Birth plan

Later this week, I have another appointment with my midwife. The due date is a mere six weeks away. I forgot to mention in my list of to-dos this month: unpack the baby stuff. That would probably be helpful, huh? Do I wash it all in Dreft, too? One mom told me she just uses the second rinse cycle instead of bothering with Dreft. I’ve used Dreft with all the baby’s things until it’s used up and then switched to the double rinse. Such big decisions…so much extra work…

My midwife, Suzanne (I may as well name her, since she’ll be a big part of my life in the next six weeks), is interested in my birth plan. I’ve never really had a provider care about my birth plan. If we wanted to set a mood, that was up to us. All other ideas, like pain medication or breaking my water, were on the spot decisions …or orders (“I’m going to break your water now…whether you like it or not…”).

Since I haven’t yet settled in my mind the home birth or hospital birth question (I have six weeks, right?), I’ve come up with two plans. They are pretty similar.

Hospital birth plan: I wake up well rested on a Saturday morning (has to be a Saturday). I feel some regular, dull achiness about my midsection, but I’m able to rotate the laundry, eat a nice breakfast, feed my children, and take a shower. At a reasonable hour, say, 8 am, I use the toilet and my water breaks, conveniently, at that time (who wants to be mopping while in labor, right?). This gives me a clear indication that the baby will be coming soon. I call the midwife who says she’ll be right over. I call a few neighbors who gladly take the children. I begin to notice stronger contractions, but they are not too uncomfortable, and they are definitely not in my back. Suzanne shows up, checks me, and lo and behold, I am fully effaced and at 5 cm! We head to the hospital (it takes us about 40 minutes), and my contractions continue to be manageable, but I notice they seem to be only 3 or 4 minutes apart. Once at the hospital, they seem a bit stronger, but I’m still walking around and smiling. Imagine my surprise when Suzanne checks me again, and I’m at 8! The next half hour is a blur, and those contractions become pretty uncomfortable, but then I feel the need to push, and out comes a beautiful new life. Bill is home in time to put Petey down for his 1 pm nap.

Home birth plan: After several hours of good solid sleep, I wake up around 1 am. While going to the bathroom, my water breaks, and I decide I better call the midwife right away. As I’m doing this, I notice some strong, but not too bad, contractions happening every few minutes. Suzanne says she’ll be right over. I decide to wake Bill, and pull the comforter off the bed (and fold it neatly off to the side). When Suzanne shows up, she checks me and, holy cow, I’m at 7 or 8 cm! The next half hour is a blur, and those contractions become pretty uncomfortable, but then I feel the need to push, and out comes a beautiful new life. It’s about 2 am. I didn’t scream, and my moans do not wake any children. The dog remains calm despite the middle of the night interruption. By 3 am, the house is clean, I’ve showered, the paperwork is done, Suzanne leaves, and Bill and I and the new baby settle down to sleep.

Alright, so I’m an optimist.

As you might imagine, I’ve never had a birth story like one of those. I generally have a good day or two warning that labor is coming: I’ve had prodromal labor each and every time. I’ve had back labor each and every time. With my two non-epidurals, I screamed, quite loudly.

And may I just say right here that there is perhaps nothing more irritating than having someone criticize your screaming while you are in active labor? The very idea that there is a wrong way to scream makes my blood boil.

But I can dream, right? I can imagine and plan for a calm, perfect birth. I can pray to St. Gerard that I don’t have back labor, and that I learn just how manageable contractions can be when one can actually relax between them. I can hope that I’m not totally exhausted from days of prodromal labor that I have no strength left for the real thing. And I can expect that I won’t have to bother neighbors in the middle of the night to be with my kids, and that schedules and routines won’t be thrown off track from Day 1?

I suppose I’ll just have to make sure that I know where the matches are for that “Clean Linen” scented candle and make sure that my favorite classical music CDs are all in one spot. I guess I’ll put together my list of neighbors who are willing to come over in the middle of the night, or who can handle my brood while still getting their own off to school. And I’ll have Bill practice his back compression techniques, just in case.

“Ask, and you shall receive,” says the Lord. Okaaaay…I’m trying to be really specific to avoid any confusion. But Lord, I will accept any alterations to that plan that you deem necessary. If I wake up at 2 am, instead of 1 am, that’s fine by me.


17 thoughts on “Birth plan

  1. I’m a huge advocate for the home birth! That being said, you always have to do what is best for you and your family. For some it would be awful to birth at home – I would be terribly uncomfortable at the hospital. To each his own. We have loved and cherished both my children’s home births, looking forward to this one’s time as well (not the whole pain part though!). Amazing experiences.-Andrea

  2. Ooh, I’ll say a prayer for your plans…it never hurts to ask, right?

  3. What lovely dreams. I almost laughed out loud!!Don’t forget your rosary. I have recently read about several women who prayed their rosaries during labor and found the meditation to be quite helpful.

  4. I was SO glad to read that someone else screamed in natural labor. I would never do it any other way now but, I must admit, I am feeling VERY embarrassed at having screamed through the last 45 minutes of labor and am considering having the next baby at home for that simple reason. Big, but simple.The Christ Centered Childbirth. Best book I ever read.

