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Are birth plans a waste of time?

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#1 AmityD

Posted 18 May 2010 - 09:45 AM

So as the final weeks of my pregnancy creep by it’s time to pack my bags and contemplate going through labour again. But this time one part of my preparations will be missing. I won’t waste my time writing a birth plan. Because I know now the idea that I have any control over how my labour goes is an absolute crock.

I’m not sure when birth plans came into vogue but it seems that most books and birth classes now advise you to do one in the final weeks leading up to your baby’s birth. In your plan you can write about how you would like your labour to go, whether you would like to use drugs or not, if you’d like to utilise the bath or shower to help with labour pains, what position you’d like to deliver in, how you’d like the cord cut, whether you’d like music playing or essential oils burning and if you’d prefer a peaceful environment to give birth in. You are then advised to hand your neatly typed plan to your midwife and obstetrician during labour, while they try not to look like they too think it’s a total crock.

I’m sure it’s all part of us modern mums wanting to feel like we’re in control when it comes to our bodies and our labours. After all, we’re in control of everything else in out lives these days, so why not our deliveries? Gone are the days where we were expected to quietly do as we were instructed by our male obstetrician, putting up with the pain without complaint, while our husbands dutifully waited outside with the cigars ready. And that is undoubtedly a good thing. But have we gone so far the other way, where we think we can control something that is actually in Mother Nature’s hands?

With my first pregnancy I wrote a birth plan and had specific ideas about how I wanted to give birth. I wanted to be in the bath or shower when possible, to have candles burning and listen to my favourite music to help me focus. I even had two ipod playlists ready, Labour Relaxing and Labour Pushing. The relaxing one was to calm me during the early stages and then the pushing one was made up of inspiring songs to help motivate me when the time came. Kind of like an athlete getting pumped up before a big race.

I didn’t have a strong opinion either way about drugs, with the expectation that I would try to do it without them but was not opposed to using them if it got too hard. And of course all my plans were excellent in theory, except that here is how my actual labour went.

At 37 weeks, after experiencing what I thought were Braxton Hicks on and off all day, I was lying on the couch at 6.45pm (whinging about how uncomfortable and over it I was) when my waters broke in a sudden and dramatic fashion. Now, firstly, they said in the classes that it rarely happened like this, like it does in the movies. I was told that in most cases your waters will be broken in hospital after you have been in early labour for a while. Secondly, I was expecting hours and hours of early contractions, with most first labours reportedly taking at least 8 hours. Hours where my husband would rub my back, I would lie in the bath and we would excitedly anticipate the eminent birth of our child in between 15 minute apart contractions.

What I was not expecting was to go from nothing to 3 minute apart contractions, accompanied by an Oh-My-God-This-Is-Bad kind of pain. A call to the hospital confirmed that I needed to get there as quickly as possible, seemingly giving my stricken husband permission to run red lights where needed. I don’t know which was more stressful in that mercifully quick journey, the thought that I’d die from labour pains or from a car accident.

When we arrived at the hospital the contractions were coming about a minute apart and rather than heading for the bath I went straight for the toilet. The desire to stay there was so strong I would have happily given birth over the loo, which wasn’t exactly the birthing position I had planned.

After my midwife coaxed me to the bed I asked her how dilated I was, expecting that she would know by looking…in my eyes? It never occurred to me the method they would use to find out, making me feel slightly foolish in hindsight! I promptly told her that if she said I was something ridiculous like 2 centimetres I was going to kill someone. She replied that my labour had only just started so it may be a while yet. At this point my darling husband tried to insert my ipod headphones in my ear, to stimulate the calming effect I had so wisely planned. However, rather than being soothed the music annoyed me, the headphones hurt my ears and I yanked them out angrily as he tried to remind me that this was what I wanted.

All through this, my neatly typed birth plan remained in my unopened bag, along with my candles and birthing outfit that I had lovingly folded in anticipation.

