Ok, so I realise I’m making myself completely vulnerable by posting up my personal birth plan! I also realise that a lot of people reading it will think I’m a complete Nazi that needs a mental health assessment and you know what…..I’m willing to take the risk of posting this up because my hope is that it will enable other women and mother’s to be to realise they CAN take their POWER BACK!
We supposedly live in a “free country” here in Australia, yet we have been stripped of our rights, our freedom of choice and our empowerment. We have been conditioned to believe that others know our bodies and minds better than we know ourselves, we have lost the ability to tune into our own intuition and we have been left deflated and robbed of our birth-given right to CHOICE.
I have always been a bit of a research queen, I love it, I thrive on it, I NEED information to make informed decisions and, having gone through 6 years of fertility issues, I’m not about to hand over my rights to a system that essentially works against us.
That system I’m referring to in this case is the medical system. The one that sadly dictates to us more than not and that is so driven by policies that the individualised care of a patient is no longer at the forefront of a practitioner’s mind.
I have chosen with this precious baby growing in my belly to pave a different way for us this time round……
You see with our first child, almost 8 years ago, we had no idea we had rights. We put ourselves at the mercy of the hospital and the staff and didn’t know we could make certain choices.
I laboured for 4 hours unassisted and dilated to 10cms. My body had transitioned to the next stage of labour and I was ready to start pushing to birth my baby. But, in a moment of minutes all rights were taken away. I was told the baby was “breach” and that their hospital policy (we lived in a small country town then) doesn’t allow them to birth a breach baby and that I would be prepped for an emergency ceasarean. I was devastated. From that moment on, my body was their property and I was at the mercy of their hands. I can’t even begin to tell you the effects that decision had on me and my child in the months and years that followed….perhaps that’s another post altogether.
So skip forward 8 years and here we are…..presented with a question I had never contemplated before……WHAT DO I ACTUALLY WANT FOR THIS BIRTH AND BABY???
I read the “Queensland Clinical Guidelines for Vaginal Birth after Caesarean Policy Document (2015)” that says that clinical outcomes were determined mainly from one randomised control trial and that most findings concluded that a planned VBAC is a reasonable and safe choice for MOST women. It also states that the uterine rupture rate for women who spontaneously laboured or were induced with their VBAC were 5 per 1000 women and that planned VBAC success rate is generally 60-80%.
These are good stats and yet MOST women (especially those over 35 and considered geriatric like me) are bunched into the same policy box due to “potential” risks.
After considering all the facts, statistics and actually knowing my own body, I know that I am actually low-risk and will be planning an intervention free physiological birth and bonding experience.
Now I know this conflicts with the recommended care for a VBAC patient at most hospitals, however, I am not willing to consent to a “just in case” approach at any stage of my labour and birth.
So the following are my wishes and intentions for my pending birth:
My wishes for a Physiological Birth:
- Intervention free physiological birth.
- That my husband and private midwife are able to advocate for me if needed and that they are my only form of support during birth unless an additional member of staff is needed based on my midwife’s discretion.
- That no other staff members enter the room without consent and I do not consent to any student midwives or practitioners witnessing my labour or the birth.
- That I am free to have an “active” birth and move around and get into whatever positions I see fit during my labour and not be restricted to one position.
- That I have access to water for pain relief if requested.
- I would not like to be offered pain relief at any time (epidural etc) and will be aiming for a drug-free birth.
- I do not consent to cannulation, frequent vaginal examinations or continuous fetal monitoring however a Doppler is OK.
- I do not consent to a Syntocinon drip or injection and do not wish for my labour to be induced or “sped up”.
- I do not consent to an assisted birth (i.e. forceps or episiotomy) UNLESS there is any pending danger to myself or my baby if the baby does not birth quickly at that point. I would prefer to facilitate a different pushing position which further opens up my pelvis first and other avenues are explored BEFORE an assisted birth takes place.
- Respect for use of music, dimmed lighting, essential oils and a diffuser and anything else that may assist in promoting a more relaxed environment for me during my labour.
- Photos during or just after my baby arrives on my chest.
- Delayed cord clamping until it has ceased to actively transfer blood to my newborn.
- Uninterrupted skin to skin contact for at least an hour and natural breastfeeding if no breathing complications present.
- If, for whatever reason, I am unable to have immediate skin to skin contact, and there are no breathing complications in our newborn, then my husband is to have immediate skin to skin contact in my place.
- That our newborn be weighed AFTER adequate skin to skin contact.
- That my placenta to be looked after and transferred to my specialist who will do placenta encapsulation for me.
- That my baby stays with me at all times and is not to be taken away for “random checks” unless there is any pending health concerns, in which case, either myself or my husband will accompany our baby at all times.
- All newborn examinations such as hearing etc are to be undertaken while the baby is in our care.
- We do not consent to our baby having ANY newborn vaccinations/injections including Hepatitis B and Vitamin K.
- We do not consent to the newborn screening heel prick test on our baby.
- We do not consent to antibiotics being administered to our newborn in a “just in case” scenario.
In case of an Emergency Ceasarean
I do not, under any circumstances, consent to a caesarean birth for “failure to progress”. Should it become clear that a caesarean is needed for an alternate reason i.e. health risks to myself or my baby, then these are my wishes:
- That my dedicated private midwife accompanies me and stays with me in theatre at all times.
- Once my husband is scrubbed up, allow him immediate access to me.
- That I am included in the entire process and staff do not engage in “casual” conversation around me.
- I would rather a spinal tap than an epidural or a general.
- Attach monitoring dots on my back rather than my chest so it doesn’t get in the way of skin to skin contact with my newborn after birth.
- I do not consent to oral or intravenous antibiotics before surgery.
- A gauze swab of my vaginal canal/fluids to be taken (an hour before caesarean if time permits) and incubated/enclosed in a sterile container prior to my baby being born by ceasarean. Then within a few minutes of my baby being delivered, my baby (including face, mouth, nose, eyes and body) is to be swabbed with the gauze.
- Drop the curtain as soon as my baby is pulled out.
- Points 12-21 above also apply with an emergency caesarean.
- I do not consent to a hysterectomy.
- Painkillers after the caesarean to be used for myself at my own discretion and not forced upon.
Thankfully I’ve been able to source a fantastic private midwife who loves everything about this birth plan and I’m pleased to say she is going to be my biggest advocate!
So….I’d love to know….what would you have wanted if you had written your birth plan out and was free to make your own choices?
Love Kirsty ♥