The Birth Plan
With my first pregnancy, I was adamant that I would deliver naturally, with pain relief. I read up all I could about epidurals; how they are administered, what the possible side effects are, how it would help (or not) my labor.
I briefly considered other pain relief options and figured they wouldn't be strong enough.
I did not however specify the type of music I would be laboring to (yes, sometimes, that IS in the birth plan).
My baby was big for his gestational age, so at my 38-week checkup, my doctor ‘gently persuaded' me to schedule an induction at 39 weeks, 5 days.
Out went my birth plan. The idea of induction did not sit well with me. I was riddled with anxiety in the days leading up to the date.
At 39 weeks, 2 days, my water broke. My baby was born 15 hours later, 6 hours after the epidural was administered.
I suffered from severe postpartum bleeding, and my hemoglobin levels were found to be half of what they were supposed to be. It took five days in hospital, a six-hour iron infusion, and two weeks before I felt well enough to get out and about normally.
To say my birth plan did not exactly go as planned is an understatement.
Hence, with baby number two, my birth plan was just this: GIVE BIRTH.
I told my new doctor about my postpartum history. He prepared a protocol of drugs that he would administer immediately after the baby was born, to prevent any potential bleeding. We talked about pain relief. I said I was open to options, and we agreed to play it by ear.
And the rest? Just go with the flow. Do what my body was built to do.
My second baby was born three hours after first contractions started. At 3.10 AM, contractions were every 15 minutes. At 5.00 AM, I could feel the baby's head push through. At 6.00 AM, I was in the hospital. At 6.17AM, a couple of minutes after my doctor walked in, my baby boy was born. I had a small tear, no bleeding, and I felt like I was on cloud nine.
I was home the next day, up and about, and feeling good.
My birth plan worked!
This is not to say, ‘do not have a birth plan.’ Far from it. You MUST think about labor and delivery. You have to consider where you want to have the baby, what kind of labor you want to experience, pain relief options if any, and yes, what music you would like in the labor room, if that's what works for you. Talk to your doctor. Go with your gut on what you think will be best for you and the baby. Do remember to be flexible. However your baby is born, as long as you're both safe and happy, that should be the most important aspect of your birth plan.
Image via lkunl: FreeDigitalPhotos.net