Then, after my examination, things got a little crazy. My midwife proclaimed that the head was crowing to which I screamed “I TOLD YOU IT HURT” and my obstetrician rushed in just as I started pushing. By now I was screaming for an epidural, knowing full well I wouldn’t get one but feeling better for asking anyway.

Twenty minutes of pushing later, at 8.15pm my beautiful son was born. There was nothing calm about any of it, it didn’t go at all to plan, but I wouldn’t have changed a second of it.

So, this time there are a few things I know for sure.

1. My labour is likely to be quick, so be ready!

2. There is no planning in labour so it’s best to go into it with an open mind and go with the flow. There is nothing wrong with having an expectation of how you would like it to be, but it can often fall out of your control and holding on too tightly to those expectations can make the experience more stressful.

3. Trust both your body and your caregivers to know what they are doing.

4. From the moment that labour starts and for the rest of your life, you are no longer in control. It’s better to accept it now and go with it!

5. While labour will be a huge focus for you during your first pregnancy, with subsequent children you know that it is just a tiny moment in the monumental scale of their lives. And whether they arrive through a drug free birth, with an epidural or with a c-section it doesn’t really matter, no way makes you a better mother. It just matters that they are safely in your arms at the end of it.

What was your birth like, did it go to plan? Did you write a birth plan and did you find it helpful or a waste of time?

#2 dogsbody

Posted 18 May 2010 - 09:53 AM

Sure I had a birth plan - that I would try to make it to hospital before the baby was born LOL! More seriously, I did plan to try a natural birth, but I would follow my midwife and doctors advice as required..... As it turned out I did manage the whole thing drug-free (but only because I refused the pethidine until it was too late!!!)

#3 Obesa cantavit

Posted 18 May 2010 - 10:05 AM

With my first I had no plan. I had no idea how labour would be and, as informed as I thought I was, I really wasnt. I ended up with a planned c/s anyway and had 2 weeks to get my head around that, which was enough in itself.

DD2 I did have a birth plan, or maybe preference would be better. I had ideas on what I didnt want more then what I did. For example I wanted to be the one to ask for drugs, not have them ask me. I also had a list of preference if intervention was needed ( ie vaccume over forcepts, tear over episeotomy) Most importantly for me, I wanted the reason for a recommendation explained to me, my OB and midwife hapily obliged. I also did not want the cord clamped until it stopped pulsating.

All of these wishes were adhered too and I had a successful VBAC. She was posterior and I required an assisted delivery, but it was not with keeping with my preferences.

With DD3 I also had a similar birth plan, which in hindsight, was not really needed as the hopital I gave birth at was very pro active birth and a lot of what I asked was hospital policy. I had a drug free 5 hour VBAC.

SO I do not think they are an " absolute crock". Birthplans are not about stipulating how you want the birth to go, any fool knows that labout and birth are unpredictable and out of anyones control, however I think that it is silly to go into it without clearly stating your clear preferences. If you wish to rely on hospital policy, policy that is put in place to create the least risk to the hospital, client and baby, and also be most convienient financailly and administrative ie staff levels,  not necessarily what is best for the client and baby then go for it. Some of us and well informed ( I have worked in a hospital setting for over 15 yrs) in what we want but more importantly what we DON'T want.

ETA: my Private OB actually added some points to my birth plan. She also signed it and it was placed in my hospital file before I went into labouor. The midwives on duty must have read it as there were a few things like wanting minimal noise and minimum number of people present, that were strictly adhered too, to the point of actuallly asking me if someone could come into the room and staff leaving the room to speak.

Edited by Obesa cantavit, 18 May 2010 - 10:08 AM.

#4 namie

Posted 18 May 2010 - 10:07 AM

I didn't bother with a birth plan. I had no pre-conceived ideas of what labour was like so I didn't feel I could really plan anything. I mentioned the idea of a birth plan to my OB at around 38 weeks as other mothers-to-be I'd spoken to had asked if I'd written one and I hadn't. My OB rolled her eyes, shrugged and said I could but as she prefers the natural approach as far as possible there wasn't really much point.

