birth plan

i know that the name is sort of an oxymoron, how can you “plan” for something so unpredictable? yet, I’ve found it helpful to think through both my ideal situations and cases where something might go a bit awry, and to put down into words before giving birth how I would like these situations handled.  it is also useful for opening up a dialogue with your caregivers before the actual event of the birth so that they are aware of your desires beforehand and you don’t have to worry so much about trying to communicate these things in the heat of labor.

anyways, I just thought that I would include a copy of the birth plan that we wrote up and gave to our midwife before miles was born.  everything pretty much went smoothly as far as the logistics of his birth and procedures after he was born.  one thing that I still didn’t get to really do was to push instinctively (midwives and obs alike seem to think that they know WAY better than you how you should push out your baby and in what position).  for all of my deliveries, I was either told what position to push in or just pressured into a certain position (this is one reason why I think an unassisted homebirth would really be ideal.  there would be no one to tell you anything, you would simply have to listen to your body).  the only other thing that didn’t really follow the birth plan was that I wanted to just let the placenta detach and come out in its own time, but they were all chomping at the bit after such a fast delivery to get it out.  sadly, the focus was on the placenta and not on my moment with my new son.  if I had even an ounce of assertiveness, I would have simply asked if we could just let it detach on its own.  instead, they were extremely focused on it, threatened Pitocin if it didn’t come out soon, and finally had me squat up on the bed while pulling on it by the cord.  I’m pretty sure that I’ve read that you’re NEVER supposed to pull on the cord and also that it’s totally normal for it to take a while, an hour or more, for the placenta to come out.

despite the fact of me being educated and thinking about my options before the birth, these two incidences highlight why it is important to either have an extremely on the ball spouse regarding these things, who is also assertive, or a doula by your side.  or some other type of advocate.

we pretty much opted out of all testing and treatment besides the newborn screening after the baby was born, but did get the vitamin k shot for blood clotting, though I have read that the amount of vitamin k injected is like 1000 times the recommended daily amount and there are other things in the shot that are questionable.  anyways, do your research.

he wasn’t weighed or measured until a couple hours after he was born, and we gave him his first bath a week after he was born.  I guess the vernix is a nice skin protectant for them and may possess other beneficial qualities we don’t know.

one final note: we did end up foregoing the hearing screening though initially when they showed up in our room, we were like, “ok,whatever”, not because it is a harmful test, per say, but the woman who performed it was simply rude to my newborn son.  YES!  she actually yelled at my tiny newborn son because he wasn’t “cooperating”.  after the abuse of the nurse right before he was born, there was NO WAY I was going to sit there and be victimized again. I told greg to grab him up off the table and hand him back to me.  and THEN the woman was so affronted by my bold move, that she chose to lash out at us and ask us sarcastically if we even have books at home to read to him.  sidenote: the hearing test is just to catch any hearing issues right from birth because if you don’t find out until later, your child may lag behind in language skills and stuff.  at least that’s what they tell you.  I reason: I think i’ll be able to tell if my son can’t hear. we never finished the test and he’s doing well, responds to voices and sounds.  I’m not in the least concerned, though I see why they do this screening.  it just wasn’t something we needed. and the lady was rude.

ok, without further ado, here it is.

Our Birth Plan

Terry Kowalczyk and Greg Norwood

Prenatal Midwife: __________

Due Date: June 22nd 2015

If I go past my due date and the baby and I are fine, I prefer to go into labor naturally rather than be induced. If NST observation is necessary after my due date, I support that option.

If induction becomes necessary, I would like to try natural induction techniques first, with the guidance of my midwife, such as stripping of membranes, Castor oil, breast stimulation, and any other caregiver suggestions.

I would like to accomplish as much of the work of labor at home as is safe for me and my baby, and I will be in touch with my midwife and the hospital staff to make appropriate decisions as to when that is for me.

When I arrive at the hospital, I would like to have a peaceful environment with music for relaxation, freedom of movement to use the birth ball shower and tub for comfort. I would like minimal vaginal exams and to keep my bag of waters intact during labor. I prefer intermittent monitoring of the baby’s heart. I prefer a heplock if an IV is necessary.

If my bag of water breaks before labor begins, and I am group beta strep negative, I would like to use holistc means suggested above to help labor progress. Rather than having labor induced, I will accept antibiotics if my membranes have been ruptured for more than several hours and birth is not imminent. Please discuss options with me and the reasons for augmenting or not augmenting labor.

I would appreciate any support you can give my partner to use the suggestions we received in our childbirth class, such as cool/warm compresses, birth ball, hydrotherapy, aromatherapy etc.

Please only offer pain medication if I request it.

It is important for me to push instinctively. For pushing and birth, I request dim lights and quiet voices. I would like to wait to push until I feel a strong urge, and would like to use the position most comfortable for me. I would like warm compresses to my perineal area during pushing and to “ease” the baby’s head out, to allow stretching of the birth canal and minimize any tearing. I would like an episiotomy only if necessary for infant well-being. My partner would like the opportunity to “catch” the baby with verbal assistance from the midwife and then to pass the baby up to me for skin to skin.

We would like to delay cutting of the umbilical cord until it has stopped pulsing. My partner would like to cut the cord.

I prefer to deliver the placenta spontaneously.

If an instrumental delivery becomes necessary for any reason, I prefer vacuum extraction be attempted before foreceps and I prefer to avoid an episiotomy unless absolutely necessary.

C Section:

If a C Section becomes necessary, and is not an emergency, please give us time alone to think about it before the procedure.

I would like my partner with me during the procedure, and for my partner to hold the infant as soon as possible. As soon as possible, I would like to touch, hold and breastfeed my infant.

After the birth, my partner and I would like time for skin to skin bonding with the baby and to delay procedures for the infant for 1-2 hours and allow us to establish breastfeeding. We would like to delay the bath and vitamin K shot at this time and we choose to forego the eye ointment at this time.

We want the infant with us at all times, and want only breast milk for nutrition.

If for any reason, my infant needs the care of NICU or the Special Care Nursery, my partner and I would like to be with the infant as much as possible. Please help me to start pumping breast milk as soon as possible and have it available for feedings.

We choose not to circumcise our baby boy.

We choose to delay immunizations until appointments with our baby’s doctor and we choose to forego the hearing test.

and that’s that.  the last thing i’ll say is that even though our plan seems to exclude most medical treatment and interruptions, that we still left the birth center feeling abused, bullied, and wishing we had done a home birth.  the birth center birth was overpriced, the staff was overworked and stretched thin and we felt the ill effects and left one of the most powerful and important times of our lives feeling disrespected, and like our birth had been an assembly line production in a factory.

I hope that this helps anyone interested.  it took the third time for us to become this aware and we still left feeling in many ways disappointed.  so, prepare well for your birth, as well as you can.

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Author: Terry

Welcome! I am a Waldorf and unschooling-inspired homeschooling parent of three, ages 2, 4, and 7 living in the Lansing area of Michigan writing from the front lines of parenthood. Join me as I try to navigate homeschooling and bask in the craziness of life with young ones. Feel free to leave a comment. I would love to hear from you! Thanks for stopping by!

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