Naturally-Minded Mamas Facing C-Section: Planning The Most "Natural" C-Section Possible

   
   







     My birth plan is the most important thing that will be in my hospital bag.  It's the written document that will tell my hospital, my doctor and his staff my views on my birthing experience and my wishes for how they care for my baby and for me.  My plan has morphed significantly over the last several years (our oldest will be 12 this summer), so I thought I'd share the process and the end result.

Disclosure:  I am not a doctor, nor am I medically trained.  I use common sense and reading skills to make my own decisions about what is healthy for myself and my family.  Anything written here is purely my opinion and is not intended to be medical advise of any form.  I encourage you to do your own research!

     While I consider myself holistically minded (the body, mind and soul are all part of health and healing) and believe strongly in natural healing (using healthy food and lifestyle choices to heal my body and keep it healthy) I never want to be accused of being totally against traditional medicine.  It certainly has it's place.
But it is because of my philosophy of true health and healing that I felt the need to learn everything I could about making my pending C-section as "natural" as it could possibly be.  I didn't want my natural parenting goals to get pushed aside because a traditional medical intervention was necessary.

     I'm very blessed to have found a doctor who not only supports my non-traditional lifestyle, but also lives it himself. (I know!  How weird!). My husband and I consider it truly a miracle to have found such a combination! So, when our holistically minded, OB said a C-Section was necessary, we discussed it, and agreed with him.  You can read about my reasons for accepting a C-section for this birth HERE.

     The goal of my personal research  was to hear how other like-minded women handled the interventions that come with a C-section both pre and post op.  I wanted to know how to best prepare my body and then, how to help it heal naturally.  
   I came across this video by Jentle Childbirth Foundation that really put into words the goals I had for my experience and I immediately emailed it to my doctor.
   From there, I began putting on paper what I wanted my birth experience to look like, feel like and even sound like before, during and after the birth of our baby.
   In a nutshell, I wanted immediate skin-to-skin contact, limited drugs (none that would interfere with exclusive breastfeeding), and no unnecessary "preventative" measures that are standard in most hospitals. 
   

Writing YOUR birth plan

  • Involve your husband.  He got your into this mess...(no, no, no-- just kidding).  He is a huge and important part of this process.  Listen to his concerns and ask him his thoughts on each part of the plan. I think a lot of men have anxieties about sending their wives into a c-section that they do not know how to explain. What will happen to you?  What will HE see, hear, SMELL?
  •  Know what you want. You have to have a strong birthing philosophy or your hospital (and maybe your doctor) will automatically go with the norm.  Think ahead of time about what you are and are not comfortable with and talk to your doctor or midwife about it early. This is also the time to talk to your husband and doctor about who you do and do not want to see in your delivery or recovery room.  Do you want to limit visitors to certain days or times?  Do you want to make sure certain people are not allowed to visit at all?  Take care of it NOW!
  • Know yourself.  Think about what things you want the hospital staff to know about you personally.  Think about relevant fears or concerns you have.  For me, I need the hospital staff to know about my fear of vomiting.  This will help them to know me a little better.  Think about medications you are opposed to or allergic to.  You'll want to inform your medical team about these things before hand.
  •  Know the law.  Scare tactics can be common in medical settings, especially if you plan to waive certain procedures for your baby.   Avoid being pressured  into procedures that make you uncomfortable or are against your personal or religious beliefs by researching your rights...ahead of time.  If you have concerns about synthetic vitamin K shots, eye ointment or vaccines for your newborn, do your research ahead of time!  Again, at the hospital is NOT the time to make big decisions!
  •  Don't try to be the doctor.   Let your medical team know you are not trying to do their job....but at the same time, be assertive enough to DO YOURS (research and stand up for your rights as a mother)
  • Be grateful.  Add a little sugar to your plan.   Writing your plan like a demand or a business contract is not going to put the staff in a good mood. Don't forget to say "please" and "thank you" throughout.  Let's face it....with your guts on the table, you are not really in a position to be ugly to anyone!  Be kind! 
  • Educate yourself.  Know what happens during a cesarean.  Watch videos, read blogs, books and articles, talk to friends, and talk to your doctor.  Education is a great fear buster!
  •   Know your parenting philosophy.  Know how you feel about standard medical interventions for your baby.  Do your research about the tests and procedures that will happen and make decisions about how you feel about them.  You may choose to delay or forgo certain tests or treatments. 
  •  Pray for the best, but plan ahead for emergencies.  Know what your husband's roll will be if you or your baby must be transferred for further treatment.  Our plan is to have my husband stay with or travel with the baby (should he/her be transferred to another hospital) if I am unable to follow.  We also will ask that he (Hubbs) be given skin-to-skin contact immediately after delivery in the event that I am unable to do that for any reason.
  •  Decide before hand if you will be having your tubes tied.  This is not a decision to be made in the heat of the moment. With hormones, pain and fast-running emotions, you don't want to make a decision you'll regret later just because at the moment you want to swear off baby-making! If you aren't totally sure.  Don't do it.  It can always be done later.  
  • Use a little humor.  Life is too serious sometimes.  Have a little fun!
I  think the most important piece of advice I have is this...spend the next several months of your pregnancy (or whatever time you have left) really developing  your thoughts, feelings and beliefs.  On delivery day, questions will be coming at you from all directions.  Know your answers and your whys and why-nots!
Also, know when to speak up about things that will not be asked.  For example.  Eye gel and Vitamin K shots are standard in most hospitals and birth centers.  You many not be asked ahead of time for your consent and will need to sign legal waiver if you choose to postpone those interventions.  In these cases, you must educate yourself enough to know to talk to your hospital staff about your wishes (delaying or denying altogether) on your own. 

