26 Weeks: Birth Wish List

We all know that birth plans are ideal scenarios that rarely go as hoped for.

Thus, this is my birth wish list. Some of these things are complete unknowns (because I don’t really know what my labor will be like), and I’m writing down for for the sake of putting them on paper for my doula and Matt and sorting my thoughts. When I met with Jen this past weekend, we talked over a lot of these things so we would be on the same page. But I’m also writing them out because it was helpful for me to read birth plan options earlier so I knew what questions to ask at the childbirth class about our hospital and helped me think through an ideal atmosphere and approach to labor.

Please note that I recognize that with all births, the health of the baby (and mom) always comes first! This wish list applies to a normal labor.



I’d like to stay at home with my doula, Jen, there with me for as long as we feel comfortable

I’d like to keep myself hydrated and fueled with light snacks, coconut water and water throughout labor

I would like to be encouraged to move into as many positions as possible for optimal pelvis opening and baby movement

I’d like for my coaches to read encouragement from Ina May’s book regarding the mind-body connection

I’d like lots of photos taken to remember the day even if they are just for Matt and me : )

I’d like some jokes made to lighten the mood and help me relax

I’d like to listen to soothing music (MJH has wifi for Pandora!)

At The Hospital

I consent to the blood typing upon admission, will likely leave IV in my arm (you all convinced me of the seriousness of this, but if it really bothers me I might have it taken out)

I prefer not to be offered pain medication or an epidural

I want to be free to move or walk around

I’d like to wear my own clothes

I’d like to get in the tub!

I would like to avoid an episiotomy as much as possible

I do not want my water broken unless absolutely required

If my labor goes beyond a day and/or Jen and I feel I would benefit from a rest, epidural discussion begins

Delivery + Postpartum

I would like to touch the baby’s head during crowning

I would like to use a mirror so I can see the delivery

I would like skin-to-skin contact upon birth on my chest and plenty of time thereafter

I’d like to try nursing right after birth

In the event of a C-section, I’d like Matt to be with the baby as soon as possible and have the baby be skin-to-skin-fur

I would like to allow time for the umbilical cord to stop pulsating before it is cut so the baby gets all remaining cord blood. And I would like to donate the cord blood if there is any left to do so.

I would like Matt to cut the umbilical cord

I want to keep my placenta!!!

I’d like to have the baby’s first bath in the room and participate if possible

I’d like to postpone the eye drop antibiotics for several hours

Vitamin K shot is a yes

I do not want my baby circumcised

I’d like to spend as much time with my baby as possible during my hospital stay

And if in the mood, I’d like to drink a homebrew :mgreen:




Car Seat Safety

Goodie Goodie Gumdrops

Bump At The Beach


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232 thoughts on “26 Weeks: Birth Wish List”

  1. Nice plan! I think setting an intention is so important. Even though you know things could change, having your wishes thought out and written down and shared with the people who will be your support can help ground you.
    Interesting about the IV, they did that to my mom back when she was giving birth 40 years ago, I didn’t think they still did that. But, both my sisters had each of their 2 kids at home, so no IVs there!

  2. Great list! I definitely think it is important to have it all written out because your emotions will be running high and things will happen so quickly. My husband did not get a chance to cut the umbilical cord, it really all happened so fast and we both just assumed that the nurse would offer it to him ( normally they do), and he missed the chance and we were both very disappointed. I wish I had written that down so we could have made certain it happened.

    1. That happened when our twin girls were born too. We wrongly assumed the doc would ask my husband if he wanted to cut the cords. We talked about how exciting that would be for him, his one part that would be his alone. But both girls were born so quickly, I don’t think our brains processed the whole thing and we missed the opportunity too. I wish we’d written a few of these things out for sure.

  3. Nice! I call mine my wish list also. About the IV – I am a critical care nurse and have gotten IV access in super sick patients in emergencies. Believe me, a laboring healthy woman is the easiest stick. If you find it doesn’t bother you then great, but if it does get it out and don’t fret. I am due in 4 days (eek!) and am GBS positive, so I have to get IV antibiotics, but after my two doses if that IV is really bugging me it’s getting pulled. Ask them to place it in the top of your forearm for optimal comfort.

  4. Nice plan! For some reason the thought of laboring at home scares me. Although I guess it would be less scary with a doula.
    Can I ask what you are planning to wear at the hospital?
    Also, my doctor sometimes lets laboring mothers actually deliver/catch their baby. My sister in law was allowed to lean forward and pull the baby out! Might be something you want to ask about.

          1. Ahhh, my sports bras don’t have hooks! I struggle getting them off because they are so tight to support my large chest!

          2. Believe me, when you’re in labor, you’re not going to care about being nude. I’m extremely insecure with my body and actually had an outfit I was planning to wear, and when I was in labor, I didn’t care jack and was completely nude.

            I also had a homebirth. No chance of pain meds, husband got to cut the cord (midwives generally presume the dads, if present, want to), and of course we got the placenta. Hospitals rarely are allowed to let parents have them since they’re seen as a biohazard.

            I think you need to look into having a midwife. I was in my third trimester when I left my OB/GYN and got a midwife. It’s not too late.

            1. We only have one midwife here – she’s booked.

              My hospital seems to be very up to date with things like placentas and cord cutting. These were not issues when I brought them up at our childbirth class. You just have to communicate them. That’s why we have a doula. She also is fine with my OBGYN and the hospital’s practices.

      1. Every woman I’ve talked to ended up wanting to wear something different when they were in labor. I thought I was going to wear my own clothes, but once things got going, I spent most of my time in the tub and wanted as little on me was comfortable. Pants were annoying to me, not because they did a lot of cervical checks (I think I had 3 total in 12 hours of labor), but because things get a bit leaky. I ended up throwing on a hospital gown (that I didn’t bother to tie up) near the end/afterward, that was more for other people’s sensibilities than my own. If I do it again, I’ll probably do nothing or just a nursing bra.

        I think having the flexibility to chose what is most comfortable to you in the moment is key, so it’s great that you have that request written down!

      2. Just don’t wear anything you love or is your favorite. You might not be able to wear it ever again, or at least not stain free 🙂

  5. You have a great plan, and I like how it’s separated by phases. Any thoughts you want to share pro/con on circumcision? We’re expecting a baby boy in September and are leaning the other direction, and I’m wondering what information you may have found that swayed you one way or the other. Thanks!

  6. Would you mind sharing your and Matt’s reasons for not wanting the circumcison? I’m just curious what the pros and cons are circumcison and I’m assuming you’re researched it!

          1. Have you seen or taken into account any of the research about the health benefits of circumcision? Or did you just not agree that they were benefits? I’m just curious.

            You also understand that you just labeled the practice of an entire religion “inhumane” right?

            1. I’ve read up on it and don’t see any benefits. The majority of babies born in this era are not circumcised.

              I apologize if I offended anyone who has chosen it. I’ve watched videos of the practice and just can’t justify it for our own son. If you have a religious reason for the preference, that is totally fine with me.

              1. Kudos to being able to watch the circumcision videos. I’m currently a nursing student and I observed one in person. It was, by far, the most awful experience of my very short nursing career. No judgement for anyone’s personal choices. I just didn’t enjoy watching the events unfold.

                1. I volunteered in a newborn nursery as a pre-nursing school student and while, yes it was graphic (and it definitely is not an enjoyable thing to watch), the baby cried briefly, was then swaddled, and after that, was completely fine. I don’t think there are any men out there who still feel traumatized by this procedure which occured within hours of their birth. I think this is a personal decision, period.

                  I understand talking about wish lists about births and writing about your experience being pregnant, but I don’t understand why so many bloggers have to get so detailed in publicizing their views on such personal decisions. Why not just keep these decisions private and leave them off them blog entirely? There are so many other things that could be written about instead. I don’t think it ever leads to anything good, but intensely heated comment sections where people end up feeling bullied or judged…

                  1. AMEN LAURA!! I couldn’t have said it better. And as a mom of 4 kids ages 10,9,6 and 2 you choose to do what is right for you but have the quiet confidence to know its not always information that needs to be shared. Plus, by the time you get ready to deliver your baby, most women are just wanting the baby OUT even if it means pulling it out of your ear.

                    Based on my experience, I also have to add that when you set yourself up for certain VERY specific expectations, you are also setting yourself up for disappointment. (I have to believe that Kath likes a little debate now and then bc she seems to knid of invite this type of chatter here)

                  2. As a blogger who has written and continues to write extensively about specific parenting decisions my family has made or believes in, I want to respond to this question.

                    While I have talked about circumcision, breastfeeding, and a host of other controversial topics, the one I am going to use as an example is my family’s decision to cloth diaper. This is a decision that, to the best of my knowledge, is not particularly controversial – nobody really cared how we handled baby poop and I don’t really care how other people do. I’ve never met someone who is an activist for elimination communication, cloth diapering, or disposable diapering – and I’ve never met anyone who advocates for any of those to the point of offending other people who make different choices.

                    I wrote extensively about cloth diapering while my daughter was still diapered because it was a huge part of my parenthood. Learning about cloth diapering options and how to make our decision a reality was a huge learning curve and one that continued for several weeks postpartum. And by writing about it, I was able to learn from my readership. When I was ready to throw in the towel, I wrote about cloth diapering and people spoke up. My readers – not my friends, not my family, but my blog readers – taught me how to manage diaper laundry, gave me links to the types of diapers they used (it was a reader who suggested the brand of cloth diaper that ultimately worked for us), and encouraged me to work toward accomplishing that goal. It seems insignificant, but being able to say I DID IT about something I almost gave up on was a really big deal to me in that first year and writing about it was important to me because where I encountered criticism in “real life,” I usually encountered support and solutions online.

                    In turn, my listening to readers and answering their questions about our cloth diapering journey built a relationship between us. I learned to listen more closely to their advice about other topics, to click on their links, and to trust both their criticisms and their support. That community made me a better mother, a more open-minded and better-educated person, and it made me a stronger blogger.