I'm not one for inspirational music, I hate baths and I was happy to just go with the flow.

And I didn't once wish I'd had one to follow. I had 2 fantastic midwives at the hospital who helped me through the various stages of my induced labour and my DP was also fantastic! I had an epidural due to hideous back pain and gave birth, forceps-assisted, after 11 hours.

I'd do it again exactly the same way.

#5 ElevenYears

Posted 18 May 2010 - 10:13 AM

So, this time there are a few things I know for sure.

1. My labour is likely to be quick, so be ready!

2. There is no planning in labour so it’s best to go into it with an open mind and go with the flow. There is nothing wrong with having an expectation of how you would like it to be, but it can often fall out of your control and holding on too tightly to those expectations can make the experience more stressful.

3. Trust both your body and your caregivers to know what they are doing.

4. From the moment that labour starts and for the rest of your life, you are no longer in control. It’s better to accept it now and go with it!

Sounds like a birth plan to me!

I think it's a bit hasty to call them 'a crock' when the phrase birth plan encapsulates such a wide range of practices.  

You seem to be talking about the type of  four page detailed document, rich with ideas about aromatherapy and affirmational phrases drawn up by an optimistic first time mum.  And they probably are more likely than not to be thrown away at the first strong contraction.  But a birth blan could also be something as simple as a mental list of what you want to happen if the baby has to be whisked away immediately after the birth (partner to stay with baby, consent to be given for vitamin K injection etc), or a few points about how to make a scheduled caesarian more mother/baby friendly.

I have never written a birth plan myself, but I certainly have gone into both labours with some firm ideas - including the idea that I would need to be flexible about what is to come.  But I also had researched and thought about things like whether or not to have the syntocinon injection, how I felt about continuous monitoring and the like.

I didn't always get my way, but at least when the issues came up I had already thought about them and I knew for sure that what was going on was a matter of necessity rather than just being an issue of hospital policy/care provider preference/whatever.

#6 ComradeBob

Posted 18 May 2010 - 10:14 AM

I didn't have a birth plan - the first I heard of these strange beasts was at the pre-natal classes when they were discussed at length and DH and I looked at each other, somewhat non-plussed. My birth plan, if it could even be called that, was simply to get drugs when I thought I needed them and just go with the flow.

I had a healthy baby, no hang ups that I "failed" the birth and like the PP, I'd do like that again.

#7 beatrice11

Posted 18 May 2010 - 10:19 AM

I can't say I agree Amity. For my first birth I completely subscribed to the birth plans are for foolish women who believe that they can control Mother Nature theory. I was going to go with the flow knowing that my caregivers knew what they were doing and that the best way to be disappointed with your birth was to have a particular expectation about how it all turned out. I assumed I would have a vaginal birth (why in a hospital with a 50% c-section rate I don't know) and that I would try without drugs but be open to taking them if needed.

I ended up with a completely unnecessary c-section as my obstetrician told me that my pelvis was too small to fit my baby through. Bub wasn't in distress and I'd only been at hospital for an hour. I had no plan and no knowledge and ended up going along with what my trusted careprovider was telling me.  Also because I'd given no thought to what I wanted to happen after the birth I was also unnecessarily separated from my completely healthy child for the majority of her first 12 hours.

Second time around I had a pretty extensive birth plan. It actually meant something because I wrote it with the 2 midwives who attended my birth and we were all behind it. I had a particularly detailed plan to deal with what I wanted to happen if I needed to have a c-section. There was no way I was missing those early hours with my second child. End result was a much bigger baby born through my pelvis just fine in an empowering vaginal birth. It didn't go exactly as I planned of course but knowing how I wanted it to go and what I needed to do to get there was a massive part of having the birth I got. The other big part was choosing careproviders who respected my choices and genuinely wanted me to have a fulfilling birth experience.

