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Don’t have a birth plan, have a birth wish

Megan Woods
Because, let’s be honest, not everything goes according to plan

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My very clever and very inspiring midwife gave me the best piece of advice: “Do not have a birth plan. Have a birth wish”. At the time I honestly thought “What is this women on about?” but as we got closer and closer to Ethan’s due date it made more sense to me.

If you have not figured out by now, I am a supremely organised person. I had it in my mind EXACTLY how Ethan’s birth was going to go:

*Eat a meal
*Have water break at home
*Casually phone the labour ward and let them know that I would be on my merry way
*Husband to pack car and drive us there
*It HAD to be at night (I didn’t want any issues with traffic)
*No meds and a vaginal birth it would be

HA! Oh Megan! How quickly did I realise that this birthing plan was NOT in my control. Two days before Ethan was born, I had our supposed final check up with my doctor, who promptly told me that Ethan was NOT engaged, had turned to be sunny side up and was in NO hurry to come out into this wonderful world. I sobbed on my way home. It was when I was home, that I decided to revisit my birth plan and turn it into my birth wish. So here, gorgeous mama, are my tips for drafting your birth wish:

 
  • Have options of your birth wish:
I wanted a vaginal delivery with no meds, which was option A. Option B was a vaginal delivery with limited meds as possible. Option C was a vaginal delivery with full meds and Option D was having a Caesar. The moment I wrote these down I felt instantly calm as I knew that whatever would happen I had a few situations I was very comfortable with.
 
  •  Let your partner know of your birth wish
Gareth was key in Ethan’s easy and calm entry into this world. He knew exactly what my birth wish was and he knew when to call a nurse and when to call for the anaesthetist. We spoke about his role in assisting me through the labour process and if we had not had this conversation before I went into labour, I would have been stressed.
 
  • Be flexible
Things can change in a moment in labour. It is vital that you include your doctors in your birth wish conversation. My gynae and I had a very frank discussion with how long she was comfortable with me labouring, what would make her consider a Caesar and how much information she would be giving me during this process. This made me feel so comfortable when I was in labour.
 
  •  Make sure your delivery room caters for your birth wish
If you want to have a water birth or have birth hypnosis, does your delivery room allow for this? Do your homework beforehand. Engage with a Doula or a midwife if you are wanting a home birth. Do hospital maternity wards visit before hand; this will help you decide what options you have in your birth wish.
 
  • Think beyond labour
Whilst being in labour and giving birth is so important and beautiful, the moments afterwards are also important to think about. If you are having a little boy, do you want him to be circumcised? Do you want a private ward or to share a ward? Do you want your baby to be vaccinated or not? By talking to your partner about these decisions beforehand, it will only help after your baby has been born, as it will give you the time to focus on your new precious bundle and not spend the time deciding on things.

My most valuable insight is this: at the end of the day having a safe delivery, you’re comfortable with only ensures that your baby is healthy and happy. Your birth wish must work for you and your circumstances. 
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