Since posting my video of our family centered cesarean on social media and my blog earlier week, I have received so much praise and positive feedback. My heart truly is overflowing with compassion and gratitude for all of it. I want to thank everyone who reached out to me and thanked me for sharing my story. It made my heart joyful and eased much of the anxiety I carry about her birth. I was very hesitant to share our birth story with the world for a number of reasons. My overwhelm of emotions include everything from anger to joy to sadness and everything in between.
Many of the people who have heard my story have asked me to share our birth plan. I got very good at writing birth plans as I wrote one for our home birth, one for our family centered cesarean and one for my postpartum care. I hope you or someone you know can utilize this birth plan and alter it to suit your unique needs and desires.
Having a home birth? Check out my home birth plan
It is important to remember that this is only a plan, nothing in birth is certain or concrete. Nothing is guaranteed. If unexpected medical emergencies arise, you may need to let go of your plan and let the medical staff intervene in the way they seem safe to protect the health of your and your baby. Listen to your intuition and do what resonates with you.
The hospital honored almost all of my wishes, with exception of who was allowed in the operating room due to room size. Please note that some things on your plan may not be honored while other requests will.
I recommend starting with a very simple thank you to the staff and being very specific and precise in your requests. Doctors and nurses are very busy and may only have time to skim your birth plan. Put the most important requests at the top of the page, use bullet points, and be clear.
Here is my Family Centered Cesarean Birth Plan:
I am excited to be having my baby at Natividad Hospital with an amazing staff who has provided me with great care over the past couple weeks. Thank you!
- Baby to chest immediately, (skin to skin) with a warm blanket on top of us. If the cord is long enough, put the baby on my chest without cutting the cord so my partner can cut it.
- ECG leads to be placed on my back, to make my chest free for skin-to-skin contact.
- I do not want my arms strapped down during the operation.
- I would like the IV catheter, oximeter, and blood pressure cuff all placed on my left arm to give me a completely free arm to touch my baby.
- Delayed cord clamping
- I would like to have minimal separation from my baby. If we need to be separated for medical reasons, I would like my partner be present with her at all times.
- Please leave on as much vernix as possible and leave cleaning of the baby to a minimum.
- Delay measuring/weighing of baby so the baby can stay with me while I am in the OR.
- I would request that the talk in the operating room among my providers focus primarily on the birth. Please remember that I can hear what is being said during the birth, and will carry memories of it for many years.
- I would like to have the drape lowered so that I can see my baby being born or use a clear drape (if possible).
- If possible, breastfeed in the OR/asap. If not, I would like my partner to hold the baby for skin on skin.
- I would like my partner, midwives, and doula present in the OR during the birth.
- I would like my doula to be able to take pictures and/or video during the birth.
- I would like you to ask me ‘Are you ready to have your baby now?’ before operating.
- I would appreciate a warm blanket during surgery if possible.
- Please do not give me sedatives after the birth. I want to remember my baby’s first day of life.
- Please don’t swaddle my baby while she is skin-to-skin.
- I would like to have music of my choice playing during the operation
- I would like to save my placenta by placing it in the zip locks bag provided labeled with my name. It can remain at room temperature for 2 hours following the birth and then needs to be put on ice (we will provide an ice chest if needed). Do not take it out of the room to the pathology lab. My doula will be in charge of the necessary steps once it is sealed.
I recommend reaching out to the hospital and/or doctor who is preforming your birth and going over your plan before the day of the birth if possible. Speak up for yourself and your baby and let the staff know what is important to your birthing process. When the big day arrives, bring at least 5 copies of your plan (for doctors, nurses, yourself, if one gets lost, etc) and remind the staff of your plan and review it with them.
Above all else, go with the flow of the birthing process. We are not in control and must have trust and faith in our babe that they know the best way for them to be born, even if we fully understand it at that moment.