My Birth Plan (inspiration for yours:)

As promised in my previous post, here is the Labour Plan (or Birth Plan a.k.a. Birth Wish List, as we decided to call it), so you can draw some inspiration as you’re writing your own:

Before Labor Begins

  • As long as the baby and I are healthy, I would like to go at least 10 to 14 days over my due date before inducing labor. I prefer to go into labor naturally rather than be induced.
  • If NST (=fetal non-stress test) observation becomes necessary after my due date, I am flexible and support this procedure.

 Hospital Admittance

  • If I am less than four centimeters dilated, I would like to discuss with my healthcare provider the option of going home.

 Vaginal Exams

  • I would like no internal vaginal exams, within reason, during my labor until I have an urge to push. I prefer at no time to have my membranes broken.

 Induction

  • If induction becomes necessary, I would like to try natural induction techniques first (with the guidance of my practitioner)

Natural induction techniques I would like to try  

  • Breast stimulation/ Sexual intercourse
  • Walking
  • Herbs/ Acupuncture/ Reflexology

If my water breaks before I go into labor, I would like to

  • Wait as long as possible before being induced
  • Talk to my practitioner about alternatives to treatments such as antibiotics after 12 hours or more.

Environment

  • Upon arrival at the hospital, I prefer to have my husband with me at all times.

 I prefer to give birth in a

  • Birthing room with a shower and/or bath
  • Birthing bed
  • Use birthing ball/ stool

Miscellaneous environment items  

  • I would like to have dimmed lights and for people entering the room to speak softly.
  • I would like to play my own music.
  • As few vaginal exams as possible
  • I would like to have my birth photographed/ filmed/videotaped (by my husband).
  • Hospital staff limited to my own doctor and nurses (no students, residents or interns present).

Pain Relief

  • Please do NOT offer or discuss any pain medications with me.

I am prepared to try to handle pain with these natural and alternative methods:

  • Hypnotherapy & Meditation (Childbirth Hypnosis) and relaxation
  • Breathing techniques
  • Massage/ Acupressure/ Acupuncture
  • Water/bath/shower
  • Distraction techniques

Other Considerations

  • Ideally, I want to be able to walk around and move as I wish while in labor.
  • I would like to feel unrestricted in accessing any sounds of chanting, grunting, or moaning during labor.
  • Please always keep my door closed while I am in labor.
  • I would like to eat and drink as approved by my doctor

Monitoring

If necessary, I prefer the baby to be monitored

  • Intermittently monitored to allow for as much mobility as possible
  • External
  • Performed only by Doppler
  • Performed only if the baby is in distress

 

Second Stage Labor

  • As long as the baby and I are healthy, I prefer to have no time limits on pushing.

I would like to be encouraged to try the following different positions for labor (whatever feels right at the time):

  • Squatting/ Birthing Ball/ Classic semi-recline/ Hands and knees/ On the toilet/ Standing upright/ Lean on my husband/ Side Lying

 Episiotomy

  • I prefer to have no episiotomy and risk tearing
  • If I need an episiotomy, I prefer a pressure episiotomy.

 To help prevent tearing, please

  • Use perineal massage/ Apply oil/ Apply hot compresses
  • Support me in breathing in accordance with hypnobirthing for slower crowning.

 Other labor considerations

  • Please allow the shoulders and body of my baby to be born spontaneously, on their own.
  • No stirrups
  • Only use a local anesthetic for repairs.

The Delivery

Pushing

  • It’s important to me to push instinctively. I do not want to be told how or when to push.
  • Push without time limits, as long as the baby and I are not at risk

Miscellaneous  

  • I would like my husband to catch my baby and pull it onto my abdomen (I would like the doctor to catch my baby only if necessary).
  • I would like for our baby to hear our voices first.
  • I WOULD LIKE MY HUSBAND TO ANNOUNCE THE GENDER.
  • I prefer to have the lights dimmed for delivery or, if it is daylight, to access only natural light.

