I’m by no means a professional on the topic of labor and delivery, but I’ve lived through two vastly different births now. So I’ve learned a thing or two about birth plans.
The overdue pregnancy with induced labor that ended in an emergency c-section taught me not to get too hung up on a birth plan. Because sometimes you have to throw your birth plan right out the window, ugly-cry, and then just be thankful for your healthy baby.
There was one thing that I didn’t put on my birth plan the first time, but did the second–and it made a HUGE difference while I labored. Here it is, ladies, copy and paste it into your birth plan right now:
Please do not talk to me or touch me (unless it is medically necessary) while I have contractions.
Only women who have labored before know just how much we need the silence and peace during the pain.
I don’t know why this even needs to be said, because you would think that the hospital staffers who work with laboring women every day would know this, but they kind of don’t. Maybe it’s because it’s their job and they’re used to it and they just want to get the task at hand done. Bless those of you medical professionals who know to let a lady have her minute to focus on breathing and happy thoughts. But the rest of ’em just need to be told–in black and white–to let me be while I have contractions. It also helps for your birth partner and/or doula to verbalize this to anyone who walks into the room but hasn’t read your birth plan (i.e. the hospital photographer, the lactation consultant, the staff after a shift change, the billing people, etc.)
My first birth was at a teaching hospital. And yeah, those medical students didn’t get it. They adjusted fetal monitors on me as I contracted and I wanted to break their hands as they did it. They asked me questions and fiddled with my oxygen mask. They talked to each other and did loud things in the room. I think I kicked my own mother for resting a piece of plastic on my leg during a contraction, surely I had no tolerance for these unloved strangers in the room.
But my second birth was another story. I think my nurse memorized my birth plan. And I saw how she’d catch herself as she started to talk but realized that I was contracting, and she’d stop. I asked my doctor to wait until just after my contractions to check my cervix, and he totally respected that. And as for the rest of the random people who walked into the room for whatever reason–my husband would ask them assertively to be silent until the contraction of the moment was over. And, MY GOODNESS, was that so much more pleasant.
Whether you get an epidural or labor naturally, you will certainly have contractions for at least a portion of your labor. So dear sister, add this to your birth plan. You will not regret it. Save for the scheduled c-section (and no judgement here, you do what you gotta do, girl), I think every mom could benefit from adding this to her birth plan.
I would love to hear about your experiences with contractions and the people who assisted with your birth (hospital, home, birthing center–please share!)