I started prenatal yoga at exactly 12 weeks, having been concerned about miscarriage before that point, and have attended almost every single Saturday since. It has been an integral part of my pregnancy, and I met the only mom friends I have (besides you all, who matter a lot!) in that class. Three of us in the class have July due dates and hired the same doula. She is amazingly positive, energetic and knowledgeable and inspires us to pursue natural, medication-free birth, connect with our partners during labor, and reduce medical interventions as much as is appropriate. Our natural birthing class took place in our yoga studio with our doula and involved dim lighting, breathing and physical support from our partners, essential oils and yoga poses to help with pain. J and I have discussed the slippery slope of medical induction many times since then, with my midwife mom, our doula, and these friends. J has read The Birth Partner and I’ve read Hypnobirthing. We’ve watched Birth Story with Ina May Gaskin and The Farm. I’ve practiced hypnobirthing on a daily basis, on my lunch break, in the bathtub, before bed. Our hypnobirthing affirmations are highlighted and written on post-it’s on the fridge for me to contemplate while filling my water glass. I have fantasies about early labor being much like a fun Saturday night at home – J setting out fruits, crackers and cheeses for us to enjoy while we watch a movie and I bake brownies for the hospital staff and paint my toenails.

Haha, joke’s on us, right? After hearing the long and difficult birth story of a friend I share my doula with, with many unexpected twists and turns, I threw my “birth plan” out the window. Many of my friends and WordPress buddies have endured such different circumstances and interventions than they were prepared for. The biggest lesson has been from both of my sisters, dedicated to natural births, who both ended up with c-births due to situations completely out of their control. And over a year later, all that matters is their gorgeous, funny little babies and their dedication to breastfeeding, whole foods and gentle, effective parenting.

I still have a vision of what we’d like for our birth experience if things go well – if I can stay at home as long as possible, not be induced, my posterior baby turns during labor, my water doesn’t break too soon, and I can use everything I’ve prepared to cope with the sensations. I’ll share this list of preferences with you, as requested by my close WordPress friend Mamaetmaman, but please take it with a grain of salt. As my friend’s husband recently pointed out to me, how can you plan for something you aren’t yet aware of? When you go into labor you have no idea what will happen from one moment to the next, therefore you can’t anticipate what decisions will need to be made and what circumstances you will base them on. I don’t want to feel disappointed if I get an epidural, or if I have to be wheeled into surgery at the last minute after hours or days of coping with labor. That being said, J and I are armed and dangerous with research, the wisdom of Ina May Gaskin, a feeling that birth is natural and generally does not require medical intervention, and the stories of many women, including my mother, who had uncomplicated natural births over and over. I think this is a lesson for becoming a parent and in the rest of life in general – to let go of expectation and control, stay positive and focused on what you want, but to stay open and flexible. I’m open to the birth I envision, and welcome it, and talk to Glitter about it every day in the shower, about working together to create a positive and healthy experience for both of us.

The first page is just for J and I to remember when things get going, but won’t be printed for the hospital obviously. The second page is for hospital staff.

Early and early active labor – for ourselves and our doula

  • We would like to labor at home as long as possible
  • We plan to be at home until contractions are 4:1:1 unless water breaks and it has been over six hours
  • Call/text parents, siblings and close friends. Turn phone off or keep in touch, depending on my mood and comfort level
  • Labor projects:
    • watch a movie
    • take a bath
    • bake blondies for hospital nursing staff
    • pedicure
    • Hydrate and snack as much as possible
      • Nausea and energy-friendly foods:
          • Cheese and crackers
          • almond butter on toast
          • apples, watermelon, peaches, any fruit
          • Vitamin water and regular water\
          • vegetable broth with tofu, spinach, spices and coconut milk
  • Listen to Glitter playlist, which includes everything from Eminem’s Lose It to Pink Floyd’s Comfortably Numb
  • Call doula when active labor begins

 

Hospital Phase: Active labor, transition, pushing and recovery

Birth Team:

Our midwife is ______and we would like a midwife for delivery if possible.

If a midwife is unavailable, we would like to request a female doctor.

Birth Team: ______, fiance, birth partner; ______, Doula

Allowed in the room: ______, C’s mother

Birth Preferences:

We would like a natural birth with as few interventions as possible.

We request NO HEP LOCK unless absolutely necessary.

In most circumstances (water does not break early, mother does not have fever), we will be declining antibiotics for GBS.

We plan to use hypnosis and relaxation techniques.

The only person who will offer or request pain medication for the birthing mother is J. She and C have a code word.

Post-Birth:

We request skin-to-skin as soon as possible with no immediate bath.

We will be delaying cord clamping.

We request infant testing to be done after Golden Hour unless medically indicated.

We plan to breastfeed only and request no formula, bottles or pacifiers be used.

In Case of Cesarean-Birth:

We request J and doula be present throughout the birth.

We request skin-to-skin and family time as soon as medically appropriate.

 

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