Birth Plan

I want to give birth naturally.  I feel very strongly that’s the right choice for me, and I’m trying to do everything I can to prepare for it.

I’ve been stepping around it in conversations with friends and family.  I say I’d like to try to go with no drugs, I’d like to have a natural birth, and then I often end up listening to stories about how I should get the drugs, smiling, nodding, and taking it all in.  I don’t know why I haven’t been more adamant about it.  Maybe it’s because I’m afraid something will go wrong and I don’t want to jynx it, or look like a fool.  Maybe it’s because I don’t want to be rude to people and I really do want to hear about their experiences.  Maybe it’s because it I realize it doesn’t really matter what I say now, it matters what happens when I go into labor.

Ed and our moms know how I feel about it.  I feel really encouraged that both of our moms gave birth naturally.  I also feel encouraged that most of the women in my family that I’ve talked to have given birth naturally.  It makes me hopeful that there’s something in our genes, something that will make me better prepared to give birth naturally.

I don’t take medications very often.  If I have a headache, I drink a big glass of water and suck it up.  I didn’t have anything for pain when I cut off the tip of my finger and had to have it reattached (though I may have given in if I wasn’t pregnant).  I don’t take anything for my allergies, since they’re intermittent enough to be unpredictable and I’ve had success with avoiding rubbing my eyes and washing my hands to get rid of pollen.  I just don’t see the need for many medications.

I feel very strongly that when I go into labor, I want nature to take its course.  I don’t want pitocin.  I don’t want to have my membranes ruptured.  I don’t want an IV.  I don’t want an epidural.  I don’t want a scheduled C-section.  I want to deliver my baby, the way that humans and animals have delivered their babies for as long as live birth has existed.


Filed under Home, Sustainable Living

23 responses to “Birth Plan

  1. To me it sounds like you have been clear with the people that count and honestly that is all that matters.

    Sharing experiences with others is a wonderful bonding experience so if you value the opportunity to do that over being entirely clear about just how strongly you feel about wanting a natural birth I don’t see a problem.

    Good Luck

  2. I’m going to give you my nickel’s worth and the first thing is to say…. DON’T plan… Have a “wish list” but keep it variable.

    Eldest didn’t drop until he washed in when my water broke. They slammed him off my hip bone for 12hrs with their induction drugs… trust me there isn’t an epidural in the world that takes the edge off that nerve pain… 18hrs after the first contraction he was born via a very nice c-section…

    Youngest was posterieur and induced 13 days early – stopped moving, in antenatal for the prev 5 days, 170/110 bp – I knew exactly where he was and the epidural was much nicer than the demerol which makes me groggy… Posterieur is PAINFUL. I begger for a c-section, he heart rate crashed and I got my wish.

    I was awake for both of them.

    I can tolerate most pain. Migrains, colds, pulled muscles, back pain, Including the 2″ hole in my leg from the projectile off the lawnmower last May. I never took the fancy drugs for the pain. Gut pain, labour pain…. I couldn’t handle it at all.

    Do I regret either outcome… never. As the saying goes “what will be, will be”…

  3. I have to agree with farmwife. Don’t have your heart set on everything being perfect. While it may be, you may have complications. I’ve known several women who were devastated for years that the birth of their children wasn’t exactly the way they wanted. Try for the best and then be happy that you have your wonderful, healthy child. no matter how he arrives.

  4. Abbie,
    I have read your blog for awhile but have not commented in a long time. But after reading this post I decided to. I have given birth to 6 children (My oldest is 26 and youngest are 15). The last two being twins. My first and second children, I had epidurals. My third came so fast, I had him naturally. My fourth was an emergency C-section. Then came my twins which I gave birth to them naturally. I had no drugs at all. And though I was exhausted after the first girl was born, I hung in there and gave birth to the second. It was a wonderful experience to give birth to them naturally. I even felt better after the natural births when comparing them to the ones with epidurals.
    But, only you and you alone can make that decision. It does not matter what anyone else tells you, it is how you feel about it now and at the time.The pride you get when you have a natural delivery is something you will treasure for the rest of your life. But, if something comes up and you can’t or feel you don’t want to go totally natural, don’t let it get you down. You know that you did all you could to experience a natural birth. And in the end, the most important thing is delivery a healthy baby.

