Prior to getting pregnant, I had never heard of a birth plan. I mean, I guess on some level I realized that women went in with guidelines for their labor/delivery and hospital stay, but I didn’t realize that this was usually in the form of a written list. And once I discovered this, I didn’t have the foggiest idea of where to begin with ours.
I’m kind of a moderate when it comes to pregnancy and delivery. I’m not especially new-agey, I’m not especially devoted to a single form of pain relief or a philosophy of delivery and parenting. I don’t have very many strong opinions about what should happen at birth, though as I already discussed this week, I’ve come up with a few definite nos. But the yeses? They are few and far between.
Which is why my birth plan is unbelievably short.
Note that the list is not in order of importance, okay?
1. Manage pain without an epidural, and preferably without IV or IM narcotics.
2. Manage nausea and if possible, don’t throw up during labor.
3. Have a healthy baby.
I don’t know how I’m going to want to push, I don’t know how I’m going to want to be positioned or what I’m going to want to be doing during contractions. I don’t know who I will or will not want in my delivery room (except my MIL, because heck no) or what I will want to do to pass the time. I don’t know if I’m going to want music or movies or complete silence. There are just about 800,000 unknowns because this is totally uncharted territory to me.
I handle pain pretty well. I had my tonsils removed at age 19 and took only Tylenol. I had brain surgery at 24 and was off narcotics the second day where others stayed on them for weeks. But labor? It’s pain of a completely different nature.
So as the weeks tick down and labor becomes increasingly imminent, what items should I be adding to my birth plan? Or is having an open mind and being totally indecisive a good thing?