The Thing About Planning is One Day You'll Be Like WTF?

*updated below*

I'm not much for plans. They intimidate me. They worry me. They don't seem to make a difference in the outcome of a day or a week or a life so when it came to writing a birth plan I was all, no thanks. Mainly because "Birth Plan" always seemed to me like a complete juxtaposition.

With my first birth, I was pretty sure the baby was going to come out my vagina but other than that? I knew absolutely nothing.

I did burn a birth mix, though, because, obviously.

Having "no plan at all" ended up working against me the first time around. I ended up with an OBGYAsshole who shushed me during childbirth and gave me a totally unnecessary episiotomy that took me an entire year to heal from.

And even though I still come from the place of refusal when it comes to reading parenting books and making plans, my second birth experience kicked my first birth experience's ass because I actually did some homework this time, found a kick-ass doctor who understood my need to go episiotomy free. One who even agreed they were unnecessary!

I felt empowered during my birth with Fable. I knew what I wanted even though I didn't care to write it down.

So even though I play devil's advocate in this here video I absolutely believe it crucial to feel empowered during birth, however that may be.



I also think it wise to understand that plans are what they are. And twenty-pages of laminated, calligraphy-drawn words aren't going to do a whole lot to maximize their potency.

Which is why a good birth mix is sooooo imperative.

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Did you or will you have a birth plan? Would you recommend one to fellow mothers? How did your plan affect your birth? This week I'm giving away a full collection of baby skincare products from MD Moms - amazing products for babes, including the can't-live-without'em sunscreen towelettes for summer (which I use on Fable daily and adore). Winner to be picked at random by 12 PST Wednesday. Good luck and thanks in advance for sharing!


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In the meantime...


-Fable takes her
first two-hour nap and Archer rocks out on drums. Twas a very happy Mother's Day.

GGC

**Congrats to Sharon at This Bloomin Life for winning the MD Moms products! And thanks to everyone for sharing their birth plans/lack thereof. You ladies are the teets. No lie. **

168 comments:

J.Danger | 4:22 PM

He SHUSHED you?! WTF. I have never understood OBGYNS that hate their job. Seriously? Why?

I am about to explode with baby boy tres, and I have used a birth plan each time. They help with most decisions, like episiotomies, epidurals, meds, rooming in, breast feeding, etc...but not everything. I will use one again this time though.

But seriously- he shushed you?! I would have kicked him.

daphne.fritz | 4:28 PM

What a mean old doctor! Umm...my best friend just had her first baby boy and will totally need sunscreen wipes in the blazing east texas/louisianna sun this summer!

Sarah @ BecomingSarah.com | 4:31 PM

I couldn't believe he hushed you. What a jackass.

Anyway, I do have a birth plan. But actually, TECHNICALLY, I have a couple birth plans. I have the In-an-Ideal-World plan. And the In-Case-of-Emergency-I-Will-Do-As-You-Tell-Me-But-Please-Consider-A-Couple-Preferences-If-You-Can plan. Etc. I'm not personally big on planning. I'm big on researching, but a die-hard believer in rolling with the punches. If my doctor hadn't requested multiple plans and preferences in writing, I probably never would have gone ahead with it.

I'm glad I did because it gave me reason to think things over a bit and I learned more about birth and labor that way.

Sarah @ BecomingSarah.com | 4:31 PM

P.S. Happy belated Mother's Day!

nan | 4:45 PM

Nope, no birth plan. I just knew I wanted to make it as long as I could without pain medicine, which I did. My doctor was great in explaining everything, and I really trusted her. It was a great experience (times three!). :)

Melanie | 4:47 PM

I think rather than a birth plan, you need to be birth knowledgeable. We would all love to have perfect births that fit our plans but rarely is that the case. Too many first time mom's make plans and they often have births that are quite the opposite anyway, so they are left hugely disappointed. It's better to be educated so you can easily make a decision should the need arise.

GIRL'S GONE CHILD | 4:51 PM

True that, Melanie. Well said.

Skipsy | 4:56 PM

Oh, I had a plan... yeah that worked out great. A plan to birth naturally in a birth center ended 37 hours of labor later in a totally unnecessary c-section! I risked out of the birth center the moment my water broke with mec. in it, and from then on the "cascade of interventions" at the hospital I risked into took over.

Next time, it won't be the plan that's so important, it will be me voicing my right to say yes or no to interventions I think are necessary or unnecessary. I was hooked up to 10 machines in the last hour before my surgery! Next time, none of that!

(I also had a 'shushing' midwife- she said "oh, is that you? you don't need to be making all that noise!". I could have killed her.)

SBC | 5:02 PM

A very timely topic of conversation, so I'll leave my first comment on your blog! :) Weee.

I'm expecting my first baby in less than 3 months, and I've been looking into this whole birth plan thing... I don't really get the crazy long ones where they go into every minor detail like if you want music. I'm a big girl... if I want music can't I just bust out the ipod... do I REALLY need a plan for that?

With that said - I have a general idea of how I want birth to go... Vaginal birth... gimme the drugs... will breastfeed. Now going to research episiotomy b/c I'm torn on being cut or tearing... get it? Torn? I'll stop now. :)

Tara | 5:04 PM

Birth plan? What birth plan? Pretty sure by the time my due date came and went I would have let a couple of monkeys perform the delivery just for the promise of having it all done and over with.

I read a lot during my pregnancy, but then came to the realization that a lot of unforeseen circumstances happen during labor and delivery and sometimes you just need to trust the pros. So I went in there with the attitude of "Just do what you gotta do... but please just make it happen quick"

I'm Still Me | 5:11 PM

I began training my brain to relax by using self-hypnosis CDs. I wanted to have a natural birth but after my second trimester was done it was clear that I would be having a scheduled C-section due to a complete placenta previa. The one this that the CDs I had used helped me to do was to relax more easily during the process. After my daughter was born the nurse anesthetist strongly recommended that I use the 'closing up' period to get some rest. He offered me drugs but I said I'd be ok. Without 30 seconds the whole OR thought I was asleep - I wasn't, just completely resting.

Candace | 5:14 PM

For me more important than having a birth plan was having a midwife I was on the same page with and totally trusted. I didn't need a plan so much because I knew my midwife's views on the various interventions in advance and I knew that if she said something was necessary then it seriously was necessary. I was in no position to advocate for myself while I was in labor. I was lucky to be able to deliver my son at a stand-alone birth center, though, I know that option isn't available everywhere.

April | 5:17 PM

i didn't have a written birth plan for either of my deliveries, but i did talk extensively with my doctor about what i was comfortable with and how he would handle various situations...

needless to say, i ended up with two very emergent c-sections... neither of which were what i wanted (duh) but i felt good nonetheless because of the dialogue we had shared and i felt my feelings and wished had been respected as much as possible.

Rock It | 5:25 PM

My Plan: Have a healthy baby vaginally if possible and without meds if possible. I had a healthy baby vaginally and that's the only thing that went with the plan (Thank God!). I did not know about episiotomys but I had to have one...thankfully I didn't feel it at the time but it was a pain afterward's. And i was smiling right away when I got an epidural, so no meds went out the window quickly, but the important part is that I had a healthy happy baby. To me that's what mattered.


I recommend talking with your gyno and choosing a gyno you can get along with (if possible) and that agrees with your plans. My #1 goal was to have a healthy baby and stay alive (dramatic but important).

cecily_techuan | 5:29 PM

Yeah, I was/am all midwife/no needles, don't touch my stuff if you don't need to, basically, just be here to CATCH. First time, we had V in a birth center; next time, planning to have the baby at home 'cause I have a bigger bathtub here. I didn't have a water birth, but needed the rest in the hot water to get my labor moving along. Of course, next time could be totally different too.

Allison Says | 5:32 PM

I'm sorry you had such a crappy first birth experience!

I had a sorta crappy experience. I had read all about it, but it didn't *really* prepare me because, in the end, I got a c-section. Which I hadn't planned for AT ALL. I never listened to anyone who had one, I always skipped that section in articles/books.

erica | 5:32 PM

I had my very first OB appointment today. I was wondering if I should make a Birth Plan or not. After watching the Momversation video, I think I will create my own version of one. Thanks for all the good advice!

Jenn (There's Your Karma) | 5:33 PM

Dear God, after googling "episiotomy," my "birth plan" just might be "adoption."

What was on your birth mix? I had a music history prof that said he hated the Beatles song "Tell Me What You See" until his son was born to it.

andrea | 5:34 PM

I'm due in Sept. and I plan on having some kind of birth plan. Not anything crazy and lyrical but just a basic outline of what I want/don't want and my limits so that the people with me and helping me are aware. I haven't taken the childbirth class yet so I'm still learning about everything but I'm working with a team of midwives and OBs and with hospital that is extremely supportive of giving the mother the birth that she wants yet still prepared to handle any kind of complications that should arise.

That sounds pretty confident right? I'm still scares shitless. I guess making a birth plan is just a way of preparing yourself.

Rosanna =) | 5:35 PM

I'm about to give birth in oh...3-ish weeks or so and we DO have a birth plan. ( I LOVE my current doc, she even asked to see it before I even mentioned I had it!)

I know that it's not written in stone and it just might not go exactly how I want it to but we saw it as an exercise to find out what our choices are and that we even HAD choices at all!

Robin Fradkin | 5:36 PM

i had a plan and a mix and neither got utilized. everyone read my birth plan and agreed to it. everyone except the resident who ended up delivering me. no baby on the chest. no partner cutting the cord. thanks. the two most important things on the plan (and the two things everyone said would be no problem.)

and as for the mix? i expected to have an epidural and while away the hours playing cards and listening to music. instead, i had TWO epidurals, neither of which worked, and whiled away jack sh*t. just screamed and pushed and screamed. and screamed. and moaned. ow.

i listen to my mix now, though. it was a good thought at least.

Chloe | 5:43 PM

i am due in six weeks and have a semi-specific birth plan (mostly involving how i don't want anyone to try to talk me into anything unless baby or i are in danger) but also a totally open mind. i believe my body can give birth naturally and i really truly hope it cooperates, but i am ok with the reality that it might really frickin hurt and my woo woo granola ideas about squatting out my baby or having him/her in the tub might end up falling by the wayside and that will be ok too. i'm just excited to become a mom and seeing fable's stunning face and chubby little legs make six weeks feel like forever!! i want my little chunker now!

p.s. happy mother's day and good luck fellow pregnant ladies!!

Backpacking Dad | 5:47 PM

We had a plan for our first, and I don't remember using it for anything except to get us organized going in. No one referred to it. We just had it in our heads so we could be quick with answers like "God yes epidural please" and "Get the hell out of this room for an hour so we can hang out with the kid."

We have the same birth plan this time around, with the single line item change for circumcision instructions. I doubt we'll refer to it at all.

