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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Meditation and Calming the Mind

I have to admit, I never thought to write about this part of our fertility journey until today.  A friend I went through my Hypnobabies class with asked me what I visualized during the pressure waves.  It wasn’t something I talked about in my birth story and she was curious.  So, while this is a post about how I dealt with some of the stress and disappointment during our fertility journey, it is also a post that belongs in the birth category because I used these same techniques during our joyous birthing time. Many people who spend any amount of time in the infertility hamster wheel eventually can benefit from talking with someone about the stress they are feeling, the disappointment they are experiencing, and even the anxiety that can accompany trying to conceive.  I have always been a strong believer that there is a HUGE mind-body connection.  If the mind isn’t ok, there is no way the body will be ok and vice versa.  We were lucky that the Fertility Center of the Carolinas believes in the mind-body connection as well.  In fact, they offer a class to their fertility patients called the Mind/Body Program.  It is led by Cynthia Whitaker and Dr. Paul Miller.  When Dr. Forstein mentioned the program I was a little wary.  I just wasn’t sure about the group setting this program provided, but I needed someone to talk to who wasn’t my husband, wasn’t a friend, wasn’t family.  Someone who could be neutral and just be in my corner.  Someone who could offer me some advice.  That is how I came to know Cindy.  She was more than happy to meet with me one-on-one instead of in the group Mind-Body Program.  Going to talk to her was the best decision I could have made. She offered me a lot of suggestions for handling the stress, sadness, and pressures surrounding our fertility journey.  Two techniques in particular I still use today – the PEACE walk and meditation.  If you haven’t guessed from any of my other posts, I am the poster child for Type A – I am a perfectionist, I am driven, I am a fast-paced, no-nonsense kind of girl.  I don’t go anywhere leisurely.  At work, my colleagues always know when I am coming because I move quickly and with determination, which can be a little noisy when wearing heels 🙂  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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Jude’s Birth Story

Jude’s birth is a lovely example of a mama trusting her body and her own intuition during her birthing time. If you haven’t read Marcella’s Birth Story yet you should read that first. It will give you a whole new appreciation for this mama’s strength and courage. He laid quietly, softly breathing, warm and safe. He lay close enough to her to feel the warmth of her breath. With his eyes closed he thought of her, and tried to understand her. She was like the whole world. When he came from the darkness she was the only one he knew. He recognized her smell, and her voice, and even the way she moved, he was safe with her. She was always nearby, all he ever had to do was call, and she would come, she would hold him close, and kiss him she would make the world feel right. She rarely went away, for very long, and always came back, so glad to see him. He lay there quietly and she was so close just the way he liked it. She began to roll away, he called for her, and she smiled. She rolled back and kissed his forehead softly, “I’ll be right back,” she promised. He laid and watched for her return, after a moment he got frightened and almost called for her. Then she returned, and leaned over him, She again kissed his forehead, and smiling she whispered, “It’s ok baby boy, Mommy is here, and she loves you” He wanted to answer, to tell her his feeling, but he couldn’t make himself understood. He softly curled the corners of his lips and smiled as he struggled for the words. He wanted to make them as sweet and soft as her words, but all that came out was a tiny noise that meant nothing. He wanted to cry out; no matter how he tried he couldn’t tell her his feelings. How would she ever know how he loved her, he tried once more in vain to make the words come out. It was only then that he noticed her smile, at each soft noise he failed to make into a word and each tiny smile he gave her she smiled. His heart grew warm, and he slowly drifted off to sleep knowing that she knew what he meant.   HE and SHE By Mandy Howard Jude’s due...
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K’s Birth Story – Part 2 – Our Birthing Time

Our Birthing Time (Be sure to read Part 1 of our birth story) Because of the blood thinners I was not eligible for an epidural.  Fine with us, I never wanted one anyway.  I couldn’t stomach the thought of a needle in my spine.  I’ll take the pain of childbirth any day over the idea of a needle in my spine.  Everyone thought we were crazy, but Nate supported my decision 100%.  We told every OB we met in the practice that we were going to birth without medication.  They all smiled and said ok, but it was the kind of smile you have seen some parent’s give their children to placate them.  One OB suggested that we bring a doula with us after we presented her with our birth plan.  You see we had chosen to use Hypnobabies.  Hypnobabies is a method of birthing that makes use of eyes open childbirth hypnosis.  Sounds kind of woo-woo, but it is completely awesome.  I have a Ph.D. in Psychology so I knew that the mind is a powerful thing and had no trouble buying into this.  Nate and I spent months practicing self-hypnosis, we hired a doula (Julie) who was also our Hypnobabies instructor, and I told every single person that I encountered that I was having a natural, pain-free birthing.  Everyone gave me that placating smile, but I knew that we could do this.  I trusted myself, I trusted Nate, and I trusted that we could have a pain-free hospital birth. On September 1, 2011 Nate and I went out to eat at Sweet Basil, we had 9 more days until our baby’s guess date and my 30th birthday and were enjoying a date.  Even though we had 9 more days, I looked at Nate and said that this could be our last date before the baby came.  It was our last date (and after 22 months have only managed to have 1-2 more dates). As part of our Hypnobabies practice we visualized our birth.  I had visualized our birthing time starting at 3pm on a Thursday afternoon with the baby being born around 1am.  This would give us plenty of time to let the blood thinner clear my system before giving birth.  I guess I didn’t emphasize the “pm” part of “3pm” enough.  At 3AM on September 2 I woke up to tinkle (as usual) and my membranes...
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