For me the birth experience for both my children was not a tiny moment. Birth experiences matter - they set us up for motherhood. Until I had my son I did not realise how important the birth was. Its not a simple matter of c-section bad, drug free vaginal birth good but that whatever happens we feel that we are given the information we need to make good decisions and that our wishes are respected, that we are not given c-sections for flimsy reasons and that we are not separated from our babies after birth.

If I go for no. 3 I will be taking that birthplan. Even if it stays in the bag it represents my hard-won knowledge and my determination to give my kids the best start I can in their lives however that pans out.

#8 BucketONuts

Posted 18 May 2010 - 10:58 AM

QUOTE (AmityD @ 18/05/2010, 09:45 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
What was your birth like, did it go to plan? Did you write a birth plan and did you find it helpful or a waste of time?

Hmm this is a nice blog..I'm due with #2 too..and while I still have a while to go..I laugh now at all my so called plans...I too had a nice bag packed..While I was due 4th feb, i was in labour on and off from 27jan..Was horribly uncomfortable all day 30Jan and then at 2am on 31Jan I had a bloody show..freaked out of course but the middies at the hosp told me to time it and wait at home. From then on I couldn't sleep as the contractions were 15-10mins apart...continued all day 31Jan.
Then around 8pm it got reaaaaaaaaaaallly bad and we headed to the hospital at about 2-3 mins apart..They checked and I was only 2cms..Of course from the middies checking my water burst so there was my only chance to labour in the bath/shower gone.. From then on the pain was awful but I refused the pain meds..then around 3am on 1Feb I gave in & begged to have an epidural..had it around 4am but after 1hr of peace I started feeling everything again..so I'm one of the few epidural's don't work on... rolleyes.gif ..
THEN my labour slowed nearly to a stop...so I was given something to get it started again.. the rest was a blur of pain , pain & more pain...until finally around 11:40am on 1Feb I was fully dilated..so then I pushed for about 2 hours..My fantastic OB suggested a vaccuum/ forceps delivery and I was past caring at that point..
The decision was taken out of my hands though as my baby's heart rate dropped and I had a high fever from an infection..I was taken to the OT so quickly (some kind of Code One?) I bumped a booked twin Ceaser out too   huh.gif . She was stuck so bad that the OB couldn't get her out frm my tummy easily. The middie had to shove her back into the womb between my legs and then she was out..I was taken in at 2:20pm and DD ws out at 2:33pm. So that was my fantastic labour..
This time i'm booking to have a C-sec...can't take a risk with one at home personally & don't want to ...

#9 BucketONuts

Posted 18 May 2010 - 11:09 AM

QUOTE (Obesa cantavit @ 18/05/2010, 10:05 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
ETA: my Private OB actually added some points to my birth plan. She also signed it and it was placed in my hospital file before I went into labouor. The midwives on duty must have read it as there were a few things like wanting minimal noise and minimum number of people present, that were strictly adhered too, to the point of actuallly asking me if someone could come into the room and staff leaving the room to speak.

Hey quick question....did you go to a public hospital? My OB mentioned that I would need to go public (as a private patient) if I wanted a VBAC..and I just wanted to get my facts right...

#10 AmityD

Posted 18 May 2010 - 11:28 AM

Good to read the replies so far. I knew everyone wouldn't agree with me, but that's ok, it makes for an interesting discussion!

I should clarify that I don't believe you should go into labour without any opnions or preferences on how you'd like it to go. I will still be telling my OB and midwives to leave the chord til its stops pulsating and what I'd like re Vitamin K and Hep B, etc. But I do think there is so much pressure on us mums now to have this perfect birthing experience and then if things end up going differently it can lead to feelings of disappointment and failure. And there are some things you can't possibly know how you will react to until you're in the situation. I was also 'against' eps before labour but when the time came I would have happily agreed to my OB cutting my leg off if it got my baby out faster!!