On my playlist last time: "Heartbeats" by Jose Gonzalez (way before Scrubs did the same fucking thing when JD has his kid), "Doin' it all for my baby" Huey Lewis and the News, and "Beautiful Girl" by INXS.

This time around I've realized that I don't have a lot of songs about sons and fathers. Except for "Cat's In the Cradle" and I don't think I'll play that one.

Steph | 5:51 PM

this was helpful to hear since i'm expecting my first this fall. there are a few things i do know. i do NOT want an episiotomy. i DO want an epidural and there WILL be music. so, ok i guess that's my birth plan.

meghan | 5:59 PM

I am currently 26 weeks pregnant and due in August, so this is a great topic for me.
I am under the care of a midwife and a doula - for me, that's a birth plan right there...

Erin, Nick and Merrick | 6:07 PM

No plans here, for anything really.
Mom always said, "Things that are planned are never as fun as things that are spontanious."

LadyElmo | 6:07 PM

Yes! I had a birth plan and would highly recommend one for any birthing mama that has a vision of her perfect birth! (However her vision plays out...)

I had a very successful, totally natural hospital birth (to the point that the pediatrician that looked at my daughter the next day said, "Why didn't you just birth at home?" And, ya know, we thought about it.

I wrote a little about this on the momversation site. Here, I would just like to say to all the pregnant and possible to-be pregnant ladies that read your rockin' blog: Birth plans are great... having a DOULA is even better... but MOST importantly, BECOME EDUCATED!!! Educate yourself about all of the options. If you want a natural birth, know all that it consists of AND have the info to back-up your choices (know the 'enemy' if you will). If you want a medicalized birth, UNDERSTAND what you are getting and why you want it.

Birth can be and IS a beautiful and POWERFUL experience for a woman (and the papa too!) Make it your own!

Ah... that said, Happy Mother's Day all! (I just had my 1st!! and it was grand!)

Hugs,
Trisha :)

Alyssa | 6:11 PM

My "plan" was to deliver a healthy baby and to survive, and I was successful. I can't remember much else - perhaps I've blocked it out.

samantha | 6:22 PM

I kinda had something in mind--things I was exploring when BAM! Went into early labor at 30 weeks and seriously thought we'd have the baby then. But thanks to a week-log hospital stay and a month of bed rest we cooked him 4 more weeks. Once I was on bed rest a birth plan went out the window since we knew he'd come early and anything that got me a healthy baby was what would be done. I wasn't even sure if it would be vaginal or not. I did know that I PREFERRED to not have an episiotomy of course. Cut to my vaginal labor and his heart rate was dropping and not coming back up and he needed out right away. And I was cut. But holy GOD nothing like you Rebecca holy geeze!

samanthajocampen at gmail dot com

laura | 6:22 PM
This comment has been removed by the author.
laura | 6:24 PM

eeek. "unnecessary episiotomy" makes me want to run right out and write the birth plan i thought was a ridiculous idea for the past nine months... however, i have a pretty great midwife and have made my wishes clear. and will continue to do so.....loudly. shhhhhssssh away......

hebert | 6:32 PM

Like you, for most of my pregnancy I was all, "Birth plan... what birth plan?" Until like the last, I don't know, WEEK when I decided I did NOT want an episiotomy or my baby to be vacuumed out of DOWN THERE. but other than that... i knew that my husband was on board with what i wanted so i let him advocate for me. luckily, that didn't even become an issue because my OBGYN was the bomb.com and didn't shush me in the delivery room. (i mean... really?!!)

Anonymous | 6:37 PM

I adore your new banner. So sweet.

Lisa | 6:41 PM

My verbal birth plan went like this:

1. No episiotomy, please.
and
2. Give me drugs, please.

And it worked!

Billie | 6:55 PM

For both kids my plan was to go into the hospital with them still inside of me and leave with them out. Done!

tlr | 7:05 PM

I didn't have a birth plan and I ended up with a C-section. So I'm glad I didn't waste my time. We also didn't take any classes and we did fine - just had second baby in November.
Everyone should do what they want to but you have to be ready for the unexpected - it happens alot.
I like Billie's plan. : )

Three Scobeys | 7:05 PM

I have a birth plan...but more of the "in my head" and less of the "write it out and make your OB sign it" genre. I think it is important to know what you want (and what you don't want, for that matter) so that you can be your own advocate.

Desiree Fawn | 7:14 PM

I gave birth 3 1/2 months ago & I had a verbal sort of birth plan with my midwife.
a) deliver at home
b) go naturally
c) music playing, being able to walk around, tub, shower
d) have my partner & one of my best friends present
I thankfully got what I wanted. It was the most intense experience of my life & I'm so grateful to my midwives for helping me to feel so good about my labour & delivery.
My suggestion would be to go for the midwife! It would seem that they listen a wee bit better than some docotrs :)
Oh, and if you're interested, my birth plan can be seen here: http://desireefawn.blogspot.com/2009/02/our-birth-story.html
Peace!

Debbie and Lane | 7:16 PM

I have very clear ideas about what I want to happen and not to happen. I've shared them with my hub and with my OB but don't plan on writing it down - because you know childbirth is unpredictible...so why write it down?

Chalsey | 7:18 PM

I had my own plan in my head. Not all written out. I knew exactly what I did and didnn't want. (But I also knew that anything could happen) I was lucky to have both my births to go how I wanted them to.

Trish | 7:31 PM

I had arranged to finish work three weeks before my due date, giving me plenty of time to write a birth plan. Unfortunately, I started going into labor on my last day of work, and ended up in the hospital that night. Having a written plan wouldn't have changed the outcome though. My son's heart rate kept dropping dangerously low with every contraction, so after six hours of labour in the hospital, I had to an emergency c-section.

You can't always get what you want...but I'm just glad my baby made it. Isn't that what's really important?

Samantha | 7:35 PM

i didn't have a birth plan. i had gone over a little bit of the most important things for me with my doctor and just left it at that. it wasn't super duper important to have things like the lights dimmed and having it all calm and stuff because hello? i'm giving birth, how can i be calm! this is the most exciting day of my life!!

i told my doctor i wanted my mother and my now husband in the room and i wanted an epidural, and i wanted at ALL COSTS to avoid a c-section. and all of my needs were met! i ended up having a section because of emergency circumstances but my doctor was awesome and easy to work with!!

Aimee | 7:36 PM

I went with a mostly unwritten but throughly discussed with husband/midwifes plan. I did have the hospital write "Don't ask about pain meds" on my chart during my pre-admission visit. I felt strongly about not having drugs and had been a support person at a birth where everytime the nurses came in the door they asked "ready for the drugs?". I felt that if in the moment I really needed them, I could ask but didn't want to be pressured/or annoyed by being asked.

In the end although my birth wasn't exactly like I envisioned, it was a positive, empowering experience. One that I hope to repeat someday!

Whats with women being shushed?!? My sister was shushed by her nurses. One of them actually told her that she was scarring the 1st time mother next door.

Overanalyzer: | 7:38 PM

all i know is - no inducing if possible and no episiotomy at all. i don't know if i'll be putting this in words on a piece of paper... but that's my plan right now.

Ray | 7:50 PM

I'm not a mother but I've thought about having the burned cd filled with soothing music, because to me that's a must! So I guess we both agree on that hehe. I just feel that you need something soothing to listen to, to get you through the pain. Whether it works or not is another story. Hehe. =P

@sunnywalk | 8:05 PM

if yours was an OBGYAsshole, mine was an OBGYBitch.

she clanked the forceps together while i pushed and said, "you better push harder or i'm going to use these!" then proceeded to give me a 3 degree episiotomy.

funny, my 2nd and 3rd babies required none and i didn't even have a stitch.

my advice? educate yourself, ladies! you have a voice, use it! i wish i would have. but i was so young and compliant and afraid, i didn't.

Stefanie | 8:05 PM

I didn't really have a birth plan, not that it would have mattered. I do wish I had been more knowledgeable though. I was planning on the whole natural childbirth thing, but my daughter had other plans. Her birth was a total comedy of errors starting with my doctor's contract ending the day after my due date. Her office assigned me a back-up doctor who, lo and behold, was married to my original doctor. His contract ended 5 days later. So, I got shuffled around - a lot.

Two weeks overdue, I was admitted to the hospital to be induced. FOUR days later (that's right - FOUR - 1,2,3,4) my cervix had just begun to soften. I was still planning on no drugs until a very wise nurse informed me that with the amount of pitosin in my body, I was definitely going to want an epidural. Her words: "Would you have a root canal without pain medication? Trust me, this is going to be a lot worse and it is going to last a lot longer."

After an eternity of labor with no dilation, my baby went into distress. A couple of hours later, I was wheeled into the OR for an emergency C-section that lasted less than 2 minutes. If they had waited another 2 minutes, my baby would have died. Come to find out, not only was she rather large at 10+ pounds, she was positioned in such a way that even if I had been able to have her vaginally, she would have broken at least one of her shoulders. All this to say, if I had known that I should have had a sonogram once I was two weeks overdue, the doctors would have known that a C-section was the best option and I could have avoided spending a week in the hospital and a 24 hour epidural and spinal tap that might be paid off by the time my kid graduates from college. You never think to prepare for the worst case scenario, and you expect the doctors to know best, but you should arm yourself with some info just in case.

Anonymous | 8:06 PM

I had a very general birth plan. It's a really good way for moms/dads to research what happens at birth and why some things are good or bad. I would recommend a birth plan to any mom, but the most important part of a birth plan is to discuss it with your dr. before hand. Some moms even get the dr to initial it before going into labor, so that you have some backing when debating these details with the nurses.

Where you deliver is the most important decision of your birth plan though.

Happy Mother's Day! Sarah V.

Beth Noel | 8:13 PM

I had a birth plan but I understood that it was just a guide. For instance, it said I preferred natural and no drugs and ended up getting a c-section for failure to progress and the fact that I couldn't get an epidural even if I wanted one(due to my platelet count. lame).

One perceived benefit is that I requested that my husband be able to stay if possible. My hospital had no private rooms so I knew that this was not necessarily do-able. Well due to construction or something there happened to be 1 room with only one bed and of all the ladies having babies that day, WE got it. I don't know if that was the reason but I was told that my birth plan would be treated like a medical document so I can only assume...

JJ Keith | 8:23 PM

I prepared for a horrific labor, but as luck would have, she pretty much just shot out of there like a cannonball. I woke up feeling yucky and she was born five hours later. Someday I am going to find an appropriate way to thank her, because the way I see it, my dear paid me a solid.

After reading your episiotomy experience I was terrified. As I was starting to push I said to the doctor (not my regular OB because it happened too fast), "Do not cut me. I will tear and that's okay. Do not cut me." I did and it was.

LG | 8:33 PM

I read everywhere that I needed to write down a birth plan but the more I thought about it the more it made sense to me that being flexible was my plan and it worked great!

