Crafting a Plan...

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

I'm a planner at heart. This, in many ways, made my wedding very easy (although time intensive!) because I could manage each and every part. Flowers, transportation, timing, cake, etc etc.

The things I've learned about pregnancy/babies: you can't control when you will get pregnant (it took us 6 months to finally get knocked up), you have no clue how you're going to feel at any point in the process (so you prepare yourself of nausea 24/7 just in case), and once you get closer to the due date, baby can show up whenever he/she very well pleases.

It's this last part that scares the utter and complete crap out of me. I can't plan my last day of work before maternity leave like I could my last day before my wedding/honeymoon. If I decide to start taking time off 1 week before my due date, I could end up sitting around my house for 3 weeks if I go 2 weeks over my due date. And since my practice does not typically induce labor, 2 weeks over is not uncommon.

What I can do to begin preparing myself is create a birth plan. A plan which, I know, may get thrown out the window depending on how our little peanut decides to come into the world. But at least getting someone down on paper will help me plan/think about the day.

Hire a Doula
For starters, we have decided to hire a doula. A doula is "someone who provides non-medical support to women and their families during labor and childbirth." We actually met with a fabulous doula this week and jumped at the chance to hire her. She was incredibly kind, has attended 38 births (and counting!) is a licensed massage therapist, and delivered with the same midwife practice 4 years ago.

Having a doula will help us in a variety of areas: allowing me to labor at home for as long as possible, advising on pain management techniques to help me achieve my goal of having a natural birth, giving Steve advise on different ways he can comfort me during labor, helping with breastfeeding once the baby arrives, etc etc etc.

Attendants at the Birth
I've decided just to have Steve and our doula in the room when I give birth. Family is welcome to come before and after, but I definitely don't think I would feel comfortable with anyone else there.

Laboring at Home
My hope is to labor at home for as long as possible, under the guidance of my doula. This will allow me to be more relaxed in my home environment, walk around as much as I need to, rest, whatever will be most comfortable. Since the hospital is a 10 minute drive away, we can get there quickly.


My hospital allows me to wear my own comfortable clothing while I labor. While a great option, I honestly think that once I arrive at the hospital, I'm just going to want to throw on the gown they give me and call it a day!

I can also bring snacks (there's a fridge in the room) and they will provide 3 meals a day. Again, I understand that eating might not be the first thing on my mind, but it's great that they encourage you to keep your strength up, as labor can be a long process!

Labor Props
I know that the room I'll be in should have a jacuzzi tub in it, but at this stage in the game, the thought of sitting in a tub while in labor is a huge turn off to me. Don't ask me why, but I'm not a fan! Since we haven't taken our childbirth class yet and I haven't done a lot of research on anything else, I'm not sure if I'll want to take advantage of a birthing stool or squatting bar, although I assume if it was considered helpful in the midst of labor, I'd go for it!

Pain Relief
I know that, as of right now, I don't want an epidural. I'm hoping to benefit from my doula's massage background and use acupressure and massage as a means for dealing with pain.

While not along the lines of "pain relief" something I do want to implement is goal setting. As a bit of background, I'm not the greatest runner in the world, so when I was really really really terrible at it and running with Steve he would always give me landmarks as goals to help keep me running (i.e. just make it to that mailbox...and when we would pass the mailbox...just make it to the next corner, etc).

Working with goals is something that resonates well with me. And labor has, of course, the ultimate goal at the end - a baby! I'm hoping to use goal setting to make it through each contraction (i.e. just make it through this next contraction). I read (somewhere) about a woman successfully using this technique to avoid an epidural.

Until recently, all I knew about pushing was what I'd seen on tv: when a nurse would see the contraction coming on the monitor and tell the woman to push. And this makes sense, because if you have an epidural, you may or may not know when you're having a contraction. I would like to be able to rely more on instinct when it comes to pushing, and potentially explore other positions beyond"lying with feet in stirrups."

I'd like to avoid an episiotomy if I can, and understand that I more than likely will tear naturally.

I want my baby with me immediately after birth and allow the umbilical cord to stop pulsating before it's clamped and cut (this is, apparently, healthier for baby). I'd like Steve to cut the cord if it's something he wants to do!

After Delivery
I want the baby to stay in the room with me as much as possible and if the baby has to leave the room, to have Steve go with him/her. Our hospital does 24-hour rooming in with the baby, which is what I would like.

I plan to breast feeding exclusively and will use the support of my doula as well as the lactation specialist at the hospital for any feeding issues.

Leaving the Hospital
I have no interest in leaving the hospital too soon! I will plan to stay for the suggested amount of time/amount of time my insurance provider covers.

I still have a lot to learn/think about/decide on as we get closer to the day. Overall, I have no super firm convictions about things (i.e. I want soft music playing while I stare at a picture of a calming waterfall while wearing my favorite t-shirt). But I know that I want to make choices that can potentially help me deliver a happy, healthy baby into a calm environment with the opportunity to bond right after birth. The rest we may have to just figure out as we go along!

*thanks to the Baby Center birth plan form as a guidelines for this post.

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