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.