Mama's Got Moxie | 8:36 PM

I had a so so plan I guess. I didn't want to write down anything too crazy but I did read a bit. I read things on questions to ask your Doctor, which was super helpful. Questions like their position on performing an episiotomy, c-section, natural childbirth, etc. It made me realize how much I liked my Doctor. They didn't do episiotomies, she didn't feel they were necessary, she said she wanted to let my body do it's thing, so no c-section unless it was ABSOLUTELY necessary. My labor was hard and long (who's isn't though right??), 24 hours and 10 minutes, my son was stuck in the birth canal and I pushed for 2.5 hours. My doctor never gave me pitocin, didn't get snip happy, the staff was great, encouraged me to push when I thought I was going to die and filled in for my husband when he didn't have the strength to muster up the words "you can do this" or "come one baby, give us another push, I can see the head" one more time. All in all, for what my labor was, it went great. I feel like in other hospitals I might have been given pitocin, IV drugs, an epidural on admit or a c-section. The hospital I was at really let me do my thing, they gave my body the opportunity to work on it's own. I'm really grateful for that. My advice to other Moms in regards to birth plans or having no plan is to just be aware of your choices, know what you want and realize that you can tell your doctor that doesn't jive with you (like snipping your lady bits prematurely if at all or loading you up with pitocin to speed your labor along). I got lucky, I didn't research endlessly or write a 50 page birth plan. I just ended up with a fabulous doctor at a great hospital that practices good medicine.

Katy F-H | 8:48 PM

wow I didn't know these wipes exsisted, trying to keep my house and baby toxin free!


My mommies group was just talking about this... I think it is important to think about your birth plan just so you are aware of the decisions that are being made, monitors, drugs, stiches everything. But I also think it is important to understand that the best plan is for the baby to come out safe and sound!

Katy

Cindy | 9:02 PM

I did have a birth plan. I felt really good having a birth plan. And, then, labor began and it sort of got tossed out the window. I think they're important to have, but I think it's even more important to know that things can change.

Steph | 9:33 PM

I found it was a really helpful process to write my birth plan rather than it being a literal reference during the actual event.

I don't think anyone other than my OB and doula looked at it.

It sharpened my knowledge and made me and my husband think about what the birth might be like and how I might want to deal with it.

You always hear/talk about "unnecessary" intervention in a birth, but what is that? "Necessary" means different things to different doctors and midwives. So I found going through my birth plan with my OB/GYN and doula a great way to make sure we were all on the same, uh-em, page.

I was lucky to have a very straight-forward birth, just the way I had hoped. I know a lot of that came down to luck. But I do strongly believe that going into labour - or heading into theatre for a scheduled c-section - with a positive attitude and having made informed decisions goes a long way to a positive outcome for everyone.

Writing a birth plan makes you think about what birth might look like and how you think you will cope. It makes you understand better what may happen to you, what may be offered to you and the effects of those events and choices. And as a first time mum that process was invaluable.

But you could do it in your head, really. It doesn't necessarily need to be written down or called a "birth plan".

jen | 10:03 PM

first of all-i am shocked at the dr shushing you. craziness!!!

ok. as far as a birthing plan goes. no. sorry i did not have one. i feel they are a little pointless bc usually things never go as planned. and i think if you plan it all out and it is different then that will just add to the stress. i do think you should learn about your options and what you can and may expect. i did that. i asked ppl questions and read magazines and books. i ended up having to have a scheduled c-section, so luckily i wasn't dead set on a certain "plan". my plan was to be calm and do what the dr told me. ha. (i did not have a shushing dr though).

Jessica O'Halloran | 10:31 PM

I agree that a birth plan is a contradiction in terms as things dont always go to plan with birthing.. it is important however to be educated and assertive when it comes to voicing your needs /wants and preferences in the lead up and during the birth HOWEVER it is hard to be assertive when you have an asshole OBGYN such as the one you had, your half naked and writhing in pain. So, Most importantly I think next time I will ensure that I have a person with me who can voice all of this for me, should I not be feeling up to it.

I wish I had've slapped the nurse I had who tried relentlessly to put my beautiful two hour old baby in the nursery over night (as if I was going to let her out of my sight!!) and who stuck her finger in my babys mouth (to check she wasnt tongue tied apparantly) before my nipple had even been in there. I will never get over that.

GingerB | 10:40 PM

I was taking the hypnobirthing classes and hoping for a drug free, vaginal birth only to end up with a "your baby comes now because she is way too small for gestational age" birth plan - after I insisted on trying to induce we still had an emergency c-section due to a dropping heartrate. Every plan I made was laid to waste, then the second baby was a scheduled section even though I tried so hard to go into labor on my own before the date. I have to say I still (three years out) feel robbed by fate to not have had a birth experience that was more of my choosing and less dramatic.

I make the world's palest babies - would love to try those sunscreen wipes!

sara lou and stew | 10:48 PM

Did he "shhhhh" you outloud or with a trendy tattooed librarian finger like LaLohan?

I did write a birth plan. It was helpful because it made me and my hubs really talk through what I did and did not want. But, nothing really went to plan, which is the thing with a baby, nothing goes to plan anymore. You're on their time. So, I suppose it's par for the course.

Pam | 10:50 PM

No birthplans here. I just felt it would all fall into place. Women been doing this for years right? With my first I was all like, um yes, an I'll be doing that without medication thank you. WTF was I thinking! What a amateur! Second one I was all aboard the med train!

lacy | 11:00 PM

I am planning a home water birth. And so, I feel I need to have a birth plan to go over with my midwives mainly for if I need to be transfered and what I would want that to look like. I know things can change instantly so my birth plan will be nothing that is set in stone. It is more of just a way to go over the details and possible changes with my midwives, naturopath and doula. Much like the "verbal birth plan."

little sara | 11:26 PM

No birth plan, per se, here either. But i've done my research and feel that I know enough to understand everything going on. I do know I want to labor as long as possible without drugs and want to use a birthing ball to help me along. If and when it gets to be too much I will gladly take the help I can get!

My due date is 2 weeks away...guess we'll find out soon enough how it will all go down!

She Likes Purple | 4:34 AM

You know, I didn't plan a thing. And it worked out really well. I think because I trusted my team from minute one of the pregnancy, I was very zen about labor itself. Now pregnancy and newbornhood? A WHOLE 'nother story.

Rachel | 4:55 AM

I had a birth "idea" I wanted a water birth. Our hospital only has one Birthing tub. I said I wanted that room and I got it had my self a drug free water birth. So I like birth "ideas". I also had a birth mix and the was VERY important!!

Karen | 5:05 AM

I'm due in June and I have no birth plan. I'm bad with planning, because I hate being disappointed. I'd much rather expect less and, hopefully, be pleasantly surprised.

...I still believe in the stork.

LONI | 5:57 AM

My husband and I took a 6 week "class" before our son was born.It basically was about our hospital and what to expect. Taught us the doctor lingo, what all the meds were etc. Since I had all that info I decided to make a birth plan tell the Docs and nurses excatly what I wanted. Well week 41 came and still no baby or dialation. So at my appointmet they told me I would go in for a Csection the next day at 6am. So needless to say my birth plan was meaningless! It is still in my sons baby book where I put it after I made it. Im am not one for planning either, and I guess that was the universes way of telling me to stick to my ways!

Danielle | 6:19 AM

I didn't exactly have a birth plan. Because I was using a midwife (in Canada, where I gave birth, a midwife can deliver at home or in the hospital)it was already assumed that I favoured a vaginal birth and no drugs. But I was sort of/kind of/totally terrified by the idea of how much things were going to hurt that I was afraid to write plan that explicitly said "No drugs" because I felt that it might be harder to change my mind after! I liked my midwife so much and since she asked my permission before doing anything I just trusted that she would do things according to the plans in my head. I'll need to move back to Canada for the next baby (one day) so I can have her again.

Happy Mother's Day!

Megan | 6:22 AM

I'm an event planner by trade - so plans are necessary for sheer ease of mind in stressful times - be it a dinner party for 500 or the birth of my babes. For my son - I had the mother of all birthplans - I had the damn bag packed all the momma books told me to - I had the sweets, the magazines, the birth plan... and all of those things stayed packed, in my bag because once I was all hooked up and in bed - I was more about going with the flow than following the plan - but the plan did help my husband and I be on the same page with what I wanted or didn't want. With baby #2 - the birth plan was more of a contingency plan - we moved 2 weeks before she was born and had to travel 2 hours back home to deliver - so it was less of a birth plan and more of a how to get from here to there with the baby still inside, the son at grandma and grandpas and me painfree... it all worked out - I had two wonderful deliveries - no complications and I now am the proud momma to two wonderful additions to the human race...Plans aren't for everyone - but in my opinion, it helped me know that if I was unable to make a decision there was a written wish list of what I wanted...and above all, what I wanted were two healthy children and one surviving momma!

The Girl | 6:31 AM

Okay. Dude. I came down with The Knocked Up three months ago, and I just last night hit the HOLY SHIT PANIC WTF, I don't know *anything* about this shit phase. Because hi, I don't know ANYTHING about this.

I know I didn't want an epidural because blah blah, dangerous, blah blah needle and spine- but now I'm staring down the (still quite long) barrel of shooting someone out my patunia and I think the needle sounds beautiful. I know I thought "If they cut me, so be it, whatever gets the baby out" and now I'm thinking "OH NO, my friend, with the cutting."

How do you know? I'm 24, my mom's gone, and everyone's coming at me with all of these opinions and ideas and how do you KNOW?

This gestating stuff is hard. I haven't even gotten to the delivery and keeping-child-alive phases yet. Shit.

Anonymous | 6:44 AM

I am having my first in July and won't really be making a birth plan. There are so many things that can go differently than you plan, it seems that you can too easily feel disappointed when everything is over if it doesn't go your way. I am going to be discussing things I would like to happen in certain situations with my husband and doctor, but that is as far as I will go.

Misty

Jen G | 6:55 AM

I had my first baby 5 weeks ago. We had a general plan, but it all went out the window. I planned to go drug free till I found out how horrific labor was, ha! Also I planned to have a regular birth and ended up with a csection due to failure to progress. But whatevs. The little man is here and he is perfect!

bakersbakery | 7:05 AM

We don't really have a written Birth Plan, but we do have an amazing midwife that pretty much does everything just as we dreamed she would! I feel confident going into this (any day now) with a practitioner that understands and cares about our preferences.

A | 7:11 AM

Whoa. I had a birthplan. But, I also feel like it was kind of unnecessary. I did want to make it clear that I just wanted to be alone with my husband while our daughter was being born....and that's pretty much how it happened. But, I had to tell our nurse that in the delivery room anyway, so the 5 pieces of paper I brought to my doctor's office were kinda useless.
Everything was verbally affirmed or denied with our nurse during and previous the delivery. We ended up having a csection anyway, after about 4 and a half hours of pushing. So, not that everything went un-noticed or not as planned...I just wish my OBGYN hadn't bothered me about getting a plan together.

