Writing Birth Plans
When I was pregnant for the first time, I was very into reading the latest books and articles about all things pregnancy. Birth plans were part of the material, and since they were highly suggested by almost everything I read, I wanted to write one.
At one of my prenatal visits, I asked my doctor about what I should write in a birth plan. He looked at me with an amused smile. “Birth plan? Anything you want, I guess! But you have to keep something in mind: birth will not always go as expected, and I can’t follow everything in the plan just because you want me to. The hospital as well has its own policies and procedures it follows, which is out of my control. So, for example, if you’re into a water birth or something like that, you’re going to have to deliver elsewhere. But I can tell you this: I am all about the health and safety of you and your baby. I am looking forward to having a great delivery, no matter how it goes.”
Oh. I just kind of sat there, a bit stunned.
I thought everyone was into birth plans! He was a very old school doctor though. I mean, not old school as in old fashioned; he definitely was schooled in the latest technologies. I mean that he was then in practice for nearly thirty years and knew what he was doing.
Seeing my concern, he continued: “That doesn’t mean you can’t write one if you want. Why don’t you make a rough draft, and I’ll give it a look over when you visit again. Just skip the part about using forceps or a vacuum extractor. I do not believe in using them.”
I went ahead and wrote a basic birth plan, one that included my wishes to not use any medications, including epidurals. I did my research about them, and decided that I wanted as natural a birth as possible, just as my mother and grandmother had before me.
You know how that goes, right? When I went into labor with my son, all was going well until about the sixth hour when I held my breath a few times from the pain. I was exhausted already from being up since 1 am, and the consistent agony I felt in my abdomen, back, and legs was not what I was expecting. When the question about an epidural came, I willingly and pleadingly said “Yes!”.
Turns out the little bugger was sunny side up (facing the ceiling, not my spine) and he was stuck. After nearly fourteen hours of labor and a few good pushes, it was decided that he would not be coming out on his own. An emergency c-section was needed, and I once again agreed.
Ah, the best laid plans of mice and pregnant women….
Since I was going to need a c-section for my second and third born children, I decided to forgo the birth plan and just go with the flow (which helped when the second born came three weeks early and I had to deal with a substitute doctor since mine was on a vacation…).
Does that mean that birth plans are worthless? Absolutely not! In fact, I was glad I was prepared the first time around, and subsequently knew what to expect for the next time. I did much research and learned about both my doctor’s and the hospital’s policies and procedures. At this point, pregnant with my third and with a looming childbirth ahead, I feel like a pro.
Should you write a birth plan? Why not try it out and run it by your doctor?
Birth Plan Ideas and Birth Plan Template
For ideas of how to write your own birth plan, visit this article that has many helpful tips and suggestions.
FREE Birth Plan Template (written by me as ThePracticalMommy on HubPages)