My Natural Birth Plan
I decided to share my birth plan so you can understand why I chose to not have certain things during my labor. As I mentioned in my birth story, I trusted my body a lot. I also remained very positive throughout my pregnancy and had intentions to remain positive if my birth didn’t go as I had hoped. Every birth is beautiful whether it’s a C-section, vaginal, medicated: they are all beautiful.
I prayed for a natural birth with no pain medication whatsoever. If that was not the plan God had for me, I was still going to be thankful and positive through the experience the Lord had planned for me. However, I did think it was important for me to educate myself and avoid the interventions mentioned below to do my part in obtaining the natural birth I wanted. I strongly believe that our bodies our meant to do this with no technology and no interventions. However, how blessed are we to live in a time where we can thank technology & modern-day education/medicine to get us out of bad scenarios & help us through tough situations? What I learned through classes I took and through my very supportive provider is that every unnecessary intervention in labor puts you at risk for more interventions. It does indeed become a domino effect.
Below are just a few things I had on my birth plan and reasons why it was on my birth plan. These were my preferences and this is not to knock what anybody else did prefer for their birth.
No IV During Labor
I had no interest in getting continuous “drip” iv fluids during labor. I instead chose a hep-lock in case of an emergency. To start off with, it was going to limit my movement. I was planning a natural birth with no pain medication so movement was going to be essential. I didn’t want that to be limited at all. Restricted movement can impact your labor experience. During labor, your body becomes dependent on hormones that are released well whenever the woman in labor feels comfortable. While having an iv doesn’t mean you’ll be stuck to your bed, it can make changing positions a bit more challenging and you might have to deal with a sore hand. IVs are also associated with illness and childbirth is not an illness. I also wanted to avoid excessive newborn weight loss. Whenever a mommy has a lot of iv fluids during labor, her baby can later appear to lose too much weight and it will often lead to supplementing feeds. I never got swollen during my pregnancy and I wanted to avoid that during labor as well. Fluids can cause edema during labor. During pregnancy, our bodies already have extra fluids. Extra fluids can even cause edema in our breasts which will lead to difficulty in the baby latching and more pain when breastfeeding.
No Continuous Fetal Monitoring
My provider promised me as long as there were no complications I wouldn’t have to have the baby monitored the whole time. Again, I did not want to be attached to anything nor did I want to stress about something being wrong with my baby because I moved or because the monitor wasn’t strapped right. I had intermittent baby monitoring only 10 minutes every hour. Those 10 minutes on my back were horrible. I don’t know how mamas labor laying down on the bed. To me those 10 minutes every hour seemed eternal and so painful. So just because the monitoring is continuous, it does not mean that a clinician is watching that monitor continuously. They evaluate it maybe every 30 minutes and really watch it during the pushing phase. This may be different if mama is high risk or is being given pitocin. Electronic fetal monitoring is not evidence based for low risk women. It is actually associated with an increase in using pain meds, instrumental vaginal births, and C-sections.
What’s crazy is, even going into labor naturally and not taking a long time, pitocin was actually offered to me even though I was progressing just fine. I believe it was offered to me when I was already 5-6 cm and not even 4 hours into labor. I declined of course. Our bodies produce natural oxytocin and that gives us our natural pain killers: our endorphins. Pitocin is synthetic oxytocin that causes the uterus to begin contracting however, it doesn’t cause our bodies to respond the same way. This means that Pitocin augmented labor can become much more painful. Pitocin can also cause more distress on the baby because contractions are “artificially” regulated and the baby can’t slow them down if the labor becomes too stressful. This is what unfortunately leads to an emergency C-section. I trusted my body to contract and make my princess enter this world whenever it needed and wanted to. I believe that our bodies do not have a timeline and that I don’t need to listen to the doctor’s opinion regarding my labor taking too long unless there are risks associated. I trusted and listened to my body, as cliché as that may sound.
No Epidural; No Pain Medications
I wanted to experience everything. I wanted to feel all the pain, as crazy as that sounds. I didn’t want to be numb while delivering my child. Getting an epidural has a lot of risks that to me seem “downplayed.” When you get an epidural it interferes with the normal hormones that your body needs to release in order to contract and control the pain naturally. Pitocin might be needed and baby may become distressed. All these interventions become a domino effect. Dilation tends to be stalled because of getting an epidural. Changes in the nervous system tend to space out contractions. Also with the epidural your movement is limited. Also, if you are numb then it may be difficult to push. I had an amazing doula who helped me through my pain with massages, showers, and pressure points. I also never laid down other than the 10 minutes every hour to monitor the baby and when it was time to push. I would bounce on the birth ball, squat, leaned on the bed, and moved side to side a lot. After labor, my legs were on fire.
At first, I didn’t see why this was such a big deal. I learned why I shouldn’t get one at the positive birth class I attended. The doula explained that it’s better to risk a tear because what if you don’t need one at all? What if you get one and you would’ve torn less? With an episiotomy you actually have a greater chance of having a much more severe tear. A routine episiotomy is not evidence-based and vaginal tears are actually minor and heal quickly and easily. Natural tearing has less risk and heal better. Though third and fourth degree tears can happen naturally, they are very often the result of an episiotomy.
I chose to have skin-to-skin and to breastfeed my baby immediately. My baby thankfully did latch successfully as soon as she was put on my breast. Seeing how my baby naturally knew what to do amazed me. I will always appreciate this moment because I had read so many stories about babies who couldn’t latch properly. Knowing that Giselle did latch properly made me very happy and feel very blessed. We waited for the umbilical cord to stop pulsating before Giselle’s daddy cut it. Newborn procedures were not done until after the “golden hour.”
I will forever cherish the memory of Giselle’s birth and will be forever grateful with God for it going mostly as I had prayed it would. A lot of people I would share my birth plan with thought I was crazy. I had everything approved by my medical provider and that support gave me a lot of peace of mind. Mommies did you have a birth plan or did you just want to go with the flow? What were some things that you definitely did or did not want during labor? Share in the comments.
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