31 Days-Don't Bother With The Birth Plan

October 27, 2015

Going into pregnancy I heard every manner of reasons as to why I should have had a birth 
plan. Heck, people even asked what my birth plan was. 

Had I had the extra cash I would have probably hired a Douala, although Jeremy did great at lower back massage with tennis balls. Counter pressure massage was a big 
life saver. So I guess you could say he and my mother served that role, however I was in so much pain at times I have no memory of Jeremy being around. 

Anyway, back to the topic at hand. 

Birth plans. 

I started to buy into the idea that I needed one, I thought I could control birth. I attempt to control everything else, so why not labor and birth as well. So I started discussing the topic with my doctor when I was a my last month of pregnancy just to see what she said. 

She was against the idea. 

At the time I was giving her the crazy eye, but now, opposed to common hippie practice... I don't think I'd ever both with the idea again. 
If you are communicating with your doctor along the way they already know what you want. 
We discussed epidurals all day every day, or at least it seemed that way when I saw her. 
She kept trying to get me to just write in my chart that I wanted one and I was against the idea. I wanted so badly to just go into labor naturally and "see" how I felt. If it were too much I would simply get an epidural. She knew that was what I wanted, but I eventually let her mark in my charts that I would take one just to have it as an option. 

I'm terribly glad I did too. Going into labor naturally didn't happen. Instead my blood 
pressure was out of control and she wanted the baby out before it started causing damage
 to my organs. Honestly, the pain that pitocin caused was no match for breathing. There was no time to breathe between contractions. Instead I progressed as far as I could until I was 
positive my bones were literally separating from my body. By that point I didn't slow down, it actually allowed me to relax and allow labor to progress more. (I know it can slow you down 
though... that's why I wanted to skip it altogether)

Nothing ever goes as planned. 
I didn't plan on having high blood pressure. I didn't plan on being induced. I didn't even plan 
to get an IV but only got once because I had to have so many fluids in before an epi could 
ever start and there was no sitting around for 45 minutes waiting on it. 

The week I gave birth my charts got mixed up and I was marked to need magnesium. That would have caused me to have to stay in bed and not bounce around on my yoga ball to try and speed things up. Luckily that mix up got fixed, but more on it later. 

You just can't plan for what could happen. The only thing I could try to control was staying as calm as humanly possible every time the blood pressure cuff beeped to start checking me. Which basically means the yogi deep inside did everything she could to keep my pressure down so I didn't need a c-section. 

Ask questions. 
I questioned everything the nurses did, even though my husband was probably cringing in a corner somewhere. In fact it was good that I did, remember that chart mix up? Well, my 
doctor wasn't getting to the hospital until almost 2 hour after I had been induced. Had I not forced the nurses to call my OB and refuse to take the magnesium I would have been put on a drug I didn't need that could potentially have changed the course of how my labor went. 
Instead she told them I was right and I was able to go on my merry way bouncing on my ball as happily as I could. 

There was nothing that went into me that I wasn't asking questions about. 

Don't be afraid to ask permission to do things. 
This should also be backed up with having a doctor who supports your views. 

We agreed on most everything, except her view on how long my maternity leave should last. I'll give it to my OB though, anyone else in my blood pressure state would have been told to get on bed rest, she knew how much I needed to save my paid days off and let me go to 
work under the understanding that I basically taught from a chair with my legs lifted up and 
stayed in bed when I was home. 

At one of my birthing classes the nurse talked about birthing balls, turns out all the ones at 
the hospital ran away so I had to bring my own. Which my doctor approved me doing. I felt 
a little silly making Jeremy wander around with a giant ball, but I'm convinced it progressed my labor. 

Now this isn't just about the birthing ball. Had we not talked on the phone two days before, after we had discussed the state of my blood pressure and what HAD to happen because of it regardless of what I WANTED, I wouldn't have known I could still have my ball. Now, 
having asked if I could have it completely contradicted what the nurses were wanted to do to me and I knew I had to quiz the heck out of them. That ball saved me from having to have 
magnesium that I didn't want, and didn't need. Had I not asked permission just days before giving birth I wouldn't have known, but when I was told I wouldn't be able to get out of bed if they gave me the magnesium I knew it wasn't lined up to what we had discussed. 
Turns out, I think the nurses and doctors kind of dislike the whole birth plan thing. 
Mainly because you can only control what's happening to a certain extent. Meaning, "Yes, I'd love some ice" is about the only thing that will definitely go as planned. I went in trying not to boss people around who knew their job better than I knew it and I got on well with 
everyone because of it... minus that nurse who gave me an IV. 

The biggest reason to skip it, you'll likely be dissatisfied with your birth experience if you have a birth plan. 
My OB really stressed the fact that of all the babies she delivered, the most dissatisfied mothers were the ones with birth plans. She said they hardly every go according to the plan and those mothers felt almost cheated in a way and regretted aspects of their birth. 

I have to say I think she is right. I tossed the plan out the window and went with the flow. I 
had things I wanted to have happen and we all knew that Plan A was Plan A, but if Plan B 
had to happen that was okay too. 

I couldn't be dead set on the one hour of skin to skin, and then nursing before the baby was ever taken for a bath if there was something wrong with him. That was out of my control. 

I didn't want an episiotomy, and luckily my doctor agreed that tearing was better than cutting and that's the route we went. 

When push (pun not intended) came to shove I had to trust that this woman who had gone 
to school forever and had delivered more babies than I had ever held knew what she was 
doing. I told her my ideal birth and she did what she could to make that happen. 

Thanks to her suggestion to toss my hippified birth plan out the window  I ended up really 
enjoying the whole event, some parts in retrospective mind you, but I enjoyed it. 

I even broke the rules and was chomping down on some S'mores Gram-fulls while she was stitching me up since I was starving. Funny thing is that the nurses thought something was wrong since I suddenly wanted to guzzle water and eat everything granola bar in hobbling 
distance, but my lovely OB who had paid such close attention to me the last 9 months knew I was just hungry and thirsty... and that neither of those needs had been met with a giant
baby keeping me for eating or drinking much without getting sick. 

So ladies, ditch the birth plan and just find an OB you love.