I have awful anxiety. My panic attacks more than likely scare the heck out of other people, to be honest. I shake, cry, and can’t really talk. It’s not a fun thing at all.

 

This was always something that worried me a lot when I was pregnant. What if I couldn’t handle labor because I had a panic attack? I truly panicked over the possibility of panicking. (This is why I chose to receive an epidural, but I’ll save that for another day.)

 

From past experience, I know that it’s incredibly hard for me to make proper decisions whilst panicking. You should see me at the dentist’s office. It’s terrible. At first, I wasn’t sure what I was going to do. My husband would, no doubt, be worked up too. My mom would certainly be too excited to remember anything.

 

I was saved by a Facebook page for moms in my area. A woman asked if our local hospital was “birth plan-friendly”. Of course, there were multiple negative and positive answers, but it made the proverbial light bulb above my head come on. This was the solution to all of my problems. I don’t know why I didn’t think about it sooner. I’m a planner, I’m bossy, and I love lists. A birth plan would be perfect.

 

The very first thing I did was call the aforementioned local hospital. I knew it was my only option (I was worried about driving out of town) and I had to make sure that they were open to the option of a birth plan. I was lucky. They told me that it was becoming quite popular for women to bring in birth plans and that they were willing to comply as long as my plan was safe and, you know, possible. I was ecstatic. After that came my favorite part.

 

Doing research is something I sincerely enjoy and I’d already been doing tons of research on all things baby. I knew of all kinds of things that could happen at the hospital. I’d heard of some interesting and potentially beneficial points I’d like to have in my plan. Slowly, over the course of a few days, I put together all of the things that were important to me, then got the okay on it from my husband.

 

I’ll be truthful. I thought it sounded crazy. Many times I’ve been called a hippie or been told that things I wanted for my son were “weird” or “too much”. I was afraid that’s exactly what I was asking for. Too much. My husband assured me that I didn’t sound insane. I wasn’t still worried, so my next step was to run it by my fantastic OB/GYN.

 

When we went to see Dr. N, I showed him my overly spastic birth plan and told him that I was concerned that it was asking for a lot. He read over it and smiled. I was incredibly happy when he told me that I wasn’t nuts. Everything I’d written down was completely doable. He also made fun of me for over-analyzing.

 

Once my birth plan was approved, I made two more copies, which left me with three: one for my husband’s car, one for my mom’s car, and one to stick in the diaper bag that were were taking to the hospital for our boy. It was important to have multiple copies in case something happened to the one we’d already printed. What if a nurse misplaced it in the midst of my labor process?

 

I looked over my birth plan every day until I checked into the hospital. What if I’d forgotten something? I made sure my husband and my mom (who were going to be in the room with me) read over it on occasion so they could remember what was to be expected. When I woke up at 5:30 on that cold January morning, I was ready. Well… Mostly. Nothing can really prepare you for that pain, haha.

 

Let me tell you, my mom was on top of that birth plan. When we got to the hospital, my main nurse took one of our copies and said that she’d make sure that everyone who was coming and going would have one on their clipboard. Every single time someone new walked in, my mom was on them like white on rice. “Have you read the birth plan?!” She’s a pretty intimidating woman, so I’m pretty convinced they all did.

 

I don’t have a single complaint about my labor, my son’s birth, or how things were handled during our stay at the hospital. All of the nurses (and the doctor who basically only came in to catch my son) went above and beyond to make sure that all of the things I asked for were what happened. Some of the things I asked for like not cutting his umbilical cord automatically or not taking him away for his newborn procedures as quickly as they normally do I thought might cause issues, but they seemed glad that someone was so worried about their child’s health and well-being. It was an awesome experience!

 

Having a birth plan provided me with the tranquility to focus on the task at hand.  I didn't have to worry that things were progressing in a way I didn't want them to. Once my son was born, I was able to relax and regain my strength without all of my thoughts being stuck on "Oh my gosh, is everything going to be okay?" It was astonishingly comforting and that's precisely what I needed.