                    The same is true for the times when I’ve written about our beliefs with regards to circumcision, breastfeeding, multilingualism, homeschooling, and other hot-button topics as well as for the times when I’ve written about our beliefs with regards to organic gardening, babywearing, and eschewing screen time, none of which are nearly as potentially upsetting. The one and only time that I have truly regretted writing about a hot-button issue was my decision to write about vaccinations after my vaccinated daughter, who has a biological inability to build titers to pertussis, contracted whooping cough from an unvaccinated playmate. I was not as kind as I could have and should have been because I was highly emotional and I regretted that I did not present the topic fairly. So a few days later, I went back online and I apologized. I reached out to people who felt differently than I did and apologized to them personally and asked them to pass along resources that informed their decisions so that I would be less likely to make the same mistake in the future, and I’ve spent the six months since learning more about the topic than I ever thought possible. In the end, I would say that even though I wish I’d handled that topic and situation better, good still came of it. I am better educated for it – both about vaccines and about how important it is to respect other peoples’ choices – and when you know better, you do better.

                    I think the truth of the matter is that bloggers who write about controversial topics have a wide range of motives, but I guarantee that some of us are not in it to hurt people. I’m in it to fairly represent my parenthood, to learn from the Internet community, and to better understand and respect the choices that differ from my own.

              2. In response to “The majority of babies born in this era are not circumcised.” This statistic is actually quite misleading. The data that supports this is actually taken from hospitals in the period after birth while the mother and baby are in the hospital. It is true, that during this time, more babies are left uncircumcised. It doesn’t, however, take into account all of the babies that are circumcised by their pediatrician after leaving the hospital. When you combine both statistics, circumcised babies do still make up the majority. In no way am I taking a stance on either side, simply clarifying.

              3. It’s funny that this issue should pop up today, as I was just researching it last night for our own baby boy (due in October). On Tuesday, my husband and I went to a baby care class at the hospital I’ll be delivering in. And while we’d (the husband and I) already discussed not circumcising, the topic came up in there as well.

                The majority of baby boys, WORLDWIDE, are not circumcised. There is a great publication put out by the WHO that estimates male circumcision to be roughly 30% worldwide. http://whqlibdoc.who.int/publications/2007/9789241596169_eng.pdf if you’re interested.

                I was raised Jewish, and traditionally Jews circumcise boys. It’s sort of viewed as a rite of passage, a commandment. However, there are tons of people in the Jewish community who are deciding NOT to circumcise their children. Traditionally, parents have a bris or Brit Milah, which is the ceremonial circumcision of a baby boy. This is also the time a child receives their Hebrew name (a very important part of Jewish Tradition). For those parents who do not want to circumcise their little boys, they have the option (although it’s not nearly as widely practiced) of an alternative ceremony called a Brit Shalom. This is more to allow for the baby naming to occur. Again, if you’re interested: http://www.beyondthebris.com/2012/04/choosing-brit-shalom-over-brit-milah.html

                And finally, in total support of Kath and Matt’s decision for keeping their little boy uncircumcised, I offer this: according to the AAP (the American Academy of Pediatrics) they believe that there are various benefits and risks involved, but have not found the scientific evidence to be sufficient enough to recommend making circumcision a routine procedure. It’s not harming the child if it’s not done. In fact, they basically leave it up to the parents to decide what is right for their child. The AAFP (the American Academy of Family Physicians) has some awesome statistics of the rates of communicable and infectious diseases related to circumcising vs. not circumcising… the risk is almost negligible and again the organization leaves it to the parents, in consult with their pediatricians, to decide what they will do.

                In the end, whether or not you decide to have this procedure done is up to you and your spouse. If your decisions are based on various cultural, traditional, or scientific ideology, again is up to you and is your right as a parent.

              4. Just a note…my brother was not and ended up needing to be circumcised at 15 due to the large number of infections he got as a child. The procedure was MUCH more painful and traumatizing at 15 than it would have been as an infant. Just something to consider.

                1. I really dont care one way or another if you have your child circumcised, even though we did our son. But being I work at a hospital I will say Im always suprised at how many men come in and have to be circumcised.

            2. Is it just me because I did not see Kath use the word “inhumane’ anywhere! If you don’t want to read other peoples opinions or decisions, then don’t read them!

            3. I’m not siding one way or the other or saying that circumcision is inhumane. This is a general side note. “You also understand that you just labeled the practice of an entire religion ‘inhumane’ right?” Just because a whole religion or group of people does something doesn’t mean it makes it rignt and humane. Sorry, but I don’t like that logic.

              1. Agree 100% with your statement “just because a whole religion or group of people does something doesnt mean it makes it right and humane.”

        1. It’s removal of a part of a baby boy’s penis without any real health benefits. Watch one being done. Look up videos. Tell me is that screaming sounds like a humane procedure. It wasn’t common in American until it was decided late in the 19th century that boys would remember the pain of a circumcision as a teenager and not want to masturbate.

        1. I love this hot topic. I did have my son circumcised, and will admit that our biggest motivator was that we didn’t want our son to look at his and then look at daddy’s (which is) and think that something was wrong with his anatomy. I also have a nephew that was not circumcised that decided when he was 13 that he wanted to be circumcised to be like all his friends, and it was much harder on him that it would have been as an infant.

          HOWEVER, if I had it to do over again, I would NOT have had it done. The minute they came to get my son and take him to do it, I was devastated and felt like the worst mother ever sending my newborn off to be cut on. I cried and cried, and I couldn’t stop telling my son I was sorry when they brought him back to me (at which time he seemed fine). When the numbing agent wore off, my son went on hunger strike and would not nurse for almost 12 hours after that. The nurses laughed it off and said that all little boys do that after being circumcised. Wish someone would have told me that before hand.

          That’s my story, and my regret. I say kuddos to you for deciding not to.

          1. I think you’ll regret not doing it more than doing it. Sure you can wait and let him make his choice to do it when he’s 13 but he won’t ever remember it happening so young. He’s going to feel awkward in the future. Guaranteed.

            1. Oh please. Stats show nearly 45% of boys born in the US after 2003 are NOT circumcised. I guess half of boys are going to feel “awkward.”

              Circ’ing is going out of style fast.

            2. My 39 year old bf is 100% okay with not being circumcised. And he has been all his life. There is nothing awkward about it.

              1. I understand some men are comfortable with it but my ex boyfriend said he felt embarrassed growing up since he was the only one in school with his foreskin. He considered having it removed as an adult and has said there is no way he would ever not circumcise his son.

                I personally don’t know where I fall on the issue. I think it would end up being a discussion between my husband and I when the time comes. I just think it’s a tough decision either way because some people feel self-conscious about it and others don’t and it is not possible to tell whether or not your child will want it in the future when you give birth and have to make the decision.

                Last thought…..I appreciate you putting all this out there, Kath. I have learned a lot from this post and it really made me think. So thank you 🙂

            3. I’ve got two uncircumcised brothers. We’re close and I’m interested in public health barriers so I asked them if being uncircumcised was ever awkward for them. They said it wasn’t . Any snide remarks on others part were quickly met with “why do you care so much about my penis?”

              And I once overheard them talking about how much someone would have to pay them to part with their foreskin if the procedure were pain free. One of them settled on 2 million, and the other wouldn’t part with it for any price because it feels nice. And from personal experience, I can say that pleasure isn’t one sided.

            4. This is so silly. Maybe it has to do with the region/country your born in but I know that my boyfriend and all of my friends significant others are not circumcised. It’s definitely the norm to be uncircumcised way up here in Canada! I remember my boyfriend telling me a story once about a guy he played hockey with that was circumcised and all of the guys were totally grossed out about it ! haha
              I guess it goes both ways…

              1. I wouldn’t say it’s the norm in Canada. I live in Canada and my boyfriend and most of his and my male friends I know are circumcised. The ones that aren’t were unfortunately made fun of by the circumcised guys when we were in high school. And actually one of my guy friends was circumcised at 19. I don’t really have an opinion either way on whether circumcision is a good or bad thing, just thought that I’d point out that I’m Canadian also, and I don’t see an uncircumcised trend here in Canada.

            5. My husband is intact. My first “serious” boyfriend was circumcised. Until my husband and I became involved, I never questioned circumcision. Now I don’t understand any reason TO do it – it’s certainly not any dirtier and he’s never had a UTI during our relationship. Also in my experience, without going into detail, there seems to be a drastic difference in sensitivity that makes me feel sad for my ex and other circumcised men. Aesthetically, they’re both pretty ugly, but it’s not like I’m going to take a picture of it to frame and hang in my house. Awkwaaaard.

              I asked my husband before if he’d ever undergone teasing, and he basically just said “Why would I wave my penis around other boys? That’s gay, and they’re gay if they’re looking at it.” Maybe a pretty childish response, but he does make a point 😛

              1. I’m gonna use that with my son, who is also not circumcised! Its about 50/50 right now, so I imagine that gym showers won’t be awkward. Also, in my experience, I try not to make eye contact with anyone in the locker room. Can it be that different for boys?

                How we decided: we were both a little leery, and both my ob/gyn and baby’s ped had no real opinion about whether to or not to. When my dad told us he was uncircumcised (born in the 40s via midwife at home), it gave us our out. We didn’t do it in Grandpa’s honor! When in reality, we didn’t do it because we couldn’t because we couldn’t cause our newborn pain, however slight, however well practiced our physicians were – but culturally we felt we couldn’t say that. Ultimately, we will teach him good hygiene and expect he will be fine.

              2. LOL! “but it’s not like I’m going to take a picture of it to frame and hang in my house. Awkwaaaard.”

                that cracked me up!!

          2. To anyone that has read this please look into getting a Mohel that is a OB or a pediatrician as well. Do not let them do the circumcision in the Hospital. Every time a friend had it done in a hospital there was an issue or a reaction like the one written above. I convinced my friends that where not Jewish to go the Mohel/Ped-OB route and could not believe how things went from the Hospital experience the first time around. Totally different, Baby barley cried at all and Mom was not traumatized either.
            Also my Sister-in-law’s Boyfriend had to get circumcised at age 9 because he kept getting infections. Remember boys aren’t that great at keeping things clean. Skid marks is just one example;)
            The foreskin was meant to protect the head of the penis when we did not where pants(cave men) we do not need it anymore especially that we wear pants and under wear. (Dark moist places not a good thing)
            Also keep in mind the issues they are having in Africa with the AIDS/HIV spreading through un-circumcised men as well.
            Just something to think about.