Maureen | 7:11 AM

I'm finding that the thing I least expect to happen is what nails me, even if I try to have almost no expectations. I didn't have a birth plan the first time, but I was blindsided when my baby ended up being breech and (painful) attempts to turn him or chiropractic work didn't help. So, I had a c-section, which I felt was a personal failure. This time, I try to keep my birth plan along the lines of--VBAC, no uterine rupture, healthy baby and mom, and not being mad at myself for not having a "perfect" birth. I see midwives whom I love, so that takes care of any unnecessary episiotomy worries or crazy people being mean during labor (seriously, WTF).

Jackie | 7:13 AM

I agree with Melanie, waaaaay up at the top - the more you understand, the better. I'm the type of person who is reassured by facts. If I know what's going on, I feel cool as a cucumber. I didn't have a written plan with either of my babes. I do think it's important to discuss your wishes/thoughts/concerns with your doctor/midwife - which is what I did with baby #1. I ended up having a c-section (after 28hrs labouring in hospital...), but I was happy that I felt involved in the whole process. With #2 I had a planned c-section, so no need for a plan there, either.

Sara | 7:23 AM

I didn't have a birth plan, mainly because I was pretty sure I was going to have a c-section due to my incredibly stubborn BREECH baby boy. Turns out he came on his own 2.5 weeks early, but was still a 'section baby.

If I had a VB, I doubt I would've had a birth plan because I'm just laid back enough to not really be too concerned about what happens around me. Though I must admit, a stress-free enviornment with some great drugs does sound almost pleasurable.

Erica | 7:39 AM

I had a birth plan for both babies and they worked beautifully. During my first child's birth, there were five students watching and I only had to push twice. The Dr. said it was textbook. I'm not sure if that had to do with "the plan" or not, but I'm pretty proud of it :-)

Jess | 7:59 AM

Loved Trisha's comments ('LadyElmo') above! I am 21 weeks and have been thinking about this whole 'birth plan' thing recently. While I don't think I will write out a long 'plan', I do want to have a bulleted list of the most important things to me/us. I have and continue to talk with my doctor about these things, but he has so many patients... how is he supposed to remember what I said? I just feel that a 'to-the-point', simple list of my top 6 or so ideas will make us more comfortable.

Lia | 8:05 AM

I didn't really have a birth plan but I told my husband before hand that I wanted to try naturally but if it hurt too much give me drugs. If possible no cutting or sucking of forceps used to get my baby out but if there's no other way please go ahead. No c-section unless absolutely necessary and please no mirror and no unnecessary people in the room. I was in labor for 17.5 hours and I took the epidural after 9 because I couldn't handle the pain anymore. My baby came out without any cutting or ripping or suctioning or forceps grabbing but with a whole lot of painkillers and local anesthetic.
My friend had this elaborate birth plan and she ended up laboring on a chair in the hospital because all the rooms were full and having an emergency c-section even though she's wanted a natural water birth at a birthing center.
I believe you can't plan your birth, you can only go with the flow.

Birdie | 8:06 AM

i had a birthplan, but i think it was more an exercise for me than for my midwife...it was good for me to write out what i HOPED would happen and to visualize things. and it came in handy because everyone knew about certain preferences (no pacifiers, bf only, no pain meds, etc) without me having to explain them fifty bagillion times while screaming through contractions or trying to get some much needed rest. :)

Anonymous | 8:06 AM

My birth plan was simple:
"DRUGS. EARLY. OFTEN."

mpotter | 8:07 AM

i have realized (too late) that making plans ends up backfiring on me anyway. the only thing i can readily recall planning that came to fruition is when i got my "dream" job working for the American Cancer Society.

in short- i did have a birthplan. nothing too crazy. oh wait- the no drugs thing? maybe a little crazy since the labor was longer than a day is. didn't matter. after fighting like hell to do all i could.... pushed for several hours, even... i ended up w/ a csection b/c she was looking to the side.
a baby comes out of a 10cm hole one way or another.

parkingathome | 8:09 AM

Our plan is "get the baby out" pretty much. I read a book called The Best Birth and it really jives with how I feel about the whole thing. Many times I feel that rigid birth plans can be detrimental to both mom and baby if they refuse up front something that may end up being medically necessary...so the motto of that book's method "healthy mom, health baby, no matter how you get there" is how I feel. I'll have my education, my trust in my doctor, and my husband there to help me and all will be okay.

Kelli | 8:13 AM

I was an uber-planning machine when I had my daughter Ella. I even planned what headband I would labor in-totally neurotic. Looking back, I think I would have been a lot less of a mess once she was born if I had just let everything unfold naturally..because, for me at least, having my expectations smashed was a bitch-i felt guilty and confused and i think i would have felt a whole lot less of that if i hadn't associated following a plan with my success as a Mama.

that being said-i think being prepared like everyone else has said is where it's at.

also-funniest pictures ever below!

LouEffie | 8:27 AM

I'm just going to copy and paste my comments from Momversation.

I didn't have a written birth plan. I had a loose version in my head that I wanted to follow, but it didn't work out that way at all. After going into labor, I wasn't progressing as quickly as the hospital staff would have liked, so they suggested giving me Pitocin to speed the process along. I didn't want the Pitocin, but felt very pressured by the nurses. I was told that it was dangerous to be in labor for too long after your water broke and "We really need to get this process going." After being frightened and made to feel like I was making the wrong decision, I agreed to the Pitocin and, all hell broke loose.

I was contracting so hard that it was sending my son's heart rate into distress. My blood pressure kept dipping dangerously low every time they would give me more Pitocin. At one point, my BP dropped to 80/30. After a few very stressful and scary hours of the Pitocin and bad reactions from both me and baby, I still was only dilated to 5 after being in labor for 12 hours. My Dr decided at that point that I would need a c-section b/c of my son's heart rate. The surgery went well, but I didn't get to hold my son for almost 3 hours b/c of the fluid in his lungs that didn't get pushed out since he was delivered by section and didn't travel through the birth canal.

To say the least, I was disappointed with how it turned out. Of course, I can't help but think that if I had stuck to my guns and wasn't bullied into getting the Pitocin, things would have gone differently. Shortly after my son was born, I watched Rikki Lake's documentary, The Business of Being Born, and just cried my eyes out b/c they described my experience exactly. I felt pressured by the staff to make choices I didn't want to make and in turn, it had a negative effect on myself and my baby.

The next time around, I will most certainly have a birth plan. I know for sure that I don't want Pitocin anywhere near my veins.

Christie Pits Blogger | 8:34 AM

Be grateful you live in a country where they actually have and accept birth plans.
I am Canadian and about to give birth in Italy (in 5 weeks). When I suggested to my doctor that I may have specific requests about drugs she told me that I am not in charge and they know better than me what to do.
For the most part, I agree. I have never delivered a baby before. I trust her judgement.
At this point just bring it on, pain, episiotomy whatever...let's get this over with already!

Jamie | 8:35 AM

I made a one-page list of bullet points covering the important things to me during my delivery. It was useful for me to have it written down so it could be left at the computer in my room for the endless parade of nurses. This way we didn't have to verbalize my wishes every ten minutes. For me, communicating this to my doctor was no problem, it was the nurses who tried to take charge and got on my nerves.

Joy | 8:40 AM

My birth plan had most of the usual stuff on it, including no episiotomy. However, that one I will change my mind on for our next child. It would have saved me a lot of grief if I would have just had one. But that's not what I'm here to share. What I at the time thought was my way of getting my point across about my wishes turned out to be a great way of making all the doctors and nurses ROFLA's off. Which is always a good thing when making friends of those that will be messing around doing medical things in your lady parts. My number one request of which I highlighted orange and tripled the size of the print was 1) EPIDURAL!!! YES PLEASE!! Got a quite a few snickers with that one.

Anonymous | 8:49 AM

I am going to put my neck on the line and say that Becca, I disagree with your doctor... sometimes, episiotomies ARE necessary. The first time I performed one, I cried. The woman's perineum was so tight I couldn't get the ventouse cup in without doing the cut. I will never forget doing that cut (with consent).

That was over a year ago, & i've done a few more since. The most recent was 11 days ago, on a trim, fit woman who was really struggling to push out at 7lb baby. Her muscles were in such great shape that the head was literally bouncing off her very thick perineum. So we talked & we agreed on an episiotomy, which extended as the baby crowned. 11 days on it is healing well and the sutures look good. But I will follow her up for at least a year, because these things have to be done properly & they have to heal properly. We owe women that much at least.

Karen Dietrich | 9:08 AM

Hey Rebecca, I'm curious -- why do you refuse to read parenting books?

Becoming a parent doesn't suddenly give us all the knowledge we need to care for and raise children. I think it's helpful to read what experts have to say. I don't follow their every word, but I like to be able to make informed decisions that work for me and my family, rather than just flying blind, so to speak.

I read a lot of books about birth while I was pregnant, and had many discussions with my doctors (luckily I had a very caring team of OB-GYNs) which helped me create my birth plan.

Of course, nothing in life ever goes exactly according to plan, but that doesn't mean plans aren't useful.

coronalrain | 9:12 AM

I had a "vague" birth plan. I knew I wanted to be in a hospital. That I wanted an epidural and that I wanted to avoid an episiotomy and a c-section. I of course was willing to have a c-section if necessary, but hoped it wasn't. I also knew that I only wanted my husband in the room. Honestly other then the fact that my doctor was out of town, things went according to "plan";> In the end my motto was healthy mom and healthy baby and I trusted my doctor to help get us there.

Shay | 9:16 AM

In hypnobirthing, we call them "Birth Preferences" as in if everything is medically going well, this is how I prefer my labor to be handled. Then it's less of a "My Plan!!!!" coupled with disappointment with things that couldn't be helped. (my best friend still has a hard time getting over having a C-section that was "unplanned") I would highly recommend being educated about what your body is doing in labor! Movies make it really dramatic, and every women with a horrible birth story feels the need to scare the shit out of a pregnant lady. I used hypnobirthing, and had a really relaxed birth, but I had to know what was going on so when I started getting chills/feeling pukey I could think...oh, transition, almost done, not DEAR GOD, SO COLD AND NAUSEOUS, MUST BE DYING! I started out my pregnancy thinking bring on the drugs, I'm just going to go for broke in labor, and the more I learned the more I felt comfortable with the whole process and wanting to do it naturally which I did!

I loved having a birth plan, and the nurses were so cool about it. My hubby got to cut the umbilical cord, no epi, I got to nurse her right away, I was only attached to the monitors for a little bit each hour. Most of what I wanted they either already did, or was less work for them, so they were very willing to help us out. I also made my husband Knight of the Birth Preferences which was nice because he pulled our nurse aside in the beginning and had her look over it to tell us if there was something that they couldn't do and we had our doctor look it over ahead of time to make sure we were all on the same page. Easy and comforting. Big resounding YES on the Birth Plan/Preferences.

