Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Birth of Harrison

What a beautiful, incredible experience.

I'm serious.

Be prepared for a long post here, because I loved the birth of my third baby.

Also, be prepared for gooey details.  Doing the doula thing, it kills me that people don't talk about birth.  If we all were more open with our birth stories, then we wouldn't need to fear the experience so much!  Good or bad, it's an incredible journey and one worth repeating.


We were in the midst of moving.  My life was insane.  Every day there was a to-list a mile long; and I was getting bigger and more squished by the second.  I felt like I was in ultra-nesting mode; nagging Mark every day (which, I might add, he handled like a champ), bustling the kids about and shuttling them off to friends and family so I could get something done. 

At night, I prayed my guts out.  There were just so many variables with a fixer-upper and a baby.  What if our pipes burst?  What if nobody helps us paint?  What if breathing all those paint fumes in gives my baby a third eye?  What if the carpet gets delayed?  What if I turn on the heater and cat hair explodes out of the vents and suffocates my son? 

And above all ... what if we're still living in the apartment when this baby comes?

Oh man. I wanted to cry every time I thought about that.  Our neighbors already thought we were too noisy and too irresponsible.  A baby would not help that.  My kids were squished and bored.  With winter coming on, how could I expect them to sit with me in that d--- apartment all day while I snuggled our baby? When I expressed those fears to Mark, he responded in true-to-Gunn fashion: "It's going to work out.  Worrying about it doesn't make it better."  (That's one of the main reasons why I married him, people.)  But then he would turn around after working 9 hours at the office (which I have to add, requires extra effort as he is still building it up) and spend 5 more hours cutting, sanding, and moving heavy furniture. 

I think he might have been worried too.  He just did something about it.

Our lives felt like a race against the clock.  A couple of days before Trent left on his mission, I had been busy loading things up and taking them to the house.  My stomach ached and throbbed; I could hardly breath.   And then I realized that throbbing felt familiar ... sort of like menstrual cramps, but with a little more rhythm.

No.  Not yet! 

I guzzled two glasses of water, hefted my girth to the couch, and put my feet up.  Eventually they subsided, and I was able to make it another day with my little man inside.  The rest of the week went along much the same way.  I would over-do it, freak out at my body's response, and spend an hour or two drinking and staying as still as possible.

And I prayed.

Oh I prayed like I haven't in a while.  I felt like I was begging the Lord to just let us have a home to bring this baby to.  I threw in plenty of "thy will be done"s, but, my word, I wanted to be in that house before the baby came.

On Friday, we were told that the new carpet wouldn't make it that day.  But it would be there first thing in the morning on Monday. 


A few more projects, and a lot more praying later, we made it through the weekend.  Monday morning came, and just as promised, the carpet guys were there at 8 a.m.  The kids and I stayed at the house touching up paint while those two brothers worked.  They were very kind and asked about our family.  I told them the baby was due in three days.  Their eyes seemed to bug a little, and they tucked into their work. 
Those boys did not take a lunch break. 
They finished at three.

With the carpets in and the possibility of moving our stuff to the house realized, I remembered all the birth preparation I had been neglecting the last few weeks.  I had been an all-star through the first half of my pregnancy; I read "The Gift of Giving Life" slowly, soaking up the incredible perspective of my fellow religious mamas.  I worked out daily; lots of stairs, squats, and jog/walking.  I followed all the stretches on spinning babies to make sure mine stayed head-down, and ate dates every day to speed recovery post-partum.  Mark adjusted me regularly to ensure a clear exit for our little man, and I even got massages to ease my swollen body.

But then as the hunt for a home became more intense and the project list piled up, labor prep was replaced with house prep.  I constantly hurt.  I hadn't even been walking in ages.  If I wasn't married to my gorgeous chiropractor husband, I would have been immobile with pain.

So finally, that very Monday night, I did something about it.  I went on a very long walk.  There certainly were some form of contractions happening; they were different from the Braxton Hicks kind I had felt throughout the entire pregnancy.  But they were never consistent, nor did the get stronger.  So I kept walking.  And returned home to box up the last of our belonging.

Tuesday, we began the move.

