Here you are, preparing for your little bundle of joy to arrive. I’m sure you’ve already been searching for the things that you have to do before your baby arrives, and I’m sure at some point you’ve heard about writing a birth plan.
Birth plans are great. They’re a chance for you to put down on paper everything that you want to happen during your labor and delivery. Everything from medications to use, to pushing positions, to baby care. Being forced to think about each individual aspect of your labor process will mean that you are better prepared to answer any questions asked of you when the going gets tough.
For instance, if you have it in your head that you’re going to give birth naturally, but you don’t tell anyone, then you may very quickly accept the drugs when they’re offered because you won’t be thinking clearly when your labor really starts. I’m not saying that’s a bad thing, I’m just saying that that may not be what you want. If that’s the case, then your caregivers need to know about it.
You Should Write a Birth Plan
I am definitely an advocate for writing a birth plan. Like I said, writing a birth plan means that you have given a lot of thought to each and every possible scenario for your childbirth experience. This will help you to know what to expect, but also what kinds of questions you may be asked by the hospital staff or your midwife.
Writing a birth plan is also a great way to get your partner on board for what you want to happen. He (or she) will need to be your advocate in the delivery room. He needs to know what you want to happen and who you want to be present. If he doesn’t then you’re putting a lot of faith in someone else to make the decisions as to what family members get to see your hoo-ha. Just saying.
The Bump has a great birth plan template for writing your birth plan. It’s the one that I used when I had J and it really does help you answer all the questions.
Now that I’ve said that, I want you to be prepared to throw your plan out the window. Just because that you have made all of these great plans about how you want to give birth, doesn’t mean that that is going to be exactly how it happens.
I wrote out a birth plan for J’s birth. It was great. I included everything that needed to be there, and probably even a few things that didn’t. I made sure that it was easy to read and organized well. I even went over my plan with my nurse when I was admitted to the hospital. Everyone was on the same page. Everyone that is, except my body.
When to Ignore Your Birth Plan
J was late, only by a few days, but due to a myriad of reasons I decided to be induced.
I thought I knew what to expect from the induction. I asked my doctor all the right questions and even did some internet research to make sure I was prepared. The one thing I wasn’t prepared for was my body’s reaction to the medication.
Apparently, there is a small percentage of women that get really strong, intense contractions right off the bat when using misoprostol. Guess who happens to be one of those women? Yep, me. Had I known that I may have made other decisions, but I digress.
When my contractions started, they started hard. They were extremely painful and every 60-90 seconds.
My birth plan followed the idea of having a natural birth. So we tried every pain relieving technique in the book. My nurse was awesome and really helped me try some things, but after 6 hours and 1 centimeter dilation, I just couldn’t take it anymore. I asked (read begged) for the epidural. And you know what? It was awesome.
Though there were some things about having the epidural that I wasn’t crazy about. (Things like not being able to eat and being stuck in the bed) It really helped me during my labor. It allowed me to relax and even get a little sleep, which was something I definitely didn’t think would happen.
It definitely made the next ten hours of labor much more comfortable.
It’s a Birth Plan, not a Birth Contract
Did I want to have a natural birth? Sure. Does changing my birth plan and having an epidural make me less of a mom? Hell no! I still spent 16 hours in labor pushing a watermelon through a straw. Epidural or no epidural, I felt that.
No matter what happens during your labor and delivery, there is one thing that is for certain, it is the birth of your baby. That is all that matters.
So go ahead, write your birth plan. Make sure that your partner and your caregivers know what it is that is most important to you. But also make sure that you are prepared to ignore your plan should you need to. Especially if the health and safety of you and/or your baby is at risk.
Your birth plan shouldn’t be set in stone because your baby isn’t. Your baby and your body may have different plans than you, and that is okay. The important thing is to listen to both and do what you need to do. Making yourself miserable to fit into your plan isn’t going to prove anything to any one.
And like I said, no matter what happens, this is the birth of your baby, so enjoy it.
Until next time!