Did You Have a Birth Plan?


Want to know what a placenta print is?  Keep reading!!

Knowing everything that I know today about pregnancy, labor, deliver, babies, breastfeeding, cloth diapers, and all the other facets of natural birth I really wish I had known more BEFORE having my kids.  I also with there would have been better publications around during my pregnancies (or wish someone had shared them with me) that were better than “What to Expect.”

Birth Plan

My first babe is now almost 10 years old and I had him naturally in a hospital.  I knew nothing about birthing centers and home births at the time.  Everyone thought I was nuts for not wanting an epidural.  It ended up that I was put on bed rest with him over the last month of my pregnancy due to low amniotic fluid and he ended up being delivered a bit early.  Only about 1-2 weeks early and absolutely no complications.  In fact, labor was relatively easy and I didn’t even go to the hospital until I was 7 cm dilated.  I had an ideal birth plan in my head but as a first time mom I really didn’t know what to expect and didn’t want to be disappointed if my plans failed.  I communicated my expectations with the doctors, nurses, and my mid-wife ahead of time and feel like they respected my decisions.  The only thing that I didn’t like about my delivery was the dreaded episiotomy – I feared the thought of it!  Sadly, I didn’t get much say in the matter during delivery and was snipped to help deliver my son.  In the end it really wasn’t as bad as I feared and compared to the horror stories of massive tearing I decided I could live with the battle scar!  While I didn’t have early success with breastfeeding the nurses were all very supportive and never once suggested a bottle of formula.

Fast forward 6 years to my daughter and things were a bit different.  I was in a different town with different doctors and different ideals.  I still wasn’t immersed in the natural community yet but felt like I knew more than I did with my son.  Since I didn’t have a birth plan with him I didn’t feel the need to have one with her.  It’s a good thing because NOTHING went right with this pregnancy and delivery (although I guess the outcome was pretty “right” with my beautiful baby girl!).  I was hospitalized a few times during my pregnancy and on bed rest (off and on) for months due to unexplained bleeding.  To this day they still can’t explain what happened but they suspect that I had an extra lobe on my placenta that ruptured at some point causing the bleeding.  But since it wasn’t the one that actually held my baby all was well!  To make matters worse, towards the end of my pregnancy I ended up with extremely high blood pressure and swelling.  In the end I was admitted 2 1/2 weeks early and induced after a few days rest in the hospital.  Being that I was induced and the pain was much worse than with my son I also got to experience the epidural (holy ouch mother &$^%) that didn’t go in the first FIVE times they tried!  Thankfully the pain was gone quickly and my daughter was born healthy within an hour or two.  It was a quick delivery but this time my doctor didn’t snip*snip.  She let me tear (yet another holy ouch mother &$*# moment) which I don’t think I will ever fully recover from.  Let’s just say that my lady parts aren’t quite as sensitive as they once were (and I’m sure my husband can attest to that).

We’re officially done have more babies and we’re both happy with that decision but I may always wonder if things would have been different had I educated myself more about ALL of my options.  If I had met some of my online friends sooner (like Gina of the Feminist Breeder, or Kim of Dirty Diaper Laundry) would my birth plan have changed?  I also wish I would have found Birth Plan for Dummies back then – or at least a book that covered pregnancy and birth in this much detail.

Birth Plan for Dummies

Birth Plan for Dummies covers an amazing amount of information (22 chapters in all) including how to make a birth plan, choosing your birth team and location, natural methods for soothing your mind and body, home births, breast feeding, and even shots!  I was really surprised to see an entire chapter devoted to home births.  It’s really up to date and even discusses the decision to circumcise or not.

The final chapter in the book has some great ways to preserve your birth memories.  Of course the obvious are listed: photographs, videos, and journals; but I was surprised to learn about 2 of the ideas.

  1. Did you know that you could make a placenta print?  Apparently you can save your placenta and create a special keepsake by using it in printmaking.  Simply paint your placenta and umbilical cord and print it on a large piece of paper creating a unique tree-like image.  Check out all these pretty graphics I found on Pinterest when I searched placenta prints.
  2. The other creative idea for preserving your birth memories that was mentioned was planting a placenta tree.  The placenta doesn’t actually bloom or anything but it can be planted in your yard along with seeds (or plants) so that you will always think of your birth when you look at the tree/plant years later.

To learn more about the placenta you should really check out this article I found in Kaia Magazine about Honoring the Tree of Life.

Want to learn more about Birth Plans for Dummies visit your local library or purchase the book at your favorite book store.  It’s available in print and for e-reader.

Did you have a birth plan?  Did it work out the way you had planned?  

Disclosure: I received a copy of Birth Plans for Dummies to review and I have to say I really wish I had this book years ago.  Such a great wealth of information.  No other compensation was received and the opinions and comments in this post are all my own.    

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  1. says

    I had a birth plan with both my babies and the support of some great books. I studied both Bradley method and hypnobirthing and also read Ina May Gaskin’s books before labor. Both my births were natural and awesome, except that they had to be done in hospitals by whatever doctor happened to be on call. That’s such a bad combination for an uplifting birth experience, but it’s all the insurance will cover. That frustrates me more than anything else. Most importantly, I got two healthy boys out of it :)
    Heather recently posted..Jar Sticks and Fun in the WinterMy Profile

  2. Amy says

    Yes & a doula for my first delivery. It was uber important as I delivered in a hospital with a relatively large practice. I felt like the L&D nurses respected my wishes but didn’t really read my birth plan. I felt like the OBs were rather blasé though, and mostly shrugged their shoulders at my desires for a natural birth throughout my pregnancy. I didn’t really feel respected… Which is why my second was a home birth & the third is planned to be. I did a Bradley class in advance of #1 & really try to encourage other moms to research their options & risks especially when it comes to multiple c-sections & settling for the norm – but not in a militant way!!!! It’s your choice but not everyone knows their options.

  3. says

    My birth plan was to try to go natural but quickly realized after 24 hours of labor contractions 1-2 minutes apart the entire time, I was exhausted. I can related to the epidural…I got stuck with a spinal then epidual a few times, then they wanted to pull that out to do the spinal again, and thank GOD the chief anestheiologist over-ruled that because of other complications! After 7 days in the hospital, and many complications, I finally got to go home! That being said, I will have a planned c-s with the next baby, hopefully avoiding the many many problems I faced with the first birth!
    Julie M. recently posted..My Sweet Pickles Cloth Diaper Store + Swaddlebees GiveawayMy Profile

  4. says


    Just wanted to say I was Google searching and found your review! I’m so excited you liked the book! :-) And aren’t placenta prints an interesting idea? I didn’t know about them with my kids either.

    Thanks again!

    ~ Rachel
    Rachel Gurevich recently posted..Welcome!My Profile

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