Monday, April 23, 2012

My Naturally Minded Birth Plan- 2012 Edition

*Disclaimer-  This is a post about birthing which will most likely use words like vagina, nipples, cervix and the rupturing of membranes. It may get ugly. :) If this is not your cup of tea than skip on over to the previous post about toys or perhaps you could browse my right-sidebar index for a yummy recipe? :) I'll see you on the other side. For the rest of you, enjoy as I spew my super duper hippie birthing beliefs on the public. :) Your welcome.

I have developed this plan of how my ideal birth would go based on my previous experience of a drug-free, natural birth. It is also based on my own research on natural birthing, (meaning completely drug-free and vaginal in my mind) through books such as, Ina May's Guide To Childbirth, Birth Matters, and Spiritual Midwifery by Ina May Gaskin.  I also read and loved Birthing From Within by Pam England CNM, MA and Rob Horowitz PHD. The Birth Book by Dr. Sears was another good one.  Supernatural Childbirth by Jackie Mize opened my eyes to the spiritual side of giving birth and experiencing the promises of God concerning conception and delivery. I watched some eye-opening and extremely informative documentaries such as Pregnant in America, The Business of Being Born, and the new More Business of Being Born. These were just some of my most favorite books and documentaries on the subject of birthing naturally and each one gave me newfound knowledge about my body and more confidence in realizing that I could do this without the use of drugs which would, hands down be the safest way for my child to come into this world. This plan is just a plan though and I am well aware that at any time a medical complication could arise and it could be totally thrown out the window. Or maybe my body will stop progressing the way it's supposed to and I will be forced to re-evaluate my plan.  I am prepping my idealistic mind to be ok with that and in the end just be completely grateful for the safe birth of a healthy baby girl. Some of my requests may seem pretty far out in left field or just plain high-maintenance but let me remind you that while most women in the U.S. choose an epidural, (In 2006 a national survey called, "Listening To Mothers" was conducted and found that 75% of women had epidurals compared to 14% of women who choose an unmedicated birth.) I am planning not to have one due to all the dangers and possible side effects of epidurals. If you haven't already done your own research on epidurals I strongly suggest you explore both sides throughly before going into your own birthing experience. So, in lieu of drugs these natural coping mechanisms are vital to reach my goals in labor.
 My first birthing experience was completely transforming. An extreme rite of passage into the tough but rewarding work of motherhood. I went in with complete confidence and a strong desire to do this without drugs no matter how intense the pain was because I learned that my body was designed to handle it. I went through it in complete shock at how horrifically painful it really was, with questions in my hormonally overloaded mind if I could really and truly come out alive. I came out of it in completely humbled because throughout my labor I prayed for the strength I needed to get though it drug- free and I had actually received it. It was one of the most powerful examples of the ask and you will receive from God that I had ever experienced. I had given myself the reward of knowing I could in fact be strong, truly strong in myself despite other feelings of vulnerability in other areas of life. In the end, the most important goal was met-a healthy baby boy was placed into my arms for me to fall head over heels in love with.
There were, however a few things that made my labor and delivery more difficult than it had to be due to the unnecessary interventions of doctors and nurses. There was an unexplained order for me to begin pushing at only 8 centimeters, (You are only supposed to begin pushing when you are a 10 and/or when your body has the natural urge to bear down and push.) and a scary vacumme suction device used on my Aiden's little head to assist in getting him out of me. I still shudder when I think of that.   In revising my former birth plan from my experience in 2009, I hope to have an even better experience this time around. My plan is based on the positives of my former experience such as learning the powers of my own body while taken into a sacred space in my own strength I never even touched on in the past. It is also based on the negatives of my previous birth such as finding out firsthand how hospital policies and medical procedures can truly disrupt the whole natural process of some of the magical phenomenons of the birthing process. I have learned that one of the most important aspects of achieving a natural birth is trusting your body that God has specifically designed to be perfectly capable of giving birth without the assistance of this culturally- inspired trend of using drugs, IV's, and episiotomies. It is also about honoring your body's natural processes and becoming well versed in them through research though it's sad that some things aren't common knowledge. It is all about realizing that birthing isn't a medical emergency that must always take place in a hospital setting, (Unless you have a high-risk pregnancy or a medical emergency at the time of your birth.) If my own insurance covered me to give birth in a free-standing birthing center with a midwife, that would be my ideal place. And just to dream for a minute, if money were not an issue at all then I would fly to Tennessee to give birth under the care of Ina May Gaskin herself, (the most accomplished midwife in the world with much safer birthing outcomes and statistics than any hospital) at The Farm Midwifery Center where I could labor outside in the forest near a little stream if my heart desired or in a birthing tub where I would be most relaxed. If for example my baby was breech, there would be no insurance/hospital policy saying that I had to have a risky C-Section because the midwives there, (and most midwives anywhere) would know the age-old techniques of delivering a breech baby safely and vaginally. If I wanted to eat or drink during labor, I could without the worrisome hospital nurses giving me reasons why I shouldn't when clearly my body needs the nourishment to get through labor. This is a place where the natural processes of a women's body would be honored and not disrupted by hospital policies.
Back to real life, my Kaiser insurance and onto the realities of hospital birthing. I am hoping that my Doctor, midwife and labor nurses will take some time to read over my wishes and help make this birth the safest for my baby and the most comfortable for myself it can be this time around!