Amanda | 9:23 AM

I had originally wanted to attempt a water birth with Jack. That was of course until I discovered that epidural's weren't allowed with those.

I know my pain threshold. Tattoo's? Hell yeah, sign me up! Baby exiting my vag? Urrrrmmmm. Check please?

I also planed to birth him vaginally, but such is my life when the doc informed me, 3 hours after pushing and after being in labor for about 22 hours, that "this isn't progressing." And so I was wheeled in for a c-section.

From then on I vowed to have a birth plan. Six weeks later, I got an IUD.

I adore my son more than anything in the world but seriously. Not again. At least not for awhile, and when/if that happens, I'll remember to bring my damned birth mix with me!

Miss Grace | 9:30 AM

I didn't have a written down birth plan, but I thought about it a lot, and I talked to my midwife, and I had an IDEA of how I wanted things to go. They didn't go that way, because my birth plan did not involve having my baby in a bathroom down the hall from my own hospital room, with no one but his father in the room, and all of the nurses just sort of coming in after the fact for a good round of The Panic, but I'm still glad I thought things through before hand and new how I felt about induction, episiotomies, epidurals, etc.

leila | 9:33 AM

yeppers, i had a birth plan. it consisted of about five bullet points on a post-it that i shared with my ob-gyn. then, when i was in labour for effectively five days, my husband and i shared our preferences with each new set of nurses who came on duty.

everything about how i thought childbirth would go DID get thrown out the window, but going over my birth plan (perhaps more accurately called my "birth preferences")meant that i didn't get an episiostomy, it meant that my doctor tried other options before pitocin, and it meant that i totally felt informed and empowered about my birth.

i would definitely recommend "Pregnancy, Childbirth, and the Newborn" as a reference book for understanding what your options are for birth. i think they even have an outline for a birth plan in there.

EdenSky | 9:39 AM

I kind of had a bit of a plan when I had my first baby, by which I mean that I filled out the form entitled BIRTH PLAN that I got in the stupid pre-natal class. But I wouldn't really call it a plan, because basically I was a naive teenager who expected that others would know better than me what to do. I went to the hospital and let people jab needles in me and force me into uncomfortable positions and got the episiotomy. I went home with a baby, but I can't say the experience was empowering.
I grew up a bit over the next 3 years and by the time the second baby came along I had become much more aware of my own wants and needs. I went with a midwife and had a home-birth. I can not describe the sense of empowerment that comes from doing things your own way. I felt like a respected, intelligent and capable woman, rather than a disobedient child.
I'm still not one for strict plans, because things can certainly change at any moment during delivery, but it is nice to have some general guidelines and be well informed about your options.

summertime | 9:43 AM

My birth plan consisted of:

1) epidural as soon as possible. I had no interest in a natural child birth whatsoever.

2) no c-section by curious doctor (I have a unicornuate uterus and man, do doctors and nurses want a peek when they find out).

I almost didn't get an epidural. My labor progressed so quickly that even though they only kept me in triage for an hour with the epidural man "on the way," and I had only started having contractions two hours before that, I was fully dilated by the time the sweet, sweet, anesthesiologist came around. So, only three hours of labor is supposed to be good, but having your cervix stretch that fast with no meds... not awesome.

Oh, and then because I was not thinking straight (in labor? weird) I mentioned to the resident that I had an UU and he, of course, immediately started to try and find reasons to give me a c-section. Luckily my nurse was rad and I delivered vaginally with barely any problems.

Katie | 9:44 AM

I have a couple birth plans, but they are both very general and are definitely not written down. Though, it's probably a good idea to at least write a couple sentences on a post-it or something so I don't forget when pain sets in.

Plan A means I'm giving birth at home with a midwife. I'll have my own music playing and things will go according to the baby's schedule.

Plan B means that I just go with the flow whether it means epidural, C-section, hospital birth, whatever...

No matter what happens, it's all about having the beautiful baby in your arms at the end of it!

That one girl | 9:46 AM

Plan: Somehow get baby out of me.

Plan: Tell me how pretty I am in the process.

I think that about sums up my birth plan. Somehow my husband didn't keep referring to plan 2. Weird.

mariah | 9:56 AM

did not have a plan of any sort with my son (now 15). i was young and my plan was reading the only book i had. i winged it from the beginning and ended up with a c-section (which seemed necessary during the panting and pain of it all).
as one of the other commenters said...i think educating yourself is more important than being tied to a concrete plan.

Miranda | 10:15 AM

No, I decided against a birth plan. I figured all of the things I'd want to be "comfortable" I'd just do and I'm not really qualified to make a plan for bringing a person into this world as safely as possible. That's sort of why I went to a doctor, you know? All I asked was that everything be explained to me and no decisions be made for me- I wanted to make the calls as things came up.
Everything must have worked out cause here I am now with a perfectly healthy 3 month old!

bstab | 10:21 AM

I had a plan of sorts in that I knew I wanted to be able to labor at home as much as possible, to avoid unneccessary drugs and procedures if possible, to have the baby in the room with me afterward and to nurse her.

I think having a concrete plan and expectation going into labor sets you up emotionally for something you have no clue about till you go through it. And it can make such a magical thing a real disappointment, depending on your personality.

So for me it was good to know what I ultimately wanted and to have that expressed to my husband for him to fight for it if I couldn't - but in the end, I had an epidural (my choice), and episiotomy (went fine), sent her to the nursery once for a few hours (to try and sleep) and nursed her till she was two. And inthe back of my mind, I knew a c-section was always an option so if it had come up, no feelings of disappointment on my end.

Preparation is a good thing; knowing what could happen is a good thing - but thinking in any way that there is control over a situation like this just sets up failure in my mind. So going into my second labor in a month or so? I'm open. I'm completely open to whatever happens for us.

Denise | 10:30 AM

Like you, with my 1st I went in with no plan, and was disapointed with how everything turned out. With my 2nd, I had some definate ideas for how labor and delivery should go.

I don't think that a writen birth plan is needed, but I think that ALL women should know and consider thier options. They need to have and idea of what they want, even at a basic level, then communicate that to their dr before hand. Let's face it, once you are in the late stages of labor, it is a lot harder to think through your options.

mrs. q. | 10:33 AM

So glad you had a different OBG-Why?-N/birth experience second time around. Oy.

I had a birth plan, but it was more like a few key bullet points to ensure that I could communicate my wishes in case I was out of my mind or I had strangled my husband-- things like holding off on pain meds (although I finally opted for a didn't-effin-work epidural), trying various birthing positions, laboring in the shower (cold, wet and in pain-- TOTALLY OVERRATED!), baby rooming with me, no bottles/no pacifiers/only breastfeeding, etc. I felt a bit of control in an otherwise chaotic environment. My second time around, my little lass came out foot-first before the c-section, so I didn't even have time to take it out of my bag!

My doc had the best advice-- have a few key points to outline what is most important for you and for your baby. In his experience with THOUSANDS of births, the moms with the most complicated birth plans always seemed to end up with the most complicated births.

robin | 10:36 AM

I took a birthing class and a newborn care class and a breastfeeding class when I was pregnant with baby #1. I wanted to be prepared, damnit! Of course birth plans were spoken of. I was given a packet of information, which included a birth plan questionaire. It felt awkward to me to fill out. I mean, for so many of the questions, my answer was simply, "I DON"T KNOW!" I felt dumb, also. Did EVERYONE just know exactly what they wanted? What kind of music they would be in the mood to listen to? The scent of the candle they may/may not want burning by their bedside? Whether they'd want to suck on ice or a sour apple jolly rancher?

So, I didn't fill it out. I talked to my husband, and my doctor, about the big stuff. I wanted to try without drugs, and I didn't want people asking/forcing drugs upon me. I wanted to do it as natural as possible, in order to avoid the domino effect I'd so often heard about. And I wanted to try using a squatting bar instead of laying flat on a hospital table, cuz, really? gravity, yo! So everything was set. Except my doctor had been oncall and up all night, I had a different doctor, he refused to do the squatting bar and tried to lay me flat. Also, music? I didn't want to hear anything! If someone spoke to me I wanted to punch them! My nurse was like a 12 year old playing nurse, but my baby came out and was healthy and beautiful, so I guess that's all that matters, right?

With baby #2, well, the only change was I wanted to hang out in the jacuzzi the whole time. That didn't work out, cuz the jacuzzi was broken, so I settled for the tub. She came really fast and the doc didn't make if for the birth, but the nurses were fabulous, and THEY were ok with the squatting bar. Go figure.

mrs. q. | 10:40 AM

Oh, and am I the only who is wondering why there are three little cherubs on your new masthead? Hmmm???!

Go Erin Go | 10:45 AM

I'm due in 3 months with my first, and while I have no formal birth plan, there are just a few things I need to communicate to my doc.

I'm all for an epidural, totally against episiotomy, prefer a vaginal birth, want my husband in delivery (no other family), want to breastfeed, and that's about it.

I figure women have been doing this for thousands of years, I'll make it through a-okay!

Amy | 10:52 AM

I had a birth plan.
No drugs, and a natural birth.

After being induced, taking the epidural and getting a C section that kind of ruined everything.

But my next child will have to be a c section, so that saves a lot of planning time.

Susie | 11:08 AM

I'll have my first baby in October, and I will probably write a birth plan...but I doubt if I'd need more than a Post-it. "No episiotomy, please. No pitocin, please. And I'm bringing an iPod. Thank you."

Anna | 11:10 AM

I personally did not have a birth plan, because like you, I did not know what to expect. I pretty much packed my overnight bag and left it at that.

Socks, check.
Toothpaste, double check.
iPod, check.

Because I went into my labor not really expecting something or not expecting something, I was very open to everything and anything. When my labour began to progress to book standards (contractions continued just like the books said they would, my water broke at home, everything was going smoothly) by the time I got to the hospital I knew full well that I was ready for drugs.

But because I did not *plan*, I literally took everything offered. Laughing gas was first, followed by fetenol, followed shortly after by an Epi (oh, the glorious Epidural, how I love you)!

Labour sucked, crowning sucked even more, but eventually my beautiful purple little baby girl was laid on my chest and the breath was sucked out my body and the pain eased and everything felt right. Great, even.
Until - my daughter didn't cry - and the nurses rushed around and eventually called a 'Code Pink' because she wasn't breathing.

It was the scariest, most god-awful feeling in the entire world; and after a few silent and horrifying moments, my daughter finally bleeped a few cries and the nurses sighed with relief and tears poured down my husbands cheeks.

Because I went into my birth without really knowing what to expect, and because I accepted all the drugs that I did, my daughter was extremley medicated upon arrival.

