What I took away from my last Ultrasound appointment was how forthcoming the information was.  I didn’t have to pry it out of the physician and I believe it is because I knew what he was talking about from the get-go.  Over the years I have done a lot of study on pregnancy and birth and are familiar with practically everything.  This made it a lot easier for the physician to talk about technical things and ‘possibilities’.

One important thing that I’ve learnt about ‘possibilities’ is that they can change very quickly.  Some physicians do not like to share ‘possibilities’ of birth because they do not want to scare the mother.  However, if you know what could happen you can prepare and therefore make the right choices for yourself if the time comes.  This empowers you and can be a strength to you after birth too.  In my first two pregnancies I didn’t choose what was happening to me.  Doctors and nurses poked and prodded my body – I had no control.  Because of this I lost a sense of myself and it took me a while to re-own my body again.

At the last Ultrasound appointment in turned out that the head size of my baby is above the ‘above average’.  (Yikes!)  Knowing this means that I can plan my birth and also mentally process the things that could happen during labour.  (I won’t give you all the scary details.)  But what you’ll notice in my birth plan below, I have written about my wishes but also acknowledge the realities of my baby’s enormous head – I have made certain choices that are right for me.

Birth Plan – L-Jay

Language
I am a native English speaker and would very much appreciate to be assigned a midwife who is confident in English.

Birth Assistant
My husband, ‘Moose’, will be my birth assistant.  He is a Nordlending.

Experience
This is my fourth birth experience.  The first two was in Australia.  My last birth experience was at UNN.  Last time I had a wonderful experience with a brilliant midwife.  Everything went smoothly and I was able to have the birth I wanted.  I look forward to having the same again.

The Birth
I plan to have a natural birth.  I would like the freedom to move and walk around the room.  I would like to have a birthing ball available.  Last time I knelt over the ball and used gravity to help the baby crown.  I would like to try this method again.

Information
I’d like to know exactly what is going on as much as possible about the progress of labor as this encourages me – dilation, baby’s heartbeat etc.  I’d also like for the midwife to tell ‘Moose’ when the baby is coming out so he can watch – (last time it happened so fast he missed it).

Delivery
I’d like the midwife to use the experimental technique to prevent tearing (pinching the perineum?).  I’m aware that I will need to swap to laying on my back for this technique. I would like instruction on when to push or relax to help the birth process and avoid tearing.

I want to avoid an episiotomy at all costs.  However, I understand that because the baby’s head size is above average, I might need one – if so, I would also like a general anesthetic.  I prefer the use of a ventrouse rather than forceps.

Pain Relief
I prefer to use diversion, breathing, movement and exercises, progress information and massage as pain relief.  If necessary I’d like the option of using TENS.

I do not want to use pethidine or gas as they can affect the baby.  I do not want an epidural.  I want to avoid a caesarean.  Note: I am very scared about needles (I’ve had an epidural headache with my second child and spinal tap).  I am also very scared about surgery and will need to be approached carefully if these procedures are necessary.

Umbilical Cord
My husband, ‘Moose’, would like to cut the cord.

Placenta
I would prefer a natural expulsion of the placenta.  I do not particularly have a desire to see it but I would like to know that it is all in tact.

The Baby
As soon as the baby is born I’d like to hold him.  If he has any complications I’d like my husband, ‘Moose’, to accompany him into the monitoring room.

Stay
I’d prefer to stay at the Hospital Hotel so my husband can join the baby and me for a night or so.

Authority
I want to be informed and make my own decisions especially in emergency procedures.  If I am incapable of making sound decisions I authorise my husband, ‘Moose’, to make decisions on my behalf for the baby’s welfare and mine.

The Importance of Having a Birth Plan in Norway
Firstly, is the language barrier – I’ll be getting this birth plan translated into Norwegian also so there will be no misunderstandings.

Secondly, writing my wishes and wants down for my midwife will greatly help the process.  She will be able to read it herself instead of me having to explain what I want while racing to the labor ward.  The plan also tells the midwife my ‘birthing competence’, so to speak. She will know I am not a beginner and therefore will approach me differently.

And thirdly, it also means that other midwives can read it too and help out if they are needed.

Other things that you might consider in a plan is whether or not you will allow midwife students to assist.  As I know that UNN is a teaching hospital and I have birthing experience, I’m ok with students assisting.  You might want to include any dietary requirements, help with breastfeeding, placing the baby on your tummy as soon as it is born so it can suckle, having alone time with you and the baby straight after birth, whether you plan to go home on the first day or after threes days, to wash or not to wash the baby straight away, etc.  A lot of these options depend on your birthing ward so it is good to find out beforehand to help you make your plan and reduce unexpected surprises.  (For my first, I asked for breastfeeding assistance and the midwife grabbed my breast to milk it.  I was very embarrassed and wasn’t aware that that is what they did to help ‘express’ milk for the baby.)

My plan gives a complete overview of the birth that I want and includes a little history, pain relief methods and even expectations and fears.  I want the midwife to know these things as this helps the midwife help me.  But of course, your plan can be more brief or detailed, it’s up to you.

My last birthing midwife at UNN was very proactive in giving me the birth I wanted so much so that she would often remind me what I wanted (sometimes when you are in pain you forget things) and I was very grateful.  I ended up feeling delighted with how the birth went – you could even say ’empowered’. 

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