Now that we’re getting down to the wire, we were encouraged by both our Bradley Method class leader and our midwife team to get to writing a Birth Plan for special requests we wanted to make during our birthing process at the hospital. The BM leader sent our class a handful of sample birth plans from her previous attendees, and that, coupled with the list of standard practices in Labor & Delivery done by our hospital sent to us by my doula-pal Katherine, helped us write the following plan.
So, here it goes!
“Thank you for taking the time to read our birth plan and for taking care of us. Listed below are requests that we feel will help us obtain a natural birth without medication. However, we will be flexible in all of these points if a complication does arise.
- Please do not offer pain medication unless Karrey asks for it. If she asks for pain relief, please feel free to offer nonmedical choices for coping and/or remind me how close we are to the birth.
- We would like the freedom to walk around, take a shower or bath, or use other available means as necessary to progress through labor, and avoid augmentation (pitocin, stripping of membranes, etc.). We would also like the freedom to deliver in a position that feels most comfortable/ideal to us, rather than the preference of the provider (e.g. modified squat, all fours, side-lying, etc.).
- Even if Karrey is fully dilated, she would prefer to wait until she has the urge to push, and would like to try to push instinctively rather than being coached, except when the baby crowns to limit the chances of tearing.
- Karrey would prefer to avoid an episiotomy, unless one is required for the baby’s safety, and would rather tear.
After the Birth
- It is important to us to hold and nurse our baby immediately after birth.
- We would prefer to allow the umbilical cord to stop pulsating before clamping and cutting.
- We want to give breastfeeding the best chance of success, and so we ask that no bottles or pacifiers be given to our baby without asking our consent first.
- We would prefer to wait for spontaneous delivery of the placenta, ideally from breastfeeding, rather than receiving an injection of pitocin.
- We would prefer to delay treatments (eye ointment, assessments, testing) for a bit after birth to allow bonding time if there have been no complications.
- We would like to hold our child skin-to-skin to help regulate the baby’s body temperature. Please weigh, bathe, and examine the baby in our room, and explain all procedures to us before performing them.
- We will decline the Hepatitis B vaccination until the baby’s first pediatric check-up
- In case of induction, Karrey would like to try laboring without pain medication first, but may opt for pain medication if labor is too difficult. Please encourage her to try to go without medication, especially if labor is progressing well.
- If a Cesarean delivery becomes necessary, we expect to be fully informed of all benefits, risks, and procedures. Kevin should be present for the delivery. After the delivery, Kevin would like to accompany the baby as much as possible. If the baby is born with complications, we ask that any procedures or medications be fully explained to us before they are administered.”
There were a few more items we wanted to add to the plan, but we also wanted to keep it relatively simple and limit it to one page, so that they knew we weren’t trying to be difficult or micromanage. Hopefully, this will help us ensure a smooth birthing process!