And Beatrice11 - I agree that giving birth is not a small moment, for me it was a huge, life changing moment. What I was trying to say is that for your first pregnancy it is your sole focus and once you've had a child you realise that how you birth is not a reflection of how strong you are or what kind of mother you will be. Kind of like focusing on the wedding instead of the marriage!

#11 Luckyinlove

Posted 18 May 2010 - 11:40 AM

Id love someone who has written a birth plan to give me a logical, simple example, I never thought Id do one, although all the books, as you say Amity, suggest to. I thought it was a 'crock' as everyone I know who has given birth had some crazy thing happen at the last minute making everything they thought was going to happen change.
I intend on going in there wanting a vaginal birth, minimal internals, not being induced or having waters broken too quickly (apparently they should allow 24 hours from when contractions start to breekaing your waters for you, but some hospitals'rush u' & do it after a couple hours!?)

Is this reasonable? How do I word it? Do I hand it to them when i walk in?? How do you KNOW when they are wanting to do a C section un necesarily & when it is actually necessary?? id love to avoid one unless bub REALLY is in distress....

Do I give my plan to my Ob beforehand?? And then a copy to the hospital when we go in? If I do haev a C section, i want to hug my baby STRAIGHT away before they are taken and weighed etc.

#12 Alina0210

Posted 18 May 2010 - 11:53 AM

Yes Birth plans are worthwhile... even if they never come out of the bag, it prepares you for what to expect, and with you and your DH discuss and decided before hand what you want done.. Like delayed cord clamping, natural 3rd stage... etc.. So at the time, things just dont happen to you without permission or you get asked and then are too stunned to think of what you want.

I am having a homebirth so i dont need one, as everything that homebirth midwives do and dont do is what i am wanting... hence the homebirth.

#13 Alina0210

Posted 18 May 2010 - 12:00 PM

Do I give my plan to my Ob beforehand?? And then a copy to the hospital when we go in? If I do haev a C section, i want to hug my baby STRAIGHT away before they are taken and weighed etc.

Yes give a copy to your Ob before hand, take one also to give to the midwives on the day.. make sure your DH knows your wishes... and they can't take the baby away from you to be weigh etc without your permission (unless baby isnt looking good)... have it in BOLD that all baby checks can be done on you if needed, and you dont have to have baby weighed straight away, most women i have been with (as a doula) have waited up to 1-2hrs before baby is checked and weighed.. and thats usually after mum has had a shower and cleaned up.

#14 Obesa cantavit

Posted 18 May 2010 - 12:03 PM

Hey quick question....did you go to a public hospital? My OB mentioned that I would need to go public (as a private patient) if I wanted a VBAC..and I just wanted to get my facts right...

Nope, private hospitals, 3 different ones in fact and 2 different OB's for my VBACS. (moved between DD2 and DD3)

ETA, 2 in Melbourne, 1 in Tassie

Edited by Obesa cantavit, 18 May 2010 - 12:09 PM.

#15 CallMeFeral

Posted 18 May 2010 - 01:09 PM

I think that the more ridiculous birth plans and the bigger gaps between intended and actual have given birth plans a bad name. I've seen it be the latest thing to bag out birth plans (same as a few years ago it was presumably the latest thing to write birth plans), and yet I think it's more to do with misunderstanding what a birth plan should be like.
Nobody can tell what is going to happen... BUT... there are things which COMMONLY happen that it's good to be prepared for... eg. MOST people have some hours of painful labour that they will want to have prepared ways to cope with.