  5. I’ve had two natural births, and I would do that again if I were to have another baby. Obviously things can go sideways, but planning and building up support and information is still very important. I like to know what’s happening, and so understanding how birth works and having a toolkit of natural pain relief options was incredibly helpful. By the time those tools were no longer working I was at the very end, both times, and minutes from holding my baby.

    Birth is hard, and intense, but for me it was manageable. And the odds are good it will be for you, too. I am thinking good thoughts for you, and cheering you on. No matter how it turns out. 🙂

  6. Aunt Sara

    Do what is right at the time. I had Shan ( 8.5 lbs) without any thing, but there was a time during labor when I would have welcomed an epidural. However, when the Dr told me to stop pushing because the cord was in the wrong place, I was able to because I was un-medicated.

    Follow your instinct and your medical advice, and always put baby first. You’ll be fine.

  7. I had my first child in the hospital with an epidural and the last two at home without any drugs. For me, the first birth was traumatic and actually much MORE painful than the last two with no drugs!

    Now, hospitals have come a long way since 1994 and women are treated much better, but still…. if you want to have the maximum amount of control over the process (nobody has full control – mother nature and the baby have that!) then please consider a home birth or a birth center birth with a midwife. If midwives are hard to get where you are, then at the very least, get a doula and have a family doctor instead of an obstetrician. There is NO need for an OB unless you are high risk. If you need one, or if you need to go to the hospital, they’ll get you there!

    Women labor best where they feel most comfortable and safe. If that’s the hospital for you, great… but if it isn’t, then stay where you feel most secure. A doula can be a great support – or a person you love and trust completely and don’t feel you have to impress with your strength. Get somone to lean on who you will believe when they tell you “you’re okay. This is normal. You can get through it.”

    You will! Good luck, and follow your heart!

  8. I appreciate the comments and advice… but this post was about me putting out there what I’ve already decided and what I’m tired of keeping to myself.

    Titled “Birth Plan” on a whim… not technically my birth plan, not sure if I’m even going to have one.

    Totally aware that things can go wrong, that’s why I’m planning to go to a hospital. Our hospital is one of the most respected in the country, and we live in a progressive place where I’m confident that my desires will be respected.

  9. Rob

    Having a baby can be a SCREAM!!!

    LOL I have wanted to use that line ever since Joan Rivers wrote the book. Thank You.

    And do what you want- it’s your baby and your body!

  10. Marie

    You stick to your convictions, do what you and Ed want to do, you have covered yourselves by going to YNHH, if you need outside help, it will be there and I am sure this birth will go well . You and the baby will be perfect. Try not to worry and stay true to yourself!
    You are correct, we all have to remember that this is all very natural and just go forward as you wish but keep an open mind! Love and hugs xo Mimi

  11. this is such a positive model to hear. yes, i don’t automatically think to take painkillers when i was pain – later i went to the doctor and she was like why didn’t you take advil and i was like – it just didn’t occur to me. and yes even though i experience itchy throat and eyes sometimes, but it doesn’t bother me enough to figure out what i need to take allergy meds against.

    my mom went through an unnecessary cesarean for me and later became a sort of activist against that. i think it’s important to stand up for our rights for what we think is right and what we think we can deal with. i’ve also been very interested in the possibility that non-natural births make post-partum depression more likely ever since i’ve read dooce’s blog/book (, although that’s just one woman’s experience and i haven’t done more research, but it certainly is interesting that she had depression with her first baby on an epidural and total joy with her second baby who was natural.

  12. You sound like I did with my first. I wanted an all natural child birth (not the kind at home, I was too afraid for that and I didn’t know enough about dulas and birthing centers and the like).
    AS long as Ed is on board, both Moms are ready to support you and your doctor is on board you have nothing to worry about.
    I didn’t end up with a natural birth with A (it was a difficult pregnancy and birth that almost ended in a C-section), it wasn’t what I wanted but it was what was best for A.
    I was able to go natural with S and I was up and about and “recovered” so much sooner.
    Many times people just misunderstand natural birth and are afraid for you. They do all mean well. You will gets lots of advice for the next 30 years or so about how best to raise your children and the best advice I got was to listen to it, evaluate it and if it wasn’t right for me let it go.
    I can’t wait to see pictures of your new baby. My baby is 8 now, so I miss the infant stage.

  13. You will gets lots of advice for the next 30 years or so about how best to raise your children and the best advice I got was to listen to it, evaluate it and if it wasn’t right for me let it go.