      1. The only pro I heard was that he won’t feel different. I just couldn’t justify cutting off part of my sons body to fit in, you know? Kudos to you for being outspoken enough to blog about it! I really think if more people think critically about it, it will become less common and our boys won’t be out of place at all. 🙂

  7. I think writing out your hopes for a healthy labor and delivery is so great! I love how open minded you are to everything!

  8. Everything on here looks really great (and you are brave for putting it out there!)
    One thing I will say about your first wish is that traveling in the car in active labor can be really tough. Your doula will have good advice about when to go in, but being in the car while you’re contracting every 2-3 minutes can be tough. I was very glad to be settled into the hospital to stay when things really started picking up. And to give you some perspective, I was in active first stage labor for only 7 hours as a first time mom.
    And good for you about the circumcision 🙂 I am so happy to see that you made that choice. I think it will teach a lot of people something very important.
    You can delay the bath for a long time! Our daughter didn’t have hers until the second day in our room. She hated it 🙂

      1. You should look into getting a Tummy Tub for his first bath! I use them in my infant massage classes and babies LOVE them so much more than the flat tubs where they get cold and are exposed. It feels just like the womb to them and they usually do what’s called “unfolding” as soon as they are set in it. A lot of hospitals in Europe use them for this very reason. You can go on YouTube and look up Tummy Tubs and watch lots of vids on it.

        Also, it’s good for the baby to not be bathed for the first few days since they have amniotic fluid on them that contains the same smell as your breastmilk and it helps them to assimilate to finding the breast and feeding. This is the same reason why newborn often suck on their hands in the first few moments after birth. It’s all really quite amazing and it all has a reason. My third son who was born at home didn’t get a bath until he was a week old. I always joke and say that they haven’t been rolling around in mud for the past 9 months 🙂

        Also know that bathing them can and often does lower their body temp and this can lead to the nurses wanting to take the baby and put them under the warmer for awhile. Obviously we know skin-to-skin is much more effective than the warmer but in the hospital, that’s not usually how they see it so it can lead to an unnecessary separating of mom and baby in that first day.

  9. Sounds just like my wish list almost 2 years ago! I am intrigued (and nosy ;-): what will you do with the placenta??

        1. Yes, I’m very interested in this! I had a bit of the baby blues when my son came home and I do wonder if ingesting the placenta would have helped. I don’t think I’d mix it up in a smoothy (as I saw a woman on tv do) but I think I might have been able to take it in pill form.

        2. If you want more information on it, I know Caitlin from Healthy Tipping Point has done a post on it as well!

  10. I think that’s a very doable list. I had to have an IV because i was positive for strep B and i thought it would drive me nuts, but i didn’t really notice it once i started concentrating on pushing. The skin to skin contact i missed out on with my first son, but did it with my second and he began nursing right away-very special 🙂

  11. You mention that you’d like to delay the eye drop antibiotics, just curious why you want to get them at all? Since they’re only really in case of infection from STD’s it seems that most “natural” moms, myself included, forego these altogether with no consequence.

  12. Very happy to hear about the circumcision (or lack there of). Good for you for being educated on this mutilation issue!

    1. I think “inhumane” and “mutilation” are pretty strong words. Please consider the fact that many loving parents have had their children circumsized, myself included, and it is hurtful to insinuate that I somehow mutilated my child. Kath, I respect your personal decisions and I would never use such harsh words to explain why.

      1. What I meant to say was that I respect your decisions, don’t necessarily agree with all of them, but I would never use such harsh words to explain why. You can disagree, but don’t be so harsh about it.

      2. I agree with Amanda. Can we just accept that this is a decision that is very personal, between the parents, and probably shouldn’t even be blog fodder? I can’t imagine discussing the future state of my son’s penis on the Internet. But that’s probably neither here nor there. I’m the mom of four boys and would never presume that others would or should make the same decision i did regarding this issue. As has been pointed out, for a large segment of the population it’s a religious matter.

  13. It is good to have a plan and an idea of what you want before going in. It will be interesting to see how many things go out the window in the heat of the moment. I remember realizing how much of my list I didn’t really care about when it came right down to it or you are so fatigued you can’t think.

    I left the circumcision decision to my husband and he said do it.

  14. Something to be aware of (and perhaps your doula has talked about it) but after about 32 weeks it is very important that you do what you can to keep the baby from turning sunny side up. That means no reclining on the couch, lots of time leaning forward draped over a birth ball and as much time as possible spent with elbows on the ground and butt in the air. I did this diligently and my labor was only 7.5 hours total. My doula attributed it to the baby being in the perfect position for optimal delivery. The shorter the labor, the better!

    1. Good advice…advice I wish I would have known. I had hoped for a natural delivery but after several long and painful hours with NO progress I finally agreed to get an epidural and discovered baby was sunny side up! Thankfully after the epidural I was able to relax and quickly dialated!

      Kath – Good luck with you birth wishes, I think they are very reasonable and I hope they come true for you. I had a little girl so I didn’t have to worry about the circumcision issue but we hope to have more so its something I will have to think about in the future and I appreciate the information everyone has given.

  15. Your last item, drinking a home brew, put a smile on my face. I’m only 9 weeks along and already dreaming of a nice home brew after labor is over!

  16. Huge thumbs up on the no circumcision!!! I cannot believe that it is still practiced so widely in North America.

  17. Hey Kath – I was just reading some of your comments with the IV controversy, and I want to say that I really respect you for putting yourself out here like this. Although there are so many opinions about all things baby, you ARE getting some great advice! And bravo for you being so open about your pregnancy and birth plan.

    Second, I’m a local and used MJH for my baby. I was EXHAUSTED/Sleep-deprived going into labor (from two days of contractions – the excitement kept me up one night, and then ctxns the next). I highly recommend that you stay well rested as the time gets closer. Even though I was tired, I was able to go no drugs – except one dose of a muscle relaxer (fentanol – sp?). But my labor was no where near my mental picture because I was so fatigued at the start. Next time (which is now), I’m going to use Tylenol PM (which is deemed safe for baby) starting at like 38 weeks to make sure I’m well rested.

    Third, I know you want to bond with baby as much as you can during your hospital stay, but I really used the nursery while I was there. I slept much better without hearing every little baby sound (which makes you jump), and heading home I felt better rested and prepared to do it myself. The nurses always brought baby in if she was fussing, or if I buzzed them. Just want you to know that after delivery it will be a LONG time before you’ll have an overnight without baby in earshot…so it’s not a bad thing if you take advantage of the care they offer!

      1. lol. You must be passenger in the car and busying yourself on the internet?

        Your mom is a wise sage…:) Seriously, after the first several weeks, you won’t look back at those 1-2 nights in MJH as “critical” bonding time. You’ll have had LOTS of night time bonding. And that is the understatement of the century.

      2. I was so thankful for those nursery nurses!! The three hourse of sleep I got between feedings was just plain necessary!!

        I thought I would never send my newborn baby off with strangers but after your body has gone through labor you need a little rest.

        1. I second, third, or whatever using the nursery if you are exhausted, especially if you had a long or hard labor. With baby #1, I said no nursery the first night and didn’t see a wink. I wasn’t used to all the little baby noises and could sleep, and it hurt a lot getting in an out of the bed so much that first night. Night #2 at the hospital I decided to try the nursery and actually got a few hours to sleep. Its not like you are bonding with each other while you are both sleeping, and the nurses can bring him to you whenever he wakes.

          Baby #2 was a different story though, he wanted to nurse literally every hour 24 hours a day, so I had to keep him in the room with me at all times. Even when he had to have tests done, the nurses would say he was freaking out to eat again after being gone a short time. Great bonding time, but no sleep to be had for 3 days.

      3. just a heads up on the nursery thing.
        In recent news (from kellymom.com) many nursery RN’s viewed sending a baby to the nursery as a “go ahead” for pacifiers and formula, and many felt they were disturbing the new momma if they brought a hungry baby back. If you decide to go this route–make it loud and clear that you want to be woken up if baby is hungry, and you dont want any supplementation or paci’s (im assuming you dont, sorry!) there are a lot of staff going in and out–it can be very easy for your “wants” to quickly be forgotten! speaking from horrible personal experience 🙂

    1. Can I just correct you and say Fentanyl is not a muscle relaxer, but a very potent narcotic? And it works great for labor 🙂

      1. Well the nurses told me it was a mild narcotic that would not reduce pain but would allow me to relax and sleep. I have medical friends that later confirmed the same! Whatever the effect, it really helped me get through the last stage. 🙂

        1. Fentanyl is indeed a very strong, fast acting (but not long lasting) narcotic, which is why it’s great for procedural pain such as labor. Besides a quick reduction in pain, it doesn’t have any relaxation or sleeping effects.

          1. The main negative side effect can be that if you have it within 2 hours of delivering (most hospitals and birth center won’t use it if they think you are), it can cause severe respiratory distress in the baby once their body is separate from yours and their immature liver and kidneys have to try to process it. When this happens, they often have to give the baby Narcan to reverse the depressing effects that it has on the baby’s breathing. This also means the baby being taken from mom and put in the nursery or NICU for monitoring.

  18. I am cracking up at skin to fur!! My son had skin to fur because it wasn’t possible for me to do skin to skin so my husband did it. I didn’t have a c-section, just a rough delivery and it wasn’t possible for me to do it right away. I was sad that I couldn’t do it but it was the sweetest sight to see my fresh new baby laying on my husband.

  19. LOVED seeing your list- I really need to get my feelings sorted out on all of these issues as well- I’m hoping to gain more information from our childbirth class next month— SO many decisions and things to consider. The thing that gets me the most—- I can’t prep for it like I would any other substantial even in my life. Eeeeek!

