Why You Should Shred The Birth Plan

OK, OK. I’m not saying throw out the birth plan altogether. If you’re anything like me (i.e. a control freak), it can really help you to focus on your birth preferences in the run up to D-Day. The trouble is, there can be a tendency to overly focus on it. My first plan was a full A4 page of hypno-birthing techniques, active labour requirements and I think I even mentioned the lighting. I highlighted bits, imagining that the midwives would settle themselves down with a cuppa and a Digestive to study my carefully thought-out wishes whilst I silently swayed my way through a contraction.

I know.

As it turned out, the baby just didn’t fancy making an appearance and needed a little extra help. I had been so determined to birth naturally, in water, that for weeks afterwards I felt liked I’d failed. Just a little bit.

Despite the visualisations, the calming playlist, the breathing techniques, obviously the birthing plan means sweet FA when a human is making its way out via an exit the size of a Cheerio (expandable or not, it is what it is). I laugh about it now, but being pushed in a wheelchair from the “natural” birthing wing to delivery suite contracting, well, like a mother, with only a thin sheet precariously draped over my naked body is not something I care to repeat. I mean, I had to go in a public lift! With PEOPLE IN IT! I remember catching sight of myself in the mirror (why do they put mirrors in hospital lifts? Who wants to see what they look like in a hospital?) and, even in my state of other-worldly pain, I thought “Jesus, I look awful.” Worst bit is, I didn’t even want the sheet on me. Thank God some kind soul at St George’s Hospital denied me my wishes on that one.

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Second time round, there were three sentences on my birth plan, roughly communicating the following:

“Just going to see how it goes. Will have epidural if I need one. Main preferences are to not vomit, shout at the midwife or shit myself. But can guarantee nothing.”

So, yep, had the epidural thank you very much. I was convinced the midwife was denying  me the drugs on purpose because I was doing “so well.” I remember during early contractions asking for next door’s speakers to be turned down a bit. They were piping in calming music but just too loud and, you know, I was trying to relax and breathe etc. Well, fast forward 3cm and I was banging on our adjoining wall for want of something inanimate to hit and yelling with every ounce of effort I could muster. I could have probably forgiven her a bit of Bublé in retrospect.

Some women write a birth plan and manage to stick to it, to the letter. Most women don’t, so my advice is to note down the biggies – who do you want with you? Do you want the cord cut straight away? Do you want the baby to have the Vitamin K injection? – and then focus on learning some relaxation techniques in the last few weeks of pregnancy.

And if the worst happens and you shit yourself/vomit/scream at the midwife? Seriously, they’ve seen it all before and will deal with it. Poor loves.

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10 thoughts on “Why You Should Shred The Birth Plan

  1. Rebecca says:

    I remember Becky and I comparing ours at work (all three sides of A4 of it!) like we were about to be tested on it! It felt a bit like an exam we were totally unqualified to take – ‘what do you think they mean on this bit? I THINK I want…, but I don’t know if that means I can’t have…’ etc etc. I think get the biggies down is perfect advice!

    Like

  2. Laura says:

    Love it! So true.
    C often reminds me, when telling others of Z’s lengthy arrival, how on day 3 of labour, while I was chomping down on my umpteenth nitrous oxide mouthpiece and hanging over the side of the “birthing” pool, he suggested I might like to try a bit of hypnobirthing. I think you can probably imagine my reaction!

    Liked by 1 person

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