    My daughter wants drugs with her birthing. I had my three naturally, but I see my role at her birthing as advocate for what SHE wants.

    She’s getting frustrated that her stepmother is giving her unsolicited advice and asks me what to do about it. I recommend the smile, nod, and then do what YOU want approach.

  14. Amy

    HI! I’m delurking I love your blog.
    Enjoy this time. Enjoy your baby & Husband. do what you want.
    After a less than desirable birth with our first son. My mom told
    me no one will ever love or know your child better. Now my
    sons are 24 & 22 i still follow my heart with both.
    Thank you for putting your self out there and sharing.
    Wishing you only the BEST!!!

  15. Dear Abbie,

    No advice from Mom, just support. I just wish that your birth experience will be all you hope it will be, which will be exactly right for YOU.

    The most important end result is a healthy baby and you have done everything possible and right to make that a reality. I wish you happiness and you will know instantly when you hold your baby that your lives have taken a wonderful, new course, all for the better. . . just as your father’s and my lives have during the last 28 years with you!

    We love you and support you! (And I can’t wait for my chance to hold your precious baby, too.) You are a true farm girl, a scientist, and you have your head on straight!

    I wish you love . . . . Mom

  16. A drug free birth means a drug free baby….now that has to be the best start any mum can give her new born :0)

  17. First, I have to say that I think whatever decisions you and Ed make while you are giving birth to your child will be the best decisions for you. I think it is awesome that you are trying for a natural birth, and yet, that said, I think that you shouldn’t beat yourself up if you did end up getting an epidural. I will tell you that my first baby was as alert at her birth as was my second baby and I had an induction and an epidural with my first birth and a home birth with no pain medication for the second. However you birth, just remember one thing, it is your and your baby’s birth.

    I’m behind you 100%!

  18. The mind is a powerful thing and you can do it when you put your mind to it. My first 2 births were with a epidural and my last and next (hopefully) will be at home, obviously drug free. I’ve never felt better when I gave birth the 3rd time. My mind was clear and I just felt so much better so much quicker! You can totally do it!

  19. I hope all goes well for you. Natural Birth is work but it is totally worth it. It certianly helps a lot to have a supportive husband!
    When I went to the hospital (My first 3 were in hospitals, and the last one at home) it ended up being very good to write out what I wanted (like you did in the post) and give one to my doctor in advance and bring the other one with me to give to the nurses on duty. They are better about not pressuring you to use something you don’t want when you have adamantly expressed you don’t want it even offered to you.


  20. Birth is such a magical thing! It is kind of like running a marathon–really really hard but also absolutely incredible and empowering.

    A while ago I wrote up my birth story ––and have loved hearing all the stories about other people’s births since then.

  21. Jaime

    Have you read Ina May Gaskin’s books? She was a midwife at The Farm commune of sorts. She has two books on natural birth. “Spiritual Midwifery” is a collection of birth stories. I read them while I was pregnant and found them very empowering. Some of the language is a little out there. I think it was written during the 70s. Anyway, I know when I’m pregnant again, I’ll turn to that book again for the reassurance and sense of empowerment. I also read “Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth,” which you may find more interesting. I remember it being less “out there” in a hippie language sort of way and more about the body’s response to childbirth. Really interesting.

  22. I have had both of my children naturally in our small local hospital. First was 17 hours of active labor… contractions started at 5 minutes apart, 1 hour later they were at 3 minutes apart.. and stayed that way until my daughter came into the world. My son was the complete opposite… just about had him at home because the contractions I experienced with my daughter were so much more intense than any I had with him. I was 9 centimeters when I walked into triage and I was holding him about 90 minutes later. So… from experience.. each labor and delivery is different. With my daughter I was clinging to my husband whimpering “Help me”. For my son I was looking at my belly and yelling at him to “get out”. 2 pushes later.. there he was. I have a few pieces of advice… be honest with yourself at all times, if you need help then ask for it. Don’t worry about how you look or sound, ( I had two women vigorously shaking both my legs with my daughter in the final stages). It may be one of the hardest things you ever do… but with a natural birth without complications.. once its done.. its done.. really. Within an hour of each of my births I got out the delivery bed, urinated in the bathroom and walked to my recovery room. Nothing before or since has made me feel more powerful than birthing my children. You will do great.

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