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Labor concerns and birth plans – Angie’s Pregnancy Guide Week 26

June 9, 2015

This week I’ve been thinking about my delivery a lot because I still haven’t decided on which hospital to use. Since I’m new to the area I’ve got a lot of research to do. But I decided I should probably decide what I want out of the delivery (besides the baby, obviously) and choose my hospital based on that.

I didn’t make a birth plan with my first. I didn’t even think to make one.  But I had enough pain and scary situations in the first half of the pregnancy to know that: A) I wanted pain meds, B) I wanted privacy, only my husband to be there with me, and C) I would trust my doctor with whatever he thought best for the baby and me.

So I guess I SORT OF had a birth plan, but it wasn’t written out or anything. Looking back I wish I would have. I wasn’t as prepared as I thought I was, and definitely not as confident about all of the procedures and processes that would occur. I thought I’d researched enough and paid attention in the class we took and talked to enough people to know what to expect, but I didn’t. And honestly, I always thought doctors and nurses just rolled their eyes at moms with birth plans.

This time, I have a list of things to research and think about. I’m still trying to make up my mind about them, so if you have any experiences or advice on any of them please let me know!

Warning: There’s some discussion of the not-so-pretty side of labor and delivery below. Proceed with caution.

Mood

Okay, this may sound weird, but I was reading about birth plans and one site talked about music and lighting and requesting a quiet atmosphere? I didn’t even think about that with my first. But I can say that the moment she was born was the most spiritual experience of my life, and looking back it might have been nice if the staff knew to try to be quiet to help enhance the moment. We had the NICU team and a respiratory team in there because of some problems, so it might not have been possible, but I like the idea of him being born into a calm, quiet environment where we can kind of relish in that precious, once-in-a-lifetime moment. I feel like this might be too much to ask, though. Would it be rude to request that they use soft voices as much as possible?

The Mirror (sounds like a horror movie)

I was totally grossed out and against this idea when I first heard about it, but then when my first baby was being born I wanted to see her so bad! My husband told me she had lots of hair and I was SO JEALOUS he could see and touch it and I couldn’t! Grrrr! But I realize a precious baby head of hair isn’t all I’ll be seeing, and to be honest I never took a mirror down there EVER, even during recovery, because I just didn’t want to know. Is it worth it to see the baby being born or does it not contribute much to the overall experience? Is the sight of what’s going to happen to me going to overshadow the excitement of seeing the baby?

Tearing/Episiotomy

I’ve heard horror stories of tearing. Apparently, there are different degrees? Ahhh. I had an episiotomy with number 1 and didn’t think it was a big deal, I really didn’t even notice anything during recovery. Probably because of all the pain meds, but everything healed and is normal. After exchanging birth stories with other moms I’ve heard that having an episiotomy might be better than allowing tearing because an episiotomy allows you to go back to normal whereas stretching to the point of tearing can’t really be undone? But electing to do an episiotomy sounds crazy. Because what if I don’t tear?

Asking for staff changes

I had an absolutely AWFUL nurse in the maternity ward when I was recovering. She looked just like this…

She was so SO rude I couldn’t believe it. She didn’t even try or pretend to be nice. My doctor got called in to deliver a baby so another doctor from his practice came to check on me. After he left I was feeling kind of light-headed so I asked this nurse to take my vitals. Not even joking, her response was “are you kidding me? Your doctor was just here, why didn’t you ask him?” I was speechless at first. I said I didn’t think he was there to take care of me, and that she’d been doing it the whole time so I just assumed I should ask her, not to mention he wasn’t even my doctor. She grudgingly said “okay” and took it. A few hours later she asked us what time we were leaving because she had lunch at 12:30 and her husband was coming and she would not be late, so we needed to leave before then. At this point, we couldn’t wait to get out of there, but at the same time I did not feel ready to leave and I was terrified to take that baby out of there.

In hindsight, I should’ve just requested another nurse. But I was too afraid of offending her (even though she had no problem offending me) or being treated poorly for asking that. Have you ever requested another nurse? Did it go over okay?

Medical students

There’s a huge, renowned hospital on the campus where my husband will be studying. It’s a bit of a drive from home but it’s one of my options because it’d be easy for him to just walk over when the baby’s born and to hang out when he can. I’ve heard great things about having a baby there, but because it is a medical school there will likely be medical students and resident doctors present for the birth and everything that goes down.