  20. Judgement of how other women have their babies (natural vs. not, circumsized vs. not, breastfed vs. not, etc) needs to stop. Caitlin at Healthy Tipping Point has been a big advocate for stopping these so-called Mommy Wars, which I really appreciate. She has been very open about how/why she plans to give birth the way she is, but she has never done so in a way that is insulting or hurtful to others. Like I said, you can disgree with others – absolutely – but you need to be aware of HOW you are disagreeing with them. You monitor comments to ensure they do not hurt you or your family – I appreciate you “editing” (sort of) your comments to remove “”inhumane”. That, to me, is a perfect example of hurtful language for some of your readers and something that just isn’t necessary. I understand that I choose to read your blog, and I do so because I think you are very informative and have interesting things to say. The judging tone of this post, however, was hurtful. I have a little 2 year old boy Owen who was circumsized. It is a family tradition. I love him more than I could ever possibly say Kath, and for people to suggest that I mutilated or treated him inhumanely is incredibly unfair and extremely judgmental. I’m going to let this go now, but I felt the need to speak up because I’m sure there are other judged parents out there who feel a little upset about being called child mutilators.

    1. Amanda, I responded without thinking, apologized and edited the comments. I also didn’t call you a child mutilator. I’m sorry.

      1. Circumcision is a choice. Kath is choosing not to do it. When asked why she isn’t doing it, she explained her reasons. It wasn’t done in the original post, but only presented when several people specifically asked.

        Why is this such a big deal??? I don’t understand.

      2. I totally understand responding without thinking, and I’m thankful that you changed the wording. Another commentor did use the word mutilation, which is very very offensive to many mothers, including myself, and comments like that should be removed in my opinion. The mommy wars are so ridiculous – we should all be supporting each other.

        On another note, I wrote out a whole birth plan that never actually was shown to anyone at the hospital, things just happened too fast. But having a doula there should really help you keep on top of what decisions are being made. A doctor is not going stop what they are doing in the middle everything to look at your birth plan if they can’t remember if you wanted an episiotomy, but a doula could probably see what is happening and will remember.

    2. If the inhumane comment hit a little too close to home; then perhaps you should ask yourself, why? Cutting off a part of your perfect newborn baby is in fact, inhumane.

      1. Last comment Kath, I promise! 🙂

        Melissa, I will tell you why. I don’t think that a practice that is as common as it is – whether it’s more or less so now – should be up for such a mean-spirited discussion on a happy, joyful baby blog. I have found this posting and its comments to be very judgemental and I was disappointed, I suppose, that it was allowed to take place. I enjoy reading about Kath’s plans for her nursery, how she will raise her child, her diet during pregnancy, etc. I have enjoyed it all. I have enjoyed learning from other people’s constructive comments. What I don’t like is mean and judgemental comments that can hurt people about topics that are so personal. That’s all. I’m 100% ok with our decision to have our son circumsized and no one will ever change that. It lasted about 2 minutes and he came back into the room not crying. He was healed within a couple of days. He will never know it happened. I’m ok with it. I’m not a horrible person. He is a happy and healthy and lively baby that we often say is the most loved baby in the world. I didn’t ruin him or torture him by circumsizing him. I’m sure some of his friends will be circumsized. Some won’t. Who cares. There is no right answer here. It’s a completely personal thing. I’m just standing up for the people who have had their children circumsized because this got a little too negative for me.

        1. Amanda – I do not see how the original post was judegmental. She simply shared her plans for birth and her baby. It is the Internet and we all have a choice to read or not.

          If you are 100% okay with your decision, then you shouldn’t be hurt. Just as someone who chooses not to circumcize is is 100% comfortable with that shouldn’t feel judged by others who think its crazy they chose to keep their baby intact.

          Have you read a description of the process? Have you watched a video of it being performed? Because those two things convinced me to never have it done to my boys.

          I am sure you are a great mom and you have a loved son… nobody is saying that is not the case.

          You are right. It is a personal thing. Personal to the person who has the penis… meaning NOT the mom and dad. What right do we as parents have to remove a part of our baby’s body?

          1. Parents’ have a presumptive right to control the upbringing of their children, including their child’s medical treatment. Parham v. J.R. (1979). We do have a “right,” recognized in the Constitution. The lawyer in me couldn’t resist.

            1. Diane – That is great and all, but as a parent I cannot remove my baby’s ear to prevent an ear infection that may occur later in life. Hopefully circumcision will be illegal one day.

          2. His body, his choice. It really should be that simple unless it needs to be done for a life or death reason. “Looking like dad” or “he might not know how to wash it” are not, IMO, life-threatening reasons to permanently alter our son’s body and the function of his body.

        2. Amanda, just because a practice is common, doesn’t mean it is immune from serious discussion. In several parts of the world female genital mutilation (cutting off of the labia, clitoris, etc.) is a very common practice but that alone doesn’t mean that it should not be judged.
          Because you and others consider it a personal decision does not mean it should not be judged.
          Circ is almost never done outside of North America (other then in certain religious communities) and is less and less common. In a few generations people may very well look back and wonder why cutting of a piece of a newborns body was a cultural practice of ours. (I’m not being inflamatory- that is a pretty apt description) Rather then dismissing Kath and her blog for bringing up hard issues on her blog and insinuating she should keep to happy simple things like nursery decorating I applaud her for bringing up a difficult topic that I think should be removed from the personal and should be examined as a public health and cultural practice and appropriately questioned.

        1. It’s interesting that two points haven’t been brought up yet in this discussion, so I’d like to introduce them to see what people think. For the sake of civil discussion, let’s refrain from name-calling and over agressive word choices, because I think circumcision is a VERY important issue today, and Kath reaches a large audience.

          First, there has been no discussion of the fact that the removing of a clitoris (correct me if I’m wrong, but I understand the head of the penis and the clitoris to be fairly analogous sex organs in terms of nerve endings, etc.) from a girl is condemned and simply called, “genital mutilation.” However, to certain peoples in certain countries, this is their “tradition.” To people in the West, how do we draw a distinction?

          Second, the fact is being overlooked that by removing the foreskin (like the clitoris), you are (1) completely removing a significant source of sexual pleasure, and (2) exposing to callus/scarring a part of the penis that is meant to be covered, thereby decreasing sexual sensitivity. Clearly, circumcision does not preclude men from enjoying sex. But it seems strange that no thought is given to the fact that pleasure is decreased, especially when some of the biggest industries in the West are geared toward increasing pleasure. Thoughts?

          1. This practice is called genital cutting. Genital mutilation is a dated term that most don’t use anymore.

              1. There are many varied and complex reasons for both the acceptance and condemnation of male and female genital cutting. Clearly.

          2. To respond to the above statement from Bridget: “First, there has been no discussion of the fact that the removing of a clitoris (correct me if I’m wrong, but I understand the head of the penis and the clitoris to be fairly analogous sex organs in terms of nerve endings, etc.) from a girl is condemned and simply called, “genital mutilation.”

            I mean simply to clarify as a medical professional: your information about relatedness of the female and male anatomy is close, but slightly incorrect. The glans of the male penis (the actual tip of the penis) and the female clitoris are emrbyologically derived from the same tissue (aka, essentially the same). The foreskin (which is the tissue that is removed in circumcision) is a separate type of tissue, more analogous to the labia.

            I’m not even going to touch the debate of pro v. con circumcision. They are legal; I have performed them when requested without judgement. Personally, for me, this is a matter of individual choice, falling under the same purview as many other medical decisions we make – I respect Kath’s decision to not request the procedure and I respect the decisions of others to elect to have the procedure.

            1. I have four sons. They are all circumcised. My husband says he’s never spent a minute of his life wishing he wasn’t circumcised. My OB did our last baby’s circumcision, and I was there for it. My husband was present when all of our boys had their circumcisions, and one of our boys didn’t even cry. The doctor said it was hard to watch, yes, but personally if he’d had sons they would have been circumcised for health reasons.

            2. Thanks, T! I appreciate the clarification – I knew they shared a similar origin, but your explanation was great.

      2. This comment is honestly and simply childish. As most have articulated above, it’s a personal decision. The practice has pros, cons and religious aspects to it. There are arguments that it is medically beneficial and whether or not you agree is your own opinion, but labeling others inhumane is simply unacceptable and has no place in an adult conversation like this.

        1. I think the practice of circumcision was referred to as inhumane. I don’t see where anyone called a person inhumane.

          1. The statement that the practice is inhumane implicates the person allowing/doing the action as inhumane via their actions and choices. We can play the semantics game all you want, but it seems silly. My point was the vicious labeling of an extremely common and often culturally related practice is not right in this (or any) forum or context, it transcends personal opinion and is incendiary and unkind. Regardless of the basic sentence format which you can argue didn’t actually state that the people in question are ‘inhumane’.

            1. I’m not sure you know what inhumane even means if you think the practice is inhumane. Inhumane means not having compassion for the suffering of others, only something a person can do. I doubt any mother here has no compassion for the 2 minutes of pain their baby boy goes through during the procedure. But after weighing the pros and cons, two min of pain was worth it. We are trying to do what is best for our kids, in our own opinion, not hurting when without any compassion for their suffering.

      3. What is wrong with you!!! There was like five comments about “Mommy Wars” and putting each other down and how wrong it is to make such comments. Does your brain not function correctly?! Lets not put other Mothers down and consider their choices inhumane. Melissa I have watched about eight circumcisions in my life time and in no way where they like those crazy videos I have seen(yes, I looked some up to see what everyone is talking about). I love all these comments that it is not being performed in other countries which is not true. It is actually performed in a lot of countries and is actually occurring more and more do to diseases like Aids. Remember a large majority of our world is made up of third-world countries with backwards or poor health care conditions. Yes, aids spreads more rapidly in un-circumcised Men pure fact. This is when things get out of hand when people just read anything that supports their opinion and not actually read published researched multi year long studies and do in-depth research and make snap judgements of others. Before we slam someone lets carefully choose our words and actually educate our selves on the topic before we comment.

    3. It’s funny because I chose to circ my first two sons and left our third intact (after watching the procedure being done to our second son and after him having many painful problems FROM the circumcision for years later)…and I have no problem with the terms mutilation or inhumane because I agree with those terms. I have obviously done it both ways so I’m not standing up on some pedestal claiming to be better than anyone else for my choices. I do feel it’s inhumane to strap a helpless baby down and forcibly remove a fully functioning part of their body (usually without any anesthesia). I can’t begin to imagine someone doing that to me now and I would no doubt consider it inhumane if someone did. Babies shouldn’t be exposed to pain and suffering that us adults would never choose to experience (and if we did do it to another adult, we’d be arrested!).

