Every expectant mother needs a simple birth plan. Even if the plan is just to "have a healthy baby".
Let me take you down Metaphor Lane. I went to the hair salon recently. I told my stylist that I wanted bangs. A super cute photo of another brunette with bangs inspired me and I decided it was time for a change. But as with any professional that I pay good money for, I respect his opinion. So I asked him what he thought.
He respectfully explained this wasn’t a good idea. He told me the wonky cowlick in the front of my hair coupled with my inability to show up regularly for “maintenance” appointments would prove this to be an unwise decision. I sighed
rudely softly. You know what, he was right.
No bangs for me.
He laid out my options and helped me to come to the best decision for myself. But even though he is the expert, I wanted to be part of the decision.
I am a big fan of trusting the experts.
Whether the expert is a hair stylist, a lawyer, or an OB/GYN. These experts know far more about their respective fields than I. Therefore, I value and utilize the advice of experts often. But that doesn’t stop me from asking questions and having opinions.
When important decisions involve my life or that of my family, I want to be a full partner in making those decisions. I want to know my options and voice my opinion--I want to be an advocate for my own personal healthcare.
Giving birth is no exception to this. Which is why I have a birth plan.
I hear many pregnant women say that they don’t need a birth plan–instead they just want a healthy baby. So do I. Which is why my birth plan is just that: it’s a plan, not a contract.
And I fully understand that plans do change.
I also understand that my husband, my doula, the doctor, and the nurses are not in my head. So writing down the details of how I would like the experience to go is critical to communicate to them during a time when my communication may not be…shall we say...rational?
Likewise, I understand that due to many factors these people are simply not able to read and execute a highly detailed birth plan.
Therefore my simple birth plan follows the KISS principle. Keep it simple so it is supported.
It’s not complicated. It does not include details about dimming the lights to 50%, lighting lavender scented soy candles, and ensuring that my baby enters the world to a specific Bruce Springsteen song (Born to be Wild? Born to Run? Tunnel of Love?).
A Two-Part Simple Birth Plan
Instead of a novel, my birth plan is a short list of requests that I would like to see honored on the day of my child's birth. The plan is one page long and split into two parts: with the top half going to my husband and doula while I am at home in labor, and the bottom half going to the doctors and nurses at the hospital.
For my husband and doula
I listed the ways I would like to be supported and certain quirky things that I would like them to avoid (e.g. I have a pet peeve about being told to “relax”, it actually makes me tense and irritated–so I was sure to include that).
For the care providers at the hospital
I have listed certain medically-related requests that I have discussed with my OB prior to the birth. These requests include things that give me more freedom to have a comfortable, unmedicated birth (although that expression may be an oxymoron).
I promise it doesn't have to be complicated. But, please, take my words of advice. K.I.S.S. Keep it Simple so it is Supported.