I think that it's really important for Mothers to research what will happen when it's their turn to meet their new human being that they've been housing for nine months because by not doing so - by not giving yourself a birth plan - you're not giving your BABY a birth plan either.
I'm not saying you should write everything down, or go in with a list, or the do's and dont's - but know what kind of experience you want for your BABY and go from there.

:)

The Mom | 11:16 AM

With Baby #1 my Birth Plan was to give birth to a baby. I was open to anything that ended with a healthy baby.

With Baby #2 my plan was to go natural, because I am kind of masochistic like that. Of course when I got the hospital 10cm dialated after only 2 hours of VERY hard labor I was begging for an epi or a club to the head.

Luckily in the end with both I got what I really wanted, which was a healthy baby. Much better than that knee surgery I had two years ago, which only netted me a couple of scars.

Nicole and Robert | 11:21 AM

I had a birth plan that covered the basics. Try for a natural birth, no episiotomy, ultimately healthty baby.

I did try for a natural birth even though I was induced. After a few hours of contractions with NO break in-between like they said in class, I got a narcotic- LOVED IT for the 20 minutes it worked. Then I asked for and got an epidural after another 2 hours. This didn't work, or it did but only on one leg. So pretty much got my natural childbirth. My experience was that it was good to make a general plan but also be able to be flexible and not feel guilty about it.

thilie | 11:30 AM

I had a birth plan.. I wanted to have my baby in the hospital with my doctor as natural as it could be, I wanted to feel her getting out from me.. my mom had me vaginally (that sounds awful, pardon my english), she had a 20 hours labor with no pain medication.. I was ready for that.. I had yoga classes twice a week, I had breathing and meditation technique.. but non of what I expected happened.. after spending the night with medication to have contractions, in a hot tub at the hospital with pain I had a c-section because i didn`t have enough dilatation.. but I was so happy I finally got to see and hug my baby that it didn`t matter :)
we would love to get the baby skincare products and maybe fable and stella could go to a playground at the beach together?

Charlotte | 11:46 AM

Birth Plan?

Haha. Good one. *snort* Yeah, I had one. And then everything else happened ...

Seriously, we had had our birth plan, our song mix, everything; we'd discussed how we wanted to have Little Miss Kickboxer, *of course* the Earth Mother Way, with squatting and water tub (not available in the hospital) and almost went with a home birth because my ob told me that, yeah, he'll read it (*giggle*), but in the end, things always end up differently. Good thing we planned for all three events: Natural birth, c-section, and if something should happen to the baby. Also, writing up the birth plan made me research medications etc. so that I was able to make informed decisions.

We did end up with 22 hours of labor and no baby, despite 4 hours of pushing and an epidural (which wore off during the pushing) because despite my big butt, some bone structure was smaller than Little miss Kickboxer's head. That's when the attending said "c-section," and I happily signed the paperwork because ^@#$%^& OUCH!

And then our little baby turned, and they had to pull her out by her feet. 20 seconds of deafening silence later, she breathed and cried, and we could all breathe again ourselves. Except for me because I was still puking under the oxygen mask.

The end.

Now, aren't you glad you asked?

Jenna | 12:02 PM

I had a "birth intention" with my first baby. It was long and detailed. It made me feel much better to have it, though I'm not sure anybody read it.

When I met with the doula we used for our second baby, I pulled up the old birth intention and had a good laugh. The doula started calling it my "don't fucking touch me" plan. Because really, that's what I meant. Every sentence of the thing could have been summarized in just those four words. We now call it the DFTM.

So we had a much shorter birth plan the second time around. And I think they did actually read it.

Cave Momma | 12:03 PM

I personally don't understand "birth plans". How do you plan a birth when there are so many factors that YOU HAVE NO CONTROL OVER??! I went into the hospital each time educated and with an open mind and I think that is the key to being happy with the outcome.

The first time was a breeze.. no problems. Some pain meds and hours later I pushed out my little girl. No episiotomy, a tiny tear and that's it.

The second time.. not so easy. My baby boy's heart rate wasn't as it should have been so I was whisked into the OR for an emergency c-section. His cord was wrapped around his neck and body. However, he was just fine and I had a healthy baby. Was a c-section what I wanted? Hell no but it was necessary and I knew that.

I had no post-partum depression with either and I think not having a plan was part of the reason. I wasn't stressed either time. I wasn't disappointed or sad by what happened or didn't happen. I was just happy I had 2 healthy babies.

If we decide to have a 3rd I will try for a VBAC but if that can't happen not a big deal as long as I get a healthy baby out of it.

Love your blog!

Audrey | 12:06 PM

Oh, I planned...and planned the birth of my first. I shared the plan with my doula and my midwife. We had extra copies packed in the hospital bag. Then, at 41 weeks, we were sent for a C-section. Plan=out the window. Our nurse, other than lamenting "what a beautiful plan. It's really a shame you're having a cesarean" was really good about saving the parts of our plan that she could: Daddy got to announce the sex of Baby after she was born, we breast fed as soon as we could and in the meantime, Daddy did some kangaroo stuff. In addition, we were additionally told that Daddy and Baby would have to leave the OR while I was stitched up, but everything went so well that they left them both there with me - and I am so thankful for that.

Baby #2 (coming October 2009): C-section, there will be no birth plan written. We will let the nurse know that Daddy announces the sex and Baby needs to be on the boob ASAP.

edeegan | 12:10 PM

I have 3 kiddos now, my youngest is 3 months old. I didn't have a birth plan for any of my pregnancies. I just had a really good OBGYN and we had many conversations thoughout my pregnancy. I think a good patient/doctor relationship can guarantee a pleasant, memorable delivery.

Charlotte | 12:12 PM

Just thought of 'nother thing:

Of course, our birth plan is going into Little Miss Kickboxer's baby book. It'll be her first memento of how things always go differently than planned.

Now I'm done. Promise.

Mary | 12:24 PM

Oh my! Shushing you!? I was screaming so loud, I'm sure the entire hospital could hear me!

I didn't have a written "birth plan" either. Like you, I assumed the baby would come out of my vagina, but that was about the extent of it.

I checked into the hospital on the afternoon of Tuesday, September 30th for cervidil. On Wed. the 1st of October they started pitocin early in the morning. They then STOPPED the pitocin at about 5PM that evening so I could eat and rest. On Thursday, the 2nd, they restarted the pitocin in the early morning. By this point my doctor was no longer on call and the ONLY doctor at my practice that I didn't like was working. He came in at 3:30PM and "accidently" broke my water when I wasn't even a centimeter dialated. From then on out things went down hill. They came in to do the epidural and hit a blood vessel the first time so had to redo it. Then after hard core contractions and pushing for 7 hours, my epidural came out and of course no longer was working. FINALLY at 11AM on Friday the 3rd of October a new doctor came on and decided that Zane was face up and after pushing for 7 hours, was not coming out vaginally and a c-section would have to be done. Since my epidural was no longer effective, I had to have a spinal tap. I finally had Zane at 11:49AM on Friday, October 3rd and while having him was the best thing in the entire world, delivering him was a nightmare. I can promise, with any further children, I will have a strict DO NOT LET THIS DOCTOR NEAR ME code!

And now I'm finished my novel!

Melissa | 12:40 PM

We're planning a homebirth with a CNM, so I don't feel the need to document a birth plan. Our midwife knows our prefrences, as does our back-up physician, and the main reason we're going this route is that we know our wishes will be respected to the extent that it's possible to do so. I just completed my OB rotation for nursing school, so I know how very little attention hospital staff give to those type of documents - in my experience, they promt a lot of eye-rolling. We're much more focused on developing our transfer plan in case we need to go to a hospital. It's not really about preferences, though - just instructions so there's no confusion about where we're going and how we'll get there if something happens.

kirida | 12:43 PM

Our birth plan went out the delivery room window. I thought it would be so funny to listen to Salt-N-Pepa's "Push It" during labor, but then in the moment, it was not funny. Other than that, I didn't want any pictures of my ladyparts or any videos. I could use my imagination because it was on the other end of me.

mames | 12:48 PM

the whole birth plan thing went out the window when i started ore term labor at 26 weeks. then it was, um, no birth, please please please, no birth. until they can, like, live. then it was, please get them out now i cannot stand another minute....if they are healthy, that is. my csection was 'planned' from the get go because o would not turn around...and there is just no way to prepare for that. plan schman. the current plan is no mas. i think i am fine with that.

alice | 12:54 PM

i still haven't decided if i need/want a birth plan... i think my midwife and i are kind of on the same page but i might just make a short list for peace of mind. i'm not a control freak or anything but i would go ape shit crazy if i was shushed and forced to have an episiotomy... or anything else for that matter. i'm sorry you had to go through that!

Mutt | 1:39 PM

I had no birth plan, but I knew how the hospital and my drs (I had a different one with each kid) worked. I delived both at the same hospital and they do a walk thru with you at around 7 months. You get to sign all your paperwork, even the epidural consent so you aren't in crazy pain having to fill out papers.

I was hoping for a vaginal delivery (I got it) but just wanted the baby out safely whatever that meant. Nothing happened I wasn't prepared for and both births went smoothly.

I think you should understand hospital and dr. policy, but be prepared for different scenarios.

Emilee Mann | 1:41 PM

Our birth plan is because I will be needing a C section due to medical issues not related to pregnancy(talked to my gyno/ob about it years ago). I want to be able to listen to music in the OR and I want them to try not to cut in to my tattoo's if possible and if they do make an attempt to sew it back as close to what it was as they can. That's about it.
I would LOVE to do a home water birth but the risk involved is not worth me. we have a long time till we give birth I am 6 weeks today.
what ever happens happens as long as there is a "sort" of healthy baby and I am alive we are good.


P.s I was told to send love from sbw Becca.

Sharon | 2:02 PM

I had never heard of a birth plan until I was pregnant with my daughter. We knew what we didn't want and that was a good start, so we put those down on paper first. While in Boulder, CO people can get quite agro about the birth they "intend" to have, we knew going in that S*#T happens and our plan could be out the window in seconds.

Bottom-line, the birth plan is a conversation starter--for you and your spouse, you and your doctor and you and the hospital. Those are worthwhile conversations to have, no doubt.

Four weeks away from the birth of baby #2, I revisited our previous birth plan. A couple of edits later and we are ready to go!

Carol | 2:12 PM

As a first time mom, I had no idea what to expect so throughout the whole pregnancy, I'd say that I just tried to be open minded throughout the 9 months. As the 9 months came to a close, ultrasound suggested that my baby was quite large & there's a low risk he wouldnt fit through my pelvis. So they scheduled to induce me. When endless hours of pitocin didnt work, we scheduled a c-section a couple days later.

Initially I was devastated that I couldn't birth naturally/vaginally. But in retrospect, my c-section went really well and my son came out 9lbs -- so I'm quite thrilled now that I didnt have to push that out of my vagina.

