The most important thing that I learned about the birth plan is that it's just a plan and it can change at any moment because things won’t always work out the way you expected. Whether it was deciding on natural child birth and then wanting the epidural or not having your doctor do the delivery because they are dealing with the woman down the hall or because you kicked your almost fainting husband out of the delivery room. So your birth plan is just a way to allow you have some control of a scary situation, but it is not written in stone.
The first step in my birth plan was to make sure I had an overnight bag packed. In this bag you need to have a couple clean pairs of PJs or other comfortable clothes, multiple pairs of undergarments and all the usual overnight stuff like comb and toothbrush. What I hadn’t thought of, and thankfully my sister did, was a hair band or elastic. She also thought to bring me some lip gloss and blush. I didn’t think about how I would look when people came to visit us in the hospital! I also had to pack a diaper bag filled with everything we would need as well as outfits for the baby because some hospitals have services that come around to take the first photos of your newborn baby.
I also knew that I would want my mom and husband in the delivery room with me. They are the biggest source of support for me so that was very important to my birth plan. I also planned to bring my iPod so that I could have some comforting music. I ended up not using it, but I was glad that I had it.
My plan was to try and yell at people as little as possible (check!), keep swearing to a minimum (check!), let the doctors do whatever they needed to do (check!) and try to go with the flow (check!).
Other things I learned that can be included in birth plans are things like making sure that there is an exercise ball to roll on as one of the coping strategies. Having a hot shower at the beginning of the labour process has been said to be helpful, which is available in some hospitals too. Deciding to use a midwife or doula are also options. This is part one of my story, coming up soon is information about what they do from an actual midwife and a naturopathic doctor who is also a doula.
Stay tuned! --- Lisa Wlodarski