How to hold down a full-time career, get a graduate degree, participate in a social/charity group, and grow a fetus in your uterus all at the same time. The working woman's guide to pregnancy.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Thinking About Birth Plans

First of all, congrats to blog-reader i and his wife (Mama L) for becoming an uncle and an aunt this past weekend...and welcome baby Justin Christopher!

But in talking to Mama L, I was once again reminded about the potential futility of a birth plan. Mama L's sister wanted a vaginal delivery, but after 15 hours or labor, ended up with a C-section. This is the #1 delivery scenario I have heard from the real, actual people I know who've given birth in recent years. And it seems like the one that absolutely sucks the most.

I will ask my OB about ways to avoid this scenario. Does anyone else have thoughts on the subject?


Lynanne said...

I had a birth plan with my first but my labor was completely unlike anything they taught us in childbirth class. It was nice to have things written down to refer to, though the birth plan ended up being suggestions rather than expectations.

There are lots of websites with suggestions on what to do to avoid a c-section. I would still reccomend you keep an open mind. After have 2 unmedicated births, I was absolutely convinced I would not have a c-section. We found out at the absolute last minute that our 3rd baby was breech (3 doctors were convinced she was head down) and couldn't be delivered vaginally.

Having a c-section really didn't suck as bad as I thought it would. There were some even some advantages to it (though I'm still hoping for a vaginal birth this time, of course.) In the end, labor and postpartum recovery hurts and will leave you sore no matter where the baby comes out. When you gaze at your beautiful newborn you will realize that none of that matters.

So, my ass-vice would be to learn all you can about the options, jot down some thoughts and be prepared to take things as they come.

DarcyLaine said...

Thanks Lynanne, this is very helpful. Were you able to realize you needed a c-section before you went into labor? That doesn't bother me so much. It's the scenarios where a woman labors for hours and hours and THEN has to have a c-section... it just seems like the worst of both worlds.

gs said...

The birth process is different for everybody and you just need to deal with your situation the best you can. Everyone wants a short labor & vaginal delivery, but that's not always the case. Thank heaven for modern medicine which is ready to help you in whatever manner you need it. The fact is, when this baby is ready to come out. he/or she way or another. The unknown is: how and when. Whether you have a long labor, or short labor, or c-section or vaginal delivery, the moment you see that beautiful baby, you will know that it was all worth it.
To be honest, the unknown of birth is that first clue about having children, that is, the unknown. So Rule #1: be prepared
Rule #2: be flexible
Rule #3: always have "plan B" up your sleeve
Rule #4: realize that lots of things will happen out of your control and when they do, go back and read Rules 1 through 3.

Anonymous said...


Chrissy said...

Having done both, I can tell you that neither was the worst experience I had ever had (and I pushed for 2.5 hours and had the vacuum twice, eventually forceps, and a whole lotta tearing...) I was so stressed about the birth process both times but looking back would be willing to do them again no problem. I highly preferred my c-section but as you mentioned, no real labor was involved. Just get as much rest as you can and set up your life so you don't have to do anything but take care of yourself and the little chicklet for a good month. That's a plan you have control over and will make a world of difference!

jenkatb said...

Hi Darcy,

I may have told you this before, so I if I did, I apologize. I had a birth plan (used one of the online versions since I had absolutely no idea what to consider since I had never been there done that. So, even if you don't think it's necessary, it's a good idea to fill one out just so you know what to expect). My labor was uncomfortable, but never intensely painful, so we didn't get to the hospital until the contractions were 2 minutes apart and I was 10 cm dialated and fully effaced. Andrew didn't have time to get back to the car for the goodie bag, camera and birth plan until after Jessica was born. Fortunately, the birthing experience ended up being 99% in accordance with the plan. The only thing that happened was the doc cut an episiotomy without my permission, but all in all I couldn't complain.

As far as c-sections go, I agree that you should be open minded. What's best for the baby (and you) is what really matters. I have to admit that I am a little biased against them. I can't help but think of my mother's and my grandmother's birthing stories. My grandmother had twins 60 years ago, and didn't know she was having twins until a month after they were due (the docs took an x-ray -- my have times have changed). The babies were huge, but she still delivered vaginally. My mother had twins 36 years ago and didn't know until my first brother was born and was 1/2 the size expected. That's when they discovered my other bro, who was delivered feet first. Granted, they were 7 weeks early and tiny. Granted, you're not having twins, but I can't imagine that the higher incident of c-sections is based on the improvement in medical technology. I'm pretty well convinced there are more of them because of the higher incidents of malpractice suits -- at least when it comes to breech babies (I have absolutely no stats to back this up, just a hunch).

Having said all that don't fret about how your little miracle arrives (fretting just causes unnecessary stress that complicates the process). The ultimate joy is holding the little bundle in your arms, not how (s)he got there.

Lynanne said...

I had been in early labor for a few days but didn't really recognize it as labor. My previous 2 labors were hard and fast (a short labor is not necessarily desirable for many reasons), so the doctor wanted me at the hospital earlier. I was 4+ cm dilated and my membranes were bulging. The resident was set to rupture them but stopped at the last minute and said something didn't seem right. She got the chief resident and an ultrasound machine and sure enough - baby was breech. 2 staff docs had said baby was head down.

You mentioned that you'd be frustrated if you labor and then have a c-section. It's ironic, but it bothered me that I didn't get a chance to labor. Why I felt some sort of masochistic desire to feel pain is beyond me. Maybe labor was some sort of rite of passage that I needed to experience to earn my "mother" badge? I felt cheated. Weird, I know...

It sounds like you've gotten lots a great advice. I look forward to reading about how things turn out. All the best to ya!

Kathryn said...

from the only woman reading this who HASN'T had a baby, my mom says that the best labor she ever had was after painting a room all day. Apparently, all that squatting made it much easier. Her labor for me was 28 hours -- with the paint-baby, only 4. If you prefer, we can go grind at a club. ;)