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This weekend it really dawned on me how little time we have left as a family of 4 – or 5 – if you include our dog, Henry. 🙂
We spent the majority of our time this past weekend readying the house for our newest addition, snuggling all together in our bed, and celebrating birthdays with some of our favorite people. However – everything right now is difficult. Sleeping, breathing, carrying my kids, bending over to put on my shoes – all of these things are getting increasingly difficult. Some are next to impossible. And all of these things are constant reminders that our little girl could join us at any moment now.
That being said, it’s time to get back to business and to talk about something that has been much requested around here lately.
Our birth plan.
I talked about bringing a birth plan in my hospital bag post, and something that was just a line item on my checklist got A LOT of attention. We have so many expectant mothers that read the blog, and it made me so happy to hear that this is something that people really care about. That being said, every woman is different, every pregnancy is different, and every birth plan is different. I don’t think my way is the right way… I just think it is the right way for me. And even having said that —- I know that my “birth plan” is subject to change at any time depending on what my doctor/doula team think is best for my baby and I.
As I have said in the past, I think a birth plan is a powerful tool for any woman. I think it’s very important to know your options, to voice your wishes to your doctor, and to know that your birth isn’t something that “just happens to you.” Obviously in some cases – there is nothing you can do – and your birth plan isn’t going to work. That’s fine. But I highly recommend thinking about it, and at the very least, talking about it with your partner. Writing it down and having copies printed is really the best way to ensure everything goes as you would like.
I found two amazing and fully comprehensive birth plan guides – one from one of my favorite baby/momma brands… you can fill it out and download your own personalized PDF >>> here… and the second is from thebump.com >>> here. My birth plan is a combination of both.
So for your actual birth plan… there are a couple of main things to think about. Labor, pain management, the actual birth, post birth, and newborn care. So first I’ll give you my thoughts – and then I’ll follow those up with my full, actual birth plan.
So for me – my labors tend to be very very long. With both William and David, I was in a ton of pain, and labored at home for a while before heading to the hospital. With William I totally tired myself out trying to speed up my labor by lunging around my home for 12 hours (I’ll never do it again- it didn’t work). With David I labored at home for 5 hours. I was a little more chill, and I got to the hospital much more dilated than I was with William. For this birth – my goal is the same – but also different. I’d like to try to stay calm longer. To try and rest through my early labor. To labor at home long enough to get to the hospital at a 5 or a 6.
First things first – there is no right or wrong here. Do whatever you want to do. I got epidurals with both boys. And let me tell you – they were freaking amazing. But let me also tell you that they made my labors twice as long as they should have been. For whatever reason, all the IV fluids – pre epidural – totally stopped my contractions with both labors. So although I loved the epidurals, I am going to try and deliver Baby Caroline without one. If I call it quits halfway through, so be it. But here it is, out in the open, for everyone to read. I’m going to try for a natural, unmedicated birth. God bless my doula and Joe, because lord only knows how this is going to go. As you will see in the birth plan guides, there are A TON of different options for pain management – it is all up to you.
Epidurals, pitocin, IV fluids, water breaking, episiotomies, vacuums, forceps, etc. <<< These are all decisions that you may have to make – on the fly – when you are at the hospital. Personally, this is why I have a doula, but everyone is different. I’ve stated this in a lot of birth posts in the past, but I will say it again, the likelihood of having your doctor actually deliver your baby is very low. So just expect that a complete stranger will be the doctor on call. Unless of course you have a scheduled c-section or induction. You can read William’s birth story for more on that >>> here. Sorry for the tangent, but there is a point. Just be sure you know your options, your wishes, and how you want things to go – before you get to the hospital. You may be making some very big decisions on the fly – without the help of your doctor.