After Baby is Born

  • As long as my baby is healthy, I would like my baby placed immediately skin-to-skin on my abdomen with a warm blanket over it for BREAST CRAWL.
  • Please do not separate me and my baby until after my baby has successfully breastfed on both breasts.
  • Please delay all essential routine procedures on my baby until after the bonding and breastfeeding period (i.e. bathing, suction etc.).
  • If the baby has any problems, I would like my husband to be present with the baby at all times, if I am unable to.

 

Third Stage Labor

  • Please wait for the umbilical cord to stop pulsating before it is clamped.
  • Please allow my husband to cut the umbilical cord.

Placenta  

  • I would prefer for the placenta to be born spontaneously without the use of pitocin, and/or controlled traction on the umbilical cord
  • I would like the option of taking home the placenta.

Newborn Procedures

Administration of Eye drops / Vitamin K / Immunizations

  • Please do not administer eye drops to my baby, I am willing to sign a formal waiver if need be.
  • I would like only the orally administered vitamin K to be given to my baby.
  • I am ready to sign a vaccine exemption waiver and have any immunizations postponed to a later time.

Bathing Baby

  • After we had time to bond, we would like to give our baby his/her first bath using our own non-toxic baby products (advice on bathing appreciated) or not bathe baby at all until next day.

 Circumcision

  • If a boy, please do NOT circumcise my baby.

 PKU (phenylketonuria)

  • Please do routine PKU Testing after 24 hours
  • We decline routine PKU testing at the hospital and have made other arrangements for this procedure at a later date this week.
  • We would like to wait, and delay the PKU testing until we are ready to leave the hospital

 Feedings

  • My baby is to be exclusively breastfed, feeding on schedule.
  • 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  

  • Formula
  • Pacifiers
  • 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 husband to go with the baby if I can’t.
  • To breastfeed or express my milk for 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

  • Full rooming in, no separation, no exceptions, unless my baby is sick.

My Hospital Stay

I prefer that my hospital stay be

  • As short as it can be.

 Other hospital preferences

  • I prefer a private room and discuss other options.
  • I prefer to have my husband stay with me for the duration of my hospital stay. If my husband cannot stay with me, I’d like for him to have unlimited visits.
  • I would like my guests to be permitted to stay as long as they wish.

As needed post-delivery, please give me:

  • Stool softener.
  • Laxative – I will have my own (coconut water, bananas…) + abdominal massage.

If baby is not well, I’d like:

  • My husband and me to accompany it to the NICU (= neonatal intensive care unit) or another facility.
  • To breastfeed or provide pumped breast milk.
  • To hold him or her whenever possible.

Cesarean

  • If a C-Section is not an emergency, please give my husband and me time alone to think about it before asking for our written consent.
  • My husband is to be present at all times during the c-section.
  • Ideally, I would like to remain conscious during the procedure and have the surgery explained as it happens
  • 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.
  • I prefer to have a hand free to touch the baby.
  • We would like to photograph or film the operation as the baby comes out.
  • We would like to film or photograph only the baby after delivery.
  • If possible, please discuss anesthesia options with me (including morphine options).
  • I prefer a low transverse incision on my abdomen and uterus.

 

Recovery

  • 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 husband to be the baby’s constant source of attention until I am free to bond with it (i.e., holding, skin-to-skin contact, etc.).
  • Please pay special attention to our nursing needs in recovery. I may need some extra help nursing after the operation.
  • I would like to have my catheter and IV removed ASAP after my recovery period.
  • 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.

 

I hope you find some of the points inspiring and worth discussion!

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Emergency evacuation with a baby

Today was a scary day. Our neighbourhood had to be evacuated due to brush fires (if you’re interested, read more here). My husband was at work when he called me and said: “I’m watching the news right now. I want you to go and pack an emergency bag, just the necessities and put it in the car. Pack water bottles, our most important paperwork and anything that you might need in case you are not coming home tonight. I want you to be ready in case they order our house to get evacuated.”