Mark has the office closed Tuesday, so I had him there all day.  He worked like a horse, loading things on his shoulder and hefting them up and down those stairs.  It was very attractive.  We did as much as we could, but with the rest of the world working on Tuesdays and me just trying to keep the baby in for one more day, there were some things he just couldn't move himself.

But still, we were in.  Boxes filled every room, and our mattresses were flopped on the floors in the bedrooms.  Mac's room was completely filled by the bunk bed mattresses, and he and Belle had a blast jumping on the bouncy floor before finally crashing for the night.  I stumbled around, trying to find clothes for everyone in the morning, and Mark called his brother Ben to get a couple more things into the back of his truck.  A neighbor stopped by and helped me unload odds and ends from the back of my car.

Mark and Ben returned with our love seat and the kitchen chairs.  I searched for silverware and pots and pans.  When they brought a load in, Ben took one look at me and asked, "Are you in labor?" 

I was flushed.  I hurt like crazy.  And I felt cross-eyed. 

But I needed to find the cereal bowls if the kids were going to have anything to eat.

I paused before answering.  "I don't know anymore.  It'll go away once I lay down."

He wished us luck and headed home.

Mark and I were absolutely beat.  I asked for a blessing before going to bed.  He gave me one, promising that I would understand the signals my body was sending me, and that our boy was happy to come.  He then hit our sheet-less mattress face-first and didn't resurface.  I found a box of blankets and cracked it open to throw one on top, and crawled in next to him. 

I couldn't sleep.  These pains were not stopping.  "Go away, go away ... I need to sleep first ..." I mumbled to uterus.  I tossed and turned, worried I would wake my chronically light-sleeper of a  husband.  But he didn't move.

After a couple hours of doing my best to be unconscious, I pulled out my phone and started to time them. 
Dang.  2-5 minutes apart.

That realization made it impossible to just lay in bed any more.  I needed to move.  I got up on all fours, breathing deeply and moving my hips in slow circles.  Mark finally sat up.  "Is he coming?" he slurred.

"Yep," I breathed.

He rolled over and applied pressure to my back while I moved.  It helped.
Once the contraction ended, we both slumped over in bed, in and out of sleep.  More contractions came, some Mark would wake up for and some I breathed through on my own.

Finally I decided I needed to call my midwife and my mom.  The midwife said to come to the birth center when I felt ready, but to not wait too long as this was my third. Chances were it would be quicker than the first two.  I agreed and said I'd come once my mom arrived to take the kids.

I called my sisters as well, and texted my sister-in-laws.  We had talked a lot about making this a party, and I liked the idea of having all my favorite women around this time to support Mark and I.  It was like I had multiple doulas; I had even prepped Jamie with all my doula books; she studied like mad was thrilled to come.  My baby sister swore the blood wouldn't scare her, nor would my screaming.  She absolutely wanted to be there.  And I knew my sisters-in-law were all busy with their own families, which was why I sent them a text instead of calling.  If they just couldn't make it, I didn't want them to feel like they had to ... but still know they were welcome.

Once the phone calls were made, I shuffled around to uncover the bag for the birth center.  Mac woke up with a scary dream.  Mark talked to him and put him back in bed.  I put the bag in the car and struggled back up the stairs.  Mark was asleep half-on the bed.  I crawled in next to him.

I set my alarm for an hour, so we could be up before my mom and sisters arrived.  We dozed and moaned and rocked and passed out till my phone buzzed.

I shook Mark awake and he jumped up to change his clothes.  We gingerly tip-toed downstairs and called the midwife to let her know we were on our way.

And my girls arrived.

Mom hugged me and "Ooo"ed and "Ooohh"ed as I wobbled through a couple contractions.  I wished she could come, but it was the middle of the night and I just felt better with her taking care of my first two babies.  So Mark and I got in the car, and Jamie and Rachel caravaned behind us.

The drive to the birth center wasn't too bad; a fact that had me worried that I would be sent home.  The contractions were intense for sure, but they still weren't entirely regular and I could wince through them.  Based on my previous two labors, however, that was completely normal. 

Indeed I had nothing to worry about, when we arrived they told me I was dilated to a 6.  They ushered us upstairs and we made ourselves comfortable.  Mark continued with the hip squeeze during contractions, and Jamie and Rachel provided jokes, conversation, and snacks in between. 

