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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So, I've never written a birth plan before (didn't feel it was needed) and when I've looked at online samples they seem really wordy to me. I mean, seriously, what L&D nurse is going to stop her very busy shift to read even one page of lengthy paragraphs?

I'm going to print my plan on two pieces of different colored paper (nice colors, not aggressive neons) so that one is the Yes page and the other is the No page. I will post them on the wall behind my bed so anyone coming in the room will see them.

I want to keep it short, sweet, easy to absorb quickly, and courteous. Here is what I have so far. Any suggestions are welcome!

Yes, Please!

* Epidural

* Delayed cord cutting

* Parents announce gender, not medical staff

* Skin-to-skin contact immediately post birth and throughout newborn exams

* Rooming In

* Breastfeeding


No, Thanks.

* Continuous fetal monitoring

* Pitocin

* Loud or aggressive coaching during pushing

* Episiotomy

* Eye Ointment

* Hep B Shot

* Circumcision (if boy)
 

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I love your idea of just having a "yes please" and a "no thanks" page above your bed. That's a really nice way to do it.
My birth plans have evolved with each pregnancy, and by the time the last one was born, we just had some bullet points of what we wanted under normal circumstances, what we wanted if things didn't go as hoped (like dad staying with baby, double layer sutures for c-section, etc) and what we absolutely were declining (hep b, circ, etc).
I haven't really written out anything for this birth because we're planning a homebirth and I've spent so much time talking to the midwife over the last few months, I feel like she knows...but we are having a "team meeting" with all the people expected to be there (midwife, assistant, MIL for childcare, etc) and I think we'll talk about it then a bit. Maybe I should type something up...hmmm... ;-)
 

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Daisy - I've never had a hospital birth, but I think if you have an epidural, then they do continuous fetal monitoring and coaching during pushing because you can't feel as much and you're on your back so you're having to push "uphill". I've also heard that epidurals can slow labour, requiring pitocin. I don't mean to suggest its not possible, but some of the things on your "no list" may be harder to achieve given the "yes" list.

That said, I like the simplicity, and I agree that I doubt many people read long paragraphs. With my current pregnancy, I have learned that there is something "stronger" than a birth plan. Hospitals also have advanced care plans that are worked out in advance and placed in your file before you arrive, so that they are aware that you are making an informed decision to refuse certain procedures.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Thanks for the input, SplashingPuddle. I appreciate your desire to inform.

I did have a hospital birth with my first son, then a natural birth with midwives at a freestanding birth center for my second, and now I'm happily back at a hospital specifically for the epidural. All humans experience pain differently and I learned from my two previous births that even when in the perfect environment with wonderfully supportive and knowledgeable people I felt completely comfortable with...the pain of an unmedicated birth completely ruined the birth experience for me.

I've read beautiful birth stories of women who felt empowered by moving through the pain; and I believe them completely. I don't think they are lying or looking back with rose-colored glasses. However, their truth is not my truth.

I felt more bonded to my first son than to my second, solely due to feeling the pain of my second son's birth. I literally associated my second son with torture (despite wonderful coaching on coping strategies by the midwives and giving birth in a tub).

I won't go on and on. I simply want to make room for the women among us who do not emerge from unmedicated childbirth glowing and empowered. We are all unique people whose bodies experience the world in different ways. There's a lot of room on this forum for different views...except for someone saying that unmedicated childbirth is NOT always what is best for everyone.

Back to my specific birth plan...having an epidural at the right time (after active labor is established) can actually speed up labor for some women. In my case, with my first son, I was so tense from the pain that I could not relax and wasn't dilating. After two days of early labor and another day of active labor I was still at a 3. I was utterly exhausted. I got the epidural and ONE HOUR later I was fully dilated and pushing.

I had hoped the long labor was only due to it being my first childbirth but, unfortunately, the same thing happened with my second son. Two days of just enough contractions to keep me from sleeping but not enough force to really dilate. Then one extremely long day of active labor (5am to 12:14am the next day). I know that those nearly 24 hours of active labor would've been cut in half or less than that if I'd been in the hospital with an epidural.

My body is built for birth. Once I reach the pushing phase everything goes quickly, and I never tear even the littlest bit. I'm not afraid of pushing while on my back. The monitors clearly show when you're having a contraction--you don't need to feel it to know when to push.

Again, SplashingPuddle, I truly appreciate your thoughts and don't mean to sound defensive by your suggestions. You are quoting the commonly held beliefs among unmedicated childbirth advocates about why epidurals are bad. But, those statements simply aren't true for all women. And definitely not true for me!

Best wishes to you, and all of us who are approaching our due dates!
 

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@Daisy8s Yeah I get the whole unmedicated birth thing sucking. It's why I wanted nitrous with this birth. I can't get nitrous though anymore due to my change in status to high risk. I risked out of the place that had it. Now I'm stuck with a regular hospital. I expect a rather fast labor with this child, so I won't bother with meds unless it drags on. If I end up on mag and need pitocin, I'll likely agree to the epidural to keep my sanity intact. I'm basically open to the idea of a medicated birth if necessary.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
I had this total epiphany about pain about two years ago. My mother had 4 glorious births that she just "breathed through" and loved every minute of. My sister and I had agonizing births. We both felt a bit less than in comparison to her.

Then, two years ago my 68-year-old mother fell and broke off the end of her heel bone while tearing her Achilles tendon. What was her reaction? To continue with her plans for the week--driving herself to the airport, getting on a plane, renting a car, and standing for two days as she delivered a seminar, then flying back home.

She didn't see an orthopedic surgeon till two weeks after the injury. I was with her at that appt. It takes a lot to shock a doctor but his jaw literally dropped open and he looked at her like she was from a freak show. All he could do was shake his head and say, "with that injury most people would've been screaming until they got to the hospital and were put on morphine."

Epiphany: every human body is unique and experiences pain differently.

I have no doubt many women, like my mother, feel pain to a degree that they can cope with it. I'm not one of them. No apologies or regrets for the body I'm in. But, I'm not going to pretend to be someone else and I'm not going to buy into the message that epidurals detract from the birth experience.
 

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Daisy - I didn't mean to make a judgement about birth with or without epidurals (that is a personal decision), only to say that at my hospital having an epidural requires continuous fetal monitoring, which you put on your no list. I am curious whether that is different at your hospital? My hospital also told me if I had a epidural, I'd need a catheter too. That they come together. Since I've only talked to the one hospital, I don't know if that is uniform among hospitals.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
I truly understand, Splashing, and I know your intentions were to be helpful in wanting to inform me about a perceived conflict that you spotted on my birth plan.

Unfortunately, being informed about an epidural by someone who has never had one and who is quoting only one hospital's policy, leads me to want to counter with more accurate information about the realities of an epidural.

No, it isn't my hospital's policy to automatically do continuous fetal monitoring or a catheter when an epidural is placed.

And, quite frankly, I couldn't care less if I have a catheter or not. It wasn't automatically placed at the hospital where I delivered my first son but they put it in later, after I delivered, and I was perfectly fine with that--couldn't feel a thing and it didn't interfere with bonding with baby. Actually, not having to get up to pee for a couple hours immediately after birth was quite convenient!
 

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Its a good reminder I think that each hospital (and birth center) and also each OB/Midwife might have different policies about what is offered/expected/allowed etc. For those making a birth plan its useful to know in advance what the normal is for the place you will be- if you havent already discussed with your midwife/ob- it will give people an idea of what to include in their birth plan. For example you have rooming in on your birth plan but I wouldnt include it personally because my hospital offers no other choice (besides NICU of course) so no need to include it.
 
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