Creating a Birthing Plan

35 weeks into this pregnancy, I’ve decided it is time to officially decide exactly what the heck I want this labor/delivery experience to look like! I’ve been on both sides of the fence now, having an epidural, pitocin and the whole gamut with Micah while with Ellie, I accidentally (long story) got to the hospital too late and had an unplanned, natural delivery. While I continually hear a planned natural delivery can be a beautiful, memorable experience, an unplanned natural delivery with little time to spare = CHAOS and STRESS!

But, at the end of the day, I think I want to go the no drugs route again, only planned this time. Despite the intense pain, after Ellie was out and in my arms, I felt amazing, alert and like I could conquer the world while after having Micah, I felt groggy, itchy from the epidural and anything but alert. (I do not make this comparison to make a judgement on any kind of birthing choice but simply to state my preference). Because of the lack of post-natal care I received at New York Methodist combined with the fact that Rick can not stay the night as the rooms are shared and husbands must be gone by 10pm, feeling as alert and strong as possible was actually quite crucial for me. I had to take care of myself most of the night. Because Ellie’s delivery was devoid of any complications, help and care was, to put it nicely… minimal.

It is still my desire ultimately to birth in a hospital still just in case a serious complication should arise but this is what I picture: lights turned down in the room, soothing music playing, Rick as assistant birthing coach (he’s up for it he says!:) and…if it is not too late to find one, A DOULA present in the room as well! I’ve looked online at doulas in our area and, if you hire a doula-in-training (has passed initial DONA doula birth training requirements), it is actually quite affordable so I will begin inquiring tomorrow.

I am attracted to the whole doula thing, first of all, because it is a Greek word which stands for “a woman who serves.” I like that philosophy…a woman giving of herself to serve the emotional and physical needs of another woman who finds herself in one of the most vulnerable hours of her life…giving birth. The thought of having an experienced woman there just for me, who can tell me how to breath, what movements to try, etc sounds so comforting!

Unfortunately, the doula thing didn’t seriously enter my mind until tonight while I was reading about in-hospital, natural deliveries and I had always assumed their services would be way out of our price range. To know this may not be true is exciting to me.

Please say I haven’t run out of time to find one!!! Rick, it may be all on you babe!;)

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9 Responses to Creating a Birthing Plan

  1. Grace says:

    Brave woman…epidurals for me! Love you.

  2. Adrienne says:

    Susanna, I have to say that I'm with you on this one. If we ever have a third child, I think I may go the natural way from the outset as well. I had birth plans with both Viv & Greta and neither one went very well in my opinion. And with Greta, I got a whole whopping hour of relief before the spinal completely wore off and I was left to push her out without any pain relief and no idea how to manage the pain on my own. So, I think if I ever do it again I may as well go all natural from the outset! I think the doula idea is great and I'm sure in a city such as NY, which is teaming with doulas, you will have no problem finding one at the last minute. I'll be praying for you!

  3. laura says:

    Susanna, I'm totally with you on this choice. I've had two babies sans epidural, and being prepared and educated made ALL the difference (the first birth was hectic and high intervention and I didn't feel great afterwards, the second was downright triumphant – it still hurt though ;-)). I didn't have a doula with either birth, but I did have to pick a different hospital for my second. I chose one that was further away from my house, but had a midwife practice and was very friendly to natural birth. Having a health care provider who is on board with your goals can make or break your natural birth experience, so make sure you try to talk at least with the nurses in your hospital to let them know ahead of time what your hopes are.There are TONS of books out there on the subject, but my favorite is Ina May Gaskin's Guide to Childbirth. You can skip the hippie dippie stories in the beginning (though, towards the end of pregnancy, I found the stories of so many women having such positive birth experiences to be comforting and inspiring), but the information contained in the second half of the book is absolutely invaluable for knowing about the process of birth, how to help your body through it, and how to deal with the various interventions that may be offered throughout the course of birth.If you find yourself in a place where you can't get a doula, you and your hubby might want to look into a book called "Husband Coached Childbirth" – it's the Bradley Method book (I haven't read it, but have friends who've had natural births who swear by it).I'm sure you're going to do an amazing job and thoughtfully considering these choices before hand is going to make a big difference for you. My second birth left me feeling so amazed at how strong God made women's bodies…it was an incredible experience and I know you can have the same.There are lots of great examples of birth plans online (I think nurses and doctors prefer if you call them "goals" or "wishes" so it doesn't seem like you're bossing them around)…and giving your hubby a list of ways to help you during labor might be useful.I'll be praying for you!

  4. Anonymous says:

    Hope you find your helper….Mom

  5. Jody says:

    I had four babies without epidurals. My first child I had some pain meds through my iv, but I think it slowed things down. Although the pain, well, I don't have to tell you what the pain is like. Three babies came fast, so I was happy to get things over with and hold my newborn without the haze of pain meds. But everyone, like you said,has to make their own decisions. Praying for you as you enter the homestretch.

  6. Erin (from church) says:

    Thats awesome Susanna! I may have a friend for you. If you would like I can send her an email. Last I saw her (summer of 08) she had just completed her Doula training and was starting midwivery school. Shes extremely sweet! I believe she lives in Brooklyn.

  7. kate says:

    I debated an Doula as well but never went with one… I seem to be the type of woman who needs to be in her own zone while in labour. Dont touch me and dont speak while I am having a contraction. I closed my eyes, breathed through the pain (I never had training in that area but it came naturally)and when it was passed I was able to smile and laugh with those who were in the room. It was a planned natural delivery but what I think is very important is leaving the option open for medication. I just remembered that no matter what, giving birth is tough and you asre a hero weather you do it naturally or not. Matthews delivery needed meds because of how long it took and Levi's didnt. WHo knows about the next one. I hope you have a great experience not matter what and I woud love to hear what you think about having a doula.

  8. Susanna Rose says:

    I am so excited…I have heard back from many area doulas and am very encouraged. They all seem very friendly and affordable and I am going to meet with a few next week! And Kate and others, I definitely know I must be open to medication if the time comes for that. I don't think there is anything wrong or weak about having medication…I just do hope with my own preferences in mind that it does not come to that. But, I have learned through experience and through the stories of others that a birthing plan is just that…a plan, but nothing set in stone! At the end of the day, I AM FLEXIBLE and know that medication makes me no less a "hero!":)

  9. meg says:

    I've never had a doula, but I had a nurse midwives at Taran's birth, and it was WONDERFUL. I guess I have a low pain tolerance, though, as I did request the epidural. However, I never felt groggy or drugged from it. I was quite alert until we all zonked out later that evening from exhaustion.I wish I could have a beautiful birth experience with the girls. I had to have a C-section, and it was the most sterile, nervewracking experience. I was so uncomfortable from the spinal-epidural, and I felt terribly alone when Ari went to be with the babies while I was getting stitched up. They're here and healthy and happy, so no complaints, but now I know how both experiences go!Good luck! Can't wait to hear about Baby Rose #3's arrival!

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