our baby belli's about 2 weeks ago! (Currently I'm 35 weeks pregnant!)

Laura's Plan
   As long as the baby and I are heathy, I would like to go at least 10 to 14 days over my due date before inducing labor.
      I would like to discuss laboring at home as long as possible.
      I trust that my practitioner will seek out my opinion concerning all of the issues directly affecting my birth before deviating from my plan.
      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.
      During a vaginal exam, I prefer at no time to have my membranes broken unless there is an emergency situation.
      I prefer to have minimal internal exams.
      If I am less than five centimeters dilated, I would like the option of going home.
      If induction becomes necessary, I would like to try natural induction techniques first (with the guidance of my practitioner).
These are the natural induction techniques I would like to try:
      Breast stimulation
      Castor oil
      Sexual intercourse
If Medical induction becomes necessary, I prefer to try:
      Rupturing membranes
If my water breaks before I go into labor, I would like to:
      wait 6 hours before being induced.
      Upon arrival at the hospital, I prefer to have my partner with me at all times.
      Please, no residents or students attending my birth.
I request the following people to be present during my labor and/or 2nd stage labor:
      My Partner: Tim Bishop
      Possibly a doula
      I prefer to give birth in a birthing room.
      I prefer to give birth in room with a shower and/or bath.
If birth equipment is available, I would like to use:
      A birthing bed.
      A birthing ball.
      A birthing tub/pool/shower.
      A birthing stool.
Miscellaneous environmental requests:
      I would like to have dimmed lights.
      I would like control over the thermostat in my birthing room. For my last birth I had it at a comfortable 52 degrees no joke. (They don't call it labor for nothing!) Bring your winter coats nurses!
      I will need multiple ice-packs.
      I would like for people entering the room to speak very softly and keep whispering to a minimum as I will need full, undistracted concentration once I have shifted from my logical left-brain into my primitive birthing-brain, (right- brain). Please speak softly to me and slowly, using simple phrases to avoid disrupting my labor-trance and concentration.
      I would like to play music.
      I would like to wear my own clothes during labor and delivery or be naked if I prefer it at the time
      I would like to have my birth photographed.
      I would like to have my birth filmed/videotaped.
      I would like to wear my glasses or contact lenses unless removal becomes medically necessary.
      I would like to have no restrictions on food or fluids during my labor.
      I prefer to have no IV.
      Please do not offer me pain medications. Instead, offer me the encouragement I need to get through this labor drug-free. On that note- I would prefer to only work with labor nurses who themselves have had a drug-free, vaginal birth if they are available at the time. I've found that their labor techniques and assistance are the most helpful to me. 
I am prepared to try to handle pain with these natural and alternative methods:
      Breathing techniques.
      Distraction techniques.
      Deep (or guided) relaxation.
Other considerations :
      Ultimately, I want to be able to walk around and move as I wish while in labor.
      Ultimately, I would like to feel unrestricted in accessing any sounds of chanting, grunting, or moaning during labor.
      Please keep my door always closed during labor.
The Big Push:
      Even if I am at 10 cm and the midwife or Dr. feels it is time to start pushing, I prefer to honor the natural signals of my body and wait until I have the natural urge to push. I learned from my previous birth, (which was disrupted by my doctor who forced me to start pushing at only 8 centimeters) that pushing just because you are 10 centimeters, but without the urge to bear down, will be less effective and more tiring. " Without vaginal examinations telling them they should be pushing, women will continue laboring until the urge arises." - Birthing From Within p.139
      If pushing for more than several hours, I am open to medical intervention in 2nd stage labor.
I would like to be encouraged to try the following different positions for labor:
      Classic semi-recline.
      Hands and knees.
      Standing upright.
      Side Lying.
      Whatever feels right at the time
      I prefer not to have an episiotomy.
To help prevent tearing, my husband or doula may apply olive oil to my perineum and check out this link on giving a proper perineal massage instead of an episiotomy. 
Other labor considerations:
      No stirrups please unless I'm having a medical emergency.
      If intervention is needed for an assisted vaginal birth, I prefer vaccume suction
