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My own birth plan

Updated: Sep 20, 2023

I thought I would write about my birth plan in case it helps anyone else to plan out their own. This is in draft at the moment.

My own birth plan, which was a home birth, was created:

  • using conversations with my two community midwives both of whom saw me throughout the pregnancy and were around for the home birth. One of them had homebirthed her own children and the other had no children and our birth was the first homebirth she attended.

  • reading specialist books such as Spiritual Midwifery by midwife and birth advocate Ina May Gaskin

  • using the website of Angela Horn (a midwife who created a home birth resource online)

  • talking to other mothers and wise women who had the type of birth I wanted including freebirthers and other homebirthers

  • and attending classes with my birth counsellor and author Gill Thorne.

My birth plan started to develop after learning that a) the hospital where I would be allocated to had problems with bullying and was under review (yes as in midwives bullying other professionals AND patients!) and then b) being told that my antenatal classes were after my due date! I realised that I was not going to have what I thought unless I learned what I wanted and how to achieve that myself.

I did a lot of preparation. I am a researcher by nature and read every book I could on birthing including midwife texts. I also believe that women talking and sharing with other mamas is very helpful if they talk about their positive experiences about what worked. Although negative experiences need sharing this needs to be in a therapeutic environment rather than stories that give fear to expectant mothers and may disempower them.

I had a dreadful early pregnancy because I had HG so could only go out late at night to move around as earlier in the day into early evening I was vomiting everywhere. I got very low from it and I had burst blood vessels all over my face and upper chest from retching so much but when I hit the 6 month mark it changed and I enjoyed having my freedom. I was walking a lot, did yoga and attended antenatal classes with Gill Thorne who was an author and NCT birth counsellor. I learned loads from her about my rights and also about positioning, breathing, visualising and finding an inner calm and attitude. I also learned about massaging down below and the wonders of sitting on the toilet whilst massage my perineum. I even hiked up into the South Downs at 8 months which is not always feasible for everyone if they have pelvic issues (thankful that I did not).

The Environment

I chose a homebirth for a myriad of reasons which included wanting to be in charge of the environment I was in because the hospital where I would have to have given birth was having issues with bullying and poor birth outcomes. I remember being concerned about how I was going to explain to someone I wanted to go home if I went into labour.

I did want calming classical music but I then found it too much so I found it did not work for the last part and it was just easier to wander around with it and go "into myself" to focus on breathing and feeling the energy build up.

I wanted to be in charge of the environment and feel it was somewhere I felt at home so home made the most sense.

Birth companions

I wanted my midwives that had seen us all the way through. They knew I wanted a fairly hands off approach and I did not want inducing. I had a trust in them and they were both really lovely and respectful and even attended for my daughter's first birthday. I also wanted my partner there.

I had one midwife who I had never seen before come around a few days before I went into labour. I disliked her immediately and she was starting to use medical intervention terminology for no good reason and saying things that made me feel upset. She was a condescending person who had not read my birth plan and then when I told her what was on it she laughed and said "A girl like you will be screaming for an epidural". After she left I burst into tears because she lied and told me my regular midwives were not available (this I found out later was a lie). After a conversation on the phone with my birth counsellor my partner phoned up the hospital and told them if she came anywhere near me again I would take legal action and we would sue. She was horrid. I feel it is very important to not have anyone at your birth that you distrust or dislike and legally you are in your rights to ban people from attending your birth.

Pain Relief

The midwives dropped off some weeks before the birth some laughing gas. I said I did not want any other pain relief in terms of medication but would rather manage the birth by movement, breathing and visualisation. I did not use the gas as decided against it.

The birth

For labour I wanted an active birth where I could move around freely. We could not afford a birthing pool and did not have the room for it either. We had a tiny shower room rather than a bathroom which involved stepping over the toilet to get into the shower but I found the warm water very useful on my back and I was in and out during the earlier stages.

I had a birth ball but found that the back of the sofa was an easier position for me to work with. In the end I crouched down on all fours on the carpet (which was covered in the waterproof linens the midwives had brought) and pushed my baby out that way.

I asked that I did not want an episiotomy but would rather tear naturally (I think all my over the toilet massage for weeks and weeks helped that as I only had a very minor grade issue and not even a full tear).

Third Stage

I did not know about delayed cord clamping so if I was to birth now I would have asked for that so all the cord blood can be inside baby.

I also did not know enough about the placenta. If I was to birth now I would have liked to have kept it and had it encapsulated or even have considered a lotus birth.

Care of the baby

I wanted to breastfeed and asked for immediate skin to skin contact with my daughter.

I refused to have the Vitamin K injection for my little one and instead relied on eating leafy greens and also now I know more about nutrition I would have definitely eaten more liver postnatally. I refused the heel prick test as well.

Please note this is not intended to be medical advice. Birth is a very personal matter and whether it is a homebirth, a freebirth in the middle of a field in a teepee or a planned caeserean section then it is about making a choice based on decisions that you need to make based on evidence, and your knowledge of yourself.

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