My Birth Wishes and Preparing for Birth Part 1

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I’m less than eight weeks away from my due date and I’ve been thinking a lot about our big day… The day she arrives.

I’ve been torn for a long time on where to put my feelings on the topic of D-Day. I’ve witnessed people get more emotionally invested than I want to be in how labor plays out. Every time I find myself worrying about how things will play out I force myself to take a step back and realize this is just one day in the rest of my life.
I came across an interesting quote in the first chapter of “The Official Lamaze Guide: Giving Birth With Confidence.” It says:

“Research shows that the day a woman gives birth is not ‘just another day,’ and that decades later, women clearly recall positive and negative aspects of their birth experiences. Women’s satisfaction with their birth has little to do with the length, difficulty, or painfulness of their labors and more to do with their personal expectations, their involvements in decision making, and how they were treated by their caregivers.”

It goes on to say that your “memories of birth can influence your confidence and self-image in the future.” Which is slightly surprising to me. Sure, I may be upset if things don’t go the way I want but I think there are so many more moments to relish in rather than one bad experience.
A birth experience that isn’t “beautiful” or “perfect” won’t make me a bad mother or set my child up for failure. Sure, we may have a few setbacks at first but we’ll overcome them, as we’ll overcome other challenges in life. That said, I want to prepare myself in every way possible to make the most out of my experience, because like my wedding day… It’s just one day, but one I’ll remember forever.
Taking control of my Birth Wishes started long before Lamaze class and prenatal yoga. Before I was even pregnant I got numerous referrals from doctors and friends I trusted about obstetricians choices.
I decided to go with an obstetrician because my insurance and because personally, I don’t have a problem with it or a hospital birth. I think there are good and bad OBs and Midwives and the issue is finding the right person to care for you no matter if MD comes after their name or not.
One of my biggest pet peeves is stereotypes. I don’t like when people assume because of someones looks, OB title, or background they’re going to act X, way ie: Cut you open if they’re an OB.
That said, it works the opposite way as well. Just because someone is a doctor doesn’t mean they’re perfect or better qualified to handle your situation.
I went to a dentist who told me I had 13 cavities. Obviously he was trying to make a fortune off me, but I wasn’t having it. I went for a second opinion, got a COMPLETELY different analysis, and have been sure to review my experience with his practice on every dental ratings website I can find.
It’s sad when you go to someone expecting to be able to trust them because… Oh, they’re a PROFESSIONAL, but then they don’t act that way. It’s called life. And Business.
But birth shouldn’t be about business. It’s a big deal. A bigger deal than my pearly whites.
My family practitioner, whom we love, referred me to my OB. She’s a wonderful woman who is just as talkative as our family doctor. She remembers our names, our baby’s name, and always takes time to get to know us and make sure all of our questions have been answered.
Given the information I’d seen about cesarians being at an all time high, I was sure I researched what the rates are for my hospital as well as for my OB practice’s office. I discussed labor and delivery practices, and have continuously asked questions about how she handles things, and have been comfortable and confidant with my decision of choosing her.
My first tip for expecting mommies worried about their birth experience: RESEARCH your caregiver. It’s not fair to play eenie meenie miny mo then blame your horrible experience on all ____s who have ever delivered a baby.
Now that I’m comfortable with my caregiver, my hospital, and I’ve toured the facility I’ll be having my baby in, I’m preparing for delivering my baby.
I’ve been back and forth over and over again about my approach to childbirth. Do I want to deliver NATURAL, or MEDICATED? At some times I was SURE I’d get an epidural the moment I walked in. I envisioned myself in a dreamlike state waiting patiently for my baby to arrive while I enjoy the last few calm moments with my husband before we welcome our new baby into our lives. Sounds great right?
I’d say it went something like that for about 80% of my friends. Hospital birth, epidural, beautiful, healthy baby.
Now I’m not sure if it’s a blessing or a curse, but because of the World Wide Web I’ve come into contact with many people on the OTHER extreme. Home births, natural labor, failed epidurals, stalled labor from epidurals. Who knew there were so many negative possibilities? I didn’t. Not until I joined Twitter and had a few dozen people rain on my parade. But somehow I’m grateful for them.
I’ve come to see a different side of things. And while I’m not on the polar opposite side than before, I’m somewhere in the middle observing both sides and keeping a moderate, yet enlightened stance.
Birth is natural, and I do think more women could have a little more faith in what we can do. I know I needed a little faith-boost myself. I’m not promising that I’m going to have no help with pain medication… But I’m WAY more open to the possibility of natural childbirth than ever before.
I became acquainted with a woman who works for Lamaze and became familiar with their Six Healthy Birth Practices, and agreed to give them a try.