I never wrote my birth plan, but I did plan, and took to hospital a tens machine and some active birthing props, and a variety of music I might be in the mood for. I found a hospital where you could labour in the bath.
I DID use the tens, then it broke and I used the bath, I used the active birthing stress balls, and I listened to my opera. I didn't watch any of the happy/funny videos I bought to help release endorphins and distract me, I didn't listen to any of my energetic music and stomp around the floor, and I didn't use the active birth breathing props, nor did I listen to my hypnobirthing relaxation CDs. I didn't get to have my waterbirth.
BUT... I did get to skip having pethidine when the dr and midwife tried to get me to, and went straight to epidural. I did have the balls/cds/tens there when they were what I felt like using. All because I had researched and planned beforehand. I think if some people need to write this down to plan it, then that is their call. It might help some of their caretakers to be a help rather than a hindrance.

I think a birth plan should be treated much like somebody told me to treat my wedding day. You get informed and plan as well as you possibly can beforehand - and then on the day you just relax and take whatever comes.

#16 beatrice11

Posted 18 May 2010 - 01:21 PM

Lucky in love I think you are on the right track in wanting a clear, simple birth plan. Think of it as a tool for stating those preferences that you have about the important stuff. Not what music you want playing or the essential oils in your electric oil burner. Definitely talk to your ob about your preferences in advance - do not assume you are automatically on the same page! It doesn't have to be a birth plan as such but writing it down can certainly help to emphasise what you are saying and help your ob to remember.

If I knew during my first birth what I know now and I was being cared for by a private ob again I would have a pretty simple birth plan that started like this:

"The most important thing for me in my labour and birth is for me to make informed decisions about what is happening to me and my baby. For any course of action or intervention that you are suggesting I would like you to explain the benefits, risks, alternatives and what will happen if we do nothing. I would then like to be given time alone with my support people to consider my decision. Please do not proceed with any course of action without my explicit consent unless there is a genuine emergency."

I would then list my specific preferences. In the case of the things you have listed I would say something like:
"I do not want to have artificial rupture of membranes unless there is a medical reason for doing so and I have given clear consent after having that reason explained to me.

I do not want to have my labour augmented unless there is a medical reason for doing so and this has been fully explained to me and I have agreed.

I do not want to have routine vaginal examinations. If you wish to conduct a vaginal examination please explain the reason why you feel that it is necessary and obtain my permission to do so."

I was too polite during my first birth and didn't want anyone to think I was difficult. Don't be like me!!! Your care provider is actually legally obliged to give you the information and obtain your consent. You shouldn't have to ask for this but often you do have to.

It can be really difficult to know whether a c-section is necessary or not. Some absolutely are needed but many are not. How do you tell which category you fall into though?!? Read up in advance and know about failure to progress. CPD (your baby not being able to "fit" through your pelvis), the limitations of foetal monitoring etc. Then you'll be better able to ask questions and engage with your careprovider. Then make sure you ask what the benefits, risks and alternatives are and the consequences of doing nothing. I am sure if I had engaged in this conversation with my ob I would have have been much less likely to agree to my c-section at the time that I did.

If you do feel that a c-section is needed then it helps to already have thought about what you want and to have that set out clearly. Here is what I had in mine:

"If I have a c-section I do not wish to be separated from the baby at any time following the birth. I would like to have skin to skin contact with the baby immediately after delivery and to hold the baby before it is cleaned/ wrapped. This is EXTREMELY important to me.
I wish the baby to be with me in recovery. This is also EXTREMELY important to me."

If you keep it short and simple they are more likely to read it and more likely to realise that you have done your research and you mean business!

#17 Luckyinlove

Posted 18 May 2010 - 01:29 PM

Fabulous thanks Beatrice11, very informative original.gif

#18 LittleRB

Posted 18 May 2010 - 02:20 PM

What was your birth like, did it go to plan? Did you write a birth plan and did you find it helpful or a waste of time?

