3 birth experiences, 3 learning processes, and 3 different birth plans. Birthing our bliss was a work in practice, that’s for sure, and writing up a birth plan that resonated best with our philosophies took just as many drafts.
With our first daughter I naively had such high expectations for everything during my pregnacy and birth with her. Still I had them, even with making an oath that I would not put expectaions on my child and my mothering because I knew they would just limit me. We had planned for a UC birth with our first but after 22 hours of birthing we had decided to call an ambulance and transfer to hospital just to be sure everything was ok. Which it was. I truly believe that my high expectations caused me to be very anxious the day of her birth, leading to tension in the body, which I’m sure the baby had felt too. AND what baby would knowingly come into a world where her mama is on edge? So she stayed until I got to a point of true release. I just “tried” so hard to “relax” and tried for eveything during her birthing time that I restricted myself from letting go and letting love happen. For goodness sake even her birth plan was pretentious and looking back on it now it reflected so much eagerness that it read more like an essay than the effective and practical birth preference we had perfected by our 3rd baby. Funny side story— the doctor who was assigned to us that night made a comment about it’s, ummm, enthusiasm… he remarks with sweet sarcasm “Sooo… I read War and Peace and then, I read your Birth Paln.” We had to laugh, cuz, he was right! It wasn’t the helpful straightforward guideline we “intended” it to be. It was a record of so many good intentions outlined with ALL the requests of an inexperienced birther covering all her bases. After that little embarrassing chuckle the doctor and us collaborated and broke down a few of our most sought after requests, with “Skin to Skin” (aka the Golden Hour) immediately afterbirth as the most desired.
Learning so much from the birthing experience of our first we dedicated our preparation for birthing baby #2 towards researching better approaches for natural birthing. Baby #2’s birth was a natural birth made easier with the support of a Cobra Insurance plan (we had none w/#1) that allowed us to set up more personable prenatal visits in comparison to the routine visits with random attendants at our local public health we had with our first. Keeping ourselves open to the possibility of a home birth, it was still important to us this time around, to establish a good relationship with a birth attendant instead of being “assigned” one in the event of having to transfer to hospital. In estblishing a healthy relationship with our Midwife it was apparent to us to generate healthy lines of communication and in pursuit of finding the better methods for birthing our bliss we took to even more alternative routes in preparing for birth.
It was after reading the book “Everything Birthing” that we discovered “Hypnobirth”. At that time Guam offered no local classes for this unique child birthing technique. So we ended up finding a home study course offered by Hypnobabies. It wasn’t until going through the Hypnobabies course that I learned how to truly “let go and let love”, how to write an effective birth plan, and how to finally “relax”- Being so comfortable that we were able to have the home water birth we so desired and in half the time of our last birthing experience.
Finding out we were expecting a third child caught us quite by surprise. By this point hubbs and I had started getting comfortable with the idea of just being a family of four. We had already donated most of our baby gear that preparing for a new baby and another birthing experience was catching us quite off guard. Once again I felt my expectations overwhelming my heart and clouding my resolve.
Birth with baby #1 was learning, #2 empowering,… What is #3 going to be, I asked myself anxiously. All throughout my pregnancy with our first was like honeymooning- a discovery of new love and dreams of our future. Pregnancy with our second was highly intuitive. Our second baby sent many messages, in dreams, meditations, and even third party contacts to make pre-birth communication more profound and soothed much of my uncertainty. The pregnancy insight with the third baby was calm with very few transmissions, but when received, were so wise in their simplicity. Like a placid lake to which a rock is thrown into it, creating ripples so obvious and would have otherwise gone unnoticed if thrown into a turbulent ocean. I could really go off a tangent here with my accounts on pre-birth communication but for sake of staying on topic I’ll continue on with my accounts on natural birth preparation and effective birth plan writing.
So if birth #1 was Learning, #2 Empowering— I’d say that #3 was– a Release! RELEEEASE, yes, that it was!!! Not being quite clear on what birth experience we were going to have with baby #3 we decided to “release” ourselves to the moment birth began. Be it at home, a birth center, or hospital – with family and friends present, without family or friends present- we would just flow towards what felt the most comfortable for us in that moment and so designed our birth plan to support that approach.
The 3rd time we chose a Midwife that would be compassionate about our desires. Who will be a strong advocate for those desires as well as our best interests. From there we went on to once again review our Hypnobabies material and then finalized our birth plan to simply, yet effectively, direct the flow of our birthing day… what ever that was going to look like. It’s been said that no one birth is quite the same as another and so goes the children born to these experiences even with the variables of the same parents involved.
It is with the preparations of each birth and the writing of each birth plan- despite the variables of the same people involved. Our birth preparations and birth plans have all been generated with intent of our situations at that time. I now share the following examples of each one of our birth plans from our 1st to our 3rd… When writing up a birth plan keep to heart that no matter the birthing style, a birth plan is not only an effective tool for fostering healthy communication with those attending your birth but a wonderful outline for mapping out one’s personal desires for their birth preparations.
Example Birth Plan From First Birthing Experience : Wordy, Pretentious and Overwhelming.
Example Birth Plan From Second Birth Experience : Shorter and sweeter more positive tones. And now titled “Birth Preferences” instead of Birth Plan.
Example Birth Plan for Third Birth Experience: Similar to second birth plan but written more straight forward. Bulleted with no explanations for our requests.
Three Simple Suggestions for Writing an Effective Birth Plan:
1. Simplify- keep it to one page and bulleted.
2. Share- your desires in a direct yet non threatening tone.
3. Suggest- offer points that will allow attendants to aid you more efficiently.
And keep to heart that we are all human beings and that in order to get respect we must also practice respect. This is very possible with out compromising the integrity of one’s desires just by how we choose our supporters and how we approach any situation. Oh yes and it never hurts to present a “Thank You In Advance” type of note or card accompanied with a little treat such as a “birthing”day cake or muffins to share with your birthing day attendants. It’s just polite and sets off a grateful and joyous atmosphere during the day of birthing.