Was totally bummed about not being able to listen to my birthing mix though! Really looked forward to that one.

(tran.carol@gmail.com)

Courtney | 2:16 PM

I'm not very much of a plan person, but mine would look something like 1) avoid c section 2) pain meds if/when I ask 3) touch me and have stuff touch me as little as possible.

I HATE my personal space being invaded, especially when I am uncomfortable, so yeah. However after 2 miscarriages I would be happy just to make it to delivery evven if that means they want to bend me over and stick something up my rear.

Erin | 2:18 PM

When I very first went to my OBGYN, I thought I had a plan. I had researched a bunch of stuff, made all kinds of "decisions," but then I realized...I can't "plan" the birth of my child any more than I can plan anything else about him. It turned out that the best thing I did was to find a like-minded doctor (a woman, who was also pregnant at the time) who agreed with me on the big issues and who was willing to listen when I talked. When I was actually having the baby, it was great because I had grown to trust her, and she knew what I wanted based on our conversations over time. I told her my birth "preferences," but a lot of those got thrown out when my baby was rushed to the NICU directly after delivery. So much for breastfeeding right away. But it was OK, because I hadn't clung rigidly to the "plan." You kind of gotta go with the flow, the "Wu wei" of the situation...if you will. It's a good set up for the rest of parenting. Oh yeah, the only part of the plan I didn't budge on was the NO MIRROR part of the plan. I saw in enough detail from my vantage point, thank you very much.

Elif | 2:26 PM

I did have a birth plan- short and sweet. Someone told me to keep it to one side of a single piece of paper, like your first resume. Like some of the other commenters, I listed my ideal and then had a short list of preferences should the need for intervention arise. My OB was also horrible but I was completely stoked to have an amazing resident in the room and I asked him to catch the baby instead. He saved the day. After 23 hours of drug-free labor and delivery, my 10 lb baby got hauled to the NICU because he had fluid in his lungs. In the end, all is well and I'm glad that was the only hiccup.

Kate | 2:55 PM

Yes, I will have a birthplan. My midwife and husband and I will probably write it together. No IV, no food restrictions or any of that silliness, no induction without true medical necessity, no one's schedule but mine and the baby's, I'll wear whatever the hell I want and birth in whatever position I want to, and along with that, no vaginal monitor and no belly band monitor...all sorts of things.

But then, I'm having my baby at home, so a lot of these decisions I just plain get to make. Because this is MY gig.

Barb @ getupandplay | 3:30 PM

We had a plan and a lot of the things we wanted happened. The major factors in having a positive birth experience for us was having a great doctor, great nurses, a wonderful doula and being educated and feeling empowered about our choices and decisions.

Liesel | 4:11 PM

Complete agreement over here on the whole planning/wtf thing. I started a whole blog on the subject. Happens every single time I try to plan anything at all.

casadekaloi | 5:03 PM

You are VERY correct--we totally had a "birth plan", and absolutely nothing went according to the plan to the point where I'm pretty sure we had THE most opposite birth from what we "planned", ever. And neither of us are usually big planners!

OH! And the word verification on here is fablessi. FABLE!...ssi? I don't know.

Meems | 5:11 PM

I like the element of surprise and the whole mystery of life thing that comes with childbirth. Like one of my kids pointed out, "You're like a science experiment". And like most experiments, you never really know what will work.

I never made a plan but I knew that I didn't want an epidural. That little plan worked out fine with the first two. This last one, however, was a completely different story. He was face up, was not comming out and after 18 hours of labor I finally decided to go for the epidural. Holy mother of pain relief. That stuff is good. When the doctor was elbow deep, trying to flip the baby over I was so relieved that I couldn't feel it. Because seriously, that would've hurt real bad.

There is no plan that can prepare you for what lies ahead and you've got to also keep in mind that the tiny human inside you might have a plan of their own.

hoppytoddle | 5:26 PM

This is a pretty emotional one for me, not because of the hormones, but because the concept of writing a birth plan incinuates that you have choices. I don't.

While I agree, the concept of writing out what note of Clair De Lune the doc is supposed to cut the cord on is a little extreme, I think so many women go into labor without fully understanding what is going to or could possibly happen. The process of just thinking about a birth plan will force you to think about decisions you may have to make & you should not only have an idea of where you stand on these things, but take the opportunity to educate yourself on what effects those choices have. Because trusting your doctor to give you objective information is just so incredibly naive. Doctors are going to do what is in their best interests, meaning, what is least likely to get them sued.

I trusted my doctor to help me & ended up with a traumatic cesarean. Just leave it at traumatic. No one told me the hospital I was birthing at had a 52% rate of cesarean. No one told me that there is not a single doctor in 3 counties that will do a vbac.

I wish I HAD looked at that birth plan form just a wee bit harder, because then maybe I wouldn't have let them induce me at 37 weeks.

Olivia's Mommy | 6:39 PM

I had a birth plan - wants and dislikes. Did I even take it out of my bag - nope! Did everything work out okay - Yup! Thank god!

Love the blog.

hsw | 6:54 PM

I didn't have a birth plan -- my mom is an L&D nurse and was in a management position at the hospital I delivered at so I figured she'd take care of things. There were good and bad things about that. . .when there were shift changes people didn't know what I wanted and as the birth got closer I was stressed out when things happened while my mom was out of the room. Case in point, my mom knew I wanted to nurse right away and these nurses showed up saying they would take my baby across the room for shots after she was born which agitated me. Luckily my mom swooped in shortly after and let them know she'd handle things. So she had my daughter nurse right away and actually did everything right there on me. Looking back, I should have put the one thing I wanted in writing to avoid the stress of wondering whether my mom would intercept anyone that tried to do something else.

Marie M. | 6:55 PM

My unofficial, non-documented birth plan was to go into labor, tidy up my house, take a shower, go to the hospital, get an epidural, and have a baby. What actually happened was ate a wet burrito, thought I had to poop, realized I was in labor, lost my mind in the car on the way to the hospital, was 9 cm dilated in OB triage, got an epidural, and had a baby. Thirteen weeks later, I'm still recovering from the aftermath and am slowly regaining my mind. I wouldn't change a thing.

Bobbi Janay | 7:31 PM

I agree when you plan your future, you are just setting up to be disappointed. It is better to just let the river of life flow and see what it presents you with.

Sheri | 8:38 PM

Didn't have one the first time. Completely natural, music etc. Tried to have one the second time, doctor laughed at me, ended up with emergency c-section, third was also emergency c-section....oh well.

Angie | 8:47 PM

I can't believe your doc shushed you!!

I did not have a birth plan. I did have birth hopes. This being my first, I knew that no matter how much I read and "prepared" that I would never fully know what I was getting into until I had done it. My "birth hopes" were to go into labor naturally, and hopefully finish it naturally as well, with no pain meds or augmentation with pitocin. It did not work that way. I did go into labor naturally, during a full moon. My water broke, and my contractions didn't start becoming regular on their own no matter what I did. I was put on pitocin and labored 13 hours before finally "caving" and receiving the epi. After that I slept!!! My daughter was born 6 hours later!

Ashley | 9:00 PM

He shushed you?! That's crazy!

My delivery was as unplanned as my pregnancy. I didn't have much more than the bag I took to the hospital and a car-seat.

The only negative experiences I had was the nurse giving me the epidural kept hitting nerves in my back and making my right leg jump, then she'd chew me out for moving when she'd told me to sit still. I couldn't get it through to her that SHE was the one moving my leg because every time SHE moved the needle against my nerves the way she did my leg reflexively jumped.

Other than that, and the nurse that tried four times to give me an IV, I had a pretty decent experience.

And holy, woow! I thought I had a rough recovery from my cesarean but my heart goes out to you because it took you a year to heal! Bless your heart!

Jaelithe | 9:23 PM

I was also shushed during delivery. Twice. By two different people. And was in fact warned against "scaring" the other pregnant women in the building who were not yet in labor or were in labor but on drugs.

I assure you, I was not screaming bloody murder or speaking in tongues. I was just acting like a normal laboring woman in a hospital full of assholes, apparently.

mountain.mama | 9:52 PM

Can you handle one more story?

Pregnant with the first child I went to Lamaze, practiced breathing and prepared for a vaginal birth in the hospital. Spent a night in labor, a day in waiting before going to the hospital the second night at 3 a.m. with back labor. Hideous back labor for hours. They broke my water and there was meconium in it so after that I couldn't get out of bed and sit in the shower any more. Got an epidural and not only did it stop labor but I shook all over for an hour or two. Then I got pumped up with pitocin. After more grueling hours it was finally time to push which I did with much vigor for two whole hours. After all that time the doctor (female and not terribly nice) came in and announced, "The baby hasn't moved. We'll have to do a C-section." At that point I was totally WTF???? I still wanted to push but I wasn't supposed to any more. After what seemed like days I got into the OR. My husband was there for a nano-second and said, "I can't stay here" and LEFT. I thought, "I don't want to stay here either" but there I was under the drape and not going anywhere. They took my daughter out and DIDN'T EVEN LET ME SEE HER because they had to go suck out her lungs because of the meconium. Then they did jumping jacks on my stomach to put everything back in I guess. At that point I broke into hysterical sobbing. After 22 hours I had a baby girl but where was she? They brought her to me cleaned up and wrapped up. I didn't get to see her fingers and toes until the next day.

There was no plan that could have prepared me for what happened. The Lamaze breathing did not help. The second time I skipped Lamaze classes. I told my new OB that I wanted to try a vaginal birth. He said ok. I skipped the epidural because labor was going well and going fast and I didn't want a repeat of the first time. Towards the end I was thinking I was insane not to do drugs but it was too late. My daughter was HUGE, 8 pounds, 15 ounces and had to be pulled out with forceps. It broke her collarbone and pulled my ligaments in places I didn't even know I had ligaments. I screamed like a wild animal and the doctors and nurses laughed! At least I didn't get shushed. Somebody might have gotten punched. But, she was out in 4 hours and I didn't have to walk bent over in pain for days.

Reliving these experiences I am amazed that women have babies at all. Forget planning it.

Daphne | 10:48 PM

so with you on the good birth mix!

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Amanda C. | 7:02 AM

I kind of had a birth plan.. I knew that I wanted to at least try a natural birth, and we had a midwife who totally supported it, but didn't make me feel like a failure when in the end I chose to have an epidural (THANK GOD). I also knew I didn't want an episiotomy, which she also supported, and that I wanted to try breastfeeding as soon as I could. My midwife, thankfully, was super supportive of what I wanted to do, or did not want to do. I did end up tearing while pushing the little bugger through, but after about 8 weeks I started to feel semi-normal again. I can't even imagine feeling like that for a whole year!

There are a few things I would change and might try to do the next time around, but you know... life happens and I won't be devastated if I have to change things up!

