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Not your Usual Birth Plan

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A birth plan is usually a written plan from the mother to her caregivers describing her wishes, what type of options she’d like to take advantage of, things she would like to happen thru out her labor and birth, what things are important to her as she experiences birth.  There are various resources out there to help a new mom explore options and formulate a plan.. especially for a hospital birth.  It is important that the mom review this with ALL her care providers AND especially the L&D nurses…. the advocates who help you actually realize the goals with in your plan. I have a fellow L&D nurse blogger who has done extensive research on the topic and wrote a 2 part series on Writing Your Birth Plan- Tips from an L&D Nurse over at nursingbirth. I would highly recommend you check it out especially if you plan on a hospital birth.

Many times these birth plans accompany a mom’s prenatal chart weeks in advance of her birth. Over the years there has been a gradual acceptance of the plans in my facility where historically, there had been much resistance for the mother’s input what so ever.  Much like the attitudes towards homebirth…. The doctors or nurses would casually peruse the plan then toss it aside and have a good laugh…. saying…. ” oh- she’ll end up a section for sure!”  Unfortunately, they were often right about that– many of those early birthplans never seemed to go as mom wanted, giving the staff fodder for snide comments and remarks. Sad but true. 😦

Recently, we recieved a birth plan that was not at all like any other.  Maybe some of you have seen plans like this… maybe some of you actually wished for births like this…. Hey~ who am I to judge? …. I am only here to help,  it isn’t my birth.

Her Birth Plan requested:

  • Pain medication as soon as possible….. I prefer to have an epidural as soon as possible
  • Please do not try to make me have breathing patterns through contractions… I’m afraid I’ll be too nervous
  • If a Cesearean is needed, please put me to sleep
  • I want only my mother with me in the labor and delivery of my baby
  • When the baby is born, I do NOT want to touch him until you clean him off
  • You can do his eye ointment and Vitamin shot, bath and all procedures before I hold him
  • I want to hold him wrapped in a blanket, not skin to skin
  • I want the baby to be in the nursery as much as possible at night so I can rest
  • I want to feed my baby formula from a bottle. I don’t want to breast-feed
  • I want to stay in the hospital for the whole allotted time so I can rest

My first thoughts were… Sweetheart, you could have ALL THIS without even asking!” ……..

Sadly, despite all efforts to improve,  …  things still happen exactly like this for many births.  We just don’t usually see it written out as a formal request or plan!  At least this is how this mother wanted things to happen.

This little mommy came in and delivered vaginally. Her plan was very easily carried out. 😉  I am very happy to report that she and her son were healthy and she displayed very postive interaction with him. Very loving and caring. She was very very happy with her birth and with being a mother!

That is all that really matters in the end.  Options– and what you as an individual would like to have for your birth. How much education she had before chosing these options… I’ll never know.

 Now I am asking the rest of cyberspace world.. have you ever seen birth plans like this???

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12 Comments Post a comment
  1. Gayle #

    I have never seen a birth plan like that or heard of anyone with those requests writing one. Like you say, most of the requests seem to be standard procedure.

    I am so glad that birth plans are starting to be more acknowledged. Even among mommies, there is a lot of ambivalence to a birth plan. I think it is a great method to gather support for when you are in labour. It’s not always intuitive for others to know what your preference would be and, while in labour, it’s not something that you usually want to have long discussions about. 😉

    August 11, 2009
  2. Never! Although I’m not surprised they exist. Every woman’s needs are different, but the women I hang with would never ask for something like this. I’m actually amazed by this woman’s bravery and confidence in asking for something SO conservative. I would think that most women who even know what a birth plan is would be asking for the opposite kind of things. But for some reason I’m actually impressed by this.

    August 11, 2009
  3. Joy #

    WOW- I’ve never seen a birth plan like that (I’m not a nurse, though, so it’s not like a see a birthplan everyday anyway).

    Mine is probably the opposite, too. But to each her own and honestly she probably didn’t even need to write a birth plan. Perhaps she is a germaphobe or something along those lines.