  5. I love, love, love your birth plans! Which ever way you go, let me know – let ALL of us know – so that we can help pray you through your labor! I have no proof, of course, but I’m sure my Penelope labor went so well because so many people were praying for us.

  6. I’m inclined to point out that those are birth images, not so much plans. Plans are the set of rules you give your providers in each setting…and you do get to say do or don’t xyz… like don’t do anything to me before I’ve given you permission, ect. I’m curious, with all those back labors (God bless you!) did they ever try counter pressure? Or have you tried leaning forward onto something like a birthball, or over the side of your bed, so that you’re using gravity to help pull baby and belly away from your back? I’ve read about it but wondered if those suggestions actually worked? Here’s hoping you don’t have to try those again and proove my hypothesis. Keeping the waters in tack as long as possible gives a nice cushion and usually creates an easier labor. My son’s waters were busted and that labor (in hospital, no pain meds, but induced) was excrutiating and I screamed for an hour before he came out. But my daughter’s (at home, waterbirth…yada yada, no important) had spontaneous water ruptures ten minutes before birth….soooooo much better, no screaming at all. So my birth plan always includes: Let those waters be, it’s natures cushion.

  7. I like the new design of your site! The pictures of your family are so cute. I was just on this really graphic site that chronicled a midwife assisted hospital birth and I just can’t imagine being so…in touch with every thing during delivery! I would rather erase the whole thing (be in a daze and get it over with) and fast-forward to the baby in my arms and my end all stitched up, if you know what I mean. But, that’s just me. I like both of your plans and I REALLY will pray that whichever you choose, your plans will be the true story of how this all ends up for you!

  8. AK,I haven’t used a birth ball (I did buy one for this time), but defintely being upright, leaning forward or being on hands and knees helps, but does not in any way eliminate, the back pain. My husband has always been “The Pusher” and would start applying pressure as soon as the contraction would start. That helped, too.This is why I had such a hard time with my last one, where they told me I had to lie back and remain hooked up to monitors. The contractions are so much worse.And my midwife and I have already talked about interventions and such. She actually does want to know about setting a calm mood, relaxation techniques that I prefer, who will catch the baby, and those details. It’s nice, especially since nobody ever really cared much about those details before.And, YES, all of you, as soon as that prodromal labor begins, I’ll let you know so you can begin praying for me! Or you can just start praying now that it all happens so fast I have no time to blog about it!

  9. I don’t believe in birth plans, really… Babies have their own schedules… like labour starting 5 min. after daddy finally sits down to relax (and “ruin” a long weekend), or a 2 hour labour that starts as soon as daddy leaves the house (thank goodness this was a planned home birth! lol)…No matter what you choose, trust your gut feelings. You’re a mom, so I’m sure yours is pretty accurate! 🙂 I’ll pray for you too!Just don’t have a 10 pounder, they are no fun! lol

  10. Hey! Pictures! Just thought I’d let you know they are partially blocking your posts, down the left side of my monitor. I have a laptop, which seems to have a small screen, which shows less. Don’t go changing on my account, but I just thought you’d like to know!

  11. One more suggestion about back labor…having had several of them myself 😉 There’s a book out there called Back Labor no More. The book really could be more of a pamphlet as the concept is easy to grasp, but I found it *REALLY* helped align the baby to get off my spine. If you’d like, I’d be happy to send you my copy.And yeah, forget about laying on the bed with the monitors, that’s about the worst thing for back pain. Try to stay up and moving 😉 I can’t BELIEVE you’re only six weeks away!Many, many prayers for a wonderfully quick and easy birth!!

  12. Hi Michelle, I LOVE your birth plans and really hope you get to stick to them. Not sure if someone suggested this already or not but I hired a doula and she suggested that every day for about 1/2 hour I get down on my hands and knees (before labor) and the baby would rotate and “get in place” to avoid back labor…not sure if Maddy was lined up well to begin with or if this little doggy dance worked, but I had no back labor and she came out the way she’s supposed too. Not sure if you’re lifestyle with all the kids allows you the time to be down on your hands and knees that long..I remembered it was tiring at first then I got used to it and watched TV while doing it. At first I did it for a few minutes then took breaks till I built up to 1/2 hour a time. Anyways, all the best!

  13. I like the birth plans as well! Can’t believe you are getting so close.I’m also the prodromal labor queen – but the nice side is that my longest actual labor was 4.5 hours. 🙂

  14. Since I have to have c sections, my birth plans’ center around the after care. When I will get to eat, get up and walk, go home as soon as possible, nurse the baby as soon as possible, etc. The nurses always laugh at how specific I can be after having surgery.I cannot imagine how difficult of a patient I would be if I had all of the options of a regular birth. I just might have to have a home birth – no hospital would put up with me!

  15. Am I imagining it or are all of your lovely pregnancy hormones making you funnier? Keep it up gurlfren.

  16. Sounds like a great plan to me. Can I borrow it sometime around March 5th?

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