It's hard when you are scared and feel out of control to figure out what choices to make, and know what you should put on your birth plan. 14 years and many many clients later, if I were doing it again (please let this not jynx me) this is what I would do differently.
Honestly, I would probably still start with the lengthly checklist, they can be really helpful when trying to figure out what options you have, what they are, and what really matters to you. Then I would go through and figure out what are our top 5 most important things. What do I really want to happen and what do I really want not to happen? I know, this sounds super complicated, but it's not as hard as you think, especially if you remember that many things are tied together in birth. I opted to have a home birth with a midwife. There were certain blanket decisions that were made simply because of this choice that I didn't have to put in mine, although I'm sure I checked the box anyways, simply because the home birth aspect practically eliminated them.
We sometimes forget that many of our decisions eliminate, or necessitate other things. If you say you want to know the pros
and cons of every procedure prior to them being considered and to be told when they're being considered, do you have to state every one you want or don't want? If say you want to move freely does that not eliminate everything that prevents you from doing so? If you would like an epidural, you are in bed with an IV and monitor and catheter among other things. When you think this way, can you see how it can be easier to streamline things?
But what do you do when plans don't go as you hoped? I got lucky, because I didn't need to use a back up plan, but do you have one? Do you need one? I'm no sure everyone needs a plan a, and b, and c, and x, but rather I think we need 3 very important things:
- A good understanding of our options, and the knowledge that you'd rather have this over that.
- Knowing how to ask good questions to get all the information that you feel you need. What are the benefits? Drawbacks? Alternatives? What other decisions am I also making if I make this one (If I get epidural do I also need an IV, catheter, monitor, waters broken etc)? What happens if we wait?
- As a couple (or you and your support person) you both need to be on the same page, so that if mom can't speak for herself, then the partner is able to, and feels confident enough to speak for you both.
Remember that birth plans can be a great tool to make sure everyone in the room is on the same page, but they are not a magic wand, and they can't take the place of open communication and making sure that everyone is on the same page. They can't make things happen the way you want them to, but they can encourage you to think about, and educate yourself on what's important to you, and in the event of surprises, allow you to determine which things you are willing to barter to allow you to have the best new plan.
Director of Labour Support
Precious Moments Babeez