Mandi | 7:12 AM

I had a midwife and we had spoken 'plans' with both my kids. Both time developed preeclampsia and was induced. First baby 12 hour labor, second baby 4 hour labor. No cuts, no tears, epidural with first baby. Second baby I had the epidural put in but it didn't work because no one checked me before installing the pain meds (that hurt like crap to install) and I was already at 8 when they installed them. Five minutes after I found out epideral wouldn't be working I pushed, everyone panicked (except for me, oddly enough) and my midwife merely caught my 7lb13oz. baby girl while my mom and husband huddled in the corner trying to decide whether they should laugh or cry. IT was a circus in my room and I quickly became the legend of February 26...

nashvegas | 7:18 AM

I did have a birth plan. It was mostly things I knew I'd probably forget once I went into labor and got in there - you will not shave me, if I want drugs I will ask for them, this person will be allowed in the room with me but not these unless I say so, episiotomy only if necessary, etc.
When they gave me the IV, I told them where to put the needle. They didn't listen to me. Three times. On the fourth try, they put it right where I told them to in the first place - hello???
I'm glad I got the epidural because after two hours of pushing, his heart rate crashed and I ended up with an emergency C-section. All they had to do was crank the epi up and I was ready to go.
When I was packing up to leave the hospital I found a copy of my birth plan and cried for 15 minutes because it so did not go as I'd planned.
It took me a while to forgive myself for "failing" to give birth the way I wanted to. Looking back, I know I had a touch of PPD, but nothing dreadful.

Summer | 7:53 AM

I laugh in the face of birth plans...

http://www.lemusingsofmoi.com/2009/05/i-laugh-in-face.html

And I think I hear God laugh too...

the bellyacher | 8:45 AM

I'm due in 9 days...but apparently am in the latent stage of labor RIGHT NOW. Tee hee...it's true!! (yep...that was yet another not-all-that-painful contraction)

ANYWAY, I filled in a bit of 'birth plan' paperwork I got from one of my prenatal classes and realized in the process that I really just don't care what happens...as long as the baby comes out in one piece and we are both left happy and healthy afterwards.

Honestly, I don't know how I'm going to feel or what's going to happen or how I will deal with the pain so how can plan for any of it. I figure if I have a 'go with the flow' sort of attitude then things will do just that...flow. :) (Might have to keep you posted though...wish me luck!)

babychirps | 8:59 AM

Very important: Good music birth mix

No birth plan first time.. had emergency C-section and had only a few hours to get prepared.

Music was ready so that rocked, and my 1st was born exactly when "In the city of blinding lights" began, mom and dad were very happy.

2nd was Called out by Dear Prudence and Today is your birthday
curiously she was stuck in my rib cage so the line ¨ Dear prudence won't you come out to play ... was a bit ironic.

Happy mom If I could would do it again.

Chelsea | 9:23 AM

I didn't make a birth plan for the birth of my son 18 months ago. We had an excellent team of midwives and my cousin was my doula, and I'm a trained doula myself. I even applied to UBC two years in a row for their Midwifery Degree program. I discussed everything that was important to me with my little team, and the midwives' birth policies and procedures matched with my expectations anyway.

We prepared for a home birth, and also had a hospital bag packed in case of emergency.

I went overdue, and when the routine overdue-ultrasound showed a baby living in zero amniotic fluid along with other distress signs, the pediatrician trumped my, and my midwife's and the OBGyn's decision to try for an induced labour. He said to go to c-section right away.

He was right, and a c-section was the way to go. If I'd been induced, my baby would have been in distress immediately - his cord was wrapped around his neck tightly three times. He was waaaay over-cooked too, all shrivelly with long nails.

The real kicker, though, was when the pediatrician announced to me while I was in recovery that our son has achondroplasia, the most common form of dwarfism. My husband and the midwife had agreed to tell me about the diagnosis when I had our son in my arms. Instead I found out while lying flat on my back coming down off an epidural.

We're fine with his diagnosis now, and there is definitely a great circle of supportive parents out there I can connect with in the blogging world who are in the same situation as we are.

As for birth plans? I'm mixed on that. I think that you should first do your research. If the place where you will most likely give birth has policies which don't jive with your own expectations, then make a birth plan with your care-giver so you don't get screwed around. If your care-giver's practices don't jive with your own wishes, don't bother with a plan - find another care-giver. But I know first-hand that the simplest of plans (ie wait to tell the mother about her son's diagnosis until she's out of recovery) can easily go awry. You never know what you're going to get!

ThisKalilLife | 9:27 AM

I did no have a birth plan either time I gave birth. The first time it was because I was so scared of the birth itself, I didn't want to think about it at all. The second time I felt like it wasn't a big deal since the first one went so well. I was just trying to go for a stress free, no worry, go with the flow approach. It seemed to work for me.

I love your blog!

canadian Amy | 9:27 AM

had a birth plan....things didn't go accordingly....induction,pitocin...but in the labour process i learned to let go, let it be and realize the power that is me...i did it drug free and it was the most transforming day of my life. i am now learning to go with the flow with a son who doesn't match my parenting books!...so smart of you to refuse to read!

Spicy Sister | 9:46 AM

I had one page of "preferences" surrounding the birth, what happened with my son once he was born etc. It worked out pretty well although my birth was nothing like what I had hoped for. The nurses actually read the preferences and were, for the most part, respectful of them. The doctors on the other hand....

I think it's important, however it looks to have some idea of what you prefer, what might be most helpful for you and then be willing to speak up as needed. A doula for us was the best. She really helped me find my voice in the midst of a long long labor - even when using that voice meant saying yes to necessary interventions that I never thought I would be saying yes to.

Anonymous | 10:54 AM

I was all gung ho about having a natural birth. I signed up for Bradley Method Classes with a teacher who just loved to hear herself talk. When I voiced about my worries about being able to get through it...which were just normal worries I wanted to say out loud in a group of other pregnant couples, the whole group pounced on me.
Long story short...at a 41 weeks, I was neither dialated, effaced, and the baby hadn't "dropped," so I scheduled myself a c-section. Many people judged me for that decision, thinking that I should at least try for a natural birth experience. I felt like I had to justify mine and my doctor's plan.
Turns out, my baby was 10 and a half pounds. So I was Thanking God in the delivery room that it would shut up all my naysayers--all those moms who had popped out a 6 pounder in 2 pushes!
I'm glad I made the choice that I did and dammit if I dont wish I could get a refund on the boring birthing classes.

Mary@Holy Mackerel | 11:45 AM

I've met a few medical "professional" like that in my time. I'll never understand.

I also had birth plans with each of my children, and god knows why I would after the first, seeing as nothing went according to plan. Nothing.

Miz Kizzle | 2:00 PM

The guy shushed you???? What an oaf. That's why I had a female OB/GYN with kids of her own. She knows the difference between pain and that stupid "discomfort" word that male doctors like to use thusly:
Male doctor: "I'll be pulling your uterus out through your cervix with a red-hot barbecue fork so you might experience a bit of ... discomfort."
Female doctor: "This is going to hurt like a mofo so I'm giving you tons of good drugs first. You won't feel a thing but you may start singing "My Baby Does the Hanky-Panky.""

Liz | 4:50 PM

No birth plan the first time... just talked things over with my Doc to put in my file before hand. Although my doctor barely had her gloves on before catching my son... so giving me an un-authorized episiotomy? Would have been hard pressed to do anything except hold out her hands! This time around I think I might do a bit more planning for my own sake (and hubby's), now that we know a bit more of what ACTUALLY happens during labor/delivery. Would love those sunscreen wipes for the Toddler this summer!
Awesome giveaway as always!

kittenpie | 10:07 AM

Funnily rnough, though I am generally a MAJOR plan freak, I didn't have a birth plan, because I didn't think it was something you could put expectations on. My daughter had been evry which way but engaged anyhow, and I really didn't want to think about what was going to go on - it freaked me out every time I had to read something about it, so I thought I would just go and try to be as brave as I could, but see what transpired. Which luckily meant I didn'
t feel disappointed when she was an emergency c, since I know people who felt cheated out of the birth they had imagined and planned.

Little Miss Moi | 3:27 AM

Hi Rebecca. You may not care, but I'm in Australia (have just moved back from Ukraine) and everytime I click on your babble posts, it redirects to babble australia and for the life of me I can't change it. Obviously there's no babble Ukraine so it wasn't a problem when I lived there. It's a pain in the arse because I really enjoyed reading your babble posts. can you perhaps cross post them here?

amber | 8:38 AM

the best laid plans....
well i was supposed to have my babe in a birthing center, all natural...in a tub, using hypnobirthing as my pain reliever.

so what happens? i went into labor at 30 weeks and didn't realize it till it was too late to stop it (apparently my hypobirthing techniques worked too well and it didn't hurt...or some shit).

so instead of the nice calm entrance into the world i wanted for my baby...i was rushed to the nearest ER and then rushed in for an emergency c-section after they found me at 5cen. dilated (6 20 minutes later).

little miss was born 10 weeks early and kept in the NICU for 5 weeks. attached to all sorts of shit for a short while. luckily she was born bigger than expected and healthy, but not at all what i would call a calm birthing experience.

i was allllll kinds of educated on different methods and what not, and i ended up with the exact opposite of what i had hoped for :-(

she's home and thriving now, so the end result is what matters most, but i am one of those people that now feels "cheated", or at least guilt-ridden and stressed the fuck out over what a traumatic experience we both had.

Florrie | 1:11 PM

I did write out a plan, which I talked through with my midwife a few weeks before my daughter was born. Although the fact is, if you've never had a baby before--which I hadn't--you really can't know what labor is going to be like for you. For instance, my plan was go try to give birth without medication; my midwife and I discussed it in advance, and she was all, "Well, you can definitely give it the old college try, but don't rule out drugs. Labor is long and painful. Did I mention it's long? And painful?" Turns out she was right. I got an epidural. Also, I ended up having an episiotomy, which was really the one biggie on my birth plan (I absolutely didn't want one). My midwife had been doing lots of perineal massage (not really all that awesome either, by the way) but when the time came, she said, "Here's the deal. You're going to tear, or I can give you a very small episiotomy. If it were me, I'd take the epi." So that's what I did. Yeah, it kind of sucked, but I have a feeling healing from a tear would have as well. So overall, I am happy with my birth experience. I think the most important thing for me was that I had a midwife I liked and trusted, who listened to me.

Florida Web Design | 12:55 PM

Very sorry to hear about your experience with that doctor. I think stuff like this happens far too often to women and the sad part is how much is never heard of or goes unreported!?

Chrystal | 9:11 AM

I'd love to know what was on your "birth mix"! I am 5 months pregnant and have been contemplating the music I will want to listen to...relaxing? "Pump me up" music? I'd love to hear what you chose and what worked for you!