Why even write a birth plan at all? You may be wondering… Well, being the fear-driven person that I am, I had these visions of some medical emergency happening, where I was not conscious and my husband would therefore have to reference the birth plan in order to carry out my wishes. I know it sounds dramatic, but I just wanted to have my bases covered. And before we go any further, let me just set the stage for this post with a little screen shot of my first birth plan looked like:
Pretty detailed, eh? Well, when I was pregnant with my first, I did what many moms do: all the research. I read every typical book, and [thanks to Netflix] watched every birth-related documentary. Many of you mamas have seen The Business of Being Born. This documentary scared the crap out of me, in a good way. I knew I wanted drugs, but I didn’t know there were multiple options, and I certainly didn’t know that it mattered when they were administered. It’s not fear-mongering, it simply gave the statistics of medicated labor and c-section, outlining the correlation between the two. I’m only bringing this up, because this documentary, is what inspired me to write a birth plan, and that plan was derived directly from that documentary.
If you get an epidural before you’re 4 cm dialted, you’re 50% more likely to need a c-section. When I asked my doctor about this statistic, they rolled their eyes, and brushed it off like it wasn’t true. When I asked my labor and delivery nurse about this statistic, she said it was absolutely true and that the doctors just told me what they thought I wanted to hear. SO, I wrote in my birth plan that I did not want to have an epidural until I was at least 4 cm dilated. If you’ve read my first birth story, then you know I was stuck at 3 centimeters for forever and was in a lot of pain, trying to hold off on medications until I was 4 cm and could get my epidural. The thing about anesthesiologists is, they come to you when they have time. If you want them to come to you on YOUR time, then you risk them being with another patient at the exact moment you need them. They scheduled my epidural at 11 am, and even though I was still only 3 cm at 10:45, I told them I didn’t care and to go ahead and send in the anesthesiologist. I felt terrified. I mean, I had just willingly increased the statistical chance of needing a c-section, all because I was too much of a wuss to tough out some labor pains.
I didn’t need c-section in the end, and even if I had, so what? Here is some thing I learned about myself: I don’t handle pain well, and the more pain I’m in the more I panic. When the mother panics, there’s a chance the baby can panic, possibly even go into fetal distress in which case, many doctors would then also perform a c-section. So what I’m trying to say is, “what will be, will be” Of course, try to make the healthiest decisions for your baby, but also take into account some self-knowledge because that [in my case] was a main factor in how I chose the safest way to bring my baby into this world. I applaud the women who tough out the pains of labor, for 24+ hours, naturally, I do – I really, really do – but I definitely don’t beat myself up for not following the same path.
We’re all different, we all handle pain differently, and we’re all going to have different parenting philosophies… So let’s just be appreciative that we live in a millennium where there are different options for how to bring children into the world that cater to the many ways we all need to be catered to.
Oh, and the birth plan for this time around: chicken tenders from the hospital food court and drugs.