A few months ago I had the great pleasure of sitting with a friend and working with her on her birth plan. I didn’t add anything; I just listened and gave a little bit of feedback, but overall I was so impressed with how deeply she had researched and planned. She knew exactly what she wanted, starting with the pregnancy and going through the birth. For one thing, she did not want to hear other people’s stories and advice. All too often an expecting mother will share what she wants from her birth only to have someone say “oh, my cousin’s hairdresser’s uncle’s sister used “x” method and she had a HORRIBLE birth.” So my friend decided that there would be no storytelling. Second, she started preparing early. She and her husband used the Hypnobirthing method, and apparently it worked. She told me “It didn’t even feel like I was in labor for the first 16 hours. Then when I finally went to the birthing center, I had my baby an hour later.” She was focused but relaxed, knew what was happening in her body, and didn’t want to rush things. She waited until she was definitely ready to go to the birthing center instead of going at the first signs of labor and ending up having her ‘slow labor’ induced. Lastly, she had done the research. She knew why she didn’t want to use medication, and why it was important to prepare herself physically, emotionally, mentally, and spiritually for an analgesic-free birth. She chose to have direct skin-to-skin contact with her daughter, and chose to allow the cord to stop pulsing before it was cut—little details that because she did the research, improved her experience of the birth for both her and her daughter.
I was really excited to hear about her birth plan, but also a little nervous. This was her first birth and she knew exactly what she wanted. How many of us get exactly what we want the first time around? I’d also heard stories of prepared mothers having a birth that was nothing like what they’d hoped and planned for. So, it’s inspiring for me to hear of great personal successes, and reaffirms the possibilities for beautiful births!