We all have an idea of what our birth will be like. Some of us make a "Birth Plan". We write it down for our providers to see all the things we want and don't want done to us and our soon to be born baby. Sometimes we just talk through the options with our provider and make a verbal plan. I think its important to have a plan. A plan means you've taken the time to educate yourself and decide what it is you want. Do you want pain meds offered? Do you want to squat while you birth? Do you want to have delayed cord clamping? These are all questions I hope you've been asked or asked yourself before your birth. But we all know this simple yet hard to handle truth about plans: THEY CHANGE.
Change can be hard to deal with, especially in the often stressful situation that is labor and birth. I think there are a couple ways to help prepare and deal with the possibility that your birth plan just may change.
- Have a provider you trust. Whether its an OB or midwife I wish all women could have a provider in their pregnancy that they trust. You trust them to be honest with you about your care and your options, meaning they let you make actual choices about your care. They don't pressure you to do anything your not comfortable with. They focus on you and your desire for your care.
- You keep an open mind. If you never think your plan will change, and therefore don't prepare for it, the change will be a hard pill to swallow. Taking time to talk about possible outcomes, how your plans would change and what would be done to ensure that best possible outcome is crucial. Other ways to help with an open mind are exercising, meditating or taking yoga, and eating healthy. These simple lifestyle choices help lower stress on the body and release endorphins to help deal with potentially stressful situations.
It is so easy to be disappointed when our birth plan changes. I believe having a midwife or doctor your trust and keeping an open mind will really help optimize your birth no matter how it ends up. In the end all providers strive for the same thing. We want you and your baby to be healthy after the birth. Ideally happy too but that does take a back seat when your health is on the line. The happiness comes from proper prepping and support from your provider throughout.
I had a momma whose birth plans recently changed after 50, yes 50, hours of labor. She worked so hard to progress, and would have done anything to succeed at home. But after that long, hard labor we had to go to the hospital to get some help. Luckily her sweet and chunky baby was born happy and screaming but her plans definitely changed and disappointment set in. I am so proud of the way she handled everything and knew that we made the right decisions for her baby. Thats what moms do right? We put our desires after the wellbeing of our kids. It will take time for her to deal with the loss of her homebirth but with support from me, her family, la leche leauge and other fourth trimester groups i can only hope she will find joy in her birth.
Having a baby and being a mom is hard work. And it starts even before we meet these little cute people. I hope all women can have providers they trust and prepare for the unplanned. xoxo