I did not write down anything. I wouldn't have wasted my time writing a detailed, structured birth plan as I personally I think they are idealistic and set you up for potential failure, heartbreak and disappointment. I did have an idea in my head about what I wanted. I was positive I wanted drugs straight away (the good ones!) and a natural birth. I would have liked as little as possible intervention such as an episiotomy. At the end of the day though, these were all preferences and I knew going in it was wishful thinking, but I didn't mind what actually happened as all I wanted was the safe arrival of my baby.

In the end, I had a 14 hour active labour, didn't have any drugs for 10 hours of that,  my waters were broken, had a bit of gas and a shot of pethidine, and I had syncontin to speed up irregular contractions. I was then pushing for 2 whole hours before DS arrived. I was really happy with my birth and I think it's because going in, I was realistic and open to the possibility that anything goes on the day. I don't think you can anticipate what you are going to be like during labour, especially for a first child and even for subsequent children.

Also wanted to add that I trust my wonderful ob implicitly and this made me very comfortable, he attended mid-labour to break my waters and was there to deliver DS. I think this helped a lot as whatever he suggested or thought was the best course of action, I would have agreed with him.

Lastly, without DH, I don't think I would have made it. I know this sounds stupid as I was the one labouring and birthing DS, but DH actually surprised and amazed me with how good he was on the day. He was incredibly supportive and he really got me through such an amazing ordeal but incredible experience. I'll never forget him being there for me and being so involved in what was happening... he's so awesome... wub.gif

#19 AmityD

Posted 18 May 2010 - 02:47 PM

More interesting comments to read, keep them coming everyone.

I think a good point is that perhaps birth plans are a good thing for those mums who find it hard to say what they want at the time. I'm pretty confident so didn't have a problem specifying that I wanted to hold off on weighing while I had skin on skin contact and other requests like that. But if you feel you are more likely to do what you're 'told' in the moment maybe a birth plan will help with that.

Also, I had to add a funny comment. I just had an OB appointment and told him about this topic. He told me it's a running joke with ob's that the longer the birth plan the longer the labour. And if it's laminated you're gauranteed a c-section!! That's meant to be taken as a joke btw. original.gif

#20 Bluenomi

Posted 18 May 2010 - 03:15 PM

I didn't bother with a birth plan. I had the take things as they come approach to labour since I'd never been in labour before so didn't know exactly how I would react and also because there was a chance I could end up in a situation out of my control.

I knew what my options were, looked into various types of pain relief, chatted to my OB about what could happen if there were the dreaded 'unexpected oucomes'. We both wanted to avoid an episiotomy if we could which was really the only thing I didn't want to happen during labour. I was appy to use the gas but was hoping to avoid an epidural if I could but if my labour turned out to be long or too much for me I'd give it a try.

I know too many mothers who have ended up upset and frustrated about their births because they had an ideal built up in their minds and didn't get it for whatever reason. I didn't want to end up like that so decided to go with the flow.

Turns out I did the right thing. My labour started really well, got to the hospital at 9am after contractions started at 3:30am. I was 3cm dialated at that stage and got settled in a room and after an hour remembered to ask for the gas (can't believe I forgot about it for that long!) As I was dialating quickly there was a fair amount of bleeding so I had to get the CTG strapped on to keep an eye on the baby. By midday I was fully dialted and it was time to start the pushing. Unfortunatly 2 hours later I was still pushing and DD hadn't even started to ender the birth canal so my OB decided enough was enough and intervention was needed. He recommended a trail by forceps in the operating theatre with a spinal block. All I heard was spinal block and I was more than happpy for that to happen, I was frustrated, in pain and the stress was getting to DD as well. The fact I'd needed an emergency c section if the forceps didn't work didn't bother me at all. The thought of an episiotomy didn't even enter my mind. I was more concerned I needed to leave the gas behind!

Down in theatre I got preped for a c section just in case and got my spinal. Bliss. Hubby was brought in and 5 mins later DD was born with the help of the forceps. I needed an episiotomy but due to the spinal not only did I not feel it, I didn't even know about it until later. DD was perfectly healthly and no worse for wear after her ordeal, just some red marks on her cheek that had faded within 24 hours.

