14 In Pregnancy

Thinking About My Next Birth Plan

We’re officially 24 weeks now, and according to ‘science’ we’re also officially viable. Baby boy’s chances of survival outside the womb only go up from here, and that is always a comforting thought. Of course, I’d prefer him to stay put as long as possible, ideally to our due date, but if he’s anything like his big sister that shouldn’t be a problem. (Knock on wood.) Thinking about when baby boy will make his arrival also has me thinking about our birth plan. We’ve still got plenty of time to make those decisions, of course, but it never hurts to think about it early.

newborn birth photo

I’ve been listening to The Birth Hour podcast pretty much nonstop the past few weeks, and I have no shame in admitting that! Somehow the second you get pregnant, you crave birth stories! I want to hear them all and read them all because to me it’s like gearing up for the big game, or the big race – they’re your ultimate pep talk. They’re also super educational, and much better than googling everything. At least in my mind! Digesting real stories is the best preparation you can do for D-day, even though we all know nothing ever goes as planned.

The day that Adeline was born was, next to my wedding day, the best day of my entire life. I don’t have a single regret regarding the way we went about bringing her into this world, but there are a few things I might would do differently the second time around. Not because I wouldn’t do them again, but because I feel like with this second birth I know more, have learned more, and simply want a different experience. I would re-do Adeline’s birth a thousand times if I could, don’t get me wrong. But this time, I kind of want to change it up.

For some reason, talking about birth can be a polarizing topic and everyone has their own opinion. I’m not here to argue which way is best, midwife vs. OB, hospital vs. home, epidural vs. natural, etc. etc. because I honestly don’t care how you choose to deliver your own baby. Every birth is beautiful in its own way, and every birth should be celebrated! You will get no judgement from me! For me, I’m a hospital/OB girl, but if a midwife/birth center is more your style, rock on!

When I was pregnant with Adeline, I really didn’t take the time to make a hugely detailed birth plan because I knew going into it that I actually knew nothing. I knew that first time births could be difficult, take a long time, and of course be completely new and strange for the mom-to-be. I didn’t want to feel disappointed if my plans went awry, and I was honestly just so tired by the end that all I wanted was for the two of us to come out of the delivery healthy. I fully trusted my OB, and felt like a hospital birth would be the best choice for our family. The basic decisions like epidural, delayed cord clamping, immediate skin-to-skin, etc. I knew my stance on for sure, and relayed my wishes to our nurses on the morning of.

Our first birth story ended up writing itself pretty perfectly, and somewhat textbook. We chose to induce four days past our due date, with zero pressure from our OB. The induction went smoothly, and only took about 12 hours from beginning to end. I received pitocin, and an epidural, and after pushing for almost 3 hours, Adeline came screaming into the room and went immediately onto my chest.

Looking back, I have zero regrets. But like I mentioned earlier, this time around I think there are a few things I’d like to try to do differently. I’m not sure if this will be my last baby or not, and I want to make sure I’m able to get the experience I want and not feel like I should have done something else. Here are a few things I’d kind of like to do differently, just for experience sake.

Induction: I have no regrets about inducing Adeline. We truly believe if we had waited even another day, Adeline would have gotten too big and I may have ended up with an emergency C-section. After pushing for nearly 3 hours, and noticing her heart rate start to drop, a last minute episiotomy was the only way she finally budged. This time around though, I’d really like to experience going into labor naturally, on my own. I’d love to know what it’s like to start getting contractions, or have my water break, or have that moment of frantically rushing to the hospital! I just think it would be a different experience and something I’d like to try to be more patient for.

Epidural: I told myself last time that I’d wait as long as possible to get an epidural. I handled contractions just fine up until my doctor broke my water and then I realized how painful pitocin contractions really are! I lasted an hour and a half before I was begging for the drugs. This time though, since I’m hoping to not be induced again, I’m curious what natural contractions feel like, and would like to try and progress on my own as long as possible. I’d love to be able to walk around more and not feel so tethered to the bed.

