I am a planner to my very core. It’s the way I was raised, I hate the feeling of being unprepared, and I’m quite OCD about getting all my ducks in a row in general.
Soooo, how would I handle giving birth to a baby? That’s a very valid question that I actually asked myself from the second I found out I was pregnant. Labor and delivery are full of surprises and plot twists, and gosh darn it, I was going to do everything in my power to try to prepare for it all. Or at least, prepare myself for handling such surprises. And so, I started researching.
This is how I learned about birth plans. A birth plan is exactly what it sounds like: a plan for your birth. It is a literal piece of paper (or a few pages long, like mine was) that states most scenarios that can happen during the birthing process and lists subsequent options for handling those scenarios that you can choose from.
For example, my birth plan asked if I want an epidural, if I am going to be induced and how I would prefer that to happen, do I want my husband to cut the umbilical cord after she is born, do I want to nurse my baby as soon as she is out, do I want to give her formula or sugar water, etc.
“HUH?!?!” I thought after reading through the contents of my birth plan, while simultaneously swooning. That’s right, I swooned over the birth plan even though it was confusing the hell out of me, because it listed out all the things I needed to get educated about. It made everything seem so much more organized and laid out plainly for me to see. It’s almost like I could envision my birth process. I quickly answered the prompts in the best way I could and whipped it out at my next OBG prenatal check-up.
I had told my doctor at my previous appointment that I would like to utilize my next appointment to go over my birth plan. I let her know an appointment in advance so that she could set aside some time to go over it with me. That way, I could take my time discussing it with her and get all of my questions and concerns addressed. We went over every scenario listed on the plan, and she explained what everything meant, advised me on what the best options would be (without pressure), and was very transparent about anything and everything that could happen. I was able to let her know exactly what I wanted and didn’t want so that we would be on the same page (pun not intended.... no wait, that was a good one. Pun intended.)
I took notes on my birth plan while she talked, went home and did additional research, and eventually printed out a new copy of the plan and filled it out with my final decisions.
I reviewed my birth plan once more after my delivery date was set (I could not go to full term and had to be induced, so I knew exactly when I was going to be checked into the hospital. Long story; I will do a separate post on this). I also reviewed it with my husband and my mom, both of whom were going to be at the hospital with me. At this point, I had some special circumstances going on with my pregnancy and had very specific instructions that I had discussed with my doctor. I printed out three more copies of my plan, filled in my decisions, and wrote down the special instructions on each. Once I got to the hospital, I handed one copy to my doctor, one to a nurse, and one to the anesthesiologist. I made sure everyone knew my original copy was in my hospital bag. I told you I was a planner. Over-preparing is LYFE. For me, at least.
The bottom line is that having a birth plan saved my sanity. It made planning for labor and delivery so much easier and stress-free because of the transparency it provided. It was comforting, in that way. Let me mention that it is NOT MANDATORY for you to have a birth plan. It is completely up to you if you feel it will help you. I needed it for my experience (and will have it again for any future pregnancies), but not everyone does, and that’s just fine! A birth plan is an option you can go with or without.
If you decide you want to use one, click on this link to find the exact template I used that I found on thebump.com: https://images.thebump.com/tools/pdfs/birth_plan.pdf.
You can also easily find other templates online if this one isn’t quite what you are looking for.
Let me also mention that no matter how much I planned, prepared, and made my decisions, I ultimately left it all up to my doctor’s discretion. I let her know as well that though I am writing down what I would ideally like to happen at my birth, I trust her to do what is best for me and my baby. The doctor is the professional, and no one should lose sight of that. If she says something like “you need an emergency c-section” (which happened) or the like, I was going to let her do her job and do what she needs to do (which I did).
Spoiler alert: everything turned out fine.
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the amommaly: does not own the birth plan template. The template is owned by The Bump at thebump.com. the amommaly: does not own the photo used in this publication.
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