Creating Your Ideal Birth Plan

This is a starting point, use the method of writing your birth plan that suits you and your family.  Dreaming is encouraged! Step out of reality a little bit and use your imagination.

alexander97“The first step in writing a birth plan is to dream.  Let go of all the ‘shoulds’ and pressing realities that circumscribe your choices. Let yourself visualize the perfect, ideal birth for you.  Trust that later you can add in reality.  Right now, let loose your feelings and your imagination.  It’s OK to invoke magic in your dream birth.  Think through all the stages of labor: early, active, pushing the baby into the world, and the first hour with your new baby […]. Get specific about the details.”

Natural Hospital Birth (2011) by Cynthia Gabriel

Dream

Write this dream down, be as specific as you can.  Have your partner dream too.  Talk about your dreams and begin the dialogue of what is a reality.

Discover

Next, take a look at one of the “check-box birth plans”.  Check all the boxes!  Mark everything you want, or don’t wantcheck all the boxes while creating your birth plan as the case may be.  
Use this tool to start your research.  Ask questions, google, read.  

Find out what procedures are common in your chosen birth location, and which ones are unlikely to happen no matter the situation.  

Create

Now take these two very different ideas of a birth plan, both of which may be several pages long, and begin to reconcile the differences.  Chat with your care provider, your doula, your friend who has had a baby in the location you have chosen, or your mom or sister.  Work with someone who is familiar with local birth policies and make your final birth plan.  Ideally this plan is one page, uses positive language (“I would like…”, “I prefer…” etc, rather than “I don’t want…”, “Don’t do…”) and expresses your desires in a kind, yet firm way.  
There is no need to compromise at this point in your birth process, there will be plenty of time for that if a need arises while IN LABOR.  If you would like to avoid pitocin, don’t say “I would like to avoid pitocin, unless XYZ…” Instead say “I would like to avoid pitocin, I have other labor enhancing methods I would like to try in the event that there is a need”.
Sit with it for a few days, revisit it and make changes as you need. This is not a document you will necessarily be able to finish in a day, or even a week. Take your time. Print a few copies, put them in your birth bag. Now forget about it.

Printable PDF version of this post is here –> CreatingyourBirthPlan

I get to teach! Birth and the First Three Months

Update!  I am no longer teaching for Pregnancy Arts as Deb has retired from CBE and commenced her career as a Certified Nurse Midwife!  It’s very exciting for her, and our area is very lucky to have her in that roll.  Therefore, I will continue teaching at Ypsi-Arbor Childbirth Education, Ariana and my joint venture.  Check us out!

It’s happening!

I get to teach childbirth education! This has been a dream for awhile, and while I have taught a few private classes here and there, I haven’t found a class model that I really wanted to teach in a group setting. Well, that’s not quite true, but the style of class I wanted to teach was already being taught, and by a Man_150x390fabulous, inspirational teacher.
Deb Rhizal, of Pregnancy Arts and Mara’s World, a doula, mother, and wellness coach, has the most fantastic, evidence-based, and feel good class I have attended. So much of her class has gone directly to my clients, as I try to emulate the feelings I left her class with, and share them with new families as they ask me questions about what to expect, and how to manage labor, birth, and the postpartum time.
Recently, Deb has been super busy with all sorts of new life adventures and letting go of the 6 week course was a necessary change to her schedule. I jumped on the opportunity! I believe this class, Birth and the First Three Months is important to have in our local Childbirth Education resource list. I think that it is essential to have available to help families really prepare, to be empowered to make the right choices for them and their birth.  So, I asked if there was a way I could be entrusted with her curriculum, and continue to share it with the community.  And she said YES! 40-weeks-pregnant-term-internal-large
The reason this class is so great is that it does an amazing job of speaking to all people.  We all come to pregnancy and birth from a different place, with different stories, and different belief structures.  This class can speak to everyone, from those planning a home birth, to those who feel most comfortable in the care of an OB.  It covers labor and birth, but also the postpartum time, as families really do the hard work of adjusting to the major changes that come when you add another (tiny) person into the fold.  This class is truly about encouraging women to do their research, both by reading, and asking questions, but also by looking inside and seeing what feels best.
babyandsacinfoSo, here we are, just a month away from the start of class, and I am so excited!  I am working on perfecting my presentations, and getting some feedback as I go along.  It is going to happen, and I am so honored to get to work for Pregnancy Arts in this way.  Check out all the great information Deb has on her website about the class, and please let your friends know that there is a really great class starting up again this fall!   Registration is on the Pregnancy Arts website.  I will be teaching at Indigo Forest in Ann Arbor.
Deb also teaches this class in a condensed version, as well as a breastfeeding class.  Check those out too!