Our first birth plan was based on a belief that childbirth had posed no issues to my mum and millions of other women and that was long as baby came out safely and I didn't have pethidine all would be fine. Turns out this plan wasn't great, didn't prepare us very well, and possibly was a contributing factor in the outcome.
I am now in a position of feeling empowered by my choices, confident in my body and knowledgeable enough to say "stop" before any decisions are made and paths started on.
I have read a few birth plans, hypnobirthing and non hypnobirthing, to find the balance which is right for me and our birth based on us and our experiences. Birth plans are so unique and personal but maybe by sharing mine it will help others write theirs.
The Birth Plan of Mummy Morkus
Following my last birth in which I had an unconsented Artificial Rupture of Membranes I suffered birth trauma and memory loss. I have been using hypnobirthing to prepare for this birth and to put fears aside surrounding my last birth. I request a calm midwife who is familiar with birth trauma and its affects, as well as hypnobirthing.
I will labour at home as long as I can to ensure I am sufficiently advanced in my labour before arriving at hospital, I will also call ahead to confirm that one of the pool rooms is available on the labour ward. I wish to avoid a standard labour room on the ward as this is where I laboured with my daughter.
I want an active birth in which I use the wireless monitoring, telemetry, so that I am free to move. If when I arrive it is not ready I will have 15 minute interval sonicaid monitoring until it is ready. I understand the risks associated with this. I want to use the pool, ball, stools and mats to keep upright and mobile as well as to aid relaxation and pain relief. I do not want to be on the bed or my back. I will follow my instincts as to where to deliver the baby.
I do not want to be offered pain relief, if I request it I would like gas and air and to use the pool. I am going to follow my body and mind on the day during the labour so will not rule out having an epidural again but would wish to be mobile with it so continue to have wireless monitoring to avoid being on my back on a bed. I wish to avoid pethidine/diamorphine. I consent to the placing of a cannula on admission but not in my hands or dominant right arm.
I request that any vaginal exams are only performed when entirely necessary, and that no more than one an hour is performed. These exams are a trigger for stress and anxiety which I want to avoid. If we can use other clues for the advancement of labour I wish these to be used as the first port of call. Any request for an exam is to be put to my birth partner who will be able to prepare me for this.
I request that there is no ARM unless labour has stalled completely, if this is the case an epidural is to be sited before membranes are broken based on previous birth experience. I will not consent to ARM to speed up labour which is established or deliver quicker if baby and I are happy to continue naturally.
I will dim the lights and play my own music during the birth. I wish to use aromatherapy during the birth. I will use a diffuser in the room or compresses which will be prepared in advance by myself. I want to create a birth centre experience on the labour ward.
I want to deliver baby straight to my chest for skin to skin and to delay cord clamping until it has stopped pulsing. I wish to be undisturbed with baby for an hour after delivery for bonding time, midwife checks can be carried out with them on me unless medically necessary for them to be away from me.
I would like to deliver the placenta naturally unless there are concerns.
Baby can have vitamin K drops.
If baby at any time appears distressed or at risk I consent to a cesarean.
If we are to be transferred to Mat5 I request a private room to ensure plenty of undisturbed bonding time with baby. I am happy to pay for this.
So that is the plan. It covers most eventualities. It also shows how I am not ruling anything out. I might on the day decide I want an epidural, I might want a physiological third stage or I might at 39 weeks deiced that an elective is the way forward. I am realistic to labour being an unknown event but I am much more ready to question and challenge any decisions and to stand my ground when necessary. I also respect deeply the knowledge and experience of midwives and medical professionals which is why I don't want to be at home.