  21. Beautiful intentions. I hope everything goes as close as possible to your plan! Of everything, being free to walk around and not confined to a bed was the most important thing. Not being restricted, continuously monitored, and being able to have some freedom was KEY for me!

  22. Appreciate your honesty about your plans. I choose not to circumsize my boy even though it is normal practice in my religion. I felt that it wasn’t for me, and I think that we are made the way we are made for a reason, so I didn’t do it. I find the rest of your plan interesting since I live in Italy and giving birth here is different. Birth plans, and doulas don’t exist. Love both your blogs!

  23. I completely agree with you right to choose on the whole circumcised issue. I just thought I should share a personal story of circumcision with you! My nephew was not circumcised at birth. His father isn’t so his son wasn’t. But I would be cautious about choosing this route because my nephew had a lo of problems with the foreskin and infection occurred. After having infections they chose it was best for medical purposes to have him circumsized (Don’t think thats a word) after all! The process was much harder on a two year old then it would have been on an infant. It was a horrible time for all involved while taking care of him. Just need to out way the risks in the long run as well.

  24. And a newborn hearing screening….if you can, i’d watch the process. if it takes them a few times to get a pass, I’d do another test in a few weeks just to be sure. (i’m an audiologist) 🙂

  25. So interesting seeing other people’s birth ‘guide’ and what is important to them.

    I had to have an IV since I was Group B Strep positive and therefore had to have an antibiotic during labor and it is VERY uncomfortable. I requested it to be removed but my hospital had procedure and they wouldn’t remove it until after birth. I was very frustrated with that and the monitoring (baby and contraction)….but hospitals are pretty adamant.

    Oh, and getting an episiotomy is never necessary….ever. It’s just something that OB’s use to speed up the pushing. You will tear naturally on your muscle’s fault line and it heals beautifully where as an episiotomy cuts through muscles and nerve and they heal very slowly.

    1. Regarding your third paragraph, Diana…tell that to my girlfriend whose entire vaginal area tore & hemorraghed so badly during delivery that she needed emergency intervention after the birth of her son. Her muscles did not tear along a “fault line” nor healed “beautifully.” She did not have an episiotomy started or anything like that; as her baby passed through, she was ripped to shreds. Naturally

      The term “fault line” referring to muscles, or muscle striations, does not exist in the medical literature.

      1. There are always medical cases where the natural process isn’t optimal…but I doubt an episiotomy would have helped that situation. Perhaps a c-section would have kept her from having such serious bleeding and physical damage. I don’t know the whole situation but I do know that some women are very small and can have huge babies that require more medical intervention than others.

      2. I think the key is that everyone is different. I personally was very lucky – my labor progressed too quickly too allow for a perineal massage or any other alternative and I wasn’t open to an episiotomy, so I tore. It was a second degree tear, very simply stitched up (although my stitches ripped out, but that’s another story for another day), and I healed up just fine without any visible scars – although I’m sure the scar tissue is still there.

        On the flip side, a woman in my family had two births that went COMPLETELY differently. In both cases, she had a quick labor, but was able to take advantage of perineal massage and the use of olive oil to help prevent tearing. In the first case, she opted out of an episiotomy and she didn’t tear. In the second case, she asked for an episiotomy because she was afraid to tear – and not only did she have the episiotomy, she tore AROUND the episiotomy cut, straight down to the rectum, and prolapsed. Her recovery from the tear was a horror story and her recovery from the episiotomy was just as bad.

        I think every baby-momma pair is different. Episiotomys don’t always go as planned, and neither do tears.

    2. Yes, first and second degree tears usually heal nicely and fairly quickly. More severe tears can require surgical repair, lead to infection, incontinence, etc. I’m not pushing either option – episiotomy has a lot of cons too – but putting out inaccurate information is not helpful to anyone. Neither is ideal, but not every labor is perfect, and some women are going to be at risk for a severe tear and will need to make the best decision possible under those circumstances. Source: I’m an academic researcher in maternal and newborn health (not a doctor, so I have no skin in this game)
      *stepping off soapbox*

      1. I would like to offer my experience. Baby #1 I delivered without being given an episiotomy. Ended with a 4th degree tear and 45 minutes of stitching. Baby girl weighed 6 lb 13oz. Twenty months later, baby # 2 came along, did get an episiotomy (which did hurt for a split second when performed). Delivered a 8 lb 15 oz boy. It took me much longer to heal from baby #1 than baby #2. Baby #1 did have to be delivered using vacuum due to drops in her heart rate (due to short umbilical cord). So it was a quick delivery. The result was a healthy baby. I would take a longer recovery for a healthy baby anytime. Baby #1 is now 17 y/o.

      2. I had a 3rd degree tear and the healing was miserable (still is, actually, and my daughter is now 7 months). If I knew then what I know now, I probably would have asked for an episiotomy.

        1. An episiotomy doesn’t mean you won’t tear beyond the cut and doesn’t guarantee better healing. Some women heal better from tears, a few from epis. But they are rarely performed anymore because myriad medical research supports that they are almost never necessary.

  26. You are not going to be able to eat during labor. If there is an emergency and you need surgery for some reason then you will have to undergo anesthesia which requires you to have fasted. Just wanted to let you know.

      1. Consider savory liquids, too. I had some broth during early labor and it tasted AMAZING. Like energy soup. I did throw up later, but I was happy to because it told me things were moving along! Oh labor.

      2. The rule of thumb that I have always known is that you can eat whatever you are willing to throw up…as long as there is no medical emergency.

        I think it is great that you have a list of goals, but I do hope you are willing to chuck it all out the window in favor of the ultimate goal, which is to deliver a healthy baby boy and keep yourself healthy in the process. I think it is great that we as women are encouraged to be the influential in directing our birth experiences, but I hear too many stories these days of women who are heartbroken by their birth experience because it didn’t go “as planned”. My OB very gently educated us that the birth experience is really the first true moment where we have to give up a lot of our desire for control in favor of putting the needs of this other being first. I was so grateful that he had prepped me for that; it allowed me to roll with the punches and be elated, rather than disappointed, when I was induced with a balloon catheter and pitocin at 37 weeks, had to have constant monitoring for the sake of the baby, had an epidural after 22 hours of hard labor to allow my sunny side up baby to descend and watch my code pink baby be whisked away for a short bit of time after birth. Was that my “birth plan”? Not at all. But rather than losing my child and potentially my own life I am able to lie here typing this to you with my healthy, happy six year old son sleeping not too far from me. I wouldn’t trade that intervention-laden birth for anything, and because I went into it all with an open heart and with my focus being on my son and not on my own desires I am able to look back on that day (and a half) with nothing but happiness.

    1. Our hospital limited me to liquids but our local birth center not only “allowed” me to eat but encouraged it. If you look at the studies, the chances of needing a TRUE emergency c-section (the kind where they knock you out with general anesthesia and do a long vertical cut) are less than 1% and even then you’d also have to encounter the very rare complication of vomiting and inhaling it (even lower than 1%). Also, in order for your stomach to be truly empty, you’d have to not only have fasted for at least 24 hours but also drink a flushing solution (I know this because I have had a colonoscopy). Most women who get to the hospital and even refrain from eating in labor still have plenty of food in their stomachs for quite some time—so denying them energy-giving substinance does little good and lots of harm when woman need the most stamina and energy (would a marathoner EVER dream of not eating a nutritious meal before their run?)
      It’s an outdated protocol that has been proven to be unnecesary and even harmful to laboring women. Look up Henci Goer’s information on NPO and you can see the studies.

  27. Great wish list! You might also want to add if you do or do not want your child to get the hep b shot at birth. I think they have to get your permission first, but I included in our birth plan that we didn’t want the hep b shot while in the hospital. I might get it for her later, but I *personally* think its silly to get an infant the hep b shot unless there is a risk of exposure (ie mother/father have it) as she will not be getting any tats or sharing needles or having sex anytime soon!

      1. No, that is not a big risk of exposure! She would need to come in contact with contaminated body fluids, giving birth does not pose a risk to an infant coming into contact with contaminated fluids (unless the mother is hep b+).

      2. Also, vaccines do not work immediately. Even if the baby was exposed in the hospital, the vaccine wouldn’t have had time to make the baby immune, so it wouldn’t matter!

  28. Be careful about how much you eat/drink until you are really into the laboring process. I ate Kashi and drank some juice during early labor and it ALL came up very shortly afterwards.

    Even the ice chips I ate while pushing came back up. Labor made me crazy nauseous!

    1. Some people puke and some people don’t! Eating something light (that won’t be horrible coming back up) is still important.

  29. What a great outline. I didn’t use a birth plan that was written out for my first delivery, but like the idea of writing it out for the second. I just kind of went with the flow for Wrigley’s arrival because I felt overwhelmed by the number of directions labor could go and didn’t want to over think it. My husband and doula knew my absolutes, and everything worked out great. However, I feel like a plan next time will give me comfort on how the experience will unfold from my best case scenario.

  30. We brought some homebrew with us for our delivery and it was a very special treat on Day 2. I also had some dark chocolate during labor and it was a great energy boost and just all around soothing. The IV in my arm was the worst part of labor for me, so distracting and limiting. I didn’t have a choice. Tip: if you get one, request the anesthesiaologist come to install it. I had a botched one by a nurse, not fun when enduring contractions!

    1. Most L&D nurses are great sticks, and anesthesiologists aren’t guaranteed not to botch it! Also, they have other duties and don’t have time to place IV’s just because (I’m a former L&D nurse/current midwife).

  31. One thing that my doctor recommended to me for my birth preferences was to indicate I didn’t want to be asked my pain score. So, I included the following line:

    “Please do not offer me pain medications or ask me my pain score. I will request pain medicine if I need it.”

    She told me that otherwise the nurses at our hospital would need to ask me my pain score at regular intervals, due to state regulations or hospital policy (I can’t remember which). Whatever the reason, I was so glad she recommended this, because I was only asked my pain score once, when we called the nurses’ line before going into the hospital.

    You might want to ask your doctor about your hospital’s practices regarding pain score and if you should indicate anything like what my doctor recommended.

    1. I second this! We were REQUIRED to chart a pain score number and pain scores are stupid when someone desires natural labor! If my patients didn’t want to be asked, I would make one up based on how well they were coping instead.

