Writing our birth plan (or options)
Now that the big day is getting closer, it’s time to put together the infamous Birth Plan, or Birth Options as our NCT instructor liked to call them, because the birth rarely goes to plan.
Since watching the Water Babies DVD, I’ve really wanted a water birth. It just seems like a really nice way to bring a baby into the world. The midwives at Kingston Hospital were kind enough to show me the waterbirthing suite yesterday. One thing that struck me immediately is that I’m going to need a fan! The temperature of the water plus the temperature of the UK at the moment equals one hot mama.
I’m also going to need earplugs. In my NCT class, we were told that women in labour often sound like cows. Well, when I was leaving the unit, I heard a woman screaming and there was nothing bovine about it. It sounded more like an air raid siren. I hastily made my exit and did breathing exercises in the car until I could forget the sound she made.
There are loads of details that go into a birth plan, from who you want your birthing partner to be to what position you’d like to be in. Here are some of the more pressing considerations that I’ve made:
Pain relief. Do you want any? I am going to try to do without pain relief (gas and air at a push). In speaking with my father the other day, I learned that my mother wanted to have a pain-relief free birth with me, but that she got drugs halfway through. I’m hoping that all the work I’ve put into learning breathing exercises and the pain-relieving qualities of water will help me out on this one. Wish me luck!
Induction of labour. If it comes to it, how far down the induction ladder do I want to go? It starts with a cervical sweep by the midwife. If that doesn’t work, it moves onto a prostaglandin pessary. The issue with induction, from my understanding, is that it tends to bring on intense labour quite quickly, which means it’s more likely you’d want pain relief. In my NCT class, they taught us that it also makes other things like episiotomy more likely. I REALLY want to avoid that. The worst thing about induction for me is that it would mean I wouldn’t be allowed to have my water birth.
Feeding the baby & skin-to-skin contact. Are you planning to breastfeed the baby? If yes, then the first instance of this should happen soon after birth (assuming all has gone well). According to NICE guidelines (read 1.3), skin-to-skin contact with the mother is recommended directly after the birth for up to an hour (you need to specify that you want this though). We were shown this video in our NCT breastfeeding class and it’s amazing how the baby seems to know what to do. It crawls all on its own right up to the breast, within one hour of being born. This vid is a bit propogranda-like, but you’ll still get the message. There are loads of other videos on You Tube about breast crawls.
Placenta delivery. Do you want it to happen with drugs to speed it up or do you want it to come out naturally? I’m all for natural, baby; however, my placenta has ridden low during a lot of my pregnancy, so this may not be an option (it has now moved up so I can have a natural birth).
Who do you want in the room? How many people do you want in the room with you while giving birth? Just you, your partner and midwife? Your doula? What about students?
Room setting. What sort of lighting do you want? (I want low lighting.) Do you want music? James and I are working on an iPod mix for playing during the birth. There are a lot of showtunes on it.
Cord cutting. Who gets to cut the umbilical cord? Some fathers like to do this. When I asked James if he wanted to do this, the look of horror on his face gave me the answer. You may want to specify that you only want the cord cut once it has stopped pulsing as schools of thought believe that the baby is still receiving nutrients from it.
I am viewing writing my Birth Plan/Options as more of a way of getting James’ and my thoughts in order about the kind of birth we’d like to have. We are both completely aware that it is highly unlikely that we’ll get to have the perfect birth according to our plan. However, it’s been nice to visualise the kind of birth we’d like and to talk about it together. After all, in the birth room, he’s my own personal Jedi, fighting to make sure my wishes are met as much as possible.
I’m at 37 weeks today, which means baby Abdul could come at any time (although not until the carpets are in next week, please!). I spend a lot of time crawling around on all fours, as taught in yoga, to help get her into the right position. I’m drinking my raspberry leaf tea and I am starting acupuncture next week. I already do reflexology. Let’s see if we can get this party started.