    August 11, 2009
  4. While I have never seen a birth plan like this and while I don’t personally agree with her plan I am always happy to see a woman exert persoanl power!! There are somethings that we do that we think all women want and a few things she lists that are definitley difficult to get in some hospitals. Two things that immediately come to mind are the infant spending the night in the nursery and that lack of desire for immediate skin to skin. I have seen mothers repulsed at the wetness of their newborn infant and I have seen mothers in tears from lack of sleep because the hospital did not have a “nursery” and required rooming in soooo while this is definitely a different birth plan to say the least I am glad she wrote it and had the experience she wanted. It actually kinda makes me smile. :-)…. That being said… while I don’t really fully support the use of written birth plans at all for a VARIETY of reasons, if I were to write one it would definitely NOT look like this. Thanks for sharing!!!

    August 11, 2009
  5. I just read Melodies comment and I think that’s kinda what I felt. Amazement at her bravery and confidence to ask for something so conservative. She could have REALLY been judged!! Its very interesting!! I would love to know what moved her to write that.

    August 11, 2009
  6. I have seen similar birth plans, but honestly, they were because of some very tragic social situations. A lot of them concerned putting the baby up for adoption, etc. We did have a mom who requested a primary C-Section under general anesthesia. She had a history of abuse, and did not want to go through the birth process. Again, birth plans are about options and respecting the woman’s and families’ rights and dignity.

    August 11, 2009
  7. This birth plan surprises me, because I thought birth plans were introduced by natural birth advocates, and favoured by moms who followed that ethic. I guess it shows how mainstream birth plans have become.

    I didn’t have a birth plan for either of my births, even though I delivered in hospital. Because I was under the care of midwives who I knew well, I felt that my wishes were understood and a written plan was unnecessary. If I were being attended by people I hadn’t met before, though, I imagine I might make a different choice.

    August 11, 2009
  8. I have a friend who is due in October. She is going to be a single mom, and having been through all of this in the last year, she turns to me for alot of advice. Her opinion on birth? “Yes, it’s going to hurt. But I’ll live. That’s what the doctors and nurses are there for.” She has done no preparation for the birth because the hospital will guide her through everything. She’s not scared of birth, she’s not scared of pain, she’s not scared of possible surgery. Keep in mind she had a broken back about 10 years ago, and you can sort of see her point. What IS she scared of? Taking the baby home. She doesn’t know how to dress a baby or take care of it. She wanted to hire a doula to teach her what to do after the baby is born.

    It’s a very different perspective, but when you hear her talk about it, she transmits this sort of utter faith in the hospital, and it’s hard to imagine that anything will get in her way.

    For the record, come hell or high water, she is going to breastfeed!

    August 12, 2009
  9. How interesting. I’ve read ones in which the woman is trying to be cheeky and funny by trying to seemingly preempt the nurses’ annoyance with birth plans in general. I’ve never heard of spelling it all out like this before. I suppose it’s good to know what you want.

    Thanks for posting.

    August 22, 2009
  10. I have seen birth plans like that. In fact, I handed basically the same one to the doctor with my first baby. I had NO idea what I was asking for. I thought the baby would be icky, so I wanted him cleaned off first. I wanted the epidural at least a week before I went into labor. I didn’t want anybody telling me any stupid stuff about breathing. And I wanted him in that little nursery place because why in the world would somebody trust ME with him?

    But please understand. That pregnancy was VERY unwanted. I was NOT ready. And I was CLUELESS.

    Then I had that baby (and the traumatic cesarean I practically asked for with that birth plan) and I realized how wrong I was. That is what turned me into the birth junkie I am now.

    And by the way, that birth plan is easily generated by using one of those Birth Plan kits you can find online. She didn’t write that – they come like that. That’s the really horrifying part.

    September 21, 2009
    • StorkStories #

      True about the generated plans.. scary that many things like that generated without EDUCATION! You have come a long way baby!

      September 22, 2009
  11. Donna #

    I gave a birth plan to my hospital when I went in to deliver. They were shocked. Wanted to know what to do with it, and I’m sure round filed it. I also brought pre-bought supplies. I know it sounds funny, but our lamaze coach had informed us about how much the hospital would bill us for basic supplies and that we could save alot of money by bringing in our own. As we had insurance that would cover only 80% we thought that any way we could reduce cost was great. The nurses were flabergasted. And in fact never used our supplies, not an intentionally, an oversight, they would forget that we had brought in our own stuff and just pull from the supply closet, habit. Just goes to show, you never know what your gonna get. Who knows maybe your next patient will come in sporting pre-purchased chux pads.

    December 7, 2009

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