our birth plan, and why we decided to write one

Our doula asked us about our birth plan, a question to which I immediately responded that we wouldn’t be drafting one up and that I didn’t want to be rigid in my wishes for our birth so I wouldn’t be disappointed. It’s true that I do want to approach labor and  delivery with a flowing quality to myself and my expectations, but it’s not true that I don’t have very specific wants that I do not want changed. Some things you can control — some you can’t. Our doula suggested that if we wrote nothing else at all, that we write: “I plan on an unmedicated birth and request that the staff supports me in this decision. I insist on informed consent prior to any medications, procedures, or interventions.” Once I had written those sentences, others just seemed to flow from my pen — er, keyboard, in my case. Here’s what we ended up with:

My husband and I view our daughter’s birth as a very spiritual, emotional time in which the two of us will become a family of three as we usher a soul into the world.  We hope her birth will be a gentle, calm, and powerful experience.  My husband, doula, midwife, and any nursing staff necessary are the only people who should be present in the labor and delivery room.

I plan on an unmedicated birth and request that the staff supports me in this decision. I insist on informed consent prior to any medications, procedures, or interventions.  If I request pain relief, I would like if at all possible for that to be given in the form of pain coping techniques — massage, accupressures, water, etc.

I want to be mobile during labor when at all possible and am open to delivering in the water.  I would like the lights dimmed and my husband and I may bring music to play during labor.  My husband would like to be asked on the day we deliver whether he would like to help catch the baby and to cut the umbilical cord, and may decide to do so.  I want to hold the baby immediately upon delivery unless medically impossible — and, if I deliver in the tub, would like the baby returned to me immediately after getting into the bed for skin to skin contact and to begin nursing.  My husband will later spend time with the baby, skin to skin.  Our baby should not be given bottles of formula, water, or glucose, or a pacifier.  She should not be taken from our room unless medically necessary and we consent.

Thank you for doing your best to respect our wishes and help us have the gentle, calm, and powerful birth we hope to experience.

So there you have it. I think I laid out the groundwork for our hopes and desires for the birth without being rigid. Did you decide to write a birth plan? If so, would you share it or a link to where you have shared it before? Wishing you an empowering birth…

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2 thoughts on “our birth plan, and why we decided to write one

  1. That is a beautiful birth plan, and your flexibility is definitely an asset. We just had our baby last week, and never even needed to get out our plan, but it seemed “right” to have one. One thing I would consider is adding your wishes in bullet points to make it easier for people to scan quickly. I would be happy to email you my birth plan if you like.
    I wanted to add a few notes you may want to include,
    Would you like routine cervical checks or would you prefer to ask for checks as you feel you need them? This can be your choice.
    Also, your don’t mention much about the third stage of your labor. Would you like to physiologically deliver your placenta or are your okay with your doctor/midwife using pulling/traction/medication? Would you like to save/see your placenta for any reason?
    Also, after birth your child may be given eyedrops, a bath, vaccines, and a vitamin K shot. Your wishes on these things should be noted.

    • Hey Rosie! Congratulations!! I am so happy for you guys. I have added your blog into my Google Reader so I don’t miss any future posts on the baby. 🙂 Thanks for your suggestions. The bullet points in particular are a great idea, along with some of the suggestions for additions. There are some things I am not concerned about adding, because this midwife practice is SUPER natural birth friendly, so I am not concerned at all with an unnatural delivery of the placenta, etc. Great, great points though. I can’t wait to hear about your birth. Hope all is well.

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