 

As soon as we got settled into our room after our boy was born, my husband asked me if I could do it again. I instantly said yes. That should tell you something.

 

To sum all of this up, I’ll give my advice. To make things easier on everyone involved, build yourself a birth plan. Write down your opinions on possible situations before you’re too… Distracted to be able to focus on them. Make sure you find out whether the hospital you’ve chosen will accept a birth plan. I don’t know about you, but if I asked and they said no, I’d probably look around for other hospitals in the area. A couple of weeks before your due date, run your plan by your OB/GYN. They’ll be able to tell you whether they’re able/willing to do the things you’re asking for. Hopefully your doctor will be there to deliver your baby (mine wasn’t) and this way, they’ll already be familiar with your needs.

 

Below I’m going to post a copy of my personal birth plan. It’s just to show you a possible way to set up a plan and to show you some of the things that could be included. Keep in mind that I did a lot of research and chose things with utter care that would be best for my situation. They may not work for you. Most people would consider me a crunchy mom (although my husband is very silky, so I’m actually a scrunchy mom. We like compromise in our house.), so some of the things on my plan may seem a little odd. If you’re wondering why I chose certain options, would like more information, etc. please comment and I’ll be more than happy to explain!

 

- - - - -

 

Full Name : Kylee Ellis

Partner’s Name : Husband’s Name

Due Date : _____

Doctor’s Name : Dr. _____ _____

Hospital Name : _____

 

Birth Plan for _____ (baby) Ellis

 

1.) I would prefer for everything to progress naturally. I would not like to be induced unless it is medically advised for the health of _____ (baby).

 

2.) I’d like for _____ (husband) and my mother to be present during labor/_____’s (baby) birth.

 

3.) I plan to receive an epidural.

 

4.) My delivery is planned as vaginal. NO C-section unless 100% medically necessary and all other options have been exhausted. I would like to push for as long as possible, or try different birthing positions if need be.

 

5.) If a C-section becomes necessary, I would like _____ (husband) to stay with me the entire time and for him to hold _____ (baby) as soon as possible.

 

6.) I would like to eat and drink as approved by my doctor, otherwise I would like to stay hydrated with clear liquid and ice chips.

 

7.) Preferably, the only hospital staff that would be present would be limited to my own doctor and nurses. (No students, residents, or interns)

 

8.) As _____ (baby) is delivered, I would prefer to avoid forcep usage unless it’s deemed necessary.

 

9.) We would prefer to delay cord-clamping momentarily to allow blood to travel to _____ (baby).

 

10.) _____ (husband) is to cut _____’s (baby) umbilical cord.

 

11.) I would like skin-to-skin contact with _____ (baby) as soon as possible so I can try to breastfeed automatically.

 

12.) Please delay newborn procedures such as stamping for weighing _____  (baby) for a small amount of time (15 minutes, or so). We would like to spend his first precious moments bonding with him/her.

 

13.) All procedures are to be done in our presence.

 

14.) We would like to hold off on giving him/her his/her first bath for at least 12 hours. He may be wiped down with a damp cloth with no soap, which we would prefer to do ourselves.

 

15.) _____ (baby) will only be going to the nursery during the mandatory times (the pediatrician’s visit, the hearing test, and the nurses’ shift changes). During these times, _____ (husband) will accompany him/her.

 

16.) We want to do ALL diaper changes and feedings ourselves. NO FORMULA should be offered. _____ will be exclusively breastfed.

 

17.) Nothing should be offered to _____ without our permission. (Pacifiers, etc.)

 

_____ (husband) and I understand things might change due to emergency medical situations and are solely concerned about _____’s (baby) health. Thank you so much for appreciating our needs and for being so accommodating.

 

 

- The photo above is of my son at eight months old. The credit for the shot goes to S M Photography!

- This post was originally posted on my blog, Fruitful Euphoria.

Published by Kylee Ellis