When I arrived at the hospital the morning that I went into labor, the on-call OB had read my birth plan prior to coming in to meet me. She went over everything with me, explaining what might prevent certain wishes from being carried out, and reassuring me that the entire OR staff would look over my birth plan prior to the birth and follow it as closely as possible.
While I was disappointed that I didn't have the un-medicated water birth I'd been hoping for, I truly believe that overall, my cesarean birth was the most gentle, empowered birth I could have had, given our situation. If you find yourself facing the possibility of a cesarean birth, don't give up the hope for an empowered, gentle birth. While I did not have a doula, I would absolutely recommend hiring one to help ensure that your birth plan is carried out as closely as possible. Every birth, surgical or otherwise, should be focused on the joyous occasion that it is.
Without further ado, my Cesarean Birth Plan:
Modified Wishes for Childbirth
*In case of Caesarean Birth*
Mother’s Name: Joella [Last Name]
Father’s Name: Tyler (Ty) [Last Name]
Baby’s Name: Delilah [Last Name]
Our Family’s Primary Doctor: Dr. [First/Last Name]
Our original birth plan was for a natural, gentle waterbirth. In the event a Caesarean birth becomes necessary, please be sensitive to this fact and patient in answering all our questions and helping us to make the process of caesarean birth as gentle on mom and baby as possible.
We realize that cesareans and other surgeries are a common event at hospitals. However, we ask that the staff respect that this individual surgery is a unique event in the life of our family. For us, it is neither common nor routine, but rather is an event that will have effects lasting a lifetime. It is our goal that should a cesarean become necessary for this birth, that the entire process be treated as the joyful, celebratory, respectful event that birth is meant to be.
The health and safety of mom and baby are of utmost importance to us. All wishes in this birth plan are assuming no immediate danger to mother or baby. We will be flexible as necessary in the event of clear and imminent danger or emergency.
We would prefer to avoid the use of the terms “caesarean section”, “c-section”, or “section”. Instead, please use terms such as “caesarean birth” or “caesarean delivery”.
Wishes for Caesarean birth:
Joella would prefer epidural anesthesia. I do not consent to sedatives, tranquilizers, or amnesiac drugs at any time.
Joella would prefer that the catheter not be placed until the epidural has begun to take effect.
Joella does not want her arms restrained during the surgery. If this cannot be granted Joella would like the restraints removed as soon as the baby has been delivered so she may touch (and if possible, hold) her.
We would like every step of the process explained to us before/while it happens.
We would like to be introduced to everyone in the OR and to be explained what their role in the procedure is.
We do not wish for medical students or interns to be present or involved in the birth.
Joella would prefer the drape be lowered in order for her to view the baby’s delivery.
Please use a double layer suture to close my uterus. Please use sutures rather than staples to close my skin layer. Please take all steps possible to ensure the possibility of future vaginal births.
Tyler should not be separated from Joella at any time. The only exception is that he should accompany the baby at all times if she must be removed from Joella’s presence.
We do not consent to a Hepatitis B Vaccination or eye ointment.
We would like any non-urgent routine procedures (weighing, footprints, etc.) delayed until skin-to-skin contact and breastfeeding have been initiated.
We would prefer Vitamin K be administered orally rather than by injection.
Bathing should be delayed until skin-to-skin contact and breastfeeding have been initiated. Tyler (and if possible, Joella) should participate in the baby’s first bath.
I would prefer the baby to be on my chest or in my arms throughout suturing, recovery, etc. If this is not possible, we would like the baby to have skin-to-skin contact with Tyler until it is possible with Joella.
We intend to keep the placenta.
We plan to breastfeed and do not want artificial nipples used at any time without our prior knowledge and consent. If NICU becomes necessary, I would like to attempt to put the baby to the breast as often and as soon as possible, and to initiate pumping as soon as possible. In the event supplementation is required, the use of formula should be a last resort only and should be administered using a non-nipple feeding method. First preference is to do all supplementation by SNS.
Tune in next Wednesday for a guest post on planning for home birth! If you are interested in writing a guest post for this series, please contact me at delilahfineandfair (at) gmail (dot) com. Possible topics include birth planning for birth center, VBAC, or HBAC births.