Looking them over first glance the one that states “avoid medical interventions…” made me a little squeamish because I thought that meant “no epidural” (I don’t like committing myself to one thing and that leading to disappointment if I change my mind.) but that’s not what it means. Their healthy birth practices are a great guide and philosophy for childbirth.
So, what I’ve decided is I’m going to prepare for a natural labor. I have been, and I will continue to, and plan to stick it out as long as possible. If I can give birth without an epidural, great! If I decide I want it earlier than I thought, fine! But I’m not going to make my decision one way or another at this point in time. I’m going to wait and see what my body tells me to do.
Earlier, you may have noticed I called some of this my “Birth Wishes.” Many online friends, as well as my OB suggest writing a “Birth Plan,” which outlines how I’d like my labor to go and what I think about certain interventions, or decisions such as “who will cut the umbilical cord.”
I decided to call it “Birth Wishes” instead of a “Birth Plan” because I don’t think labor isn’t something you can plan. From the moment it starts to the moment that child comes out, it’s not up to me… But her.
Some criticize me for calling it “wishes” saying it’s too forgiving, or flexible-sounding. To be handing the staff attending me a piece of paper and calling it “the plan” is a little pretentious, and I’d rather show them a bit of respect, (even if it’s so slight as the title of a document) so that they’ll show me the same respect. Anyway, it’s what’s written in the letter that’s more important than the title anyway.
I intend to take the list I made from Earth Mama Angel Baby’s free birth plan creator, as well as the principles from Lamaze, plus my own twist on things, and write it into a personal letter. Print several copies on heavy card stock and present it with a basket of goodies.
What are my Birth Wishes? It’s not all about “no Pitocin” and “don’t ask me if I want an epidural, let me ask” … But a lot of the things important to me are after birth or in the experience of labor… What I’m wearing, or listening to for example and what I want my baby to wear right after birth.
Tomorrow I’ll share the next segment of my Birth Wishes with you and the BIG goal I have for my birth experience.

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  1. Thank you, thank you, thank you. I work in Labor and Delivery and I can’t tell you how many people come in each day with a set birth plan. They come with these huge expectations that their birth is going to happen their way. And there’s nothing wrong with that, but it sets so many moms into a false reality. And disappointment.
    I’m a woman, there’s nothing more scary for me to realize than I’m not in control of my body. But on the day of your baby’s arrival, you aren’t in control. Your baby is. I applaude you on your wisdom. Taking your birth as it comes and enjoying it. No expectations, just a happy, healthy baby girl. I am thrilled for your growing family. I enjoy your blog so much, but more importantly, thank you for getting the truth about how labor truely is. A miracle, and one we really can’t dictate, but we can wish with all our hearts.

  2. I wrote a Birth Plan and went over it with my doctors weeks before my labor. I explained them that it was just a list of things I wished to do but understood that I couldn’t exactly plan out my labor or delivery that whatever happened was up to God. Like you on the big day I went in with an open mind. I was surprised at how long I lasted without requesting any meds. The pain is really a mind over matter.

    The worse you think the pain is the worse it will feel. I did get an epidural, but it only numbed my right leg. So, I looked within for inner strength and was surprised at how little pain I actually felt once I focused on my baby and pushing her out safely. Your experience is truly what you make it. So, forget what everybody else’s two cents are and go with what you feel.

  3. I think it’s great you are calling it wishes. I went into labor with my first child without any kind of plan. What I wanted was to labor naturally and let my body do the talking. However, I was 19 and scared and I let my aunt and a nurse talk me into an epidural. I wish I’d stuck to what I wanted. When it came time for my second child, I was too scared of what natural labor might feel like so I got an epidural that stopped working 13 hours into labor and I delivered naturally. I believe my doctor gave me the epidural to slow my labor. My last delivery is what I wish birth was made of. I was calm, relaxed and in control. I opted for an epidural that I was in control of. I had a doctor who listened to what I needed and let me lead with what my body was doing. It was the fastest, easiest birth of them all. I still see that doctor and he also takes care of my kids. He’s fabulous.

  4. Jen, I am so glad your pg has been going so well and you and baby are great. You are right, sometimes things do change in labor. Natural unmedicated or with meds… which ever way YOU choose remember, that it is the right choice for you.

    I am blessed to be expecting my 8th blessing. I have had 1 epidural, 5 unmedicated births and 1 emergency c-section. I am glad I researched c-sections before the birth. I never thought I would need one at all, but glad I knew what to expect.