Being Checked: My OB started doing dilation checks at 37 weeks. We found out I was 2 cm and 70% effaced. At my next appointment, we found out I was 3 cm and 80% effaced. “You could go into labor any day now!” I even had my membranes stripped at 39 weeks and again on my due date. And then I sat around until 40 weeks and 4 days. I didn’t know any better the first time around, and didn’t know how much more difficult it would be to constantly feel on edge and then disappointment at the end of every day when it didn’t happen! This time around, I’m thinking I don’t want to be checked until 39 weeks, or maybe even my due date.

Room Mood:  Our hospital room was pretty standard, and this isn’t really something that’s a big deal, but for this next labor and delivery I’d kind of like to make a playlist, bring my own blanket, and try to make it a little more relaxing in the room. I mean that isn’t really that possible, and I really don’t remember even caring about this the first time, but it’s just a though for #2!

Continuous Fetal Monitoring: I don’t remember if we had this or not but I’m assuming we did, especially since we were induced, and I went with an epidural. But this next time, if possible, I know there’s such a thing as intermittent fetal monitoring that allows you a little more flexibility during labor.

Nursery Time: This is something I go back and forth on, but I think a lot of hospitals have actually changed their policy since we had Adeline. I don’t regret sending Adeline to the nursery while we were in the hospital recovering, because it was totally a god send and a huge help. But, our new hospital’s policy may not even offer the nursery unless necessary. I really feel like there’s nothing wrong with sending baby to the nursery, but this time around I might like to send him away less. If that makes sense.

These aren’t big things, and I’m sure I’ll think of a million other things between now and then but this seemed like a good starting point. We aren’t planning on totally pulling a 180 and going midwife/all natural style, so really this post isn’t much of a revelation. But, still fun to think about and weigh our options! Of course we want basic things again like skin to skin, delayed cord clamping, and the magic hour with just us before they take the baby for any tests or measurements, etc. At the end of the day though, we just want a healthy baby and a safe delivery and I can’t WAIT to see God’s plan for it!

So I’m curious, what would YOU do differently the second/third/fourth time around? Do you have regrets or just want to change it up? Or DID you change it up and wish you hadn’t? Tell me everything!

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14 Comments

  • Reply
    Heather
    April 20, 2018 at 6:41 am

    I went into labor on my own with both and girl, those contractions are rough, ha. I would’ve taken the epidural at home if I could’ve, lol. But! It’s fun to rethink. I loved the skin to skin right away and going into labor on my own. I hope you get to experience that. I never really thought about being checked but I get what you mean with sitting on pins and needles. Definitely true. I definitely have no regrets about either labor, except maybe having my doctor in the room prior to Annabelle almost coming out , ha. Being told not to push was harder than pushing!
    Heather recently posted…My Top 5 Quick & Easy- Kid Friendly- Go To DinnersMy Profile

  • Reply
    Jana A
    April 20, 2018 at 7:53 am

    You know my birth stories! I was 10 days late with Jack, and our induction led to an emergency c-section. I then had a planned c-section with Savannah. I would have loved to experience a natural birth (with epidural, ha!) with both deliveries, but my body just does not dilate nor create natural contractions. I have never experienced a contraction that wasn’t pitocin led! I enjoy reading birth stories too because everyone’s is so different. Praying for a smooth, safe delivery for both you and baby boy!
    Jana A recently posted…Style After Babies.My Profile

  • Reply
    Hannah
    April 20, 2018 at 9:41 am

    I went into labor naturally with both my son and daughter and it really was such a beautiful experience. I know that it doesn’t always happen that way so I literally thank God all the time that I was able to do so. I also delivered both babies naturally and also wouldn’t change a thing. Essential oils, a diffuser, a hospital with a tub to labor in, and nurses and doctors who were excited to help me have a med free delivery were all a huge part of why I was able to do it natural. But the number one reason I was able to do it was I started praying as soon as I found out about my babies that God would give me strength to carry them and deliver them in the perfect way that HE had designed for me. I truly believe that he gave me the desire and strength to do what I did. My biggest piece of advice that I will continue to do with my future babies is to start praying early on for Gods will for your pregnancy and delivery. He will give you everything that you need and if you have a desire to do something, go for it, stick to your plan but also give yourself GRACE!

