What in the heck is a "Birth Plan?"
You just found out you are pregnant and your mind starts to race. You begin to think about life as a mom: will you be good enough, will you find a way to juggle a baby in the midst of all the chaos? Is it a boy or a girl? Will he or she look more like you or their dad? And whether it is in the first or not until the third trimester your mind will start to think about “D-day.”
“D” day (the delivery) is what stands between you and the answers to the above questions. Without putting a label on your expectations you have started to write your Birth Plan. I did not know what a Birth Plan was until I attended our first birthing class and was handed the bible of child delivery. After that class I went home, hopped on Google and started to research all the medical terminology. We were told to fill out the Birth Plan and “be sure to bring it with you to the hospital when you are in labor.”
Here are my tips for completing your Birth Plan!
Do your research: Whether you speak with your doctor, talk with your mama friends, pick your own Mom’s brain, or end up Googling, make sure to think about how you want your delivery. I knew that there were a few parts of my birth experience that were very important to me. Those being: delayed cord clamping, the Golden Hour, natural ways of managing pain, and laboring in the bath tub at the hospital.
Ask your OB/midwife questions ahead of the delivery day: Do not wait until the end of the third trimester to start asking questions about what to expect on “D-day.” Take this advice from me who didn't make it to my 36 week check up before Miss Avery decided she was making her appearance.
Be firm in what you want, if there are no complications: I repeat: if there are no complications! Your birthing experience is all your own, if there are things that you want (no matter if they seem silly to others) DO THEM! If you want to listen to Eminem, while there is lavender infusing, and your birthing partner is rubbing your back with vanilla lotion, then make that happen/communicate with those involved in that plan. If people know what you want they will help make it happen!
Changing expectations: This can be difficult, but without a doubt there will be some adjustments during your birth. Be open to change and do not put unrealistic pressure on yourself. If on your Birth Plan you do not want any medications to manage pain and then you are 6cm dilated and are struggling to breathe through the pain, then throw that part of your plan out the window and get something to help with the pain! No mom guilt and do not let your partner deter you from getting what you need to “enjoy” this experience. Patrick was a part of creating the Birth Plan and knew that I didn’t want an epidural, but he also knew that if I told him multiple times that I wanted something for pain AFTER the contraction was over that he would have to honor that wish. Only you know the pain you are feeling.
Treat the Birth Plan as a guide NOT a rule: Set goals and know what you want to happen, but be flexible if needed. Give yourself grace especially if this is your first birth. You can plan until your blue in the face, but until you are in that hospital bed and having contractions you cannot grasp the experience.
Trust your OB/midwife to make changes needed in case of complications: Through the nine months filled with countless appointments you will need to evaluate your relationship with your OB or midwife. If you do not feel like you mesh then you should not feel guilty exploring other providers. It will be different at every hospital, but my OB suggested that I make appointments with the other providers as well in case they were on call when I went into labor. I was lucky enough to give birth while she was on call- but if it would've been someone else I would've felt comfortable.
These are just a few of my tips on understanding your Birth Plan. I would love to hear somethings that you put on your Birth Plan! Or, if you have any questions please don't hesitate to comment them below or email me!