Beyond the Birth Plan

Birth Plan.  Two words that most expectant parents hear at some point during their pregnancy.  In fact, all expectant parents are encouraged to create a birth plan these days, but it is a staple of an un-medicated birth.  A birth plan is exactly what it sounds like – a plan for your birthing time.  This can include information on the people you would like in the birthing room, requests about music and lighting, phrases and words that care providers should use, services you would like to accept or decline for mom and/or baby, a description of the pain management techniques being used, etc.  Some birth plans are long and others are quite brief.  There is no right or wrong way to write a birth plan and no specific template that must be followed.  Regardless of how it is written, it helps the expectant parents to really spend time thinking about what they want to occur before, during, and after birth.  It also encourages conversation with care providers before the big event.  By sharing the birth plan early and often with care providers, it becomes much easier to work as a team with your care provider during the birth.  The birth plan is an excellent tool for setting and communicating clear expectations. Many births go exactly as “planned”.  We were fortunate enough to have one of those birth experiences.  Everything went according to our plan.  In our Hypnobabies birth preparation we envisioned our birth occurring a certain way.  The only thing that didn’t go according to that visualization was the fact that our birthing time began at 3AM instead of 3PM.  That change to our birth plan and visualization wasn’t a problem, although I felt bad waking up our doula at 3AM! **Hypnobabies students please use your bubble of peace.** The tricky thing is that birth plans are still just a plan.  Plans don’t always get carried out just the way you envision.  This can be very unsettling, upsetting, and even traumatic for expectant parents.  One of my clients had a beautiful birth plan laid out.  She took the LEAN Expectations class early in pregnancy and then completed the Hypnobabies birthing series with Julie Byers.  She ate a healthy and varied diet, she practiced her birthing relaxation techniques, and prepared for the birth of her second baby.  Her first birth had been medicated and she walked away from that birth...
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Meredith’s Birth Story

Lindsey’s story of Meredith’s birth reminds us that our birthing time requires mental as well as physical strength.  Having the right, supportive people around you can often help you achieve the outcome you so desire! My Third Birth Story A little background first… after giving birth naturally in the hospital to my first daughter, I became a certified childbirth educator.  After the homebirth of my second daughter, I went to the next level and began serving as a doula, and eventually transitioned into serving as my own midwife’s assistant and student at homebirths. I had full intentions of training to be a midwife, but life sometimes gets in the way of our best laid plans and I eventually had to make the hard decision to discontinue my midwifery studies and focus on just being a stay at home mom and occasional doula. I found out I was expecting our third baby shortly after our 10th wedding anniversary.  We already had two daughters (ages 5 and 3), so from the get go I was convinced this new baby would be a boy.  My 5 year old had been saying for a year that she wanted a brother named Gideon, after her favorite brother on her favorite movie, “Seven Brides for Seven Brothers.”  It had been something we had jokingly referred to so many times that we just immediately started calling the baby-to-be Gideon, the name had grown on us so much.  If you asked my daughter what she would name the baby if it was a girl, her answer was “Acorn Nut.”  Obviously she was convinced I had a boy baby on board too. While I was thrilled to be expecting this third baby, I was in a bit of a quandary.  My home birth midwife had moved out of state in between my second birth and this new pregnancy, and besides that, I was feeling a little gun shy about another home birth. After attending so many in the recent years I had seen a few rare complications play out (thankfully, all with happy endings) and suddenly now I was just not sure if I wanted another homebirth for myself.  I chalk it up to the normal fears any mother would have, coupled with a little too much information and real life experience about what CAN (but usually DOESN’T) happen at births.  I took my own advice and, like...
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Finlay Roe’s Birth Story

This story of Melissa’s fifth birth is beautiful and shows us just how different each and every birth can be.  This story is full of wonderful pictures…wait till you read who took them… The year 2012 was full of big changes for our family. We moved to a new state when I was about 3 months pregnant with our fifth child. Our fourth was our first home birth and we knew we wanted to birth this baby at home. Finding a new midwife in a new state can be a daunting task but we found one that fit. My pregnancy continued normally. I love pregnancy! I even decided to do underwater maternity pictures; my first professional maternity photos ever.  We planned for my mom, who was present for our 4 other children’s birth, to fly down when I was 39 weeks pregnant. During my third trimester I told the baby daily that he needed to wait for grandma. Well, he had plans of his own. On 10/24/12 at 38 weeks and 6 days pregnant (the day before my mom was scheduled to arrive) I woke around 1:30am to use the bathroom. I noticed a contraction. I went back to bed and had a few more. I got restless in bed so I went downstairs for water and a snack. The mild contractions continued. Shortly before 3:00am I decided to tell my husband, Adam that our baby may be on his way! Sleepy Adam asked me to come back to bed. I snuggled up with him until the next contraction came that made me sit up in bed. I told him that I had to get up, lying in bed no longer felt right. I quietly walked around my house feeling a sense of excitement! Adam came and joined me downstairs. Around 3:30am I decided to give my midwife, E, a heads up call. She didn’t answer so I left a brief message.  At this time my contractions were starting to pick up a bit in frequency but they were still rather mild. I decided it was time to start gathering our birth supplies and my husband hauled the pool up to our bedroom. I love heat during labor so I asked Adam to heat up my old rice pack for my lower back pain however it smelled horrible and was rather annoying. Sometime after 4am I decided to call...
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Violet’s Birth Story

All too often we hear birth stories that end with mama in pain.  Pain for an experience that wasn’t as beautiful as she hoped and sadness over the loss of choice during her birthing time.  Thankfully, many of these mamas go on to have another baby and a birth that helps them heal.  Samantha’s story is one of those experiences. To get the happy ending…I need to start from the beginning. When I first announced my pregnancy with my son on April 1st, 2010 (yes that was on purpose), I remember one of my former friends telling me I should look into a midwife and giving me a recommendation to one. I told her I was completely uninterested and trusted a doctor more than I would ever trust a midwife. Even so, there was NO way I was capable of a natural birth. I had seen the movies and heard the horror stories. It also didn’t help that my books all talked about the “ring of fire”. How could I possibly survive something like that? I chose to continue ahead with my plans of an OBGYN office and delivery at a hospital. I ended up disgruntled about my care pretty early on and the doctors never really listened to me or cared about my opinion. By my 6th month, I felt like cattle and that the doctors were only interested in getting me out of their office ASAP. I was so naive and stuck with them…I was too scared to switch to anyone else that far out in my pregnancy. The office visits ended up being the least of my problems. On November 4, 2010, I woke up with what I thought were just cramps. I sat in the tub for a while and found them to not be anything unmanageable. I was so sure it wasn’t labor. My husband was the one who insisted on taking me to the hospital…when they hooked me up, my contractions were every minute and I was at 3 cm. Despite how little I was dialated, they decided to keep me. They asked me if I wanted the epidural right then and there and I told them to delay it (probably the smartest thing I did). When they moved me in the labor/delivery room, however, it all went downhill. I started getting intense cramping and I thought that if that was how I...
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Pregnancy & Birth Series – Introduction

In this series you will find a variety of posts related to pregnancy, birth, and the postpartum time periods.  I will be discussing tips for staying healthy during pregnancy, different birthing options available, childbirth education classes, and the benefits of using a doula to name a few. I will also be posting positive birth stories for you to read.  There are so many TV shows out there that sensationalize birth, in a bad way, that I think it is important to read about REAL births.  As you are reading about these beautiful births you may want to have a box of tissues nearby! If you are interested in learning more, please consider signing up for the L.E.A.N. Expectations series. If there is ever a topic that you are hoping I will cover, please let me know...
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