It’s been a while (7 months, to be precise) since I gave birth to Eleanor, but as more friends are considering natural labor and have tons of questions I decided to post our birth plan online. We gave copies to the doctor and had several with us when we checked in to the hospital. Plus, we had a walking birth plan in the form of our doula, Coleen. She was amazing (I’m happy to send a referral if you’re in the Knoxville area – email me and I’ll get you her info!) and knew what we wanted every step yet still allowed us to make the decisions.
Anyway, she and I emailed this baby back and forth many times to get it just right. This is the final copy below (slightly edited to remove our Doc/Hospital’s names).
Bronce & Erin – Birth Plan
A Very Awesome Hospital, Dr. R
Doula: Coleen McKeehan
It is our desire to have an epidural-free, natural –as-possible childbirth. We have gone to classes, researched, and tried to become mentally and physically prepared for the work involved. We understand that things do not always go as anticipated and in such instances ask that we can discuss alternate interventions (and the pros and cons) as the need arises. I greatly appreciate your cooperation in realizing this plan.
I would like to labor at home as long as possible before coming in to deliver.
If my water breaks at the onset of labor, I would like to wait 6-12 (or more) hours before inducing – my and my baby’s condition permitting.
HOSPITAL LABOR GOALS
My husband, BRONCE , and my doula, COLEEN McKEEHAN, will be present to assist me through labor. Other family members may be invited in during the early-to-mid stages of labor but we would like the delivery room to be cleared of all but Bronce and Coleen once Transition begins.
If possible, I would like a birthing ball and rocking chair available in the room. I will provide my own music and request a calm environment.
We would like the father and the doula to be allowed to take photos or video tape parts of the labor and birth.
° I prefer to not have or be offered an epidural or any other pain medication. Please let me request it if I feel I am not coping with the pain. I would like to handle the pain through position changes, massage relaxation, breathing techniques, distraction, hot/cold therapy, shower, etc.
° I may take IV narcotics if I feel the need to take the edge off the pain.
Staying mobile is the most important thing to me – Therefore…
° I prefer not to be automatically hooked up to an IV for hydration. I would prefer to have an IV “port” (Hep-Lock) installed in my arm for quick intravenous access in the event it is needed .I would like to stay hydrated by sipping water/Sprite/Gatorade and/or using ice chips. Popsicles, gum, or suckers would also be preferable.
° Fetal Monitoring – I would like to request intermittent fetal monitoring and a telemetry unit in order to remain mobile.
° I prefer not to have my waters routinely broken. I prefer to only have them broken if I am at least 8 cm dilated, if my labor is stalled, or if it is deemed critical to internally monitor the baby. If my water is broken and the baby’s head is engaged, I’d like to still have mobility to use different positions in and out of bed.
° Except in the case of an emergency, we ask that we be given the opportunity to accept or refuse any procedure or medication. As long as the baby and I are fine, I would like to be free of time limits and not have my labor augmented.
° I would like to try a variety of positions for pushing such as: supported 45-degree sit, squatting, side lying, hands and knees, standing upright, or whatever seems helpful to me. I prefer not to deliver flat on my back.
° As long as the baby and I are fine, I would like to be free of time limits on pushing. I would like to give my perineum ample time to stretch, and would like to have calm coaching instructions for pushing. I know it take a lot of effort to push and I may need strong encouragement, but I prefer to have things as calm as possible.
° I would like to be able to have warm washcloths applied to my perineum to relax the muscles and aid in stretching. I prefer not to have as episiotomy performed unless it is necessary for the health of the baby. I would rather risk a tear than have an episiotomy.
Cesarean Section – in the event of a C-Section, I would like the following considerations:
° I would like my husband and doula to be present at all times during the operation.
° I would like to be conscious, unless it is an emergency c-section.
° I would like to have immediate contact with the baby, if the baby is in good health. In the event I am unconscious, please allow my husband to have contact with the baby as soon as possible.
° We prefer the baby and father remain in the recovery room with the mother. I would still want to breastfeed as soon as possible.
° I would like to have my husband cut the cord after the cord has stopped pulsing.
° I would like the baby to be placed on my chest/tummy immediately after birth and would like to postpone the standard newborn procedures until I have had the chance to bond with the baby. I would also like to attempt to breastfeed my baby immediately after birth.
° Staff-permitting, we would like the newborn procedures to be performed in our room. (Please forego the Hepatitis vaccination – we will have this given at a later date by the pediatrician.)
° We want the baby to room in with us.
° Since I plan to breastfeed exclusively, I would prefer that no artificial nipples (bottles, pacifiers) be offered to him/her at any point.
° If my baby and I are recovering well, we would like the option to be discharged from the hospital after 24 hours.
° If the baby is a boy, we would like him circumcised. We request that he would definitely be given local anesthesia.
This plan describes how we hope things will go. We understand, however, that no birth necessarily goes “as planned” and that each labor is different. We understand that complications could arise that would negate some of our stated preferences.
We strive to go as intervention-free as possible to prevent complications or the need for further procedures that could affect the progress of my labor or the health of my baby.
There you have it! It went well, as you can read in my post about our birth. We had a couple of complications along the way but it was an amazing experience!