Read Part I here.
I mentioned before that we took classes in The Bradley Method, but I’ve also been brushing up on some other information and childbirth methods. There were parts of Bradley that I did enjoy (like getting your partner involved) and parts I didn’t necessarily agree with (I just don’t think Shane or any man can be the best coach since they have no idea what is really going on – seems a little misogynistic). I loved that we took the classes together – I think Shane learned more than he ever really wanted to know – and we really did learn a lot! We also hired our Bradley instructor to be the doula at our child’s birth.
What is a doula? Basically, a birth advocate. She will be there to help out, remind us of everything that is happening, keep us on track with our birth plan, and give Shane a break if he needs one. We decided a doula was important for a variety of reasons. Number one, since this is our first experience, I don’t know how I am going to react. When I had to go to the hospital for false labor, I pretty much just agreed to everything that was suggested. I did ask questions, but in the end I just said, “Ok!” to everything. I got injections of terbutaline and in hindsight I’m not sure it was necessary – the past few nights I have had contractions for several hours (sometimes only 5 minutes apart) that don’t stop until I go to sleep. I bet the same thing would have happened if I had just gone to sleep that night – BUT I know I made the right choice to err on the side of caution since um yeah, I had no idea what was going on. Now the next time I go to the hospital, it will be for REAL. So a doula can remind us of what we need to be asking ourselves AND our medical team; I have a feeling if she were not there, I would just say, “Ok!” again to whatever it was, and Shane would be all, “Yeah, that sounds reasonable to me.” And we could completely be off base and having unnecessary interventions.
Secondly, it would be really easy for me to be weak with just Shane there. He takes excellent care of me and has been so helpful around the house, with cooking and cleaning, when I have been too tired recently. I know it will be scary for him to see me in pain and I could easily jump on the epidural bandwagon with just him there. Not that I think there’s anything wrong with getting a epidural – I might end up getting one! – it’s just not in my plans right now, and I’d like to avoid it if possible. With an extra coach there to keep me on track, I can be tougher.
Also, many of my friends said that having a doula was “invaluable” – that they would not have been able to do it without their help. Interestingly enough, moms rate their childbirth experience higher, EVEN if they deviate from their birth plan, when a doula is present. Reason enough for me.
Now, doulas are expensive. So expensive that I momentarily considered NOT having one. I was warned that this was a mistake. We are lucky that our childbirth instructor is currently going through the certification process, so her fee is significantly lower than that of certified doulas (although, really, you can just call yourself a doula – no certification is truly necessary). I think it will be well worth the fee!!
On to the birth plan. “Wait, isn’t the plan just to give birth?” Sort of, but it helps to have guidelines of things you do and don’t want to happen, especially if you’re having a hospital birth like I am (for instance, an epidural is not really an option if you have a home birth). We had to create one for our Bradley class and I thought it would be interesting to share it here and ask for commentary.
Disclaimer – semi graphic, I guess. Also, I realize that things might not go as planned and in reality could be drastically different - and I’m ok with that. Goal number one is healthy mom and baby (and dad, hope he doesn’t faint or anything). I’d just like to have it in my file so that our medical team knows what should happen in an IDEAL situation.
Baby Gins Birth Plan
- I would not like to be offered drugs at any point. Please only make these options known if I request them.
- Delayed cord clamping and cutting – please wait a few minutes to clamp cord. We will be donating her cord blood to MD Anderson - please allow for collection after this time.
- I would like to avoid an IV and will stay hydrated by drinking fluids (hep lock is fine if required)
- Allow for intermittent instead of continuous fetal monitoring
- Be permitted to move/walk around and not be confined to a bed
- Be allowed time to progress naturally and not have any labor augmentation (ie pitocin) unless necessary
- I would like to hold our baby and have skin-to-skin contact right away, and delay any procedures that are not urgent
- Local anesthetic if stitches are required
- Routine pitocin injection after delivery is fine
- Would like to keep baby in room with parents at all times, and breastfeed only
- Please delay administration of eye drops
- Please delay administration of Vitamin K injection
- If baby requires urgent care, please allow my husband to be with her at all times
- Please allow my husband to be in the operating room for the duration of the procedure
- Please allow my husband to hold the baby immediately after birth and delay any non-urgent procedures
- Would like to breastfeed and room-in with baby once in recovery
What would you add or delete? What did your birth plan look like?