    I love the idea of the Dad/Partner cutting the cord, My husband has. If you want birth pics remember to ask the hospital ahead of time if they allow birth pics. I have them with everyone of my children. I don’t show them to anyone, but I have them to look at since when you are in labor you don’t remember some details or get a good view. Also, after birth if you will want rooming in or not, breast or bottle etc.

    Remember, YOU will make the right choices for you and your baby. Many Blessings,

  5. I totally agree on the title of “Birth wishes” Because lets be real over here, you could plan all you want but there is always something that will not fit the “plan”

    Like a wedding you plan and plan and all the sudden plan needs to be change because of uncontrollable circumstances. Same with baby who knows what will happen in the heat of the moment!

    And wishes are less frightening to the medical staff then *plan* that sounds like “Do it my way or else”

    I have to disagree about this

    “It goes on to say that your “memories of birth can influence your confidence and self-image in the future.” Which is slightly surprising to me. Sure, I may be upset if things don’t go the way I want but I think there are so many more moments to relish in rather than one bad experience.””

    My first was born via c-section after 4 long hours of un-medicated pushing to find out that she was sideways so a emergency c-section was done (in less then 15 minutes I had a epidural put in and baby was out! that was quick)

    That was 3 years ago (tomorrow)and still have tears up just thinking about it!

    I don’t know how to explain it, it’s making my stomach turn just thinking about it! I still feel like a failed her, failed giving birth to her, that I was not strong enough, that maybe if I could have tried a little harder etc… This might sound irrational, and it probably is but my feeling are what they are!

    Even with all the medical staff telling me how great of a job I did how strong I was for not taking anything for pain and how hard I work. I still feel like I wasn’t good enough. Even after having a VBAC I still feels like this.

    It did change me, maybe in a good way or in a bad way, who knows, but it did change who I was and who I am.

    I know it’s weird trying to put this in words, but that day did have a impact greater then I taught it ever could!

  6. I had a birth plan and it pretty much went out the window when I started making decisions on what was best for my baby as we struggled along. I ended up with a C-section which was (according to my birth plan) my worst nightmare, but it turned out that it was not a nightmare at all.

  7. I think you really have the right attitude about the birth wishes. I had my birth plan ready and even made 6 copies, so nobody would be left out of the plan. Of course things changed as soon as I went over the plan with my nurse! I, like you, thought I’d try for a natural birth unless my body told me differently. It did, and I ended up getting an epidural, but with no shame because the whole time, I knew that my body would let me know, not my mind (or anyone else’s opinion!)
    I honestly think the more open you are to your body leading the way, the happier your birth experience will be. My husband and I were able to make every decision in Labor and Delivery, and many of them did not follow our “plan.” I would not change one thing about our birth story!! I wish you the best and pray you have a joyful and “easy” birth!

  8. I hope that all your “birth wishes” come true. I think you’re going into it with the right attitude. You will remember some of the negative stuff, but for he most part, you’ll remember seeing the new love of your life for the very first time. And you’ll remember how proud your husband is when he looks at you holding your new baby.
    The nurses and doctors and hospital and epidurals and pitocin drips are all second to the most important thing that will be happening, a sweet child entering the world and loving parents thrilled to meet her.
    You’ve got a future full of wonderful waiting for you! I’m happy for you!

  9. I LOVE the way you’re thinking of your entire birth experience. To me, it is scary to say I’m going to go all natural, and that’s that. I feel because I have never had a child before I don’t know how my body will react, and I want to have options whether it be to go all natural, or to get an epidural, if needed.

    I think the most important thing we can do as women is to educate ourselves about our options, set goals or wishes, and find a provider that is willing to work with us, and doesn’t see us as just another patient.

  10. All I can say is wow, for a first time mother you have such a great outlook on your little ones birth. I have my own stories, we each do, as they say each pregnancy and birth is different. My mom had a plan, then she was put to sleep bc I had to be delivered emergency c-section, I know (even though she passed when I was 5) that that was horrible for her bc she was disorriented when she awoke. Both my children were born via induction, and that was a ALOT of pain, and I went for the epidural as soon as possible, however, in my situations, that helped me progress so much faster than I was because I was able to relax a little better. This time around, if I am induced, then yes, I will be in line for an epi as soon as they let me, however, if it should be, and I go in to labor on my own, I think I am going to see how it goes. This will be my last one, and for once i would at least like to be able to say that I experienced labor. lol.
    Hope you are feeling good and doing good. HUGS

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