      I would like my partner to catch my baby, (if he is ready and willing at the time)
      I prefer to have the lights dimmed for delivery or, if it is daylight, to access only natural light.
After Baby is Born:
      Delay cord clamping until it stops pulsing.
       No Vitamin K and Hep B vaccines
       As long as my baby is healthy, I would like my baby placed immediately on my abdomen           following the birth.
      Please put my baby skin-to-skin on my abdomen with a warm blanket over it.
      Please delay all essential routine procedures, (for the first hour) on my baby until after the bonding and breastfeeding period (i.e., bathing).
       I will be bringing a supply of cloth diapers to the hospital with me. Please only use these on my baby from the very first time she is diapered. I also will provide a sanitary wet bag in which to place all the soiled diapers for laundering when we return home. 
      In the event of a medical emergency where a C-Section is necessary:
      My partner(s) is(are) to be present at all times during the c-section.
      Ideally, I would like to remain conscious during the procedure.
      I would like the baby to be shown to me immediately after it's born.
      I would like to have contact with the baby as soon as it is possible in the delivery room.
      We would like to photograph or film the operation as the baby comes out.
      If possible, please discuss anesthesia options with me (including morphine options).
      I prefer a low transverse incision on my abdomen and uterus and the double layer stitching method for stitching me back up. 
      If my baby is healthy, I would like to hold my baby and nurse it immediately in recovery.
      I would like to sign any waivers necessary to permit me to be with my baby in recovery.
      As long as my baby is healthy, I would like my partner to be the babys constant source of attention until I am free to bond with it (i.e., holding, skin-to-skin contact, etc.).
      Please discuss with me what I can expect to feel immediately following the procedure.
      Please discuss my post-operative pain medication options with me before or immediately following the procedure.
      Please allow my partner to cut the umbilical cord if he desires.
      I would prefer for the placenta to be born spontaneously without the use of pitocin, and/or manual extraction and please don't try to show it to me I'm not interested. :)
      If the baby has any problems, I would like my partner to be present with the baby at all times, if possible.
      I would like to have routine newborn procedures delayed until bonding and breastfeeding have occurred.
      I would like all newborn routine procedures to be performed in my presence.
Administration of Eyedrops:
      I would like my baby to be administered eyedrops after the bonding period if necessary.
      I prefer any immunizations be postponed to a later time.
Bathing Baby:
      Please bathe my baby after we have had time to bond with it.
      I would like him circumcised.
Other circumcision options:
      Please use a local anesthetic.
      Routine PKU Testing right away.
      My baby is to be exclusively breastfed.
      I would like to see a lactation consultant as soon as possible for further recommendations and guidance.
Do not offer my baby the following without my consent:
      Any artificial nipples.
      Sugar water.
If my baby's health is in jeopardy, I would like:
      To be transported with my baby if possible.
      My partner to go with the baby.
      To breastfeed or express my milk for my baby.
      To have no time restrictions with my baby.
      To have as much bodily contact with my baby as possible.
      To be offered a room at the hospital for the duration of my baby's stay (within reason).
I would like my in-hospital routine to be:
      Rooming in with my baby.
Other hospital preferences:
      I prefer a private room.
      I prefer to have my partner stay with me for the duration of my hospital stay.
      I want privacy during my stay and for my guests to limit the time they are visiting me.


  1. Glad I'm not the only one with such a detailed birthing plan! It worked out really well for me and I know it will for you too! Good luck I'll be thinking of you:)

  2. I don't know if you have decided or not, but I would STRONGLY recommend a doula. Ours was a tremendous help both during labor and in getting the hospital staff to follow my birthing plan. Also I had a very short birthing plan and I feel that the staff was much more open to following it because of that! Just my opinion, wish you the best of luck! -Nicole

  3. I got an epidural! A woman CAN change her mind. Especially during labor :)

  4. Really liked your article. There are the things which should be known by the women who are expecting. Though having practical planning for a baby is easy but maintaining those is not easy at all since everything does not go according to the plan.

  5. This post is a God send. Thank you so much!