While I was putting together a new Pregnancy page for the blog, I came across our birth plan for Isla and immediately thought, “Did we follow this at all?” I remember showing it to the first couple of nurses and maybe even the first doctor who saw me, but after that…I don’t think it came out at all. It just sort of got lost in the frustrating blur that was my 2-day induction.
So I thought it would be fun (or not at all) to repost my birth plan with comments on how things actually went. The birth plan itself is posted in gray. My comments are posted inline in green.
Attendant: Kellen (Husband)
At least we got one thing right!
I’d like to: bring music, dim the lights, wear my own clothes during labor and delivery, take pictures and video during labor.
- I vaguely remember listening to my own music once labor got started.
- The lights were dim some of the time, but we were there for so long with nothing happening, I know the lights were on for a lot of it.
- I was in a hospital robe the entire time I was in the hospital, right up until the day we all came home. I discovered once I was there that I just didn’t care.
- After the pitocin caused me to swell up like a balloon, I banned all pictures and video in the room.
Hospital Admission and Procedures
I’d like: the option of returning home if I’m not in active labor.
I was induced, and even after the first induction failed, they didn’t send me home. I opted to stay on for round 2, which in retrospect might not have been the best idea.
Once admitted, I’d like: my partner to be allowed to stay with me at all times; only my practitioner, nurse and partner to be present (no residents, medical students or other hospital personnel unless medically necessary); to eat if I wish to; to stay hydrated by drinking clear fluids instead of having an IV; to walk and move around as I choose.
- My husband stayed with me or the baby the whole time.
- No one was in the room other than my husband and occasionally a nurse or doctor.
- I didn’t get to eat any time they were trying to induce or once I went into active labor, which was a bummer. I sneaked bites of cheese crackers because I was starving.
- I was on an IV the whole time thanks to the induction, but I drank a lot of water anyhow.
As long as the baby and I are fine, I’d like to: have intermittent rather than continuous electronic fetal monitoring; have as few vaginal exams as possible; have as few interruptions as possible; be allowed to progress free of time limits and have my labor augmented only if necessary.
- I was induced so I had on 2 separate monitors the entire time I was in the labor & delivery room: 40-ish hours. Not fun, even when they gave me the kind that was “mobile.” I had to carry a pole with me everywhere I went, even to the bathroom.
- I was only checked once a day, which wasn’t that bad. Of course, I never dilated passed 4 cm, as far as I know, so it’s not like they were worried.
- They did let me progress as long as I wanted until Isla’s heart rate disappeared.
- I was induced, so my labor was augmented from the start.
If available, I’d like to try: a squatting bar, the whirlpool tub.
I never had the opportunity to try out either of these.
I’d like labor augmentation: performed only if baby is in distress; first attempted by natural methods, such as nipple stimulation; membrane stripping performed before pitocin is administered.
I tried labor augmentation before I went to the hospital, but ultimately was induced. So.
I’d like to try the following pain-management techniques: bath/shower; self-hypnosis; massage.
I tried self-hypnosis, but I didn’t want to be touched and the shower I did get after my water broke wasn’t soothing.
Please don’t offer me pain medication. I’ll request it if I need it.
I requested pain medication.
If I decide I want pain medicine, I’d prefer: trying systemic medication before an epidural.
I asked for all the pain medication I could before labor even started to get crazy. Turns out, giving birth hurts like a *!#@$.
When it’s time to push, I’d like to: do so instinctively; be allowed to progress free of time limits as long as baby and I are fine; avoid forceps or vacuum extraction if possible.
Never got there.
I’d like to try the following positions for pushing and birth: semi-reclining; side-lying position; squatting; hands and knees; whatever feels right at the time.
When I was in labor, the only way I could cope with the pain was to lie very, very still on my back. Lying on my side was excruciating and standing was unbelievably painful. I vaguely recall trying hands and knees for about two seconds before giving up.
During delivery, I’d like: the room to be as quiet as possible; avoid an episiotomy if at all possible.
After birth, I’d like: to hold my baby right away, putting off any procedures that aren’t urgent; to breastfeed as soon as possible; to wait until the umbilical cord stops pulsating before it’s clamped and cut; my partner to be given the option to cut the umbilical cord.
- I started freaking out from claustrophobia and being restrained during the c-section, so they had to put me under with anxiety meds.
- There were a number of urgent procedures after the c-section, and I was unconscious, so Kellen followed Isla around and did skin-to-skin with her until I woke up.
- I did get to breastfeed as soon as I woke up.
- I don’t know if they delayed cutting the cord or if Kellen cut the cord. I was out for most of it. My guess is no to the former and possibly yes to the latter.
If I have a c-section, I’d like: my partner present at all times during the operation; to stay conscious; my hands left free if possible; the baby to be put on my chest as soon as she’s dried, if possible; the baby to be given to my partner as soon as she’s dried, if I can’t hold her and if it’s possible; my partner to accompany the baby at all times if possible; to breastfeed my baby in the recovery room.
- My partner was present until the baby was born.
- My hands were restrained, which completely freaked me out.
- I was unconscious, so I didn’t get to hold her right away, but Kellen did.
- Kellen accompanied Isla everywhere.
- We breastfed right away, or at least as soon as I woke up. Kellen did skin-to-skin while he waited for me to wake up.
Cord Blood Banking
I’d like to: donate cord blood to a public bank, if possible.
This wasn’t possible.
After delivery, I’d like: all newborn procedures to take place in my presence if possible; if not possible to take place in my presence, all newborn procedures to take place in my partner’s presence, if possible; my partner to stay with the baby at all times if I can’t be there; to be able to have my partner room-in at all times.
I’d like: 24-hour rooming-in with my baby.
If baby is not well, I’d like: my partner or I to accompany the baby to the NICU or other facility; to breastfeed or provide pumped breastmilk; to hold her whenever possible.
All of this actually happened. My postpartum care was fantastic.
I plan to: breastfeed exclusively.
Please do not offer my baby: formula, sugar water, a pacifier unless there is a medical reason.
This mostly happened. They offered Isla a pacifier while they were doing the heel stick, but that’s just because it took so long. (Like an hour.) It was the only time Isla ever took a pacifier, though, in the hospital or out.
I’d like to: be discharged from the hospital with my baby as soon as possible.
3 days, y’all. 3 days we spent in the world’s tiniest recovery room with visitors tramping in and out all the livelong day.
Harumph. Well, that didn’t go as planned at all.
I think the major takeaways I have from reading this are: 1) being induced kind of killed the opportunity for the entire birth experience to go the way we wanted it to, and next time, I’ll be more aware of that, and 2) sometimes things don’t go the way you plan. And that’s okay. Our birth experience may not have been perfect, but our baby was, and that’s all that really matters.