Writing a Birth Plan
Toward the end of our class, we worked on our birth plan. We knew we could not control every aspect of the birth, but we wanted to make sure our birth team understood what was most important to us. Assuming we would have a normal birth, we outlined our priorities: We wanted to be together during labor and delivery; we wanted freedom to move around; we did not want Pitocin used to induce or augment labor; we did not want routine internal exams; and we did not want electronic fetal monitoring, an IV, or an episiotomy.
Since we didn't want any surprises in the birthing room, we made an extra appointment specifically to go over the birth plan with Kristin, the midwife we'd chosen, who was affiliated with our local hospital. For the most part, she was in sync with us, but there were a few points of contention. Due to hospital policies, I discovered that I had to have an initial 20-minute electronic fetal monitor check and then a recheck every two hours. Although they would not automatically induce me if my water broke or my due date passed, they did have their time limits. And of course, if complications arose, we would have to reevaluate everything. Though we were disappointed about the fetal monitoring, we were confident that our midwife would help us have our natural birth.
Others in the class were not so lucky. Two couples switched doctors just a month before giving birth. While going over their birth plans, these couples realized their doctors were resistant to a completely natural birth. They decided to search out a birth center that would help them reach their goals.
We'd done everything we could to prepare; now we had to wait and see what nature had in store for us. As my due date got closer, my prelabor jitters got worse. I even read up on some drug options and their side effects, just in case I needed them. But Lou assured me I could handle labor pains and that he would be there for me.