Giving birth and the start of a new life; holding your new baby in your arms for the very first time and the rush of unconditional love that submerges you is not something you can put into words. It is a feeling I will be lucky enough to experience soon again. With just over two weeks of pregnancy left out of forty, time really has flown this time round!
I have been pondering whether or not to share my birth plan with the world. If is after all a rather personal piece of literature, isn’t it?
When I was a few weeks away from giving birth to Crevette six years ago, I had no idea what it would be like to give birth. I had no intention of finding out before the wheels were in motion to say the truth. I just thought I would deal with it when it happened as I was adamant knowing too much about the whole process would make me worry for no reason. I would have to get my baby out no matter what, and did not want to read or hear about other people’s gory details or horror stories, thank you very much. I made a point not to read the birth stories in the pregnancy magazines I was buying regularly.
Our NCT classes covered the stages of labour as well as breathing techniques and I felt really comfortable receiving that kind of ‘textbook’ information. It was very factual and rather interesting. When the upper class course leader started discussing very casually her daughter having perineal massage performed by her husband, I have to admit did not feel completely at ease. I cringed even more when a bunch of realistic dolls were passed around by a generously chested (to say the least) breastfeeding consultant. I gritted my teeth when we were instructed to pretend breastfeeding the dolls. Surely, they were pushing it a bit too far. What horrified me the most was when the aforementioned middle-aged classy lady turned on her old video player (yes, an actual VCR!) to show us a woman giving birth on her hands and knees in the 80s. We had been very clear we did not want to see that kind of thing… Do people ever listen?
To go back to the subject matter, I was not sure what to include in my birth plan the first time round and the video did not make things any clearer for me so I did a bit of research online and put together something that sounded like what I wanted. I made sure hubby had read it a few times and told him to refer to it when I was in labour.
A lot of people told me that birth plans often went out of the window as soon as labour started but I have to say I have been really lucky as when I gave birth to my three children, it all went pretty much according to plan. Just forget the fact that the first time I gave birth, all I wanted was to be in a hospital full of doctors ready to give me a C-section rather than in a stand-alone birthing unit with just a midwife and virtually no pain relief. I wanted someone to give me an epidural there and then and cut me open to get my baby out and end the pain!
Here is the birth plan I discussed with a midwife last week:
BIRTH PLAN for Mel
My name is Mel. Wriggly is my fourth baby and I will be accompanied by my husband. We hope that this birth plan will enable you to guide us through my labour and afterwards, yet we also understand that things can change, and will be happy to take your advice and be flexible should the well-being of our baby be compromised. We had Crevette in 2008 at xx Birth Centre and the only form of pain relief I found effective was water (birthing pool). I did not like using the Tens machine. I used gas & air and was given an injection of Meptid because I was really worried and a bit panicky. For Beanie in 2010, my labour was quick and easy and I did not use any pain relief other than water (birthing pool). For Jumpy in 2012, labour was longer and the only form of pain relief that helped was again water (birthing pool).
Birth partner – Hubby
Phone Numbers: Mobile: xxx / Work: xxx
Environment – xxx Birthing Centre
The presence of a student midwife is welcome.
Pain relief – water. Gas and air (Entonox) if I cannot go in the birthing pool straight away. Avoid Pethidine if possible.
Labour – We would like to have every procedure explained to us.
Hubby knows what kind of support I want. I will need to be reminded to eat to get energy if I get tired and mention giving up.
I would like to use the birthing pool. We would like our baby to be born in the pool. We would rather have our baby’s heartbeat monitored every fifteen minutes by a handheld monitor, rather than being connected to a machine that monitors our baby continually. I would rather not have to get out of the pool for monitoring.
I would prefer not to have an episiotomy.
I would like to lift our baby out of the water myself, and keep her with us at all times.
We would both like skin-to-skin contact as soon as possible after the birth.
Hubby is not sure whether he wants to cut the cord or not. Please check with him. We do not want the cord cut until it has stopped pulsing.
Delivery of the placenta: We would prefer a natural (physiological) third stage of labour, in water if possible. I would rather not be given the injection to make the placenta come quicker. I will start breastfeeding our baby to stimulate contractions.
I breastfed Crevette, Beanie & Jumpy and wish to breastfeed our new baby. Please help me with positioning if need be as I want to make sure she latches on properly.
None of our babies received the Vitamin K injection.
I would rather not have stitches. If stitches cannot be avoided, I would like an experienced midwife to be in charge.
If I have to transfer to the postnatal ward, please let my husband come with me. I do not want to be separated from him. We want to keep our baby with us at all times.
I would like a copy of the notes taken during labour please.
Thank you for all your help.
I have a second birth plan just in case we have to go to hospital rather than a birthing unit.
Here are the couple of extra details it includes:
Environment – xxx Hospital
I would rather not have a caesarean section, but I would consider it if you judged it necessary. If I need a C-section, I would like to hold my baby straight afterwards. Should I not be able to hold our baby I would like hubby to hold her immediately. I would like time alone with my husband and baby before I am transferred to the postnatal ward.
Cord Blood (NHS) – We are happy to donate our cord blood.
Here are some additional suggestions from readers you might want to include in your own birth plan:
- My baby can receive the Vitamin K injection.
- I do not want my baby to be given the Vitamin K injection.
- I would rather not have any pain relief.
- State pain relief you would be happy to receive in hospital.
- I give consent for medical students to help during delivery.
- Do not tell me it is a good thing if it hurts!
Sara, who blogs at Mum Turned Mom, also pointed out that it is important to accept the fact that the delivery will be what it needs to be and not to be disappointed if it is not what you imagined.
Is there anything else you think I should have included? Let me know in the comments section.