Let me start of by saying I’m 100% behind birth plans. They are a great way to let your care providers (midwife, doctor, nurses, etc) know what you want, especially when you are in pain and don’t want to answer 8 million questions about pain relief methods, how you plan on feeding your child, etc. But plans can change. A birth plan is a general guideline of what you want, not a magical piece of paper that will make it all happen the way you want. Take my labor with my little girl, for example. My birth plan was nice to have, so that we didn’t need to answer so many questions, but things certainly did not go as we would have liked. Either way, my little girl is here, and this is something to be grateful for.
My Birth Plan:
- NO induction medication unless medically necessary (ha! I was more than a week overdue–with very good calculations because I had been charting my cycles pre-pregnancy and knew the exact day I ovulated–and sceduled to be induced. I went into labor the day before my induction, but was not progressing very well and was induced anyway.)
- NO c-section unless there is an emergency need for one (I didn’t have one, but boy was I begging for one after 32 hours of labor…and up until I had her after 36 hours of labor.)
- IV pain medication as tolerated (IV pain meds were fabulous between contractions…during contractions, on the other hand, I still felt everything and as my husband puts it, I was “a complete bitch during contractions, even with the dope!”)
- Wait until 5-6 cm before getting epidural (hahahha! 5-6cm? Try begging for one at 2.5cm! It could have been the back labor or my shitty pain tolerance, but I was begging for one for a long time…from about 5 am to around 9 or 10 am when I finally got one…while still only being about 3.5cm. I think they just felt bad for me. Oh, and I ended up getting 3 epidurals. Long story)
- Husband to cut the cord
- Exclusively breastfeeding
- Hydrotherapy for pain (helped for about 5 minutes, then I was back to “I’m ready to kill anyone who comes near me”)
- Wait until first Dr. visit before giving baby her Hep B shot
- Husband not allowed to look while I’m pushing (He looked. He watched. He laughed because she had so much hair that I had “a mohawk sticking out” of my crotch. Thanks, honey!)
I had a birth plan, and I knew that it was not guarantee. Did it all work as I would have liked? No. Was I brokenhearted? No. I still had my baby girl, she was still healthy, and everything went fairly well (aside from 36 hours of labor and 2 failed epidurals). Just as plans with anything else can change, birth plans can change as well. They should call them “Birth Wishes”, because wishes don’t always come true, and “Birth Plan” can be misleading.
I suggest having a birth plan so that your care providers know your desires, but don’t get your heart set on things happening just as planned. Be ready to change your plans, if you need it. And don’t feel bad if the plans do change. I felt like a failure for getting the epidural when I did, but it helped (except for a spot the size of a softball on the right side of my stomach, or the 2nd one that didn’t work at all.) and all in all it was ok because me and my daughter made it through with only minor issues (my 2 failed epidurals, lots of stitches after having a 9lb 4oz baby, and both of us had fevers from the epidurals). Plans change, and you just have to go with the flow, listen to your body, and do what you feel is best.