birth wish

7 Mar

Last summer, a friend from college sent me a message with questions on John and my decisions regarding my prenatal care and delivery plans.  They were great questions, ranging from why I chose to go with midwives to what sort of interventions I hoped to use/not use.  The question I got asked the most throughout my pregnancy, whether or not I wished the have an epidural, I tried to tackle in this post.  The next topic of interest: birth plan.

Not gonna lie, I kind of cringe at mention of the term, envisioning the six-page single-spaced document of mandates I’ve seen some laboring women cart with them to the hospital on D-Day.  But somewhere around gestational week 36, John and I sat down over cappuccinos (fully caffeinated–made our girl dance in utero) and hashed out our “plan”–i.e. we made sure we were on the same page regarding certain hopes…we thought about even writing it down, but then forgot until now:

  1. If I choose to have an epidural, I would rather initiate the conversation.
  2. I would prefer to not have continuous fetal heart rate monitoring.
  3. Above all, please perform whatever intervention necessary for the health and safety of mother and baby.

We thought we were being so low maintenance with our simple requests (God, I’m shaking my head now as I’m remember my protestations regarding having the monitor and IV placed).  Maybe any plan is just tempting fate.  As is often the case with precipitous labor, especially when paired with a med student who feared arriving at the hospital “too early” (and a husband who opted to take a shower when his wife’s contractions were 90 seconds apart), #1 ended up being irrelevant, and #2 was a non-negotiable.  No complaints.  When we shared a bit of our birth story (one day, really, I’ll write it down) with a wiser friend, the mother of two responded: “And that is why it should really be called a ‘birth wish.'”

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5 Responses to “birth wish”

  1. Tina S. March 7, 2013 at 3:53 pm #

    With my first, I definitely had a one page birth plan although we were realistic and knew that we had to be open minded during the whole labor and birth process. That said, we also had a motto (that made Chris and I laugh, which is always a plus during labor) which was: Don’t give me anything, except the baby. Meaning, I didn’t want an IV (had to get one anyway, GPS+), I didn’t any more monitoring than necessary, I didn’t want drugs but I did want my baby given to me directly after the birth, messy and all. In my opinion, everything else could wait a few minutes or hours, but I could never have that time back. The birth plan definitely didn’t stop anyone from offering me pain reducing options, but I think the process of writing down my convictions to having a natural birth helped me keep that decision when the going got difficult.

    And don’t be too hard on John 🙂 Chris went to the grocery store to get a roast chicken around 4:15pm and I had my little girl at 6:13pm. I called him at the store and told him to get home sooner rather than later. I don’t even remember if anyone ended up eating the chicken that night or not. I sure didn’t.

    • annaojesus March 7, 2013 at 4:17 pm #

      I’m so glad the process of writing down a birth plan was good for you. I’m certainly no expert–from my very limited experience, it just seemed like short, realistic, easy-to-read, flexible birth plans were the ones that were the most likely to be read and acknowledged, understandably. For many, many reasons, we have a severe lack of OBs in the US, and the ones we have are horribly overworked. The ones I had the pleasure to work with were wonderful, but even they, who spent every minute they could with their patients, simply could not make sure to adhere to a long birth plan when shit got critical.

      Regarding an IV, I got one because I had a history of severe anemia. I actually didn’t even get hooked up to an IV, I just got one placed in case anything should happen, and I kind of think that’s smart medicine. So much easier to place an IV in a pregnant woman with 50% more blood than usual than in a woman who recently delivered and is hemorrhaging.

      While I appreciated not having anything during the birth, I was happy to have pitocin post-delivery to reduce chance of hemorrhage. It made me shiver a little, but otherwise no big deal. To each one’s own, though. I loved the way my midwife approached it all…it was all so clearly a choice. But she recommended it, so I went with it.

      I love your story of the roast chicken! Hilarious! I knocked on the bathroom door while John was in the shower and was like, “Honey, I feel like I need to push, can you please finish up?” Okay, it definitely was NOT the calm. I then also might have bitten the head off a security guard 🙂

      Lots of love! xoxo

  2. John Panarelli March 7, 2013 at 7:27 pm #

    Trite, but true. It’s not what you know, it’s who you know. Soon, you’ll be the “Who you know.”

  3. Jim Oppenheimer March 9, 2013 at 12:48 am #

    Write it down right now while you still have the memories relatively fresh (even now you’ve probably lost a lot of them anyway, but still…).
    It’s amazing how much stuff gets forgotten. Turns out there’s a reason for that; we literally rebuild our memories all the time. That brain is an amazing organ. Like the reproductive system, it’s a wonder that anything works…
    Anyway, write those memories now, the sooner the better.

    Love,
    Jim

    Nice article in the NYT.

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