What is a Birth Plan?
Sometime around 32 weeks pregnant my baby app encouraged me to consider creating one. The app highlights many things, some useful, some not. I am classifying the note that stressed to me that if I was thinking about it oral sex is safe in pregnancy as not so informative. And, yes it’s a terrifying part of modern pregnancy that you conceive, then download a week by week guide for your phone before you have even started craving crisps and mint sauce. Being preggo has got all technical.
A birth plan is a written document highlighting your preferences for labour and delivery. Some mums scribble a couple of things on a post it whilst others compose an intricate 5 page instructional text akin to War and Peace. With my firstborn I survived off ignorance and the expectations set by watching back to back One Born Every Minute. Post lengthy back labour I am well aware that there are no storks or unicorns. Babies often do not stick to plan and will keep you on your toes the next 25 years.
Do you want to take a glance at mine?
Thank you. This is not a rigid plan as we understand emergencies happen, please just get us all through it safe.
Encourage relaxation/breathing/massage/TENS. I don’t want Pethidine I am an unbearable drunk so best avoid hard-core narcotics.
Laughter is not always the best medicine.
Gas and air is fine though tends to me vomit like the exorcist. I am allergic to Cyclizine and Metoclopramide but Ondansetron seems to have been fine orally. If an epidural is needed fine, similar with breaking waters, forceps, ventouse or episiotomy (I had a 3rd degree cut last time). Please ask/discuss before doing procedures. If I need putting back together be kind with the stitches, no one wants a loosey goosey downstairs. I am not a fan of Pitocin, but if needs must.
My first labour was like the scene from Saw. I am really nervous this time so would prefer to baby to be monitored as much as midwife has time for-and us explained to what is going on to as the calmer I am the better its likely to go (and to keep my tachycardia under control). Please can I have a telemetry monitor so to be as active as possible to keep things progressing?
We would like low mood lighting. Like at the Spa, or Jazz bar.
Suggest upright positions/on side as apparently better for not tearing. We want immediate skin to skin but please ask before giving baby to either of us. My son was thrown at me like a wailing basketball and I went into shock. If safe to can you delay clamping of the cord. Yes to the injection to speed up placenta delivery. I do not want to see it, eat it or anything along those lines. I consent to Vitamin K injection for baby.
It’s my other half’s first time so give him some words of encouragement, tea etc and shush me if I resort to the howling harpy, ‘you did this to me!!’. Warning, he is a fainter.
I want to breastfeed please and am happy to talk to a lactation consultant.
Now some may read and ‘hmm’ at me for putting a humorous spin on my BP. Like I don’t respect the process, or are not talking it seriously, will not really use this version etc. Actually doubty Mcdoubty it’s already printed and stapled in my notes. My reasons? I recon midwifes halfway through 12 hour shifts of perpetual vaginas will appreciate it. The other reason? I am scared, my first traumatic birth took so much from me I can barely think about this labour without my hand shaking. Humour and honestly is my way of reclaiming this for me, I acknowledge and do not discount all my anxieties and worries. I know that births do not go to plan, it’s healthy for mums to accept this.
Whatever way your baby comes out, through a Zen like home birth or elective C there is no wrong way, no failure. Write a birth plan, don’t be afraid for push for what you want, own it, but don’t be unkind you yourself, or panic because the whole thing goes out the window. If your BP says no drugs and then as you hit 5cm you turn into a raging menace demanding painkillers then go with it.
Have you written a birth plan if you are expecting? Or did you make one if you have previously ‘popped out’ your little treasures?
P.s. I recently learnt that after a traumatic birth you can ask for a labour reflections session, six years of trying to ask for answers and I read about it on the internet. Push for what you want, literally.