  32. Two men in my family weren’t circumcised at birth, only to have rondo it later in life due to precancerous activity as a result of the extra foreskin. I would look into this a little further, I still remember that poor eight year old boy and the trauma that came with being circumcised (no anesthesia) yikes!

  33. I think this post was really cool. I don’t have children and honestly am probably not planning to, but I think it’s super brave to post your hopes for your birth plan. The placenta dehydrating and encapsulation is very interesting – Mayim Bialik (http://www.kveller.com/mayim-bialik/ ) is a proponent of it, and January Jones (Mad Men, y’all) did it too. I learned from Bialik that all mammals except for humans regularly consume placenta, though I myself believe part of the reason they do it is for the same reason wolves eat their young’s poop – to hide the evidence from predators who might attack their brood and themselves while in the vulnerable after-birth state. BUT I’m really intrigued by the possibility that it might give you more energy after birth! How neat.

    It’s also very big of you to apologize, Kath. It’s really difficult to admit you’re wrong, especially in this kind of forum where this is your blog and, if you chose, you could delete any comment you wished. But you don’t, which I think is probably a good indicator of the kind of person you are. Your son is very lucky.

  34. I enjoyed reading this as I’ve enjoyed reading your (and Caitlin’s) blogs and following your decisions. I hope to be in this position in a yera or two, so it has gotten me thinking a lot!

  35. Birth is so personalized. I was really against an epidural so I told my husband if I asked for it, for him to try and talk me out of it and help me stick to the plan even if I got mean :). I did it successfully twice and am so happy my husband stayed strong and helped me!

  36. Wow! You are organised. I’m 31+5 weeks and nowhere near thinking about a birthplan apart from, hospital+birth=baby. I just want a healthy birth/baby.Thanks for giving me some things to think about 🙂

  37. That is an awesome plan, Kath! As compared to my actual want list after giving rapid birth to my 4th child:

    “I want you to take this baby to the nursery and bring me some meatloaf!”

  38. Sounds great! Immediate and prolonged skin-skin, delaying the bath for a few days, and keeping baby close are all excellent ways to get breastfeeding off to a good start.

    Prep for childbirth and motherhood can be a very vulnerable time, so I hope you’re not taking some of these comments to heart.
    I wonder if having a “no blogging” period of a few weeks after the birth might be good? or turning off the comments? Its really really intense to have those post partum hormones flying around and having people question your decisions and practices. Much nicer to just get on with getting to know your baby without having to second guess yourself!

  39. My husband and I have also decided not to circumcise our soon-to-arrive little guy. I think there are a lot of arguments on both sides, and we weighed them out carefully. In the end, I leaned SLIGHTLY towards not doing it, and my husband felt very strongly that he did not want our little one circumcised (as a side note, he was circumcised as an infant). Here are the main reasons for our choice –
    1. Based on research, there is no medical reason to do so. There is a SLIGHTLY higher chance of infection w/out circumcision, but that also has to be weighed against the chance of infection from the open wound in the meantime. Our doctor, along with a second opinion, stated that medically there is no strong argument to do it. The difference is very small. There is also a slightly smaller risk of contracting AIDS if he is circumcised, but again, it’s very small.
    2. The U.S is one of the few countries in the world that have an extremely high rate of circumcision, most of the others are due to religious beliefs (countries with high Jewish or Muslim populations). The U.S largely does it due to cultural norms.
    3. First hand accounts from friends who were nurses who stated that it doesn’t go as easily as the doctors tend to tell you; they want to ease new parents’ minds. It is considered very traumatic to watch (I also watched a portion of one through video, but it was too much for me)
    4. The trends in the U.S. are changing, so I am not so concerned about the “locker room situations” that used to be a stronger point. 10-20 years ago, the vast majority of children were circumcised, and thus it was difficult for children who were different. The trend in my area of the country is starting to lean more 50/50
    5. Research shows that circumcision can effect sex later in life in a negative way. Obviously, I would not argue that sex is not good for a circumcised man… but the foreskin changes sex in many ways. Beyond having many nerves that cause increased pleasure in the male, it helps prevent some abrasiveness on vaginal walls and helps to preserve lubrication. I know, it’s wierd to be thinking of my future child’s sex life; but I think it’s important.
    6. My husband is an anthropologist and feels very strongly against it. This alone would have swayed me, because it is a moral choice for him. People often judge mothers who pierce their daughters ears, tribes who use scarification on their babies faces, or people groups who perform labial circumcisions on females, but don’t delve into the implications of what that infers about male circumcision. And most cultures do so out of religious beliefs or cultural requirements. Neither of those apply in our situation, so we have no real reason to circumcise. We don’t see medical necessity, and don’t see religious or cultural necessity.

    All of that said, it is a very personal decision, and one that weighs differently on everyone. I think the choice to circumcise is right on some situations, just not in ours 🙂

  40. Those were some hot and bothered comments on this post! I think that the process of labor and birthing of any baby is highly individualized and personal. With that being said, to each their own opinion on all of these particular subjects. I know that in the end all you care about is having a healthy happy baby boy, so all of the other details seem minute compared to that. I love the list though! I’d probably find myself doing the same thing.

  41. Wow. First–I love that it is a labor and delivery “Wish” list. All made sense to me. I applaud you for putting stuff out there. And I cannot believe I am going to go there but……I am a trauma therapist. I treat individuals who have been through trauma. It is very well documented in research that “the body never forgets”. To say with certainty that a newborn is not hurt by circumcision in any way is wishful thinking. I am in the camp that thinks it should be up to the male when he is old enough to make an informed decision. Just because people have done things a certain way for years does not make it right. I hope that we all learn and evolve as we learn. People used to hit children and thought they were dong the right thing. We now know and understand that a big person inflicting pain on a little person is harmful and just plain wrong. We used to think that smoking cigarettes was fine. We used to think it was OK for women or people of color to vote. We now know that is harmful and wrong. It is OK to learn and change and grow–evolution is a good thing! I also recognize that people learn and change on different timelines than others. I am willing to bet, however, that the reason more and more parents are not choosing to circumcise their boys is because of learning and growth.

    So….THANK YOU for sharing your plans……all of them.

    1. I can tell you that after my second son’s circumcision at 7 days old, he basically seemed to go into shock for a day or so. He wouldn’t nurse, slept for very long periods of time and avoided looking me in the eye for days. And I was in no way imagining this since I had the hindsight of having been with him for the previous 7 days before we subjected him to that kind of pain. Yes, babies are babies but they are still humans and still go through a lot of the same emotions that we would as adults if we were subjected to something severely traumatic–especially by those we love and trust the most.

  42. Hey Kath,

    Bravo for your plan. I had to have a c-section when my water broke 4 weeks early with my twins because the bottom one was breech. I always tell my friends to have a c-section plan with their partners ahead of time of whether the partner will go with the baby or stay with mom in the event the baby has to leave the OR. Our plan was for my husband to go with the babies and take lots of pictures and help with their first baths, etc. But when he left the room, all of a sudden the c-section got super intense and my blood pressure dropped. I had no one but the anesthesiologist to talk to me and calm me. It is a super-invasive surgery where they are essentially removing a vital organ and then sewing it back up and putting it back in and then sewing you back up, and you are awake the whole time! Someone there to talk to you and distract you is pretty much essential. My doctor had said that he didn’t mind if I wanted to bring my mom in or a doula as well as my husband in the event of a c-section. Since my water broke early, my mom couldn’t get to town, but in hindsight I wish I had someone with me while my husband left the OR with the babies. Just something to think about and ask your doctor/hospital about in the event of the c-section. Hopefully you won’t have to have a c-section and this is all moot. Best of luck to you.

  43. This may be the DUMBEST question in the whole world, but I’m curious as to what you think your first post-baby meal will be?

  44. Both! I would totally be wanting a beer or a martini asap…hence the reason I’ve deemed myself unfit for motherhood 🙂 I would be like Karen from Will & Grace.

    1. I bet after delivery I’d want a huge breakfast bowl… Oats or yogurt or something of the like

      I really don’t really miss that many things. Definitely alcohol and maybe some of that raw goat feta I love from whole foods!

  45. Great post Kath! I’m a L&D nurse and I LOVE when moms put such thought and effort in to their birth wishes (not to mention just taking the time to educate themselves!!) You would be surprised how many people have NO CLUE what’s going on when they show up in labor. Good for you for preparing so well!!

    It’s amazing how upset people get about decisions you make for YOUR child. Nothing seems to divide people more than decisions we make in how to care for our babies (epidurals or not, breastfeeding or formula, circumcision or not, vaccinating or not, etc). I applaud you for doing your own research and you and your husband coming to your own conclusions. As someone who tends to not follow the mainstream (this L&D nurse had a homebirth- gasp!!!) I appreciate your willingness to make your choices public and be able to clearly articulate your reasonings for making those choices. Your little boy is one lucky little dude 🙂

    Best wishes to you in the coming weeks. I wish you a beautiful labor and delivery experience. Can’t wait to read about it!!

  46. I’m actually quite interested in the number of people who say none of the men they know are circumcised. I cannot think of one male significant other, member of my family, or my husband’s family who isn’t. I’m leaving the decision to my husband if we should have a son. I feel there are pros and cons to it and every single parent should decide for themselves. No one should judge anyone else’s choice on that topic or their birth plan (for example, my plan completely different from yours and that’s cool). Everyone makes their own choices, and no one should ever feel any less or any *more* for their choice.

  47. I’ve had two polar opposite births. One was at home, accidentally, while my husband was deployed and the other was an induction that from start to finish (1cm to baby being born) was 6 hours. And a few of these have me scratching my head. As far as I know, in most hospitals, you won’t be in the room when the baby is getting its bath. They take it back to the nursery to clean it up (it’s done roughly too, to be honest) as well as do all the test like the APGAR. Plus, you’ll need to be stitched up (if you tear or have an episiotomy) and be put in those gigantic pads and mesh underwear. Also, I’m guessing unless you’ve cleared it with your hospital, they won’t let you take the placenta home, or whatever it is you want to do with it. I’m not trying to be a downer, I’m being realistic. You will be in an extreme amount of pain, more pain than you’ve been in your life, and trust me, you’ll want to do what your body wants, and if it’s take pain meds, you’ll take the meds. I compare contractions to really bad period cramps coupled with the feeling like someone is squeezing the air out of you at your stomach. Again, I’m sorry I sound like a downer. But I do wish nothing but the best delivery for you!

