“Have you made your birth plan?” said my enthusiastic mommy friend. “Um, no,” I replied. What the heck is a birth plan? I plan on going to the hospital. I knew that much for sure. To be honest, I really had no idea what was going to happen in that hospital other than the fact I’d be in an ungodly amount of pain, push a baby out then sometime soon after leave with a tiny human. Luckily, my husband and I took a birth class and learned the A to Zs’ about stages of labor, natural birthing techniques, birthing positions and all the interventions that could possibly be used if labor was stalled, baby was in distress, etc. I was gung ho to go all-natural and my birth plan would back me up.
If you’ve been here before hear me out. If you haven’t, there’s a lot you should know.
Bring the nurses cookies because they’re your new best friends. Bring multiple copies of the plan in case you’re in labor for more than a few shifts. Also, this never happened to me, but if you have a nurse you don’t jive with, request a new one. It’s ok, I promise.
Write your Birth Plan and be prepared to do its opposite. With tears in his eyes, my husband said, “But you told me you didn’t want an epidural. Are you sure?” Here are some items to think about if you choose to write a birth plan:
- Make use of the tub, shower, birth ball, birth bar, and whatever other tools you can think of. Make sure the hospital or birthing center knows what you need before hand. It will make it easier when you are in the heat of the moment of labor and completely forget that a birth ball could’ve eased some of the pain deep in your hips and pelvis.
- Use intermittent monitoring: If you plan on an epidural, this one is out for you. If you want to try an unmedicated birth and are in a hospital chances are the nurses and your OB will want to monitor you and your babe. Sometimes they’ll use a handheld Doppler. Other times, maybe upon admission to the hospital these not so adorable pink and blue elastic bands will be put around your middle to check baby’s vitals and contractions.
- HEP Lock: A port with a lock that is removable but in a pinch can give you medication that you need. It’s basically just an IV with saline that is capped off for later use. I opted for this when I wanted to try an unmedicated birth. It was my plan B.
- Count during pushing: I said no thank you, BUT I actually loved the counting. Again, write a birth plan and be prepared to scrap part or all of the birth plan.
- Skin to skin immediately: This is a no brainer and is actually protocol as most hospitals. Get that baby latched and regulate his or her temperature at his or her most familiar place.
- Cesarean is a beautiful form of birth too. Sometimes it’s planned and sometimes it is not. Study and be prepared for it even if it’s not in your birth plan.
It isn’t pretty and it might not go to plan but it’s pretty beautiful.
No one can fully prepare you for labor and birth. My birth coach told me it would be the biggest and most emotional evacuation I’d ever have. She was completely right! The babe and the amount of blood you will lose after you deliver is astonishing and miraculous. When I had my first I remember putting on my bright white new “delivery slippers” and the nurse just started laughing. I was going to prove her wrong. They were going to stay white. Until they didn’t. One would think that the mattress-thick pads they give you along with the oversized mesh undees would catch any and all blood. One would think. Once you finally get the nerve to go, your new best friend, that’s right your loving nurse, will accompany you to the lou. Help you pee, squirt, numbing spray and put that diaper back on girlfriend! Yes, you read that right. Squirt. You’ll have a squirt bottle and you’ll wait patiently at the sink for the water to warm up but not too hot because that would be the end of your lady bits.
You might tear, you might not but you will be sore. Your body’s ability to hurt and heal is incredible. One day postpartum you’ll realize just how amazing birth of all kind is and be amazed at what it was capable of. You may have scars and stripes to prove it. Take pride momma.
You’ll forget it all and do it again. This was actually my second birth plan for the birth of our daughter. After I labored with my son for 40 hours, I thought to myself heck no. I will never do this again. Yet, here she is.