When I found out I was pregnant, I was looking for a way to avoid C-section at any cost. Living temporarily in the USA, I knew about the alarming rates of UNNECESSARY C-sections and the overuse of medications during birth and figured out we needed a good doctor and a PLAN. A birth plan! But I have to warn you – you cannot plan EVERYTHING in advance and you shouldn’t think that everything will go accordingly to the plan. So let’s start calling this “plan” a “Birth Wish List” instead.
I am from a family with twins left and right (last set born 3 years ago) and none of the mothers had a C-section. Here most doctors automatically plan for a Cesarean the moment you find out you are carrying twins. I wasn’t pregnant with multiples, so I knew unless we found ourselves in an unusual situation, I would not let any doctor talk me into a Cesarean. I’m not a control freak, but I wanted to be able to decide/ co-design how my baby enters this world.
Even if you’re planning for a C-section (and I will not judge you), it’s nice to know what’s coming and how to make yourself, your loved one (whoever you’d like to have with you on the magical day) and your baby/ babies as comfortable as possible by planning a bit in advance. Have your list nearly ready by 36. week of your pregnancy, just in case…
Once you have the list, print it several times, even if it’s not finalized yet. If you had to leave for hospital right that moment, you have already something in your hand. And why multiple times? Give one copy to your nurse, one to your doctor, have one with you and you will always have a copy when the nurses change shifts, because what if the first one misplaces it? Also when you hand the wish list over, give them a box of cookies or order a pizza on your way to hospital – you have no idea how much your nurse’s attitude towards you and your “list” changes! It’s not corruption, you’re making sure your nurse will be a happy camper even if it’s an overnight shift!
Also if you’re planning to deliver in a hospital, I highly recommend to fill out your paperwork a few weeks in advance. Once you’re in labour, you will save yourself a TON of time – and nerves (who remembers their employer’s telephone number at such time and why are they asking anyway?). You’ll just sign admittance sheet and you’re in!
WHAT GOES INTO A BIRTH PLAN (wish list, I mean;)? I will include my own Birth Plan in a separate post for inspiration.
First, write down any worries you have, and how would you like to proceed if things don’t go ideally. These will be your most important questions to discuss with your doctor, midwife or doula. Then, if you’re taking any birthing classes, jot down the information you would need to know once you’re in the hospital (or at home or wherever else you’ve chose to give birth) and make sure you won’t forget details, so you can incorporate your classes’ skills.
Start writing your plan! I found several downloadable versions on the internet, one of my favourite is here. I copied the 3 I liked the most and combined them, because each had some details the others didn’t. It was about 8 pages long (!!! I know…) Then I gave one copy to my husband so we can each work on it on our own and compare ideas. It’s not necessary, but I wanted to see what he’d see differently before knowing what I thought and vice versa.
At first I was working with the list like this:
I prefer to give birth in a:
Room with a shower and/or bath
I didn’t delete any options, not even those none of us selected. We took the list to our doctor and over a course of 3 visits we discussed the points and I was slowly deleting the selections we no longer needed. The list ended up being 2 pages long (BIG progress from the starting 8:))) and included also our choices in the event of an emergency C-section (see, I DID think of almost everything).
And how it helped? A lot, I say! For example I didn’t want to have an IV if not for an emergency, so although it was offered, nobody reinforced it (my husband had to sign some paperwork, of course). I also didn’t want any painkillers discussed and the nurses were amazing – didn’t mention medications even once! If I had to explain this when I was already in labour, I’d be discussing it right there an then – that wouldn’t help avoiding discussing it, right?
I believe that if you even as much as attempt to write a Birth Wish List, it will help you do some research. And only when you’re really informed, you can make an informed decision. Do not rely on your doctor for everything. Sometimes even doctors assume that what they think is best for you is what YOU THINK is best for you.