The "Birth Plan"

2:19 PM




Well, we are now only 5 weeks out from our due date! How insane that time flies so fast...I can't even believe it. This week has been absolute insanity! Huge to-do's checked off the list but as things usually go, not without a few mishaps along the way. However, even with the detours, lots has gotten done and Scott and I are feeling very accomplished in all that we have completed on our list in the past week.

The next couple weeks will be equally busy. Next week we will likely have our home tour with our midwife in preparation for our home birth. Prepping for a home birth is a little odd, especially not even really knowing if the home birth will come to fruition. The first thing I learned about wanting a home birth was not to talk about planning a home birth to most people until I had really come to arrive at a decision for myself, as the response you get is generally fear, disapproval, and worry. When I was in the first trimester, it was especially hard to discuss with people because of the opinions that really started freaking me out. Thankfully I've had a lot of time to mull over my decision and back it up with evidence based research which is key. People can't usually back up their fear with research - they back up their fear with "I knew this person who knew this person who..." so we have made a choice given the evidence we have found, and that is this: for a low-risk birth, delivering at home is just as safe as delivering in hospital. As well, the issues that could be more likely to develop are all things our midwives know how to handle, are trained in, and know to watch signs for. I also know that if at any time, even in labour, my gut feeling changes, I am welcome to move to the hospital and birth there and no one will be irritated.

Our Western society can approach birth as this insane medical emergency that we are not able to handle and need medical intervention for. Yes, situations requiring medical intervention can develop. However, 9 times out 10, birth is a normal experience without the need for intervention. The truth, and what an empowering truth it is, is that our bodies were made to do this. Contractions can not be stronger than you can handle or bigger than you, because they ARE a part of you, and therefore are smaller than you. I am actually overjoyed at the thought of delivery. Every video I watch, which used to make me afraid and generally grossed out, makes me cry. I just love labour and love the power of birth, which is really the power of love. To see the love and strength of the mother is so overwhelming to me. I can't wait to experience that and to feel all the ways that love in such an intense form will change me.

So back to the concept of a "birth plan." I put birth plan in quotations because birth is an uncontrolled event and plans, though not useless, need to be fluid. For me it's more of a birth preparation plan for us as the decision makers in non-emergency situations. If "this" happens, what will we do? What do we need to pack? When will we do "this"? When will we try "this"? What will we absolutely not be open to? Those kind of things. Really it's just a birth chat, which works best when you communicate with your partner and birth support team through all possibilities and scenarios so you have an idea of how you may like to handle whatever birth scenario that presents itself.

My ideal birth is not my birth plan. My ideal birth is my idea of a perfect birth, which is at home, unmedicated, in the water tub, with no induction, no tearing, no monitoring, no intervention. We want Scott to cut the cord once the placenta has stopped pulsing, we want immediate skin-to-skin time with me and baby to begin the hormonal balance process and to aim for breastfeeding success. We want breastfeeding support. We want delayed bath for baby so the vernix can absorb into the skin. We don't want an epistiotomy, epidural, or induction. We don't want use of forceps or vacuum. We basically want the most natural, gentle birth we can have. However, that's not a plan - that's a scenario. One we can do everything in our power to create, but in the end, really not something we control if other situations arise.

So what happens if I go overdue and need to be induced? What happens if after that, the induction contractions are too strong and I find myself unable to handle them? What happens if I have excruciating back labour? What happens if baby is breech? What happens if I don't dilate fast enough? What happens if I tear really badly? What happens if baby gets stuck? These are all scenarios that are possible, though not statistically dominating unless you first open the door. Typically certain medical interventions that are not required but are chosen by the mother or care provider can cause some of these scenarios to be much more likely, especially being induced and getting an epidural.

So as far as it depends on me and as far as my decisions make the difference, I will not be opting for something that could increase the likelihood of needing medical interventions or emergency surgery. I will do everything I can to bring about a safe and calm birth. And IF situations develop on their own beyond my control,  it is up to me as the mother to choose to accept the direction the birth is going and choose peace, even if it is not the route I intended things to go. I am trying to walk myself through all of this and not be stubborn in my plans because then disappointment and even traumatic memories can set in, and that isn't healthy or desirable. What really truly matters is that mom and baby are safe and healthy.

When I had my surgery for endometriosis and cyst removal, complications I was never prepped for developed. I reacted very negatively to the anesthetic and woke up paranoid and afraid. I felt I was being watched and judged and cried and cried. My bladder was in distress and not functioning on its own and the hospital wanted me out of there because it was the day surgery ward and they were closing for the day, so the nurses just sent me home, unable to empty my bladder - which is against hospital policy and was not approved by my surgeon. I ended up in excruciating pain, was taken to another hospital, and needed a catheter for quite a few days. I also developed a painful infection all while healing from four small incisions. None of this should have happened, I had absolutely no professional support at all, and I was honestly very traumatized by the experience. It should have been handled with care but instead was handled with a lack there of. Scott was the only person there with me and had absolutely no idea what was normal or how to advocate for me - so he just tended to me but was unable to speak up or question what was happening. Neither of us were prepared. We didn't go into that kind of surgery expecting to even need a plan and had no idea what sort of complications could arise and how we would need to advocate for proper care.