It was just ... perfect.

The midwives came in twice to listen to Harrison's heartbeat through a couple contractions.  They were nothing but reassurance and positive words ... and I knew I could absolutely do this. 

I walked, I stood, I squatted ... but not for long.  After about a half hour of being in charge of my labor, things picked up and I was completely exhausted, and at the mercy of my body.  This was hard.  I shooed Mark away when he tried to apply counter-pressure.  I was already consumed with so much pressure I thought I would burst.  There was power coursing through my body, and I did my best to direct all that power to dig down and down, deeper and deeper and out of me.  I stayed on all fours on the bed, rocking and gasping as I gave up trying to control things and settled for one thought: lower lower lower ...

My sister-in-law Katie then showed up, camera in hand ... a much-needed distraction.  If you know Katie, you know she is a barrel of energy and laughter.  She had us all giggling within minutes, and I was so grateful.  Katie provided that extra boost to get me through what I later figured out was transition. 

Suddenly I felt flushed.  It was that hot, panicky feeling and I asked to have the tub filled up in hopes that the water would help me relax.  I was struggling.  It was so intense .... and I hobbled to the bathroom as they hurried to fill the tub.  I decided to use the toilet before getting in the bath, remembering that an empty bladder can speed labor along. 

After standing up, another hot, panicky, monster contraction ... ending with a grunt.  I looked up at Mark.  He looked back at me.

We both knew what that meant. 
Our boy was coming.

The midwife knew too; she brought in her assistants and a mass of hands helped me into the tub.  "The bed is too far," she said.

She was right.  I hadn't planned a water birth, but I certainly wasn't opposed to one.  If water would bring me relief, I would absolutely get in.

Once in the water, immediately I got on all fours and began rocking. "Allie, stay low," the midwife instructed.  "We don't want to dip your baby's head in and out of the water."  They hadn't been able to completely fill the tub before I got in, so I adjusted my position as an incredibly strong urge to push dominated my body.  It felt like being sling-shot-ed through a hurricane-filled tunnel.
"Breathe, Allie," I heard Mark whisper.
"Okay, okay, okay ..." from the midwives.
And then with a resounding woosh he was here.  My midwives handed my son to me.  He was small, and pink, and beautiful.
All the intensity was gone; swallowed up by this perfect, tiny being.
I hardly noticed that he wasn't much moving, and felt surprised when the midwife bent down to give him mouth to mouth.  One breath did the trick, and suddenly he became a wriggly little pink thing in my arms. 
He was here.

My Harrison.  He was here. 

Mark cutting the cord

I only stayed in the tub for a couple minutes more; it was getting cold and I felt like I could conquer the world ... but would start with hefting my shaking legs over the side of the tub. 

Mark took our son as a mass of hands helped me to the bed.

I could have cried, I was so happy.  I hadn't experienced a rush of happiness like this in quite some time; it soaked through and through me.  I know the Lord protected and watched over us.  I know He ensured the safe arrival of my son.

The Spirit was strong, my loved ones were near, and all was right in our little world. 

Welcome to it, Harrison Wallace Gunn!

6 pounds, 10 ounces.  20 inches long

My sister-in-law Danika arrived, and together she and Katie left to get us all breakfast.  After we were full and completely content, everyone left Mark and I.  We lay on the bed together with our new tiny man between us, and when he started to cry, Mark picked him up and told me to get some rest and recover.

I tried to close my eyes, but I was still tingling from such an incredible, emotional, spiritual experience.  I watched my husband's eyes droop shut and fought the urge to tip-toe over and kiss his face right off.  So I took a picture instead.  Mark had spent the entire day moving our life into our new home, completely crashing just before midnight.  But instead of sleeping, he spent the night rubbing my back and comforting our oldest baby.  He holds our lives together in those strong, capable hands.  I know it's a burden, and it's one I try to take on as much as I can ... but I see him doing little things behind the scenes all the time.

And here he was, telling me to rest. 

Mark Gunn, I love you!