So it wasn't the ideal labour but the 'unexpected outcome' wasn't a horrible thing to happen. DD arrived and while I had stitches they weren't that painful healing. Even without the episiotomy I could have torn and needed stitches. It could have been easier but it could have also ended in an emergency c section after attempted forceps and an episiotomy.

A friend of mine also had a trail by forceps and she considers her birth to be a failure because she spent so much time preparing for a natural, unassisted birth. I don't since all I really wanted was a healthy baby and that's what I got. I'm increadibly thankful for the forceps in fact, years ago before they exisited DD and I might not have made it. And quite frankly after the labour and the healing how your child is born has no effect on their life. You don't introduce yourself to people and tell them you were a natural birth with no pain relief or an emergency c section after 24 hours of labour

#21 aluminium

Posted 18 May 2010 - 04:56 PM

Interesting discussion.

Baby2.0 is due within the next couple of weeks, so I have been reflecting on this very thing.

With Baby #1 my birth plan was:
No drugs
No music or annoying sounds
No people except Husband (and no phone calls to people before hand)
If something went wrong and C-section was requ. so be it - but I was to be the first to hold the baby.

All went to plan. Husband respected my space. The midwives, all but one stupid girl, respected my wish not to be offered drugs and after 7hrs 45 mins of labour, my darling girl was born.

I think I'll have the same plan fo rthis time. Although I am hoping for a shorter labour wink.gif

#22 Barefoot

Posted 19 May 2010 - 02:00 AM

Having a birth plan and writing my birth plan was very much an activity of discovery. I had to write my choices, therfore I had to understand my choices, which meant I had to understand the ramifications and alternatives if things didnt go to plan.

I was very conscious that what I wanted and what would happen might end up being 2 very different things, but I still wrote down my ideals. 1 week before I was due, I had to rewrite an alternative birth plan due to needing to be induced (something I had wanted to avoid)

In the end, labour went very smoothly and because I had researched most possible outcomes, I was not afraid when I had a PPH and needed the syntocin injection.

#23 Lightning_bug

Posted 19 May 2010 - 02:05 AM

I found a birth plan to be a source of great disapointment and merely a highlight of how nothing I wanted happened.

You can request things all you like but it doesn't make them happen.  A birth plan is only as good as the carers you have.  

The only thing I really wanted was open communication between myself and my carers but, unfortunately, like a lot of doctors they didn't feel it too essential to tell me what the hell was going on.

It felt as though things happened to me, not with me.  

This time around I'm spending less time writing it down and more time telling them - maybe this time they'll listen.

#24 suzwill

Posted 19 May 2010 - 09:31 AM

I think it's all about being well informed and having a good open communication line with your care giver and your partner.  If you feel confident then you're in a better position to go with the process in whatever direction it takes you.  I have had three babies and all three labours were different.  

One thing I know for sure is that Ready Steady Cook gave me inspiration to get that baby out.  I was determined to NOT get to the end of that show, still pushing and shoving with Peter Everit's cheery face on screen!!  Sometimes TV's in birth suites are awful, despite it entertaining my husband all day!  biggrin.gif

#25 sam2020

Posted 19 May 2010 - 09:41 AM

I had a brief birth plan that went out the window when my first child came early and my birthing partner was out of the country and my husband wasn't too keen on the idea of seeing everything first hand. As it ended up,   I didn't make it off the bed into the water like I planned, my husband was with me for the entire time and really involved, and it was an awesome birth, no pain, no drugs, no tears and all done in 4.5 hours. My baby came out into the world with eyes wide open and a smile!
Write a birth plan, it helps to go in having some kinda of plan if things do go as you want. at least you know options and what to ask for. But don't get too hung up if it doesn't work out that way.
Best advice don't think too much just go with what your body tells you to do and ask your mother what kinda birth she had!

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