  • Reply
    Rachel
    April 20, 2018 at 9:48 am

    Love this post! And ALL the birth stories! I had intermittent monitoring and it was soso nice not being stuck in the bed. Baptist only has 1-2 units so here you have to ask for one and hope you can snag one. Hopefully your hospital has several! One thing I didn’t realize going in and wish I’d done even more of— you’re in charge of your hospital experience, birth, care, etc., it doesn’t have to just happen to you. Nurses are happy to make accommodations (usually) if you just ask for what you want. Ex: I hated having an IV in, so they took mine out an hour after delivery because the pain meds I was getting were also available in pill format

    Can’t wait to hear baby boys birth story!!!

  • Reply
    Tiffani
    April 20, 2018 at 11:52 am

    I’m due with my first in July so I’m at the “make a birth plan” stage too. Though, looks like mine is very similar to when you had Adeline (must be a FTM thing). Though, being terrified of all things medical, my OB and I have already decided to hold off on dilation checks until I hit my due date. Way less anxiety and I feel like I won’t be putting too much hope into “any day now” before my due date.

  • Reply
    Kelly T
    April 20, 2018 at 12:10 pm

    I love hearing birth stories (and sharing mine :)). With my first my water broke an hour before my scheduled induction, but contractions never started so I had Pitocin. The second one was also an induction. My third one I woke up from a nap at 39 weeks exactly and had some contractions. I noticed they were frequent so I started timing them and they were 3 minutes apart!! I had to text my SIL to see what I should (I wasn’t sure how long to wait before heading in to the hospital) We live 30 minutes from the hospital and had to drop off our kids at the grandparents first. We actually stopped to get supper since I had never gone into labor on my own and didn’t know how long it would last. From when I checked into the ER and the time I had him 16 minutes had passed. So glad we made it in time. HA It was probably about 3 hours from when I had my first contraction until he was born. That was my favorite. Just like you I wanted to experience “real” contractions and the rush to the hospital. It was also my easiest recovery since I had zero meds. They didn’t even have time to get an IV in me by the time I got up to the L&D floor.

  • Reply
    Emily
    April 20, 2018 at 1:15 pm

    My labor and delivery with Amelia was fine, but it was a whirlwind because I labored at home for 15 hours before my water broke, my contractions were very close together, and we rushed to the hospital. With Jack, I was praying that I wouldn’t feel that frantic. I ended up going into labor at 40 weeks 6 days, and it just worked out that I had my 41 week (ha) doctor’s appointment that day, so instead of having to go sit in triage, the doctor called for me and I was able to go straight to labor and delivery. I also asked for intermittent monitoring so I didn’t have to be strapped to the bed, and I loved it. In my experience second babies come much faster, I only had to push 10 minutes with him, thank goodness (he was big)! The other thing I did differently with him was encapsulate my placenta, which I’m also glad I did!

    I chose to decline all cervical checks with my second pregnancy too. I told my doctor ahead of time, around 35 weeks probably, and she wrote it in my chart, so no one ever bugged me about it or assumed I wanted it done. I love The Birth Hour too! The Pregtastic podcast is good too. It’s old, but I listened to all of those while I walked when pregnant with Amelia!

  • Reply
    Torrie
    April 20, 2018 at 2:14 pm

    Having never had pitocin, I can’t say from experience, but I HAVE heard from many different people (including hospital staff) that they DO tend to make your contractions more frequent, which would be hard to deal with for a long time. Many women who are able to go into labor without help often have some breaks between contractions, which definitely help to gear you up for the next one.

