If you asked me what my plan was for giving birth, it would be quite different from my preferences. While I would plan to be having a manicure during labor and most certainly a Swedish massage during transition, my plans would never come to fruition- even if I had the money to fund such nonsense. I would plan to not be in pain, for it to last less than 10 hours total, for the room to be always at a comfortable temperature (regardless of how hot I am) and for there to be no such thing as sweating involved, please and thank you.
These are just silly plans, however, and while I love making a list of things I’d like to be, I call my list “Birth Preferences”.
Like a simple resume, your preferences sheet should be only 1 page, 1-sided. By definition, a birth plan is a document that tells your medical team your preferences for such things as how to manage labor pain. But please know you can’t control every aspect of labor and delivery, and staying flexible in case of (…) is the most important part of writing your plan. Knowing that things can happen and being comfortable with deviation… that’s really the start of parenthood! …and when all else fails in the process, remember your codeword (give it to your partner, or team as an indicator for when you are truly sure that you cannot continue- should you get to that point).
The biggest part of my birth preferences began with selecting my birth team. I chose a different doctor this time around, feeling sad with my practice after my last doctor left. I also chose the same doula team, Blessed Beginnings, for their love and support. My Mom will again be there for the delivery (someone has to be below the neck) and Dave will be my rock, of course! While it’s not written down, I know that my mother-in-law will have Addie with her, as “Namah” is the person Addie spends the most time with apart from Dave and myself!
If you’re looking to get started on your own birth plan, I suggest doing so in the first or second trimester and altering it as your pregnancy evolves (as your birthing education will too!) and then bringing it to your doctor or midwife around week 36 to review and get ready! I get my birth preferences signed so that I know my doctor isn’t seeing this document for the first time upon my entrance through triage. I also leave a copy with the doctor in my file, my doula team has a copy, and I pack 2 in my hospital bag- one to give at admission and one just-in-case… making copies of the original signed form so my team can’t say they’ve never seen it before! Better safe than sorry!
I did change our birth preferences, as with Addie I wrote that I didn’t want to be tied down under any circumstances, but I think that’s extremely rare now! Remembering that our hospital is a teaching one, I preferred to have no students last time and wrote that in… this time around, I couldn’t care less. Just one way I’ve changed, I guess! I also took out that we were donating cord blood. We tried with Addie, but due to the delayed clamping, the donation center said there was not enough blood left in the cord. While I would have loved to give back, it is more important to me to let the cord give all it can to my babies before cut. And… before you cringe, I am encapsulating my placenta again.
Without further adieu, here’s what I’ve got on my birth preferences worksheet!
Did you create a Birth Plan/Preference for your delivery? What was on your list?