Wednesday, May 10, 2006

The Birth Plan

Here it is: The Birth Plan. Not, of course, that we at all expect things to go according to "plan," and besides, my favorite line from Cool Hand Luke is still "I never planned anything in my life."

Birth Plan for Baby _______

Jennifer Thweatt-Bates & Brent Bates
Princeton Midwifery Care
Maria J. Brooks, doula
est. due date: 05/30/06

* I want the following people to be present during labor and birth, and preferably no one else: my husband, Brent Bates; my mother, Patricia P. Thweatt; my friend & doula, Maria Brooks; and the midwife (Peggy, Ursula, Brynne, or Grace).

* I would like to be able to play music or dim the lights if I choose, and wear my own clothing if I choose. Or not wear clothing, if I choose. (Who knows what the heck I’ll choose.) I want to be able to walk and move around during labor, and eat and drink as I feel necessary.

* I want to try any birthing or laboring position that feels right, or that the midwife or Maria thinks might be helpful.

* I strongly prefer monitoring of the baby by intermittent listening of the heartbeat and not by continuous Electronic Fetal Monitoring.

* I want to try any pain-management technique known to midwife and/or doula as I feel the need: positioning, massage, breathing techniques, bath/shower, hot tub, etc. Do not offer pain medication; if I want it, I’ll ask for it. If I do ask for it, I want to be encouraged to hang on a little longer and be given some idea of my progress; if I can gut it out I’ll be much happier in the end. If I really do want pain medication, I will insist on it despite encouragement.

* I do not want a time limit set on the progress of my labor.

* I want to be able to listen to my body and push as I feel the need.

* I do not want an episiotomy. Any techniques known to my midwife or doula to help prevent this are welcome. Bottom line: I prefer to risk tearing to being cut.

* I would like to view the birth with a mirror if possible, and be able to touch the baby’s head when it crowns.

* Brent would like to help “catch” our baby (or in his more elegant and liturgical terms, “receive the baby”).

* I want to hold her right away (no warming unit), and breastfeed as soon as possible. I plan to breastfeed exclusively and do not want any bottle feeding to occur (no formula, water or sugar water) as this may interfere with the breastfeeding learning process. I want all newborn procedures to take place in my presence or Brent’s presence and with our explicit verbal consent.

* We want 24-hour rooming-in with our baby, and would like to postpone the first bath and bathe the baby in our room. For any newborn procedure that must be done in the nursery, Brent should be present.

* We want to waive the eye medication procedure and are prepared to sign a waiver to that effect.

* If something horrible happens and I must have a C-section, I want to understand the situation and see the necessity of it. I want Brent and my midwife to be there. I definitely do not want to be knocked out completely (if this is possible) as I want to be as alert as possible. I’d like for Brent to be able to hold her as soon as possible, and to be present for all newborn procedures. I want to be able to begin breastfeeding as soon as possible.

We know that birth is unpredictable and that we cannot anticipate every decision we may be faced with. Mainly, we want this birth plan to show that we prefer, generally, as little interference as possible and as much freedom as possible. We’ve never done this before and don’t have any idea what it will really be like, so it’s important to us to be able to experience things as they come without undue anxiety. No panic, people! I am healthy and strong and have a lot of confidence in my body’s ability to figure this out as it goes (my head can catch up later).


TKP said...

jen, i hope you save this for baby and for me if i ever need your momma advice.

Eli Perkins said...

Congrats Brent & Jennifer! I haven't really checked either one of your sites recently & I didn't know you were having a baby! My sister-n-law had a mid-wife/doula experience and everything went fabulous. Kristen chose the now-convential epidermal hospital routine and everything was smooth. You can go here to see a picture of Meredith, our little girl, who will be 2 on June 13th. Hopefully, everything will go according to your plan. I know that for us, the actual birth experience was much more shocking and stunning than we anticipated, but good. Tell Brent hello. You can read my blog post a couple of days ago for my news: we're moving to Knoxville, TN from San Antonio at the end of the summer. God bless you! (and, I hope your cat gets better.)

pat said...

"I love it when a plan comes together". Where is this quote from?

JTB said...

Eli Perkins! What an adorable child you have! Thanks for finding my dusty little corner of the internet. And I cannot say how happy I am as a Tennessean that you are leaving TX for Knoxville...good move. :)

Mom, I have no idea where that's from. I can't even hear it in my head right, so I think it's hopeless--so this better be a test and not a genuine question 'cause otherwise it'll drive me crazy.

