I am now officially in the home stretch. I don’t know how everyone else defines the home stretch but for me it starts when I have to start going to my midwife every two weeks. All of a sudden there’s no way I can lose sight of how close my “due” date is and it’s consuming just about every thought. I had an appointment on Tuesday and next week I will be scheduling our hospital visit along with our natural childbirth class at our local maternity store. After thinking about, avoiding and then obsessing over my birth plan, I’ve written it down, signed it and have it ready to go.
My preferences don’t differ that much from last time. The main difference is that I am not as laid back about the possibility of using pain medication. With my first birth plan, I stated that I wanted to try and have a natural birth but would not rule out the use of an epidural. I also did not make certain that the important players (aside from my husband and doctor) had read it. So the language is more definite and DH will be making sure before we interact with anyone that they’re clear on our plan. With Dessa, I read this book which was very, very helpful – almost a birth education class and a guide to creating a birth plan all in one. This time around I read Ricki Lake and Abby Epstein’s book and it was an appropriate refresher – not as detailed as the first book but just enough.
As I was writing this birth plan, I realized I wasn’t as into it as I was the first time around. I think what’s happened is that I’m not empowering my birth plan like I did last time. I’m empowering myself. With my first pregnancy, I believed my birth plan was my cheerleader, my bodyguard, my advocate. I truly believed everyone read it. I trusted it too much. I somehow convinced myself it had some kind of power. This time around I realize it’s just a piece of paper. My husband and my midwife and I are on the same page. We will work as a team to make my labor what I want it to be. My heart isn’t in the birth plan like it was the last time. My head is writing it.
So without further ado (insert drumroll):
The following items are my preferences for my labor. Should any complications arise which threaten the health of me or my baby, then at that time I am open to discussing the options available to me to make an informed decision.
Goal: Labor naturally and birth my baby vaginally without medical interventions.
Pain Management: I plan to use a combination of self-hypnosis (Hypnobabies), deep breathing, accupressure and a variety of laboring positions. I do not wish to have an epidural. Please do not offer one to me. If I make the decision to opt for anesthetic pain management, I will request it.
Labor Support: I would like my husband to stay with me at all times. No interns/apprentices, or others in training, should enter the birth room without explicit permission. We reserve the right to ask anyone out of the room at any time.
Labor Room: If available I’d like a room with access to a shower and/or whirlpool to assist in managing labor discomfort. I would like the lights dimmed and request anyone who needs to speak to me to use a soft voice. If I am in the middle of a birthing wave, please be patient while I manage my discomfort. When the birthing wave is over, then I will be able to address your questions.
IVs: I understand because I am working towards a vaginal birth after a c-section an IV line must be inserted. I’d like to request a Hep-Lock. I’d like to only use an IV if a medical emergency requires it (dehydration or administration of medicine). I will bring my own fluids and nourishment.
EFM: I am aware of the hospital policy for VBAC patients which requires EFM. I wish to move about as much as possible despite the need for an EFM.
My own clothing
Things I’d like to AVOID During Labor
Use of forceps or vacuum extraction
In the event a decision about a medical procedure must be made while I am unconscious or incoherent, I grant authority for making that decision to my husband.
My husband and I are fully aware childbirth can present many unexpected situations. This plan is how we envision our baby’s ideal birth as long as neither my baby’s nor my health is in jeopardy. However, if a situation should require us to veer from this plan, we’d like the opportunity to discuss the options, along with the risks and benefits assosciated with each, available to us in order to make a fully informed decision.