The What-to-Expect books will tell you that at about 32 weeks, you give your care provider a birth plan. Truth be told, I’d never heard of a birth plan until I opened that particular chapter. In Manila I don’t think birth plans are common. You feel pain, you go to the hospital, they page your OB GYNE, and they offer you the treatment options.
I suppose birth plans are more prominent here because there are multiple providers in one practice (for instance, the UNC Midwives — you see them as a group and not just one individual person, so any one of them treats you for your check-up, and any one of them can be on call when you go into labor). Therefore it is helpful to have it on file. There are other alternatives to giving birth at the hospital as well, so birth plans can come into play.
In any case, the first time around at 32 weeks (and for the sake of having one), I typed out a birth plan. I showed it to one of the Midwives and she laughed at the sight of it because it was two pages long, single-spaced size font 9. She helped me edit it down to 1 page, and just told me to bring it when we checked in during my labor. I printed 5 copies and put it in my hospital bag to give out to the team on-call that day. Needless to say, two days after I delivered, I still had all the copies in my bag. It’s a good thing my labor was (mostly) a positive experience and it wasn’t really far from what was written on the plan!
Now 38 weeks in, I am 6 weeks late for a birth plan discussion and no one seems to be worried. With everything normal (knock on wood!) the Midwives say there’s really no need for me to give them one. Of course, I prepared one just in case, and it is all of three sentences, dictated to them during my last check-up:
- Epidural ASAP.
- Birth Doula if available.
- Please don’t send me home in the middle of my labor. 🙂 (I’ll explain this another time)
Side note: at the check-up, I got my wish — I saw Jamie on an impromptu ultrasound! Yahoo! She is head down and in position, all ready to go!
So we saved some paper this time around.
What I did spend time on though, was a care document for Sam. Okay — don’t laugh. It’s just that I’ve never left her with anyone before, and although I don’t think I’ll be away from her for long when I go into labor, I still do want to make sure the normalcy of her day is not completely flipped. It’s just like a work turn-over document (you know how when you go on leave from the office, you leave your pending projects with someone so that work can proceed normally? It’s something like that). The care document is approximately 9 pages long, single-spaced, size font 1o, with a few pictures to break the text monotony. I tried to make it as reader friendly as possible. Maybe I’ll buy a binder and put tabs for each section.
I know, I know…she will be fine either way. But knowing it exists and knowing I can turn over this document to whomever will have to care for her, no matter how long or short that time frame will be makes me feel that I am doing all I can do to make sure she will be okay without me. At least I can go into labor with peace of mind over one daughter, and focus on safely pushing out this other daughter.