    I personally recommend that EVERY woman take a hypnobirthing/hypnobabies class (even if she wants an epidural), just because they’re so great at giving concrete things you can do to relax, both in preparation and during the labor itself. Also (not that it sounds like you have any anxiety), the class also helps to relieve the anxiety and fear that a lot of women experience around the idea of childbirth, esp. natural childbirth. Anyway, if a class is offered in your area, it might be worth considering. They usually recommend you take it at the beginning of your 3rd trimester and start practicing with the relaxation tapes right away. Just a thought!

    Like you said though, no matter how woman choose to have their babies, we are all rock stars for doing it!

  • Reply
    Melissa
    April 20, 2018 at 7:46 pm

    Love this topic. And that photo of you, oh man. Love it! I’m pretty sure you read both my birth stories too. I was all crunchy with Claire’s birth and wanted nothing to do with drugs. I got a drug free birth but tore badly and didn’t labor how I wanted when pushing (my hospital didn’t honor my wishes and I was really angry about that for a long time). Overall her birth seemed great at the time but Stella’s was MUCH easier. I honestly when into her labor without even writing out a birth plan, so the exact opposite of Claire’s birth. My goal was pretty much avoid a c section if possible but just wanted a healthy baby.

    I was much more lax because over time as you hear birth stories, you know nothing goes according to plan. Plus, I thought I got “lucky” with Claire’s birth and didn’t think I’d get as lucky a second time. I was in labor longer with Stella than I had been with Claire by the time I asked for an epidural. I thankfully did get to labor moving around for most of it (12 hours) and then spent the last 4 hours with an epidural and in bed. I went from being maybe 4 cm to pushing her out in 4 hours though, so the epidural was 100% the right choice for her birth. Hers seemed a lot easier even though I was in labor longer and my recovery was 100x better for sure.

    Both times I brought all my own things and that helps so much. Blankets, pillows, my own clothes even in labor. I also didn’t get checked the second time at all because it was pointless the first and I was also being told for weeks I’d have her any day now but didn’t. So discouraging! There’s no point!
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  • Reply
    The Curious Frugal
    April 21, 2018 at 6:14 am

    Before I got pregnant with my daughter I had been reading so many books about water births, midwives, birthing centers…fast forward to a high risk pregnancy and a bunch of choices were taken away. It had to be a hospital birth with continuous monitoring. Although sometimes I wonder how it would have felt if I was able to keep my original plans, I was incredibly grateful for the hospital, and everything that goes along with modern medicine and monitoring. There were a few slightly scary moments but overall everything went so well and I loved my birth experience 🙂

  • Reply
    Jessica
    April 23, 2018 at 7:48 am

    I love birth stories and reading other moms’ plans! I’m not sure if it has anything to do with my profession (biostatistician for a pharmaceutical company) or maybe I’m just a wimp, but I was all about that epidural! My water broke with my first with zero contractions and I was induced with my second – my uterus was apparently not as excited as I was to not be pregnant anymore! – and I got the epidural before they started pitocin both times. I have no idea what a contraction feels like, but I can tell you that the best naps of my pregnancy came in L&D and that the Tampa Bay Buccaneers blew a 34-0 lead to the Washington Redskins right before my son was born!

    I hope you have exactly the birth experience you hope for and that you have the sweetest memories of meeting your son for the first time!

  • Reply
    Amber
    April 24, 2018 at 2:57 pm

    My birth went almost exactly how I wanted it to go – all natural, no drugs! But I didn’t love my OB’s “this is how I do things” attitude when the final moments were happening. I am planning to look into the local birth center for my second and hope to deliver with a midwife, possibly as a water birth!

  • Reply
    Becca Sawyer
    May 2, 2018 at 3:00 pm

    I’m sure there are a million pregnancy blogs out there, but I follow Birth Without Fear (on Facebook) because I love birth stories and women empowering other women. You might like it too!

    • Reply
      Sarah
      May 16, 2018 at 1:53 pm

      I’ve heard of that! I need to check it out 🙂 Aren’t they fun to listen to?? Even if you’re nowhere near having a baby, they’re still beautiful!

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