For birth, the best thing we can do is go into it with full support and knowledge of what could arise and what we will do. We have an incredible care team - two midwives and a doula who are well trained and equipped to provide us the excellent care we desire. They are all aware of my medical history, my reactions to my previous surgery, and have gotten to know me personally. I know that they will have my best interests at heart and that is truly one of the best feelings. Scott also knows that as well as the doula, he advocates for me. He knows what I want in the choices that will be presented to us and is prepared to stick up for our rights as parents if needed. He also understands where it is appropriate to listen to medical staff and accept intervention in the case of an emergency. We cannot see the future - so we can prepare ourselves for the best outcome possible, regardless of what arises. To us, the best outcome possible is this: that we are supported, informed, and empowered to bring this baby safely into the world. Everything else is just small details. No, I do not want another traumatic experience, no I don't want to feel ignored and an inconvenience to medical staff, no I don't want to feel like my voice doesn't matter. This is why we have chosen the team we have chosen and because of this, why we are so excited for this experience to come.

My midwives and my doula have mentioned to me something I have read online as well: that women with endometriosis often handle birth pain better than regular labouring women because it is a pain similar to what they've already known and learned to cope with. I am really comforted by that information and hope it is true. When my doula started mentioning different labouring techniques to handle the pain, I was honestly able to finish some of her sentences from experience because I have had to develop my own coping mechanisms to handle the pain. There have been times where Scott has seen me writhing in pain on the floor and concluded we needed to go to the hospital - and yet in all the years of extremely painful menstrual pain, I never have gone. The reason is because the battle is mine alone and is not an emergency - it is my normal and one few can even understand. No, I do not want heavy pain killers that will destroy my liver over time. No I do not want shots to relieve my pain and make me feel "off". This pain isn't bigger than me. I hate it and it is horrible but I can handle it and I know that. I know to rock on the toilet while I bounce my knees and count in sequences of 8 like when I was in cheerleading. I know what essential oils help me to naturally take the edge off. I know it will soon be over and I know I will be okay. I think pain only becomes unbearable when you add fear or worry to your pain - when you don't know the full extent of what the pain means. As soon as you've lost the battle mentally, you've lost the battle physically. Pain worsens the more you fixate on it, the more you give in to it, the more you feel sorry for yourself. You need to mentally battle the pain - you need to understand it. You need to declare that you are bigger than it, and that you can handle it. No, I have never experienced birth pain and I expect it will be the worst thing I ever feel, but I also know it IS normal and that unlike my endo pain, it is GOOD - that something good is coming. It's not a disease, it's a baby on her way. I know there will be a light to focus on - meeting my sweet girl. I am so hoping and praying I am able to have a vaginal birth. The location is less important...but I really hope I can finally bring full circle all the years of anguish and pain I have felt, seemingly purposeless, and finally experience my body do the right thing - make something beautiful out of the pain.

We are praying hard she stays head down. She loves flipping around and I suspect right now she is breech. I really do not want a c-section at all. A c-section is the hardest thing for me to prepare myself for mentally, as I want to know the blessing in disguise of using all the pain and coping mechanisms I've become familiar with over the years to aid in birthing my daughter - to bring purpose to all that pain. I feel like a c-section robs me of that experience, of that closure. The only silver lining I can think of is maybe being able to heal from my other traumatic surgery experience by having a positive and supported surgery and aftercare. Maybe that would also be a good kind of closure for me. I will try to focus on that if a c-section becomes the route we need to go.

So...as you can see...my plan is not really a plan in the sense of a set way I expect things to go. It is my plan for myself - how am I going to handle each situation? How will I feel? How will I be prepared? What will I want? I am thankful for all the education and support I have been given that makes me feel incredibly ready for birth. I used to be absolutely terrified of birth. It is such a joy to feel excited about it!

If you are experiencing birth soon, you need to join this facebook group:
https://www.facebook.com/groups/273661266056860/?fref=nf

It has helped me so much in preparedness and developing healthy ways of thinking and overcoming my fears!

Comment Below

2 comments

  1. For helping to make sure babe is in the right position, you could consider a chiropractor familiar with the Webster technique. Although I never ended up having that as a concern (both my babes hung out head down pretty early on), both my hypnobirthing teacher, doula, and midwives all vouched for their amazing abilities. Also, you may have come across it, but check out spinningbabies.com.

    When it comes to the whole birth part, I think your head is in the perfect space. Both my labours have been amazing experiences, I never found the pain to be too much. Honestly, contractions for me were more intense pressure then real 'pain'. AND contractions don't last more than a minute or two, even when back to back. You can do ANYTHING for a minute. Lastly, before my first baby, my doula told me to work as hard as I could to 'stay with my contractions' and 'ride the wave'. I did not understand what she meant until I experienced a contraction. Breath WITH it, don't let it get away from you. Keep your breaths long and slow, and resist the urge to tense up/breathe quickly when the contraction is so intense it can almost take your breath away. Enjoy your last weeks of preparation before welcoming your little! :)

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  2. Your birth will be the birth God has planned for you and this sweet baby girl. Trust Him and do not be fearful. I have had beautiful births with absolutely no medical interventions, at home, in the water, gentle, beautiful births, but I have also had a c-section {my first} and one birth with drugs (my second - I would not do that again - bad choice). Know that God created you to give birth and He will take care of you. Be prepared to be strong in your decisions because in the moments of pain, you will feel weak. I will be praying for you!

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