When I first announced my pregnancy, there were two questions everyone asked me. First was how I was dealing with the morning sickness. The second question was if I already had a birth plan. Because apparently, every woman has a birth plan set in place even before they get pregnant. Kinda like with weddings. Today I am sharing with you why I don’t have a birth plan.
WHAT IS A BIRTH PLAN?
A birthing plan is, just like the name suggests, a plan for the birth. From the position in which to deliver, what to wear and where the birth will take place. After hearing a lot of
unsolicited birth plans from women around me, I decided to investigate. And guys, let me tell you, once you google “birth plan” you fall into a rabbit hole. Next thing you know it’s 2 days later and you haven’t moved or showered. But you know how Karen from Connecticut hat a “natural birth” with the help of “hypnobirthing techniques”. Yeah, you end up knowing things you wish you never did.
WHAT GOES INTO A BIRTH PLAN?
Whatever you want to. Obviously, it is important to plan where it will take place. Some people go as far as writing down exactly how the birth is supposed to happen. Down to the minute. Boy, those women are in for a hard reality check! Don’t get me wrong, I’d love to be able to plan my birth down to the second! It would go easy peasy, with no pain or blood or bodily fluids whatsoever, and last less than 30 minutes from start to finish.
Jokes aside, there are some important things you should write down. In case something should happen or you aren’t well enough to speak for yourself, you should always write the follow things and give them to the person with you in the delivery room or your doctor/midwife:
- Any health issues you have – and this means really any, even if it is eczema. Why? Because some medications may make it worse and so doctors are aware of the side-effects.
- Medicine you take daily – just in case you did not have the time or forgot to pack them in your bag. Usually, you don’t need to take your medication with you, I always like to because I am a control freak.
- Medicine you are allergic to/Allergies you have – this should be a no-brainer, but you would be surprised how many people forget it. If you have mild reactions to certain medications, write it down too! Even if the reaction you get is “only” itchy skin, write.it.down.
DO I HAVE TO HAVE A BIRTH PLAN?
Erm, no! You don’t have to do anything you don’t want to. I think it is relevant to have some things sorted out: do you want a completely unmedicated birth? Do you want to have the freedom to birth in the position you want to? Do you want to have pain relief? Having some sort of an idea of what you want for your labor is important. But you should not set it in stone!
You may have decided you want no painkillers whatsoever and then find yourself yelling at that anesthesiologist to give you an epidural NOW. Having to go “off plan” may be hard for some, which is why I (personally) think you should be open to change your mind. Give yourself the space to change your mind, to do something you had not planned on doing.
I think that is important, so you actually enjoy your birth experience. (as much as pushing a watermelon through a lemon-sized-hole can be enjoyed). You want to look back and know you did what was the best for you and your baby’s health. And if that meant taking the darn epidural you spent 9 months despising, then let it be so! Without guilt, without shame, only with the knowledge you did the best for the both of you.
WHY I DON’T HAVE A BIRTH PLAN
Because I don’t know what I am going to experience. Plain and simple! I never gave birth, so how do I know what will feel better? I have informed myself about the pain relieving methods in the hospital where I will be delivering the baby. Not all hospitals offer walking epidurals and I wanted to know if mine did. Because it does make a difference and I want to know the pros and cons. I wanted to be informed of what birthing positions are available at my hospital. Also, I wanted to know what the take of episiotomies is with Austrian doctors. Because I really would like to avoid one – and it is good I asked, since I found out doctors here only do it when strictly necessary!
But I will not plan to have a water birth like so many women love to plan. I love water, but I don’t know if I will be comfortable when the time comes. Some women don’t feel comfortable at all in the tub, be it because the water is too hot or the position isn’t good. It is important to me to be open to anything, so I don’t get disappointed and therefore stressed out because my birth experience isn’t going according to “plan”. I may end up having my baby in water or I may end up having the baby lying down or sitting down. And I don’t really care how the baby comes out! I am open to medication, I am open to a water birth, I am open to anything.
WHAT ABOUT THE PAIN?
Is a question I get a lot. And to be honest, I am terrified of it! I suffer from chronic pain – which means normally I have some sort of pain every moment of every day. But I am also aware that labor pain and the pain I experience on a daily basis are completely different. I can handle having a cyst removed without any painkillers – yup, had to go through it once, because the anesthesia did not work on me. I can handle a very invasive breast surgery recovery without taking painkillers. And I can handle having a tooth removed without anesthesia. Or going through a kidney infection and having the painkillers not work, I handled that too. I went through all those things and survived.
But will I be able to handle labor pain, without help? Don’t get me wrong, going through the mentioned above was no fun. But I cannot compare them to something I don’t know. When the time comes, I will decide on what to do. With the help of the midwives at the hospital. Having a very supporting partner is also important and luckily Markus has my back on all of this, which is extremely reassuring!