We came home a few hours later; the midwives checked us all and okay-ed our early exit.  Driving home I felt so purely, completely happy.  So many things could have gone wrong, but not one did.  Our birth center couldn't have been better;  I was so grateful to finally have my baby in a place that specialized in the kind of birth wanted.  I am always telling doula clients, if you want a beautiful, skilled cesarean, don't go to a birth center.  If you want an incredible vaginal hospital birth, don't chose a hospital or OB with a high c-section rate.  If you want a completely natural birth, don't go to a hospital that uses interventions as routine procedures.  Because of insurance issues with my first two, I wasn't able to pick the place I had my babies.  But this time?  This time was exactly what I had envisioned.  

I felt guided and blessed and protected. 

I had prayed my guts out that we would be able to bring my son home to a home, and my prayers were answered.

We arrived to our brand new home with our brand new son, and opened the door to find my mom and sisters busy unpacking boxes and organizing my kitchen.  We experienced a miracle.

Harrison, 9 days old
 These lovely ladies and my completely supportive husband carried me through that transitional time.  Adjusting to three kids was the smoothest yet.  My mother and mother-in-law cleaned, unpacked, and each took my older kids for a couple of days, giving us time to get to know this beautiful new person.  They took them long enough that I honestly wanted them back; I wanted our little family to settle in together.

And we did.

And it couldn't have been better.

Friday, September 27, 2013

elective induction

I know, I know.

It's so hard to not be able to plan the day you're baby would arrive.  You're a busy gal, you've got plenty on your plate ... dropping it all and bringing a new life into the world feels impossible in our scheduled world.  I understand; I do it on a monthly basis for my clients and it is no small thing.

But there is quite a bit of research out there showing that babies do best inside their mamas.  Your baby is staying inside of you for a reason, and most of the time ... it's best to go with the flow.  Now, of course there are times where this is not at all true; and thank heaven we have technology advanced enough to help your baby!

If the word "induction" starts getting thrown around, ask your caregiver for what they would call a "risk analysis".  It's essentially a big pros and cons list; giving you a much more detailed idea of what would be best for your baby.

Be aware that most hospitals aren't even allowing elective induction any more, according to Medscape.  There is simply too much information out there supporting those last few weeks of development in the womb; enough that professional caregivers can't justify early inductions without a serious cause.
" 'Something we didn't even anticipate as a benefit of this policy, but was a delightful surprise to see, was a decreased admission rate to the neonatal intensive care unit,' Dr. Healy told Medscape Medical News at the meeting."
Read the whole article; it's not too long and quite interesting!

Educate yourself so you can feel confident in what you chose.  If your baby needs anything, he or she needs confident, loving parents.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

pitocin warning

Pitocin is overused.

It is a brand of oxytocin that doctors will use to either start contractions, or keep the ones you've got going.  In the business-world of a hospital, it is an invaluable tool for managing an event that does not work on a dependable time clock.

But you see, it's so important that we don't forget that birth is not on a time clock.  Of course averages have been measured, but who is really average?  Your body is your body, and its uniqueness combined with that of your baby results in a truly singular birth that is far from average.

It is normal for labor to pause.  In fact, it's a coping mechanism.  If you were a cave woman back in the day, laboring to bring your baby into the world and suddenly -- ack! -- a saber-toothed tiger interrupts your focus.  What would you do?  Adrenaline would kick in, oxytocin would all but stop, blood flow would leave your uterus and shoot out to your appendages to get you the crap out of there.

That hasn't changed today.  If you're stressed and that saber-toothed tiger waltzes in the room in the form of your doctor, mother-in-law, or some bizarre point in labor that you've always dreaded, you're more than likely to stall out.  It's instinct.  It's survival.

So if your doctors start throwing out the word pitocin, first ask, "Is this an emergency?"  And if the answer is no, then give yourself some time.  Relax.  Take a deep breath.  Find a way to defeat that tiger and let your body continue doing it's thing.

Not only is pitocin harder on you (inhuman contractions on a very human uterus), there are also studies finally being done on pitocin's effects on your baby.  There are some.  ACOG just released a statement about it:

Now don't fret, of course there are risks no matter what kind of birth you have.  Do your research, have an intelligent conversation with your partner, doctor, and support people.  You need to feel good about what you experience.  Your ability to care for that baby after he or she arrives will trump any experience your baby had during birth.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

a friend's laboring tips

I have a beautiful, wonderful friend.  She lives very far.  But she keeps up on an adorable blog and it has been so nice to stay in touch ... albeit electronically.