I panicked for a moment. What about the baby? Are we going to be OK? All the fears that we new (and not-so-new) mothers have came all of a sudden alive…
I was so glad I had the heads up, I had the luxury of choosing my emergency items fairly slowly. But it got me thinking about refugees of war who sometimes have only minutes to grab their most important belongings and run! I don’t want to compare our situation to theirs, by any means – this is just how my thoughts were running to all corners possible.
One of my thoughts was to make our baby Aditya as comfortable as possible. He is only 3 months old, so he can’t run or hide. He can’t choose much anything for himself. But he can feel when us, his parents, are stressed or upset. I wanted to make sure, that he wouldn’t even know something dangerous is happening.
He was in a playful mood and didn’t want to be left on his own. I couldn’t imagine I would be running around the house packing what might become our only possessions and listening to him crying without having the time to comfort him (leave a baby crying and the “music” might double:), so I tied Moby wrap and put him inside facing out. As I was folding some clothes, I thought “Wow, he is very calm considering I’m running around with him like he was a rag doll.” And then he grabbed on a towel I was about to set down and I have realized, that he thought this was a new game! He’d recently started enjoying when fabrics ‘fly’ above his head and touch his face. So he was actually having a blast for a moment there!
We got packed in a comfortable speed and headed to a friend’s house away from the evacuation line and in the evening we returned home, happy to see the house just the way we left it.

This whole unfortunate adventure made me contemplate how unprepared I was to lose everything in fire and how much some material things mean to me.
Next time I hope I will know what to take with us and consider this a rehearsal for a possible quick exit.
Mainly I hope there is NO NEXT TIME!!!

I wish none of us is in a similar situation, especially with children, but life happens. Shit happens. Let’s try to put together a good evacuation plan for parents and babies!
DISCLAIMER: This is not an official evacuation guide, this is a personal account of events. This guide is food for thought and a little list you should tuck away in your mind and use it if needed with a good dose of common sense and tailor it to suit your situation and needs. Some city/ county government websites have a link to emergency checklists. I also like the Red Cross Preparedness List. If you have time to read this blog, you have time to find and print an emergency list and keep it on your fridge or in your car!
I cannot be held responsible in case you think my list caused you trouble
(sorry, I thought this was necessary).

If you are walking, you need to consider how to hold a baby, that doesn’t walk yet, and a bag/ suitcase at the same time. Use a sling or a baby carrier to free your hands and pack a bag you can carry or pull with one hand or consider a backpack.
If you’re using a car, you can take much more stuff!

Make sure you have:
•car seat for your baby
•stroller or baby carrier for your destination
•lots of water and some non-perishable food (even if you’re just going to a friend’s house – in the event of evacuation, you can be stuck in traffic for hours!)
•baby food/ formula if you’re not breastfeeding or if you’re supplementing
•mobile phone and charger
•map of the area (some roads might be closed)
Your bag should have:
•at least a day’s worth of clothes for everyone
•sturdy shoes
•basic toiletries
•medicines, if you take any; prescription glasses/ contact lenses
•utility knife (or Swiss knife or multipurpose tool)
•cash/ checkbook
•important documents (IDs, social security, mortgage, bank info contact list etc.)
•flashlight and batteries
•paper towels/ toilet paper/ tissues
•hand sanitizer
Personal items:
•laptop and external drive (especially if you have lots of important info and photos stored there)
•irreplaceable items like photos (this is an item

most missed when people lose most of their belongings) or important religious items (I have for example wrapped a cross blessed by the Pope, something that just caught my eye as I was packing and I knew it was important to me – and it didn’t take much space)
•camera with batteries or charging cable
Baby items:
•at least a day’s worth of clothes
•a pack of diapers and baby wipes
•clean bottles
•blanket, burp cloths
•favourite toy or book (you may consider this a non-emergency item, but as I mentioned, my intention was to make the evacuation seem just like a trip and not affect the baby – you will need to entertain the baby and have him/ her feel comfortable with a familiar toy in an unfamiliar situation).
If you have time like I did, change and feed the baby just before you leave. Who knows how long you would be driving or stuck in traffic.

Hmmmm, I feel better now. Just in case we need to evacuate again tomorrow morning! Good night (and good luck)!