Saturday, May 8, 2010

My Birth Wishes: The Letter

This is the third part of my My Birth Wishes series here's Part 1, and Part 2.

In my Birth Wishes I thought it was important to include ALL types of scenarios. Sort of an "in case of an emergency" plan. Of course we hope that doesn't happen but we all know anything is possible.

I think part of the problems with "birth plans" I've seen is people being so strict but not giving themselves leeway, nor considering unforeseen possibilities. That can lead to MUCH disappointment in yourself, which I think is a HUGE part of the battle.

It's also important to be aware of things your hospital has and doesn't have or things your doctor or midwife does or doesn't do. For instance, no need to write "I'd like a walking epidural" or "I don't want to try sterile water injections for back labor" if your hospital doesn't offer those.

I decided to skip the part about induction and early labor since I'm planning on labor to start on it's own, and using every technique under the sun to hopefully not have to worry about that. I DO have a plan written in case that happens but that's not as important to me as some of the things in this letter.

Here's my every-changing letter:

Dear Doctors, Nurses and Attending Staff:

First off I want to thank you so much for being here and helping my daughter and me on this very special day. You choosing this profession shows me you must love babies and new mothers so I'm looking forward to getting to know you over the next little while. This is our first baby, her name is ______, and we're very excited to meet her.

I know some women come in with a set "birth plan" and others I'm sure don't have anything of that sort, I decided to take a slightly different approach to thinking about today and write some "birth wishes" since I know I can't plan everything to a T, and ultimately, my baby girl is in charge. Having said that, there are some things I'd like to avoid unless absolutely necessary, and certain things I'd prefer.

-If I'm less than 4cm dilated I'd like to discuss going home, or to a nearby place and getting myself to progress more before being admitted here. I've tried to labor as long as I can at home, relax, yet move around a lot.
-I brought my own hospital gowns which are adorable but also great for breastfeeding and easily accessible for you!
-When we took a tour of the hospital we were told you have birthing balls available to us upon request. I'd love one please. I have been using one at home and I think it'll help me relax and progress during labor.
-I love water, and I'd love to sit in the shower to help labor along and to be comfortable. My husband is prepared with a swimsuit to be with me as well, I'd really prefer for us to be together at all times during this process.
-I would like the lights to be dimmed please. I'll probably we wearing a headset or using speakers for a good portion of my delivery.
-Please don't talk to be during contractions.
-I'm using Hypnotherapy as well as Lamaze techniques to cope with pain. Please don't offer me pain medications until I ask. I probably will, but I'd like to initiate it, and keep my labor progressing and avoid risk of it slowing down because of an epidural.
-I prefer intermittent fetal motoring so I can have more mobility as well as minimal vaginal exams.
-I'd prefer to avoid pitocin and wait for my water to break on its own.
-During the pushing stage I'd like to use squatting bars and remove the lower part of the bed so -I can sit forward and push in more of a squatting position.
-From my understanding you don't do routine episiotomies, I'd like to be told if I look like I'm going to tear so I can slow the pushing and give my body time to stretch.
-PLEASE put the baby directly on my belly after birth, that's one thing I've been looking forward to experiencing.
-My husband would like to cut the umbilical cord (he told me so) so we'd love it if you gave him the honors.
-When you put the hospital beanie on her, please put one on that we brought... it's just like yours but with flair. My husband can hand it to you.

In Case of an Emergency:
-In case of an emergency cesarian is necessary, and if there's time, please give my husband and I a few moments to discuss our options in private before asking for written consent.
-Ideally I'd like to remain conscious for the procedure.
-Please show me baby _____ immediately after she's born, if possible I'd like to have a hand free to touch her.

After Birth
-We'd like to initiate breastfeeding as soon as possible, and keep her in the room with us, there may be times we request she goes to the nursery so we can rest (we won't get much when we get home) but overall we'd like to keep her with us unless otherwise requested.
-Please let's delay some of the standard screening tests until we've had some bonding time and established breastfeeding.
-If it's not standard here, please screen ____ with a pulse oximeter sometime after 24 hours of life and before discharge.
-I'd LOVE help from a lactation consultant.
-If ____ has problems, I'd like my husband to stay with her.

My husband, OB and I have discussed these wishes before and we all understand that things can change and these are my preferences.

Thank you again so much for attending my birth! It's going to be an exciting day!