    1. The bath in the room thing is offered at our hospital (I wouldn’t just command the nurses to do something they aren’t prepared to do 🙂 )

      And yes, they will give me my placenta. I’ve checked on that too.

    2. We were able to go with our daughter for her first bath, official weigh in and all of her hearing tests, vitamin k shot, apgar testing, ect. Depends on what your hospital will allow and it’s good to know ahead of time. We only stayed an hour over in the L&D room before moving to maternity suite…our transition time was spent in the nursery with our newborn. I’m so glad I was able to stand and sit so soon after birth do I could enjoy those “firsts” with my little family. 🙂
      Kudos Kath for having a plan – take 2 copies with you to the hospital with your pre-admission packet.

  48. I realize this is another “Hot Topic” but I am really curious as to why you do not want an epidural. I’ve read all the research and it does not seem to either harm the infant or slow delivery if it is properly applied.

    In “my day”-when everyone was reproducing most of my friends said “no”, “finally couldn’t stand it and said yes” and “felt horribly let down and like they had failed”. I know you are too sensible to feel you have failed if you ask for one, since you did include it as a possibility on your birth plan.

    Do you think it will hurt your baby or slow the birth? I’ve coached about a dozen friends whose partners were deployed and a properly administered epidural often made the last few steps before transition move faster because mom finally relaxed. 6-7-8-9 can be extremely painful. I don’t know what your pain threshold is..I just don’t want you to beat yourself up if you need one. You sound too sensible to do that but I can’t help but be a little concerned.

    1. I’m really not anti-epidural. I think it’s the safest pain reliefs there is. My doubts about it are the needle in my spine (I hate needles) and the immobility and side effects like having a caterter inserted. These things just don’t sound appealing to me at all. I am confident that I can give birth naturally and avoid them with the right techniques. That said, if anything about my labor isn’t normal, or it goes on too long or I just can’t tolerate it for whatever reason and my doula agrees she thinks I would benefit from the relaxation of an epidural, I won’t hesitate to get one. But as someone who will do anything not to get a shot or blood draw, it will have to be really, really bad for me to actually want that spinal.

      1. You sound like my mom!!! She was more scared of the epidural than the childbirth and had all three of us naturally. I am completely unafraid of needles, and should I become pregnant one day I am in the pro-epidural camp 😉

  49. This is going to sound weird, but you are pretty much my hero! Even though I agree with pretty much everything you say, I also think you do a great job at expressing yourself without coming across as being judgmental or critical of others. Especially since your blog reaches so many different types of people.

    Your birth wish list sounds awesome, and I hope everything goes according to plan! Your baby boy is lucky to have such a considerate mama.

  50. Aside from keeping the placenta I had the same wish list but ended up having a c-section without even laboring. As sad as I am not having the experience of a natural birth, my son arrived quickly and healthy. The joy of having him in my arms erased any disappointment. Good luck and hope all goes according to plan 🙂

  51. Wow…Really interesting post. I figured it would generate a lot of opinions but good for you for having a plan with your intentions. You guys know what you want and are going for it…I think that is awesome! I hope everything goes smoothly for you guys 🙂

  52. I’m a picture fanatic so you can imagine how many I wanted of the labour and birth. Well,, my husband only got a chance to take ONE….and it was very early on in the labour!!!! I wouldn’t let him leave my side! My doula and him had to take turns CONSTANTLY rubbing and massaging my back. It’s just ironic because pictures were #1 on my list and yet at the time I could have cared less!!! Lol!

  53. I know the conversation on circumcision seems to be wrapped up already but I just wanted to add that people should not be so offended by Kath’s comments. So what it she used the word “inhumane”? Since when are people not allowed to have an extremist view? She wasn’t calling anyone one in particular inhumane she just expressed how she thought the practice was. Just because you don’t agree with her perhaps more extreme view so what? She’s not rallying against it, it’s her take on the issue. Not everything needs to be so politically correct all the time. People have strong opinions.

    Anyway, great post Kath!

  54. Sorry if this sounds harsh, but why do you think women have epidurals? Because they want to wimp out? Because they’re not strong enough to it naturally? It’s very easy to say you don’t want one, when you’ve never experienced labor. The reason they have one is labor is very painful! Many times, it is “really, really bad.” A needle in your spine is going to be the least of your worries. My guess is you, like many women, will be begging for that pain relief. If labor were that easy, people would just tell jokes, laugh, squat, take a bath, etc. I’m not saying all of those things won’t lessen your pain (hopefully they will), but to think that all you have to do is do your homework and it won’t be painful is setting yourself up for failure. You can plan all you want to, but there are so many factors that are not in your control of.
    Think of it like this: You are the vehicle….but the baby is driving the car! And he doesn’t care what route you prefer to take! This baby has a mind of its own. You are not in control. Your job is to get him here as safely as possible.

    1. Well a lot of people go into labor saying they want the epidural ASAP. They don’t even want to experience it. I want to experience it.

      Also, have you read Ina May’s book? Pain is relative, mental and situational. Just because it was horrible for one woman who may have gone into labor fearing the pain doesn’t mean it will be horrible for the next if they have totally different attitudes about the experience. I do not fear the pain.

      1. I just LOVE that you’re spouting Ina May, Kath! I read a few of her books before my 2nd and think that mindset (of not fearing the pain) has a lot to do with how awesomly my 2nd birth went. 11lb baby, at home.

      2. I agree that there are many factors that you are not in control of during labor but planning to feel it doesn’t have to be one of them. I knew both of my babies were going to be big, I also figured delivering them was going to be extremely painful. The fear of a needle in my spine, not feeling myself or a catheter by far outweighed the fear of delivery for me.

        My first baby weighed 9lb 6oz, I had a 2nd degree tear. I was given the option of an epidural for both and an episiotomy for my second child and a c-section, I honestly feared those three options more. My second baby was 11lb 1oz and I had a 3rd degree tear. Both were hard, both were more painful than anticipated, start to finish they were 3hr and 3.5hr labors respectively, both were drug free. I was lucky to birth quickly, I had big, healthy babies, it was without a doubt the hardest thing I have ever done and I am so grateful that I was lucky enough to be aware and in that moment completely.

        Kath, your plan sounds great. I also get the impression you are aware that it’s just a plan! I laughed, I joked, I had a bath (and delivered both in the bath), I ate and drank, I vomited, I screamed! I am aware other people have horrendous experiences but I am proud and grateful for both of my birthing experiences. Just thought I’d throw a positive experience out there for you! Oh and make sure you wear a dark bra…I wore white and after being in the bath….thank goodness for photoshop!!

    2. It’s interesting–I’ve been a doula and a childbirth educator for the past 10 years (and have had 3 natural births myself) and I often get second and third time couples coming to me who did the whole epidural route the first time and weren’t happy with it and want to try to go natural with their next. I always have reunions after all the babies in the class are born and here is one thing I can tell you…those moms who did the epidural with the first but went natural with the next ALL (without ONE exception) said it was a much better experience! And yes…these are even moms who have very hard labors like my first where I had back labor for 12 hours straight and pushed for 4 1/2 hours before birthing him naturally. It was by far the most pain I have ever been in in my life but it was also the most joyous and rewarding work I have every done! With the right education and support (my doula and nurse were crucial to my success!) it was not impossibly by any means and I still chose to have a natural birth with my second and third even knowing how hard and painful it could be.

      The other phenomenon that I see/hear often is all of my friends who “don’t want to feel a thing and want the epidural ASAP” are the same ones who have the horror stories and overall negative vibes when discussing their births but my friends who do the hard and sometimes painful work of a natural birth, all say how amazing and transforming it is–even when the labors and births are extended or go beyond a “normal” labor. There has got to be a reason for this since I experience it over and over again with my friends and childbirth couples.

  55. Hi! I’ve been a reader for a while, but this is my first time commenting. I’ve noticed that a lot of pregnant women come up with these birth plans and I think it’s great to be informed and know what you want in an ideal laboring situation. I like that you addressed that this is what you want under ideal circumstances. My question is why is it that you and so many other women say you only want ____ if it’s absolutely necessary. Don’t you want to err on the side of safety and not wait until you’re in a “do or die” kind of situation? I’m pregnant with twins and if my doctor suggested that a c-section would be safer for me and the babies, then by all means, cut me open! I don’t think I’d want to wait around and see if it’s “absolutely necessary,” because I’d rather just play it safe. But then again, I also want to avoid pooping on a table (at least while sober) 🙂

    1. It’s because of the “system” of hospitals – so many things are done because they are easy to do and not because they are medically necessary. My doctor saying “I recommend XX” means I will do whatever it is!

      1. It’s such a fine line because with my first, my OBs were saying they recommend a c-section since he was going to be a “big baby”. I went on to have him naturally in the hospital–all 9lbs 4 oz of him. I wish I could have fully trusted my OBs but I knew I could birth him vaginally and am so glad I stood my ground with them. Just because they recommend something doesn’t always mean it’s the best (especially because a lot of their standard interventions are NOT evidenced-based like constant fetal monitoring or not allowing a mom to eat and drink in labor). I guess this is where your mommy instincts and education/reading come in and you’ll hopefully know if they are “recommending” an intervention in order to speed birth up/make it easier for themselves (like making moms push flat on their backs) or because it is truly a life-saving procedure.

  56. I was induced twice with my son (the first time the induction was stopped and I went home – by choice), and had to have an IV both times. The first time it was in my hand and was so annoying. The second time it was in my forearm and SO much better. If you’re going to have one, know that the forearm may be an option. If your hospital has an IV team, you may request they do it instead of your labor/delivery nurse.

  57. Just an FYI–in the event of a cesarean you can also request to breastfeed while still in the OR, this trend is increasing throughout the nation as it is recognized how significant those first few minutes are to successful breastfeeding. even if you are out from total exhaustion it can be facilitated by your husband or any nurse–and yes I work in a hospital and it is strongly advocated by our physicians and nurses. Not all hospital experiences are bad and the mindset has improved so much.