I think I can ask them not to let them in. I like the idea of knowing everyone who’s present and having people coming and going freaks me out. I mean, how many times on Law and Order has a criminal dressed up as a doctor to gain access to a victim or drugs or something else? All he needs are scrubs and a mask and he can probably get in anywhere.

Am I being too paranoid? Probably. But I don’t want just anyone to hang out when I’m all exposed and what not.

Birthing positions

I had monitors strapped to me with cords leading to computers the whole time I was in labor with my baby girl. I didn’t even know I could ask them not to hook those up so I could walk around. I was being induced, granted, but this time around if things go okay, I think it’d be nice to do what my body feels like doing, and adjust to a more comfortable position if possible. But I know those monitors were important. At one point they beeped and I had to have an oxygen mask, and during delivery they were vital to telling my doctor that my baby’s oxygen was dropping (her cord was wrapped around her neck a few times) and that he needed to do an episiotomy ASAP to get her out or I would need a C-section. I’m really grateful for those monitors. But I don’t know what else they were monitoring, or if all of them were necessary. And I wonder if labor would go faster and smoother if I could do what felt right? They need to make wireless monitors so I don’t have to choose between monitoring those things or being comfortable.  Because what if I wanted to try it like this?

I know that the best resource for a lot of these is my doctor, and I plan on bringing all of these topics up with him. But I know different doctors have different ways of doing these things and different preferences, so several women have had different experiences. To make the most informed decision I’d like to hear a lot of experiences as well as consult my doctor and hospital. So let’s hear it!

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Avatar for Angela Silva

Angela Silva

Angela graduated with her B.S. in Exercise and Wellness and is a NASM certified personal trainer who specializes in postpartum fitness and recovery. She enjoys writing, cracking jokes, and spending time with her family, preferably while fishing. She shares many of her life adventures on Instagram as @angelagrams

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3 thoughts on “Labor concerns and birth plans – Angie’s Pregnancy Guide Week 26

Natalie

They do have wireless monitors! I never used them because my labor was only 8 hours, but most hospitals have a few available, you just have to ask. As far as monitors go though, the more meds you use, the more wires and tubes you have to have. I skipped the epidural and only had the monitor on while I pushed. A PICC line was put in when I was admitted (standard procedure), but never used. The rest of the time I was able to move around the room freely – those birthing balls are wonderful! Episiotomies drive me crazy, in most births they are entirely unnecessary and only for the doctors convenience. Its ridiculous how many mothers don’t know they can say no or get cut without permission! Of the hundreds of babies my CNM has delivered, she’s only had to do two Episiotomies. I did tear-to a three (my sweet kiddo had her hand against her mouth and her elbow sticking out, so it was inevitable), but with an episiotomy, I would have torn further. My understanding is that tears actually heal easier than cuts, but either way, it doesn’t hurt as bad as would expect and recovery was still pretty simple. Skip as many interventions as you can. You thank yourself when it comes to recovery.

Avatar for Angela Silva

Angela Silva

Thanks Ashley! That’s a good point about the medical students, one of them could be my future OB in some other city and I’d want them to have as much experience as possible. I’m surprised you’re so “for” the mirror, that is great to know! I definitely trust my doctor (or he wouldn’t be my doctor) and like the idea of having a “flexible” birth plan. Hopefully I can just avoid the whole tearing and episiotomy situation altogether 🙂 and that’s a good point, I am a paying customer, I deserve good service!

ashleyrgates@gmail.com'

Ashley Gates

I loved reading this! I have had all 4 of my kids with 4 different doctors at 4 different hospitals all over the country cause we moved around alot then. Here are a few of my thoughts on some of your points: **Mirror – absolutely Yes! best decision ever. **Birthing plan – never had one. you have to be flexible, so I think birthing plans are kind of pointless especially if it is going to stress you out when it goes differently than you think it should. **Medical students – they usually only observe. How else will we have someone to deliver our kids babies if we don’t allow students the opportunity to learn. **Tearing/Episiotomy – my opinion this depends on the doctor there are things they can do to help prevent tearing and some do episiotomies to help themselves deliver, not a good practice in my opinion. **Asking for staff changes – I think we often forget that we are technically “customers”. absolutely ask for a change. You should have someone you feel comfortable with.