Below you will find our personal birth plan for baby #4 --due in June.
Please do  NOT copy ours as yours needs to reflect YOUR personal and religious personality and that of your spouse.  However, you may use it as a guide to help you build your own.  

 C-Section Birth Plan

Jill and Shawn -----

Our baby’s gender is…A SURPRISE!!

First and foremost, we want to say THANK YOU! Thanks for being part of our 4th baby’s birth and for helping to make this day memorable for all of us. 
Dr. ------- , 
You held our hands though a miscarriage in 2012 when no one else would.  You brought ------- into the world on June  25, 2013.  There is no one else we would have beside us for the birth of our baby today.   Thank you!

Secondly, we trust all of you.  Although we have definite ideas about what we want to see happen today, we know that YOU are the experts and we trust Dr. -------wants what is best for us.  If something on our plan needs to be changed, please speak with us about it before hand.  We are willing to make changes as necessary for the health of our baby.

3 important things to know about Jill:
·       I am allergic to sulfa meds, Septra in particular.
·       I am deathly afraid of vomiting and will worry about it throughout delivery.  It is OK to lie to me and insist that I will not be sick.  I was never sick during any of my pregnancies and was never sick during either of my 2 previous c-sections.  I don’t want to take any anti-emetics initially, but will let you know if I think I need it.  If so, please administer it quickly.
·       I have moderate/severe scoliosis.  This has not been an issue with previous births, but I understand the anesthesiologist needs to know (you know, so he can find my spine!)
________________________

During Surgery
*Please put the catheter in after the spinal is done (Ouch!)
*We would like to take photos of the birth.  Please let Shawn know what is allowed.
*Please make sure any medications will not interfere with immediate and exclusive breastfeeding.
*Please allow me to have blankets.
*If possible, please allow me to have my hands free (in case I do feel ill).
*Please do not sedate me, if at all possible. I want to remember this.

*The baby factory is closing!  Please tie my tubes….we are getting too old for this :) 
_________________________
Baby
·       If possible, please lower the curtain so that I can see my baby’s birth.  I’d even like to assist if possible!
·       Please hold baby up for me to see as soon as possible.
·       I would like immediate skin to skin contact if possible.
      Please keep the cord long for Shawn to cut while the baby is on my chest.
·       Please wait to clamp until the cord stops pulsing.
·       Please do not administer eye gel, Vitamin K shot or Hep. B. vaccine.  I will sign the waiver ahead of time.  Thank you!
·       Our babies are exclusively breastfed. Please do not give any formula.
·       If baby must go to the NICU, please allow Shawn to go too.  If the baby is unable to breastfeed, I would like to pump milk for the amount of time the baby stays in NICU.
·       Don’t worry too much about cleaning the baby up.  Shawn and I would like to give the baby his/her first bath later.
·       If possible, we would like to hold the baby through foot prints, measuring, etc.
___________________________________
Recovery
·       We would like to keep baby with us at all times.
·       I would like to be up and walking as soon as possible.
·       Baby and I would like skin to skin contact as much as possible. You all were wonderful about this with our last baby.  
·       I will be nursing on demand or whenever baby is fussy to help stimulate my milk supply and to bond with baby.  Please do not give any formula.  If formula is medically necessary, please speak to us first.
·       If the baby is a boy, please talk to us before setting a time for circumcision.  We are considering a delay in this procedure and would like to be present.
·       We prefer NOT to see doctors from ---------- Pediatrics if possible.
 ____________________________________
Please stop by our room as we recover.  We have a treat we would like to share with you and would love for you to sign our baby’s picture frame.

Our three other children are very excited to meet our new addition too too!  J-- (almost 12), B--- (almost 7) and D--- (almost 3) are praying for a girl   B-- and D--- were both born at --------Med.(alumni!!).

We have had nothing but great experiences at ------ Med.  Thank you for all your have done and will be doing over the next few days!

Sincerely,
Shawn and Jill (and baby!)

**Obviously, I have blocked out specific names and places for privacy reasons. 

....and that's our plan.  Again, it is so important for your plan to reflect your family, but I hope this helps you to feel empowered in the face of a c-section.  Happy planning!

                                                                                       

Are you a "natural" mama facing a c-section?  Please let me know your thought and suggestions for other moms.  I'd love to hear what you are planning for pain management after surgery.  Was this post helpful to you?  I'd love to hear that too!

                                                                                                       ~  Jill
       











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