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Post-partum Care Plan for Hospital

Here is a copy of my post-partum care plan for after my Family Centered Cesarean. This plan was created for use after the birth while I was recovering from surgery.

Bring a few copies with you as you will have different people coming in after surgery to care for you and your baby (doctors, nurses, phlebotomists, etc). Hang up a copy in your room and review your requests with each new shift nurse (usually an AM and PM nurse) or doctor who enters your room.

DSC_1625Your recovery room is a sacred space. You have the right to ask for minimal disturbances including requesting all tests be completed at one time to minimize people entering, asking that no janitorial services take place, denying hospital meal drop off (we brought our own food), and even have a sign on your door that states all people must check in with the nurse at the nurses station before entering your room. Check with your hospital to see what they can do to create privacy and space for you and your baby.

I share this with you because during our second night in the hospital, a male phlebotomist entered our room without knocking at 5:30AM while I was breast feeding my newborn in our dark room. Upon entering, he switched on the bright florescent lights and completely disturbed our peaceful moment. My baby got upset and so did I! In our sleepless, exhausted, and somewhat doped up state, I hardly had time to respond to him before my baby was out of my arms and getting her heel prick test. It was traumatic for both of us. He quickly rushed through his task and made us feel uncomfortable in an already vulnerable time.  I don’t want this happening to any of you! Our nurses were very apologetic and really cared for us. Our nurses were amazing and we gave them all a thank you note and gift bag to show our appreciation for their outstanding care.

I am very sensitive to peoples energies and didn’t want contact with anyone other than my nurses and doctors. I made sure to request minimal contact with others to protect my privacy and the health of my newborn baby. Nothing is more important than bonding with your baby in the wee hours of his/her life. Rest, snuggles and lots of skin on skin are important for a newborn baby. Reducing stress and getting rest will speed up your healing process and go home sooner.

DSC_1622We also brought items from home to decorate our room and create a sacred space of healing and love. Bring items that make you feel safe, bring you love, and hold special meanings. We brought our prayer flags, a dream catcher, battery operated candles, essential oils and a device to play music. It made our room feel more “homey” and all the nurses loved tending to us because they said our room looked beautiful and smelt really good!

 

 

Here is my Post-partum Care Plan:

  • 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.
  • Microbiome transfer from mama to baby
  • All newborn procedures done in my presence
  • I would like a preservative free vitamin K injection to be given during skin on skin time/breast feeding time. If the preservative free injection is not available, do not give the baby a vitamin K injection.
  • I do not want the baby to receive the antibiotic eye prophylaxis.
  • I wish to delay my baby’s first bath until we come home so that I can get breastfeeding and bonding off to a good start.
  • I would like the IV/catheter to be taken out as soon as possible
  • No formula for the baby. I plan to breastfed exclusively
  • Do not offer a pacifier
  • No antibiotics for baby
  • I would like 24 hour room in with my baby in a private room with a window bed for my partner
  • I would like for all people entering my room to check in with my nurse before entering

Check out my Family Centered Cesarean Birth Plan and Home Birth Plan  for ideas with writing your own birth plan.

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Family Centered Cesarean Birth Plan

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.

IMG_9048Many 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.

 

 

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Our Family Centered Cesarean

Our sweet baby girl is 4 months young today!!! She is also the inspiration for my new blog and business venture, Warrior Mama Wellness.

In honor of her, I made this video of her birth. We had a Family Centered Cesarean because she presented breech at 36 weeks. For weeks we did everything and anything to help our sweet pea turn head down (too many to name here but i’ll post another blog about it), but she was too comfy cozy with her head nuzzled directly under my left ribs and her feet under my right ribs (she was frank breech). It was obvious she was determined to be born in the way she deemed fit and in her own timing. I let go of my plans of a home birth and put trust in my unborn daughter that she knew what was best for her and for me.

We were so ready for our home water birth! We took hypnobirthing classes, had all our home birth supplies, mentally and emotionally prepared, and didn’t think twice that it wasn’t going to happen the way we planned….that was until we found out she was breech. Note to self-you can’t control any situation. EVER. We can control how we choose to respond to the circumstances that present themselves. I choose to let go, trust, find peace and move forward with my new plan. Even then, my planned Family Centered Cesarean could have not happened. I could have had a medical emergency, the baby could have been in distress, the hospital could have said no. The stars were aligned that day for us.

Although I will admit, I struggled with (and still do) the fact that I wasn’t able to birth her vaginally in the peaceful setting of my own home. At times I tear up just thinking about it. I sometimes feel like I let myself down or let her down. I get angry, mad, frustrated and then remember I have a healthy, happy, joyful baby girl and I feel bad for even having my feelings. However I know that part of the grieving process is feeling my emotions so I let them come in, I welcome them, sit with them, seek their purpose, use them as guidance and move forward.

 

I had a few options when it came to deciding how to move forward with her birth.

  1. I could refuse a cesarean and deliver breech at the hospital (the hospital can’t make you do anything)
  2. I could hire a non licensed midwife to help with her birth at home, which would me starting new relationships at 36 weeks, finding someone who would do it, and praying that nothing went wrong with a breech delivery.
  3. Travel to a state where licensed midwives can deliver breech births at home (which is not allowed in CA).
  4. Schedule the cesarean, advocate for a gentle birth and let fate run its course

Although I wasn’t able to have the home birth I planned for, I am so very proud of myself and my partner for making the decisions we did. My amazing birthing team of midwives and doulas helped me advocate for a family centered cesarean. I wrote up my birth plan, presented it to the head of obstetrics at the hospital, and set the date. None of this would have been possible without my bad ass birthing team, the willingness of the hospital staff, and my go get em attitude. We presented the staff at the hospital with a 3 page Gentle Birth Plan and they honored ALL OF IT!! (which I will also share).

She was born on November 6, 2015 at 10:24 am, weighing 7 lbs 4 oz and measuring 21 in long and SHE WAS ABSOLUTELY PERFECT IN EVERY WAY!!

I am here to tell you mamas, EVEN IF YOU AREN’T ABLE TO HAVE THE BIRTH YOU PLANNED/HOPED FOR, YOU CAN STILL HAVE AN AMAZINGLY BEAUTIFUL BIRTH EXPERIENCE. Advocate for yourself mamas! Speak up for yourself and for your baby and above all else, always listen to and follow your heart.

Mama and daddy love you sweet Abigail Rose

Here is a video I made of the photos our anesthesiologist took in the OR. It will open a new tab and take a moment to play. Thank you for hearing our story!!

 

Stay fierce Warrior Mamas,

Warrior Mama Ashleigh

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Here is an example of our home birth plan and Family Centered Cesarean Birth Plan for you to use as inspiration in creating your own