Let me make this clear, no labor or delivery is 100% pain-free. It just isn’t a reality. If that’s what you’re thinking about having, you’re living in denial. With that said, I refused to have any unnecessary pain. Before getting pregnant, I never thought much about birth plans. Who can really plan a birth, anyway? It’s not something we have much control over. When I found out I was having a baby, there was only one thing I knew for sure… I was having an epidural, and any other pain medication the hospital would provide.
Throughout your nine months of pregnancy, you’re going to hear many outside opinions about your birth plan. Don’t take it too personally. People like to share. It doesn’t have to be a negative experience. My opinion? Don’t go asking for advice from moms you don’t know (i.e., Facebook Groups). It may not seem like it, but there a lot of options available to mothers-to-be today. It isn’t as simple as having the baby in a hospital or at home. Now we have birthing centers, home options, hospitals, and there are even hybrid birthing center centers within individual hospitals.
Then there’s medication. You have two options: medication or no-medication. Here’s a fact for you. Over 80% of women who say they want an unmedicated birth to have a medicated birth. Only a small percentage of those women actually have to have medication due to complications or a necessary c-section. So, if you’re thinking that the majority of women have a “natural” experience, you couldn’t be more wrong. Another fact? A lot of these women lie about their experience. I spoke to countless mothers who said they labored and delivered without medication. After some time of talking, their stories changed. I don’t blame them. There’s still a ridiculous stigma about wanting medication. Like it’s lesser of experience or somehow less noble. Bullshit. There are so many medication options. Epidural is not your only option. Here are a few:
- Laughing Gas (Nitrous oxide)
- Narcotics (Pethidine)
- Spinal Block
- Pudendal Block (Basically local anesthetic in your vagina)
- Water Birth
- Birthing Balls
- Basically Nothing
I made us attend a birth class. I was hoping it would be helpful, and I guess it was a little bit. But, for the most part, it was 2 hours where I made Brad focus on having a baby. That was the real reason I made us go. By the time taking a class would be beneficial, I already knew I was having an epidural. However, I didn’t know about the alternatives (mentioned above) until I was in one of our sessions.
If you’re worried about taking an epidural – don’t be. Yes, sometimes things go wrong. I know a woman, personally, who had every possible bad thing happen with her epidural (and she would still do it again). There’s nothing to be scared about. In 1991 my mother had me, at the age of 42, via C-section. So I grew up with a very pro-epidural mother, and I’m glad I did. There are a lot of reasons I think going medication-free is ridiculous, but the bottom line is I wasn’t taking that route.
Birth Plan Conclusion
If you want to have control over your birth, keep your plan simple! The smaller your plan, the more likely it is to be followed. Deliveries are not easy, but they really can be enjoyable. If you’re read all this, and you’re still wondering what my plan looked like, here it is.
- Small Hospital Bag
- Eat Food/Drink Coffee
- Get to the Hospital Early
- Immediately receive epidural
- Have Baby
I’m not kidding; that was my plan. Did it work out that way? Almost perfectly, with one little hic-up. Notice I didn’t mention wanting a vaginal birth or not? How can that be in my plan? Honestly, keep the plans short and to things, you can control. I knew I could get an epidural. And I knew arriving at the hospital early would ensure that I would not miss the window of time that allowed me to get the medication. DO NOT MAKE THAT MISTAKE.
I know of 3 women waiting to get to the hospital because they needed to labor at home, waiting to be dilated enough. Screw that. Go to the hospital. Get into your room, settle down, and start relaxing. Don’t think about your birth process as a “hospital trip.” Think of it as a mini-vacation. It’s going to be the last one for a while, anyway. Enjoy it, Mom. Like everything in motherhood today – keep it simple!