s for sure.

3.  I would like to try alternative methods of “getting things moving” before being given Pitocin in case it is absolutely necessary. I hate Pitocin.

4.  I definitely do NOT want a mirror. Thank you very much.  ;-)

5.  I would like my husband with my child if he needs to be taken from the room at any time, and I don’t want to use the nursery after delivery.

6.  I would rather wait to receive people who want to see the baby until I get home unless they’re specifically invited. I’ll feel much more up to enjoying having people coo over my baby when I’m home and rested.  :)

There were things I did with my first pregnancy/labor that I definitely would want to go differently this time, like the fact that family visited immediately (like minutes) after Emma was born… I know it’s exciting to be waiting for the baby to come and then get to see the baby after, but it was sooo exhausting for me and I hadn’t finished nursing yet, either.  It’s important to me that I have time to bond with baby and get nursing established without having to worry about people waiting to see him.  (That said, if my mom was here I would want her there… but she’s out of state unfortunately.)

Another thing I had planned with Emma was to bounce on a ball during labor and sit in the jacuzzi (which was really just a deep bathtub in a tiny bathroom) to try to get through the labor pains.  I hadn’t wanted pain meds.  All that went out the window the minute my water broke – in the middle of the night.  I was tired already from the day and scared to death of what was to come.  At least now I know what to expect for the most part!  I don’t plan on trying to bring my ball this time but would be open to a jacuzzi.  I found out at my last appointment that they have a tub room and I’m excited about seeing it.

I am also more open to an epidural (which would make sitting in the tub impossible and unnecessary so it’s either one or the other) because it really was nice not to have to feel most of my labor and, although it wore off in the end when I was actually pushing and I had horrific back labor, I didn’t feel the doctor sewing me up from the episiotomy.

So I’m wondering – what plans did you have for your labor and delivery, and did you stick to them or let them fly out the window when you found yourself in labor?

For me, the real prize is the baby you’re going to be holding in your arms at the end… I really don’t care about the “perfect birthing experience” because I know that it’ll never be perfect no matter how much you plan.  The perfect part is the end result – your perfect baby.  :)  I just want us to be together and to be safe and healthy!


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8 Responses to How do you feel about birth plans? Did you stick to yours?

  • I wrote out birth plans for both of my daughters and actually just wrote out my birth plan for this baby this past week. I can definitely attest to the fact that things don’t always go as you plan (they rarely do with births) but I did want to make sure that my doctors and nursers knew of a few specific requests I have, regardless of how the actual birthing went. I think it just makes me feel better that, while my mind may not be in a clear place during all the birthing stuff, I have spoken up about what I do and do not want to happen.

  • I agree with your perspective to be flexible. I am with you – I never cared about having the perfect birthing experience. I think it is important to be educated about different medical choices that you have. I think it is important to be empowered. But at the end of the day, if something is truly medically necessary, I would never be heartbroken (for example, to have a c-section), as long as we were both healthy.

    With my 1st, I didn’t really have a birth plan. I knew I wanted an epidural. But with your 1st, you have NO IDEA what to expect with anything. So it’s pretty hard to have a plan. I was induced with him because I was 5 days late and the amniotic fluid levels were low. In the end, if I had been more educated, I would have asked to postpone induction, as long as the baby was safe. He was in the posterior position (sunny side up) and he was in distress. I pushed for close to 3 hours, almost had to have an emergency c section.

    With my 2nd, I knew I wanted an epidural. Luckily, he came 3 days after my due date, by himself. I labored with contractions from Friday morning, all day long, went to the hospital Friday evening. Didn’t progress enough for them to keep me. Went home, tried to sleep, labored, went back to hospital around 5:30am. Got antibiotics (strep B positive) for 4 hours, water broke at 10am, had him 11:33am after pushing for 10 minutes. It was a beautiful birth. I held him immediately, nursed him immediately, skin to skin. (Only wish I had known to labor longer at home. B/c I was induced with my 1st, I didn’t really know how to labor naturally and what to expect, which led to me going to the hospital prematurely, and exhausting me!)

    Also, next time, I will ask for delayed cord cutting. There is no need for them to cut it immediately, and there is evidence that even waiting just a few minutes provides important nutrients for the baby.

