Wednesday, June 16, 2010

I'm on a Non-Plan Plan

It's already started: the mere sight of me walking is met with giggles and "Oh my gosh, are you gonna have that baby right now?!" I try to be good-natured about it. Half the time I'm not even listening, because I'm too busy chanting in my head, "Stand up straight. Don't waddle. Don't be that girl." over and over. Being graceful and (almost) nine months pregnant is harder than it looks.
I guess the time has come to mull over my "birth plan". I originally mocked the concept, then I decided it was worth considering, and now after reading's "Birth Plan" pregnancy tool, I'm back to mocking it. What a "tool" indeed.

"What is a birth plan?" you ask? Here's what The Bump says:

"A "birth plan" is just that -- a game-plan for baby's arrival. You can never be totally in charge of your labor and delivery (childbirth is generally a pretty out of control thing), but a birth plan ensures that you and your mate are at least on the same page as your doctors and nurses."

Fair enough. So I hand my nurse and doctor a piece of paper that says "yes" to an epidural and "no" to letting my dad watch me push a watermelon out of my bajengo. Seems like a good idea. Then I read the six-page birth plan form, which includes such gems as:

I’d like to spend the first stage of labor:

[ ] Standing up
[ ] Lying down
[ ] Walking around
[ ] In the shower
[ ] In the bathtub

I’d like labor augmentation:

[ ] Performed only if baby is in distress
[ ] First attempted by natural methods such as nipple stimulation
[ ] Performed by membrane stripping
[ ] Performed with prostaglandin gel
[ ] Performed with Pitocin
[ ] Performed by rupture of the membrane
[ ] Performed by stripping of the membrane
[ ] Never to include an artificial rupture of the membrane

As the baby is delivered, I would like to:

[ ] Push spontaneously
[ ] Push as directed
[ ] Push without time limits, as long as the baby and I are not at risk
[ ] Use a mirror to see the baby crown
[ ] Touch the head as it crowns
[ ] Let the epidural wear off while pushing
[ ] Have a full dose of epidural
[ ] Avoid forceps usage
[ ] Avoid vacuum extraction
[ ] Use whatever methods my doctor deems necessary
[ ] Help catch the baby
[ ] Let my partner catch the baby
[ ] Let my partner suction the baby
image via Everett Collection
I read six pages of this, folks. Six pages. I am not equipped with the knowledge or experience to comprehend or make a decision on about 85% of this birth plan. Here's a birth plan: how about I choose a board certified obstetrician, pay my insurance deductible and let my doctor guide me down the path she deems best? Is that too apathetic? My ideal birth plan involves a stork. Everything else is just whatever for me.

I'm often asked whether I plan on having an epidural. In a word: yes. I am a girl who enjoys the luxuries and comforts of modern life. I speak to my husband daily on a telephone. I style my hair each morning with the aid of an electric hair dryer. I drive to work in a sport utility vehicle. I have plastic fingernails and my sun tan comes in an aerosol can. I had my first Botox injection at age 26. So what, now I'm gonna reject the pain relief offered by western medicine, bite down on a leather strap and push this baby out like the pioneers did? No, thank you. Childbirth is not the place I would choose to be "natural". I guess if you're someone who likes to take the Physical Challenge, natural childbirth may appeal to you.
I don't run marathons. I don't climb mountains. The closest I've come to wilderness survival is playing Oregon Trail in 8th grade computer lab, and do you know what happened then? I got typhoid and I died. I'm what you call an "indoor cat."
Oh, and spoiler alert: there's no medal ceremony after the baby is delivered. The Labor and Delivery nurses don't score the day's moms and award the ones who display the most bravery and physical strength and endurance. So, even if I did set my aside lack of rugged survival skills and adventurous spirit, there's no glory in doing so. No Wheaties box or nothin'. I figure I'll spend the rest of my life willingly making sacrifices for this little baby. I don't see the benefit in sacrificing my comfort and mental health to deliver him. [soapbox dismount]


  1. Amen sister. By the way, reading this whole scary plan thing is birth control in itself. I think we'll wait a little while longer. Ha.

  2. Love it! Birth plans are for the birds. And that was a very graceful soapbox dismount!!

  3. who knew birth plans were so complicated. geez louise. love the soapbox and love that you mentioned the nurses don't score you and there's no medal.

  4. Found your blog via facebook and love reading your posts! I am due July 15th and having already had one baby the "non plan" is so the way to go! Who actualy shows up with a "plan?" I think my Dr. would laugh at me if I presented one of these to her. Good luck with your delivery ... no matter what happens you will be IN LOVE with the end result : ) And even willing to do it again ... like me!
    Alli (greene) nations