She recently had a baby.

We emailed a few times, and she finally found a moment to give me details on her birth and what worked best for her.  I think they are brilliant, and worth adding to your tool bag as you prepare for you ideal experience.

I just saw your comment on facebook, and I'd been meaning to email you anyway, wanting to thank you for answering all my pregnancy/labor questions and give you a quick update on how everything went (you know, since you were my virtual doula and all :).  I went into labor at midnight on my due date (it started with me passing my mucus plug) and was able to labor naturally for 14 hours and then deliver my baby boy after 2 hours of pushing.  It was wonderful and empowering and went just as I hoped (well, it was more painful then I was expecting...I was laboring in my back... but nothing too terrible.).  I read SO MUCH before hand and really tried to do my part to be educated about this whole labor business, and these are the things that I found worked best for me: 
::  I swam three times a week and went on long daily walks (or waddles towards the end, haha!), and I really think those activities helped me have the strength to keep laboring. 
::  I drank my raspberry leaf tea religiously and towards the end started taking Evening Primrose Oil orally.  I'd like to think those helped me, but I have nothing to compare it to. 
::  I read a hypnobirthing book (there were no classes in my area), and listened to the relaxation exercise cd that came with the book every night before bed for the last 3 months of pregnancy.  
The best thing I learned from hypnobirthing was to keep my face relaxed.  I coached Evan on this, and so he was able to remind me to relax my face whenever he could tell I was tensing up.  It was amazing how much calmer I'd feel! 
I had a 1.5 hour nap right in the middle of labor and then woke up ready to push.  Everyone was kind of scratching their heads wondering how I was able to relax so fully, but I think I was able to be so relaxed because I had practiced every night before bed, and it always put me to sleep.  I needed to rest before the pushing began! 
Thanks again for all your advice and for helping other women through this amazing process, what a wonderful life calling! 
Hope you have a wonderful day!

Saturday, March 2, 2013

pain is a perception

Have you seen this video yet?  I love it.

Besides being hilarious, it proves one thing that I try to teach each of my clients:  pain is a perception.  These two men are seriously so far from experiencing childbirth ... sorry guys, there's just no way to really replicate it for you.  It's beautiful and intense and empowering and humbling all at once, and these little machines just can't do that. 

However ...
The guys in this movie are both experiencing pain.  And they handle it very differently.

Ladies, your birth can be whatever you want it to be.  Don't fight it.  Let it happen.  And for heaven's sake, think happy thoughts!

Sunday, October 21, 2012

a little bribery goes a long way

I recently had a client who taught me a fabulous lesson. 

Let me back up.  In my doula experience so far, I have worked with a lot of women who want all the "emergency" benefits of a hospital, but still want a natural birth.  Since the set-up of a hospital is more businesslike and often doesn't mold as well to each gal's individual labor pattern, sometimes my job requires handling some awkward head-butting situations.  Nurses have a job to do, and they are doing it by the big boss's standards for several couples at the same time.  I have many nurses in my family, so I can tell you from experience that they are often overworked and emotionally taxed.  It's a tough job!  But of course, couples welcoming a baby into the world are incredibly emotional and -- it is my eternal hope and goal for my clients -- empowered and opinionated on how they want to go about it. 

My job is to stick up for the couple's needs.  At the same time, my individual belief is that creating a confrontational atmosphere is really only damaging to the birth experience, so I have been vigilant in finding ways to keep everyone happy. 

I have read and thought and tried different things to make friends with the nurses, to attend to my clients, and to word everything to everyone just so.