For me, this delivery, I’m going no pain meds (unless I ask for them), no pitocin unless it is medically necessary, water breaking is fine after I’ve dilated to a certain point – probably 6 or 7cm, NO episiotomy unless medically necessary <<< IMO they are the devil, and no vacuums, foreceps, or c-sections unless medically necessary. You can make your own decisions about all of these things. Do your research, understand your options, and definitely talk to your doctor about their on call schedule, doctors in their practice, and their views/concerns on all of the above.
Also, in my opinion… hire a doula. It’s the best thing we ever did.
Post Birth Care:
There are a ton of things that will happen as soon as you deliver your baby. You may want skin to skin time immediately with your baby. Someone will have to clamp and cut the cord. You can choose by whom and when you want this done. You will deliver the placenta. You may need to be stitched up. Your baby will be weighed, evaluated and cleaned (if those things are your wishes). And yes – you can choose how and when all of these things happen. Everything happens so fast in the hospital, and at times you will feel as if you’re not being given any choices. That is simply not true. There are also various treatments you can choose for your baby to have or not to have. These include eye gel, vitamin k, and some vaccines. All of these things – which seem like they are non negotiable – are entirely negotiable. With both of my kids, we refused the eye gel or drops. With both of my kids we also refused the Hep B vaccine – we just got it at their later doctors appointments. We did opt in for the vitamin K drops. I just think, as with everything having to do with birth, it is most important to know that you do have choices.
Emily’s Actual Birth Plan:
- If I go past my due date and the baby and I are fine, I prefer to go into labor naturally rather than be induced.
- I prefer to have no vaginal exams until I go into labor
- I would like to labor at home for as long as possible – and ideally head to the hospital around 5-6cm dilated
- I would like to labor in a quiet, dark, relaxed environment – and only need hip/back support/massage if I ask for it.
- People to be in the delivery room: Joe (Husband), Ashley Maas (Doula) and Emily’s mom (Heidi)
- Upon arrival at the hospital, I prefer to have my partner and doula with me at all times.
- Vaginal exams only upon consent
- Please no pitocin or breaking of water unless deemed medically necessary
- Only administer epidural or pain medicine upon request – trying for an unmedicated, natural birth
- I would like the freedom to move and walk during labor
- I would like to wear a hospital gown during labor and help changing into my own clothes after labor
- Doula/Nurses coach when to push
- Push without time limits, as long as the baby and I are not at risk
- I prefer to have the lights dimmed for delivery or, if it is daylight, to access only natural light.
- No episiotomy
- If delivery assistance is needed, please use suction instead of foreceps
- Please place baby on my chest after birth, unless medical intervention is necessary.
- Please do not separate me and my baby until after my baby has successfully breastfed on both breasts.
- Cord to be cut by father, after pulsing stops. We are requesting delayed cord clamping.
- Breastfeed immediately to help birth placenta – no pitocin, uterine massage, or pulling of cord please
- I would like my doula to take home my placenta. (Our doula makes placenta pills – and this is something I have done with my two previous births). You can read more about it >>> here.
- If stitching is necessary please use local anesthetic
- Please delay all essential routine procedures on my baby until after the bonding and breastfeeding period (i.e., bathing).
- Please perform all physical exams and procedures in room with parents.
- If the baby has any problems, I would like my partner to be present with the baby at all times, if possible.
- Father to stay with baby and mother at all times
- Please do not administer eye drops to my baby, I am willing to sign a formal waiver if need be.
- I would like to delay the administration of vitamin K up to 1 hour after birth, after breastfeeding and bonding, unless medically necessary.
- I prefer any immunizations be postponed to a later time
- Please bathe my baby after we have had time to bond.
- My baby is to be exclusively breastfed.
- Full rooming in, no separation, no exceptions, unless my baby is sick.
So there you go. My actual birth plan this time around. Every birth plan is different, just as every woman, pregnancy and baby are different. I don’t think my way is the right way. It is just the right way for me, and for us. And – most importantly – I realize it is subject to change.
If you have any questions – please feel free to ask me. I LOVE talking about pregnancy, birth and motherhood. I hope this helps you or someone you know! XooX