  • I didn’t have a birth plan…I really had no idea what was going to happen and the way things I thought would happen, didn’t go that way. My doctor was late getting to me so Tobin was stuck in the birth canal for about 30 minutes….DO NOT ever let that happen! Next time I will scream that I will sue if they don’t get that baby out of me and I don’t care who does it! I had no idea what was going on and figured they knew more than me, but it made it so Tobin’s heart rate dropped and he ended up swallowing meconium and was in the NICU for three days. All because they waited for my doctor rather than just deliver him or at least grab another doctor (they didn’t even ask me what I wanted to do).
    Also, I am going to switch hospitals. I was very specific that I wanted to nurse and made a big deal about doing it as soon as he was born. Then when he went into the NICU they formula fed him. I was in tears for weeks trying to get him to nurse. Finally was able to without assistance with formula by the time he was 2 weeks old, but that made me so mad. So I’m switching hospitals and switching doctors…now to just find one by the time I get pregnant again, that’s the challenge!

    So the next time around I still won’t have an exact birth plan, but I will have certain things I expect. I am the same with you that I don’t want to be induced (unless I’m endanger or my baby is…or the baby is getting so big that it will make birthing impossible). I also don’t want to do pitocin…I never had to try it since my labor was really fast, but I’ve heard it’s terrible.

  • I had a birth plan with my son, and felt it was absolutely necessary. We knew ahead of time that he may be born with special needs, and I wanted everyone on the same page. In fact, the care coordinator for the OB unit I delivered on actually communicated with me several times BEFORE delivery, just so we could make sure all of my son’s needs would be met IF he was born with the special needs. My birth plan was more about him, than it was about me, and I have to tell you, the staff was WONDERFUL about it. I ended up with a C-section after failure to progress and while that was NOT in my plan, I was flexible and had known it might be necessary. It was a good thing, as it turns out, because my son was born with several areas of skin denuded because of the attempts to deliver. Had I had a natural birth, it would have peeled the skin from his entire back.

  • Birth plan, what birth plan? Ha, ha, I didn’t have much choice. I had a planned C section…baby was breach and my vascular system was too compromised by high blood pressure and diabetes for an inversion. I had to have when I did, because I’d been on bedrest for seven week by that time, and the doctors said she was healthy and ready…and she was, and that waiting longer could mean additional complications as my BP continued to rise and issues for the baby.

    I didn’t have the issue with too people visiting. My mom was there, Brad, and the next day my Principal, the school secretary, and a good friend visited. I kinda would’ve liked a few more visits, but definitely NOT right after.

    Now that we have moved back home and are having the second, I’m trying to figure out a way to keep my MIL OUT of the delivery room. We aren’t close and that is not something I want her around for.

  • I have never had a birth plan with any of my deliveries. As long as I was getting that baby out, I didn’t care how it happened. :)

    I do love the idea of not having any visitors at the hospital. After Parker was born, they had a hard time keeping me conscious, so I couldn’t have any visitors until our last day in the hospital. Not that I liked going in and out of consciousness, but it was SO nice to be able to hear “She can’t take any visitors today. She needs to rest.” Our church LOVES to come visit people that just had babies, so my door will be swinging open and closed the entire time I’m in the hospital, I’m sure. I’d give anything to hang a sign on the door that said STAY OUT. :)

    I have several friends that work in labor & delivery in our hospital. They really don’t mind at all when women come in with a birth plan. The only time a problem arises is when things don’t go the way anyone planned and the mom-to-be refuses to budge from her birth plan. Moms need to remember that they’re called a “plan” and not a Bible. You have to be willing to accept the advice of your doctor if the situation arises.

    K. Off my soapbox now. :)

  • None of my three children’s births went according to plan- one wasn’t even born at the hospital I was registered at! I’m done having kids, but at the time I made the most basic of plans (covering pain relief, etc.) as a guideline for myself and my husband. I love that you included guidelines about vistors in your plan! We had my husband’s sister and her boyfriend follow us to the hospital (uninvited) with the birth of our middle child, and I felt rather uncomfortable (and a little bitchy!) when they appeared in the labour room moments after his birth. It felt a bit like a violation.

  • My last OB told me that birth plans were C-section plans. That anyone who did one, ended up with a c-section. lol So I just let her know my basic requests and we went from there.

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