One of the first things I did when I found out I was pregnant was make a Pinterest board to save ALL things baby. next – i joined an expecting mommy group with women who were due around the same time as me.
Something i saw time and time again were posts regarding BIRTH PLANS. I read through them all but honestly, I didn’t see the point. As a healthcare administrator, the last thing I wanted to do was tell a clinician how to deliver my baby. I figured, they are experienced, they know what’s best. & my thoughts didn’t change throughout my pregnancy.
We attended our hospital tour & birth plans were brought up again. we were given a packet of information, including a worksheet to prepare regarding our wishes/plan for delivery. as we were leaving my SO said, we’re not prepared, we need a plan. again, I thought what do you mean we need a plan? ive been pregnant 7-8 months at this point, I can tell you that I’m more than ready. (I’m sure reading this, you know where I was coming from) Despite thinking I was right, I started to look into it a bit more, started watching documentaries & researching different aspects of the birth plan. Still, I dictated very little. Example: no pain medication, skin to skin as soon as possible, labor in the bathtub & just my SO in the room.
I didn’t realize the importance of a birth plan and advocating for what you want until I was in labor.
My Labor Experience
I woke up to my water breaking. I got dressed, my SO packed the car and we left to the hospital. When we got there I had very mild cramping. I brought food, but I wasn’t allowed to eat it. So that was the first point of contention. I ate my bagel as the nurse started an IV. The midwife came in to check me and said I was probably a half a centimeter dilated. My contractions were inconsistent- and she mentioned starting pitocin. We said no. She then explained that the longer I labor after my water breaking increased the risk of infection. I asked her how long she would give me to progress before starting pitocin & we worked hard on getting me dilated. I walked, I used the stability ball….still nothing consistent. I lost the pitocin battle. I can’t even begin to explain how painful my contractions became once I got started on pitocin. They immediately came back to back with no break. I still wasn’t dilating quick enough. I started using the peanut ball which helped a lot. I got my epidural around 6 centimeters. I was hoping I wouldn’t be in pain anymore, but joke was on me. Around midnight the nurse prepped me to start pushing. She told me that my daughters head was cocked to her shoulder and that she needed to try to fix it. We tried for 4 hours but they wouldn’t let me push any longer – I started to run a fever so I lost the vaginal delivery battle also.
I still to this day think that pitocin ruined my idea of what my labor would be like. All throughout my pregnancy the midwives at my OB spoke about keeping the process as natural as possible. & then the first thing they say to me at the hospital was “we should speed things up”. In that moment I understood why the women in my expecting mothers group were so insistent and detailed in their plans. You can read Cassidy’s birth story for more detail! But, it made me realize there were important questions I never asked my OB at my first visit.
1. What percentage of your patients end up getting a c-section?
2. How often do you use pitocin to progress labor?
3. Will I see the same provider at each office visit?
4. Will I be assigned a provider for labor and delivery or do you have an On call rotation?
5. If I become too sick to go to work, will your office fill out FMLA paperwork for me? If so, what is the requirement?
Now I am curious, did your birth plan go smoothly? Would you add any questions to this list?