Apparently I really should have written a birth plan by now. I’m really not so sure about this.
I don’t really like the concept of a “birth plan” in the way that so many women appear to interpret it. You cannot plan how your birth will go. You cannot write a list of steps that will be followed. Your baby won’t get a copy of the plan! I think to be too rigid or too specific is just to guarantee disappointment after the event.
And so many sample plans seem so long and complex that no midwife would (or probably should!) have the chance to read it and remember what is important to you. One sample I was sent was five (yes, FIVE) pages long. There doesn’t seem to me to be much point in listing the obvious, such as “I don’t want forceps unless necessary”. Because honestly, who would ask to have a forceps delivery unless it were absolutely necessary? I think it’s a given. In my case, I don’t want a caesarean but I know that will only happen if really necessary, so I’m not going to waste paper and ink writing it down. (I think I’ve made my feelings pretty clear on that one anyway!)
I suppose that I can see some value in listing a few preferences, though. Such as if you want immediate skin-to-skin or delayed cord clamping. Because a midwife can only be expected to remember a few salient points, I can see value in listing just the things which are the most important to you.
If we’re going down that route, I definitely have some:
– I want us to discover the sex of our child, or for Ian to look and tell me
– No formula milk to be given
– Ian to cut the cord
– Ian and I to be in charge of my diabetes, including asking for help/sliding scale if we need to
A couple of less important things, and our decisions on specific choices
– Support to achieve natural birth/need to avoid epidural.Please avoid offering pain relief or asking about “pain”.
– Delay cord clamping, but then happy to have injection to deliver placenta
– We would like to see the placenta
– Vitamin K by injection
That last point doesn’t really need to be listed. They’ll have to ask us at some point what we want to do about vitamin K, and Ian is as aware as I am and able to answer if I can’t. The other points seem more important to list because they are things that if we don’t make staff aware of in advance, we may miss our opportunity for. Once we know the sex, we can’t find out again. Once the cord is cut, it can’t be cut again.
I guess I have written my birth plan, then. Birth preferences, more than a plan. Perhaps I just need to commit these more formally to paper and print a copy for my hospital bag. And that will be another item ticked off my interminable to-do list.