I can’t stress enough how much my perspective of birth plans has evolved between my two pregnancies. I still believe they are important and helpful, but ultimately my main wish is that both mama and baby are healthy when all is said and done. It doesn’t take a whole lot of words to convey that. Plus, a birth plan really begins in choosing your provider … they set the tone for your birth. More so than a laboring mama ever can.
During my preparation for Jemma’s birth I researched every little detail. I wanted control. Looking back, I realize that birth is not something you can control. Birth is a beast. A beautiful one at that. But one that can’t quite be tamed. All you can do is guide it in the direction of your final mark.
Here’s a peak at my first birth plan which I wrote in August 2010. Everyone in our family received a copy to insure we were all on the same page. I welcomed questions and suggestions and this is how it all shook out …
Guess Date: October 9, 2010
Dear Soon-to-be Grandparents, Uncles/Aunts, and Andaluz Family,
We feel very blessed to experience the birth of our baby with you! Whether you are near or far when our little one enters the world we are excited to share the journey of our growing family.
We chose Andaluz Birth Center and our midwives Lucina and Adele (along with their apprentices) because of their commitment to the natural process of birth. We are sure this experience will be a rewarding one for all of us.
We hope the following wishes we envision for our birth are simple and succinct. Through our research and study over the last 9 months we have learned many ways to create the most ideal birth scenario for us. Each wish has been taken into careful consideration as we want the best outcome for mom and baby.
Please let us know if you have any questions. Thank you for your support in making our experience the best it can be!
Dominic, Gretchen and BabyStatement of Purpose
We have planned and prepared for a peaceful and natural childbirth. We would like to allow our labor and birth to unfold naturally, with as little intervention as possible. We would like to be informed about all procedures and tests before they are performed. We want to be aware and informed of all of our options in the event of an unexpected emergency. In each circumstance we plan to make a decision after a B.R.A.N. assessment (What are the BENEFITS? What are the RISKS? What are the ALTERNATIVES? What if we do NOTHING?).Our Preferences: LocationEarly labor will take place at home. We will contact Lucina as soon as we think “it’s real” and follow her guidance on when to travel to the birthing center. Labor and delivery will take place at Andaluz Birth Center.
Our Preferences: Birth AttendantsDominic, our midwife, and her 2 apprentices will be present throughout labor and birth.We ask that family stay “on call” throughout labor. Dominic will provide updates throughout labor (see the attached phone tree). We have decided to have no visitors during labor for several reasons. First, there is not adequate space in the waiting room; secondly, when people are “waiting” on baby’s arrival the chance of transport increases from 6% to 50%.Once baby is born you’ll be invited for a celebration at Andaluz. Please wear a blue or pink shirt based on your gender guess – we won’t be telling you on the phone if the baby is a boy or girl so have your shirt ready to go. When both of our families arrive you’ll find out who guessed correctly!
Our Preferences: Throughout Labor
- Freedom to walk, move, and change positions as desired.
- Freedom to eat and drink.
- Use of the shower and tub as desired.
- Ability to use relaxation and pain relief methods as desired.
- Ability to control the environment including temperature, lighting and music.
- Massage and support of the perineum to avoid tearing.
- Natural methods of strengthening labor, if needed, such as walking and nipple stimulation.
- We plan to have Dominic catch our baby and announce their gender.Our Preferences: Post Birth
- Immediate contact between mom and baby, baby placed on mom’s chest, breastfeeding encouraged, mom and baby left undisturbed for 1-2 hours following birth and any newborn procedures performed afterward.
- Delay of clamping and cutting umbilical cord until pulsing ceases.
- We plan to have Dominic cut the cord.
- Placenta delivered spontaneously.
- Waive eye drops
- Opt for an oral botanical version of Vitamin K
- After 24-48 hours proceed with the Newborn Screening test
- Postpone first bath
Our Preferences: In Case of TransportWe wish to avoid the following things in this order:
- C-Section (if necessary, a double layer suture is preferred)
- Use of Pitocin, Cytotec or other drugs
- Separation of Gretchen, Dominic and Baby (if we must be separated, Dominic will stay with our baby and Gretchen’s mom with join Gretchen)
- Supplemental bottle-feedings
- Supine (laying down) position for pushing stage
- Episotomy, use of forceps or vacuum extraction
- Stripping of membranes or breaking of bag of waters
- Continuous electronic fetal monitoring
- IV (if an IV is needed, please allow it to be capped off so Gretchen can continue to have freedom of movement during labor)Baby’s Birthday Phone Tree
If you need to reach Dominic or Gretchen please call our midwife, Lucina. Dominic will be unable to answer his phone, but will do his best to send out periodic text message updates.I made a nifty little phone tree in Microsoft Word which had Dominic in charge of calling only 3 people – our midwife and both moms. Then the moms called various family/friends.
Did you keep them the same for subsequent pregnancies or did you make changes?
I love hearing about other birth plans and mama’s preferences during labor! Share away …