TKP: you'll make an excellent momma yourself someday I feel sure. But the birth plan is now safely ensconced in the archives of rudetruth should you ever feel the need to refer to it...but there are much better resources out there (I hasten to add).

Eli Perkins said...

I guess I forgot you were from Tennessee. I grew up in Memphis. I'm sure we've had this conversation before, huh?

TKP said...

Jen...I keep seeing these adorable Japanese kids running around and I am getting all weird, saying stuff like, "I want one of those!" Sheesh. BTW I have big news, you must email me and ask.

mom23 said...

Great plan! It is so much like the plan I had for Cassie. Thank God it was followed well and she was born at a hospital that respected it. Unfortunately, that was not the experience I had with Shayla. And they both turned out fine! In fact, all 3 of them did!

hermit jeremy said...

our midwife did a great job with us, t. had said no meds... and she did everything necessary to prevent that from happening.

one, key, which i am sure you know, is to wait as long as possible before going to the hospital.

you will be in our prayers.

Katie said...

Jen and Mom, the quote is from the tv show "The A-Team." The white-haired guy who runs everything said it at least once per episode. I'm a little sad that I know that. But really, it's only because it was Joe's favorite show growing up.

On the birth plan -- great job. Lance and I had a similar one, in a three-ring binder with all the articles and stuff I had collected over the months: our "evidence". We brought it, along with all our stuff (music, big exercise ball, blah blah), to the hospital the day Lydia came to our lives... and forgot it in the car. It remains a funny memory, how crazed we were with planning what is essentially unplannable, and how the universe conspired to keep that notebook on the dashboard while Lydia did exactly what she was going to do.

But, of course, the value of a birth "plan" is that it gets you and your support people thinking in the same direction, and helps you and Brent figure out together what you're aiming for. You guys are on a great path, and I hope you enjoy your birth experience as much as I did. (My first one, by the way, ended up in a C-section despite our best-laid plans. The second one was a VBAC with midwife-doula support. Both experiences were God-given, amazing, indescribable, etc.)

One thing we included in ours both times: I could say anything I wanted about drugs or pain or "HELP" or whatever, but until I said the code word, no meds would appear or be offered. Our code word was "labrador" -- you know, something you're not likely to yell or whisper for any other reason during labor. Even today, years later, if one of us is bugging the other with some truly annoying habit or argument, if the bugged one says "labrador," the rule is the other one has to stop, no matter what.

peace -- Katie Hays

R-Liz said...

I think our birth plans couldn't be more different! Okay, so there are some similarities (such as Darren did "catch" Ellie). But after 9 months+ of avoiding caffeine, medications, and alcohol, I was all about bringing on the drugs and technology. My birth was extremely controlled since I was induced. I also had an epidural. My mom took a picture of me once that got going-- I was hooked up to a blood pressure cuff, contraction monitor, fetal monitor, IV, oxygen and catheter. Some of those are a given with an epidural, and some were extra b/c of other complications. After the epidural kicked in, we settled in for a few hours and watched the finale of American Idol while I finished up dialating.

I will be very anxious to hear how things go for you. I pray for safety for all of you.

JTB said...

AH! Thanks for identifying the source, Katie!!! Now I will not be bugged by it anymore.

How edifying to have all these comments! I really only posted this because my sister Ally suggested it but I'm really glad I did. (And of course, who hasn't commented yet?...Ally, get with it! This post was for you!)

It's really fascinating to me the great variety of birth experiences I've heard about from different women during this pregnancy. I don't think there's any kind of moral imperative to do things the way I want to, and I don't think that a successful birth is defined solely by something like my ideal birth plan. I do think, though, that there is a sort of moral imperative to educate yourself and be responsible in your decision-making as a birthing mother, and that is somewhat a counterintuitive stance to take vis-a-vis a doctor as we usually automatically grant expert status and accept opinions and suggestions without question. That is a great gain for me personally as it has forced me to not be passive and express an opinion--something which for some reason I can do in a classroom fairly easily but in all other contexts is difficult. But all of a sudden, this is about the life of a person I'm responsible for, and I'm willing to be as gutsy as it takes to do what is best for her. It's a whole new dimension to life--and I'm sure I'll feel this even more acutely in the next few weeks!

R-Liz said...

Protective-mommy-instinct is one of the most powerful forces in this world. If only we could channel it as an alternative fuel source!