But this recent couple of mine made it all so much simpler for me: 
Just bring chocolate.
Bring me these and my heart is yours.
This couple's labor went through the nurse's shift change (very common), and the new nurse must've just come from something terrible.  She was sullen and short and barely made eye contact.  I began mentally ticking through things I could say to help her seem more human to us, but then my client-bless-her-heart says, "Honey, the chocolate," as soon as the nurse leaves the room.
Her husband pulled out a massive bag of Ghiradeli squares and the two of them arranged a lovely little bowl of treats between contractions.  I watched open-mouthed.  Duh.  Why haven't I thought of that?!
When the nurse came back in, they handed her their offering to share with the entire nursing staff and thanked her for helping them bring their child into the world.  And by golly, her face lit up and she did a 180.  For the rest of the day she was chatty and obliging and almost doula-ish.
So people, here's another thing to pack in your hospital bags:  bribery goodies.  Guaranteed to set up a wonderful atmosphere for your baby to enter the world in.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

laboring positions

Finding different positions to labor in is all about two things:  keeping yourself comfortable, and giving your baby the space he needs to make his way into the world.

This great website has a little slideshow with several different positions that work wonders.  I would suggest practicing a little with each of these to see what feels comfortable to you.  Of course, all that may go out the window once the intensity of real labor hits, but there's no doubt it's helpful to have some idea of what you want or don't want.

A friend of mine helped me to show you a couple of my favorites:
In laboring positions I look for two things: movement and opening your hips.  This one does both.

I am a huge fan of the birthing ball.  Or exercise ball, as you probably know it.  Sitting on this allows you to hold onto your significant other (or doula, if that person is absent) and simultaneously get your back worked on. 

It's also perfect for the end of labor, when you are exhausted and not wanting to move at all.  You can roll around and keep your hips moving without breaking a sweat. 

This is another good one.  You can rock back and forth a little, and squat with the contraction if you've got the energy for it.  And once again, you can have people on both sides of you should you wish it.

And there is one final position I didn't quite get a picture of: laboring on the toilet.  This one does not create much movement, but it allows you to relax your pelvic floor in a way that nothing else does.  You'll need to try to use the bathroom every couple of hours during labor, so while you're there, stay a while.  It may be just the push you need to dilate that last centimeter or two.

Try these at home, see how they feel.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

photos photos photos

One thing that every couple I have doula-ed for has requested is: pictures.  Everybody wants pictures of that life-changing day.  Who wouldn't?

But I do find significant variety in what people want photographed.  Some just want pictures after everyone is decent, coherent, and rested.  Others want pictures of that moment when they first meet each other face-to-face.  Still others want detailed photographs of the entire process.

Whatever you'd like, be sure you assign someone to be on picture-duty before everything happens.  Usually the hubby is not the best choice ... believe it or not, he's going to be quite distracted.  Moms can get distracted too.  Nurses are generally going to be quite busy with you and typically 2-3 other patients and won't have the time. 

Doulas can be extremely useful when it comes to picture-taking.  Some even have a little experience with photography.  I recently purchased this little beauty:

And I am excited to put it to work!

If you haven't been able to find a doula, then get a friend ... someone you trust, but not someone who will be too worried about you to keep at their task.  I found a blog of a gal who photographed her friend's birth, and the results are about the most adorable thing ever:

Once you've got your photographer figured out, you then need to decide what you want pictures of.  Here's some food for thought:
  • How do you want to remember this experience?  Would you rather re-live every incredible moment, or focus on the happy ending?
  • Do you want pictures of you and your significant other working together to bring your child into the world?
  • How do you feel about blood?
  • Would you be distracted from the intense work of labor if there was a flash or clicking going on every few minutes?  Could the camera be kept quiet and still do its job?
  • Will you be embarrassed later by how some of the photos turn out?
  • Would you like to have pictures of everyone there?
  • Will the hospital allow pictures of the actual birth?  Most do not.  They don't want clients to have documentation against them should something go wrong.
  • Would a simple point-and-shoot camera work?  Or will you need to seek out something more substantial?
Birth is an incredible, life-changing moment that you will never forget.  Photos are the best way to highlight your favorite parts, and beautify the less-than-favorite.  Be sure to work some kind of photography into your birth plan.

Friday, March 23, 2012


If you're anything like me, being trapped during labor sounds like the worst thing in the world.

Now, if you chose to have your baby at home or in a birthing center, you won't need to worry about that at all.

