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!

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  1. Sounds a lot like my birth plan. Then again, I was CONVINCED I would not be induced. At least only 25% of births are induced. That means the statistics are in your favor.

    As for the rest of your wishes, I don’t think you’ll have a problem with doctors and nurses honoring them. They didn’t let me have the lights dimmed for the entire labor because they needed to keep an eye on my fluids and stuff like that, but hopefully you won’t need them.

    Is your hospital “baby friendly?” This way almost all the nurses are certified lactation consultants. I found them to be extremely helpful, patient, and caring. My postpartum care was wonderful.

    Keeping you in my thoughts and hoping you have a safe and easy labor.

  2. Sounds like you guys have everything covered. I can tell you right off the bat that they will ask you if you want to breast or bottle feed. If you change your mind and decide to bottle feed, the nurse will have to administer the first bottle just to make sure that the baby isn’t allergic to the milk, but most hospital staff encourages breastfeeding.

    I would also like to suggest that even if you’re only 4 cm dilated, just go ahead and let them admit you because you can dilate pretty quickly. I did. I was 3 when I got there and by the time I got changed into my gown and had walked around for an hour to work the baby down I had dilated 3 more centimeters and then stayed there for what seemed like forever. Just remember to stay calm and stay relaxed. Keeping busy really helps the time fly and to take your mind off the pain as well. I was texting and facebooking and calling everybody I knew. I filled out Moo’s baby book until the Benadryl finally won and took me to sleepland.

    Most importantly just remember that it will your day. Much like your wedding day, this show should revolve around you and your wishes. Don’t be hesitent to let staff know if they aren’t following your birth wishes.

    It’s been so amazing to follow your journey. Thank you for being so open and honest.

  3. That’s a great plan Jen! I hope that you don’t get bullied into doing something you don’t want to do. Stick to your guns, mama!

  4. I hope it all works out for you! I gave birth naturally- it was my intention and my daughter helped by being born after just 5 hours of labor and twenty minutes of pushing.

    God’s payback for three years of trying to get pregnant! 😉

  5. Just remember, hospital policy does not over-ride your right to informed choice. Too may times I have gone in with clients with very specific and very reasonable requests that were brushed aside with one sweep of “well it’s hospital policy that we blah blah blah just in case of an emergency.” You’d be surprised what a hospital says it offers until you are there and commited, suddenly you begin to run out of options. I don’t mean to be negative, I have been to beautiful hospital births but everyone of them had at least 1 moment of mom and dad had to push to have or not have something done. Good luck, I wish for you the most understanding and well-rested staff in the world.

  6. Very polite and personal. Get your doctor to sign off on it and put a signed copy in your chart. Bring a copy with you. You will probably have to remind the staff to look at it. Also, have your husband remind them about your baby care wishes as you are pushing because a lot of times they just go into standard mode and take baby to do newborn stuff instead of giving baby to mom right away.

    It is good to write things down and negotiate ahead of time. These are all reasonable requests and the staff should have no problem honoring them.

    Have a safe and beautiful birthing!

  7. Happy SITS Saturday! Great post. Congratulations on the upcoming new arrival. I have three children of my own, and each birth was different from the last. It is definitely a day you will NEVER forget! And, when you look back years later and remember that special day, you’ll remember everything except the pain. Peace. 🙂

  8. It’s a great plan! I wish you the best of luck. My hospital just kind of fluffed mine off, so I didn’t even bother with the other 3. 🙁 I ended up having to be induced with my first 3. Don’t be completely against the epidural for fear of progressing if you are in pain and want it. They didn’t want to give me one and I was getting close to a c-section, approaching the 24 hour point with my son after my water had broken. I was dilated to 2 for hours and hours. My blood pressure was high and I was stuck on my left side in the bed the whole time being monitored with even an internal monitor on the baby. Finally my dr said give her the epidural, she’s in too much pain. I went from 2-10 in 2 hours. I couldn’t relax from the pain to dilate. Same thing happened with my 2nd. I was overdue, and they induced (she ended up being sunny side up and had a lot of trouble getting into position). Gave me the epi and I could relax and help Kat travel down where she should be. After that, my doctor ordered my epidural pretty much the moment I walked in the door with the other 2. Just a tidbit from my experience with the epi not always slowing things down.

    good luck and congratulations!!!

  9. It is good that you have such a specific birthing plan. I was so nervous my whole pregnancy about the delivery of my little girl. She decided that she had plans of her own and was breech so I had to have a c-section. It was something I never thought that I would have to have, but it turned out to be easy, quick and pretty much pain free. Now I have the best little bundle of joy!!

  10. Please let your baby stay in your room with you! She will want/need the mama and daddy bonding time! I slept with mine on my chest or in my arms, or if you don’t like that your husband can hold her while you sleep!

  11. I am SO impressed!! I don’t think you can ever be too prepared. I think the best thing you can do to prepare for any new, unknown situation is to plan, and you have one heck of a plan!! Because you have taken the time to actually think about all these different scenarios and really think about how you want to react to the situations and handle the situations, no matter what comes your way, you WILL be ready!! I commend you on this!!

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