When I was pregnant with Meghan, although I’d heard the term “birth plan”, it wasn’t something I thought I needed. The only thing I was really adamant about was breastfeeding as soon as possible after the birth, and that was already the policy at the hospital where I was delivering.
I feel more educated this time around and know there are certain things I’d prefer to avoid, if possible. Because of this, I’ve decided to have a “birth plan” in place so the doctors and nurses who are aiding my delivery are aware of my preferences. I don’t trust myself to be able to communicate my wishes when I’m in the middle of labor or right after giving birth. I’ll be lucky if I can remember my name at that point.
I have no grand delusions that you can perfectly plan a birth. Things are going to go how they go, if you know what I mean. So “birth plan” may be the name of the document I’m going to present to my doctor, but in reality, these are my hopes. My wishes. What, in a perfect world, I’d like to see happen.
Maryea and Tim’s Birth Plan
- Low lighting
- Music playing (I will bring)
- I would like the ability to move about freely as much as possible
- I prefer to not have an IV for hydration unless absolutely necessary
- I would like intermittent, external monitoring
- Allow labor to progress naturally as much as possible, as long as mother and baby are safe
- No Pitocin unless medically necessary
- If Pitocin is necessary, I request the lowest dose possible
- I prefer my amniotic sac be allowed to rupture on its own
Pain Relief Options
- I will attempt to use natural pain relief techniques first
- Please do not offer an epidural; provide only if requested
- No other pain relief medications are desired
- I would like to be able to push in whatever position is most comfortable for me
- I would like to avoid an episiotomy unless absolutely necessary
- I would like to hold the baby immediately after the birth and breastfeed as soon as possible
- Tim would like to cut the cord
- Tim or I would like to be present for all tests and procedures done on the baby
- Avoid Pitocin after the birth
- We will bring our own soap for the baby’s bath
- I will be exclusively breastfeeding and would not like my baby to be offered any formula or pacifiers
- I would like the baby to be in the room with us
- I would like to meet with a lactation consultant as soon as possible
This is what I came up with after reflecting on my first birth experience (read Meghan’s birth story part 1 and part 2), doing additional research, and reading a lot of birth plan examples. It isn’t as detailed as some, but it highlights what is most important to me and Tim.
As you can see, I am not 100% decided on whether I’ll have a completely natural birth. I left it open-ended with “please do not offer an epidural; provide only if requested.” I’ve read so many great natural birth stories and think I would love the benefits: easier recovery for mom, more alert baby, and feelings of empowerment.
There is one little thing, however, that’s holding me back. Fear. I am scared of the pain. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with not being able to handle it. So if I can’t, I can’t. But I will certainly try. Many of the things I’ve set out to accomplish in life I’ve done, so maybe I’ll surprise myself with more strength than I think I have during this birth!
Question: Did you have a natural birth (or do you plan to if you’ve never given birth)? What was your birth experience like?