But if you are in a hospital, be it for personal reasons or insurance reasons (as was our case ... sigh), you will have to face being trapped.  Whether you are asked to stay in bed or not, all hospitals prefer to have quick access to those veins of yours.  Hospitals are always trying to prepare for the worst, and so will want to be able to shoot whatever they need to into your body at a moment's notice.  Having several nurses in my family, I know that opening up a vein is not always the easiest thing, and so is preferably done before any emergency pops up.

So, will you need to be stuck to a pole with tubes running into your arm?

Not necessarily.

Ask for a "heplock".
 They will open up your vein, but they won't attach you to anything.  You'll have to labor with a needle in your hand, but at least you won't be stuck to a pole.  They cap it off so you can move around as you please.
It's another one of those compromises ladies wanting a natural birth in a hospital will likely need to make.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

birth plans

Have you considered writing a birth plan?

Think of it as more of a set of preferences.

Births rarely go exactly according to plan.

However, I still think it's a great idea to think happy thoughts and repeatedly visualize that perfect experience.  Here is the birth plan I wrote up for the birth of my little girl:

Birth Preferences for Allison and Mark Gunn
Patient of Dr. Gregory Chan
Due Date November 30
Attending the birth: Mark Gunn, husband; Elizabeth Wolgast, doula

Hello one and all!  We are the Gunns and are so very excited to welcome our newest little one into the world.  We searched a few different hospitals and birth centers to find the right fit for our little family.  We decided on your hospital, and have made a list of things we would love to have happen, although we are completely aware that no birth ever goes according to plan!  Thank you for all your efforts to make our baby’s birth day the best it could be.  We are excited to be working with you.

Right off the bat, there are a few things you should be aware of with me:
  •  I am allergic to penicillin.  Should I need something of the sort, please use something else.
  •  This will be our second child.  The birth of our first was wonderful and uncomplicated, but not exactly the best experience.  We are looking forward to this one being much better.
  • We want a very natural, un-medicated labor.  Please do not suggest drugs to get me through.  If there is any positioning or relaxation techniques you know of, I would love the support! 
  • I am worried about being trapped in bed.  Please help me to find ways to keep moving.  I do not want to be on the fetal monitor the entire time.
First Stage of Labor Preferences
  •  I will be attempting to do most of my laboring in the comfort of my own home.
  • Once at the hospital, I would like to continue on with a quiet, relaxing atmosphere as much as possible.
  •  I do not want drugs suggested unless my child or I are in danger. 
  •  I am hoping to maybe use the shower, the birthing ball, and movement to get through labor pains.  I will be bringing along a doula for support, and would love any wisdom your staff has to offer!
  • I would prefer intermittent fetal monitoring if at all possible. 
  •  I would prefer a heplock instead of being tethered to a pole.
Second Stage Preferences:
  •  Once I feel the urge to push, I would like to push in a few different positions (squatting, side-lying) until the baby is about to be born, in which case I’ll do what the doctor needs me to do.
  •   I would like to attempt mother-directed pushing, unless I’m very out-of-it and need the guidance.
  • I would love any assistance you can give to keep me from tearing.  Compresses, massage, oil … whatever works.
  •  Should tearing happen, please do not perform an episiotomy unless you feel that I might tear into the urethra or clitoris.  That would be a bummer.  As I was cut with my first birth, I assume that area would be the place to tear anyway.
  • Please place the baby directly on my skin after birth.
  •  Please allow my husband to cut the cord, and please give it a bit of time to stop pulsing.
 Care of Our Newborn
  • Please do not bathe the baby.  We would like to give her the first bath.
  • Please leave her with us as much as possible.
  • We do not want any immunizations at all and will sign whatever we need to.
  • Please wait a couple of hours before giving her Vitamin K and eye cream.
  • Please allow my two year old and mother to visit as much as they can.
  • Should any other visitors show up, bring them in!  (As long as it has been a couple of hours since the birth.) 
  •  Please leave our baby with us.
  • We are anticipating wanting to leave the hospital within about 24 hours, but who knows … maybe I’ll be so comfortable and relaxed that I’ll want to stay the full two days. 
Thank you again for taking the time to skim through this.  We understand that you are busy and see all sorts of births.  Thank you for helping to make ours special to us.