  58. Hey Kath! Great list! I had 80% or more of these things on my ideal labor list. Unfortunately I ended up being induced at 39 weeks 3 days (proteinuria and mildly high bp led even the midwives I was working with to strongly recommend it). I was SO disappointed to have to be induced, and the contractions were extremely painful so I ended up having an epidural, which I was hoping to go as long as I could without, ideally not getting one at all… anyway I guess what I am trying to say, although obviously you know this, is that anything can happen and try not to be too hard on yourself if things don’t work out how you would like. Pushing out a baby is INCREDIBLE, and I’m still amazed that I did it even having had those medical interventions I had hoped to avoid. GOOD LUCK!!

  59. Maybe I’m just too laid back, but I didn’t have a “birth plan” with either of my kids. I went into labor, went to the hospital, said no to the epidural, and watched NBA basketball (I love and play basketball). I didn’t like being pregnant so I was happy to be going through labor. I was just really honest with my feelings about that, and my childbirth teacher & ob/gyn said that it was perfectly okay to have those feelings. It happens more than you think. Anyone will tell you that my family is my top priority. I hate being away from my kids, and we rarely go anywhere that’s not “family friendly”.
    Had an IV. To be honest, they put it in while I was asleep and didn’t notice it until after my boys were born. I had the philosophy of play it by ear, and my husband went along with it. For me, all of that birth plan and everything with it just equaled stress.
    As far as circumcision goes, I left the decision up to my husband. He is the man of the family so he would have a better idea than I did. And, I had zero problems with giving him carte blanche over that. It wasn’t a religious decision, and I never felt like I was being inhumane or mutilating my babies.
    Didn’t wear my own clothes. I’d rather mess up their hospital gown than my own clothing. I wore a hospital gown until it was time to take my boys home.
    I used the nursery because I had the rest of my (and the baby’s) life to bond. The nurse’s attempted to give my kids pacifiers, and neither of them ever used one. I felt blessed that I didn’t have to buy those things.
    I gave birth to both of my boys naturally. It’s just amazing that people think highly of the fact that I did so. During my childbirth class, I saw a video of an epidural and said no way.
    My kids are 14 and 8, and birth plans were around even then. If I had to do it again, I would do it the exact same way.

      1. Love this comment as well. I think I am going to go this route as well. I usually over research everything and want to read in depth about the pros and cons of everything(even reading and subscribing to medical journals) but I think giving birth is very natural and so I am just going to go with the flow and go with my gut.

  60. Kath,

    Your new bikini halter top would be perfect for the tub. Coverage, support but not too binding around the rib cage/mid riff area.
    Wishing you the best.

  61. You have a wonderful wish list for your birth and such a perfect attitude about everything! I’m a midwife and have commented a couple times before, and I just had a couple comments.

    Ask if a nurse is available to take you who particularly enjoys caring for women who give birth without meds. They will be most likely to respect your wishes and know how to work with you and your doula.

    IV’s are not required in most birth centers unless you are GBS positive and need antibiotics (you will find out between 35-37 weeks about that). I didn’t read the comments on the other post, but there are only four other reasons you’d need an IV- if you are a labor puker and get dehydrated, in which case it could be placed once the need is determined, if you want an epidural, in which case they can simply place one before you get it, if you need a C/S, which again they can place before you get it (emergency C/S are very rare when you are low-risk, usually they occur in first time moms because the labor is going very slowly and they suspect the baby is too big), or if you hemorrhage after birth. Here’s the thing about hemorrhage- there are four different drugs used to control it, and all of them can be given without an IV (three are shots, one is rectal insertion). So again, someone can be giving you meds while someone else starts an IV. Sometimes it’s not worth fighting over in labor if the hospital is insistent, but it’s not necessary if you’re low risk.

    Episiotomies are mostly out of style now, very rarely done unless you have an old-school OB. You should be good there.

    Having your water broken can sometimes be a great tool in a stalled labor if the doc is confident that the baby is in a good position, but definitely a last measure as you state.

    Touching the head during crowning is the most incredible feeling! You might not want to at the time because it is so intense, but if someone reminds you to do it, try!

    The antibiotic eye ointment has to be given within an hour to be effective. However, its purpose is to prevent conjunctivitis from gonorrhea or chlamydia. You can totally skip that if you’re in a monogamous relationship and were tested at the beginning of your pregnancy (you probably were).

    Yay for no circumcision! It’s a very personal decision and I support my patients who choose to do it, but am admittedly happy when they don’t ☺

    A homebrew and your favorite meal will be very welcome! Perhaps a COLD sandwich?

    On a personal note, I gave birth three months ago and was transferred from my birth center to the hospital for a veeeeeery long stalled labor. I got an epidural (I was a little disappointed and didn’t like how it felt, but I needed rest and it allowed me to relax enough for the baby to turn and descend). I plan to have my next baby in a birth center with no meds or epidural; it should be much quicker the second time around! Anyway, I think you have a wonderful outlook, a wonderful wish list, and I wish you the best for your labor and birth! Even when your plan deviates, it’s such a beautiful experience!

      1. I second her recommendation to request a natural-birth friendly nurse! I had my first in the hospital with OBs who claimed to be natural friendly but really weren’t. Luckily, when we got there, my doula and hubby went up to the nurses station and requested a nat. friendly nurse and we got one who had had 3 natural births herself. I can’t explain how much this helped us in my 12 hour posterior labor filled with back labor! Because she had had a natural birth, she understood and valued my desire and didn’t offer meds at every hard part or every time I looked up and said “I don’t think I can do this!”. She offered encouragement instead of drugs and it made ALL the difference in the world (as opposed to my OB who popped her head in when I was 5 cm and told me “I really think you should get the epidural before it’s too late–if you’re in this much pain now, it’s only going to get worse.”) And yes, I had discussed with them and had in my birth plan that a natural birth was my goal and they knew that but they didn’t see a purpose for it so they didn’t value my goal.

        My doula and my nurse were the only reasons I didn’t end up with a c-section with my 9 lb 4 oz posterior baby boy. They were my cheerleaders when my OB would come in every half hour and threaten a c-section if I hadn’t progressed by the next time they checked on me (talk about pressure!) I pushed for 4 1/2 hours and every time my OB would leave the room, they would get me up into a squat on the bed! LOL Oh and I had clothes I thought I wanted to birth in also but was buck naked from about 6 cm on and could have cared less who came in my room while squatting naked on the bed 🙂

  62. Wanted to say WAY TO GO on leaving your son intact! He certainly won’t be the only boy in the locker room left the way he was born. My son is 6 and has never had any health issues and he has yet to notice that he looks “different” than other males in the household. I have never once regretted my decision. My only suggestion will be to never assume a doctor/nurse will know not to retract him. Verbally tell them no retraction before the exam starts. I was pretty fierce about it (and always polite 🙂 ) but I’ve had plenty of friends who didn’t say anything and their sons were retracted before they could stop it.

    Best of luck to you! I’ve been reading your blog(s) for a long time now and can’t wait to “meet” the new addition!

      1. In a nutshell, the old school way of thinking is that the foreskin should be pushed down often for cleaning, etc. Except the foreskin is fused to the penis like our finger nails are to our fingers, so it causes injury/pain/infection. Not all doctors/nurses are hip to the new way of doing things and will forcibly retract during an exam. By saying something (in your best mama bear authoritive voice) it can diminish the chances of it happening. I live in a very high-circ area and most people know not to retract, it should be an non-issue for the most part.

    1. I agree 100 % and wanted to add that my oldest son who was circumcised had a TON of very painful problems for the first 2 years of his life because of his botched circumcision! My intact son has had NONE and he’s almost 10 now.
      Oh and ditto on the retraction issue! I once had a pediatrician try to forceably retract my son’s still intact foreskin and he screamed out in pain and I almost smacked his hand away!! Most peds are NOT well-educated on how to care for an intact penis (hint: leave it alone!).

  63. I agree with everyone else- I think it’s nice that you are so open with your wishes! Good luck with childbirth and parenthood!

    My Mom always says that the best advice she can give is to enter and leave with an open mind. If something doesn’t go the way you had planned, don’t stress about it. Don’t beat yourself up if you choose to get an epidural when you didn’t plan to or get angry at hospital staff if you’re unable to get in a tub. If you and baby are healthy, everything has gone well! =)

  64. I love how your plan involves the entire birthing process! I work in the hospital setting, and the only thing I would suggest is to include more measurable indications (much like if you are still laboring after 24 hours, to discuss an epidural) for other interventions, like IVF, mobility/birthing position, and eating/drinking, that way the nursing staff won’t have a different interpretation of what you would like. In most hospitals, especially if you are GBS negative, you can delay the bath for up to a day or so, and the initial assessment can be done while the baby is on your (or Matt’s) chest. I think it is wonderful that you are sharing with so many readers how much thought and personal preference can really go into a birth, way to take charge!

  65. I just wanted to comment on the Hep B vaccine. I am ashamed to admit that I didn’t realize it was normally administered in the hospital so soon after birth. I showed signs of meconium during labor and my daughter was born with a fever of 101 (and very low Apgar), so my ped recommended we delay the Hep B until her 2 month appointment, just in case the vaccine caused a low fever (which is a listed side effect even though our ped said he’d never seen it happen.) He also mentioned that there are basically zero risk factors for waiting on the Hep B vaccine unless the mother was positive for it.

    Do you have a plan for vaccinations? Or are you sticking to the recommended schedule?

  66. I circumcised my first two sons due to not being truly educated on not only the process but the MANY functions of the foreskin. After seeing it done to our second son (at our home when he was a week old since we had him at a birth center), my husband and I looked at each other and swore right then and there that we’d never do that to any of our future children if they were boys!

    About the cleanliness issue that is ALWAYS brought up…I always mention that no one has more creases, folds and crevices than us females and we manage just fine to keep ourselves clean!

    Oh and here’s a funny anecdote to my story–one of the reasons we had our first two sons circ’d was so they wouldn’t be different or feel funny around other circ’d boys when they got older. Well, fast forward about 15 years and we homeschool (something I would have NEVER thought we would do when I had my sons) and guess what???? They are the ONLY circumcised boys in their entire homeschooling group! So we made a decision based on something that ended up being the total opposite of what we thought it would be. I can’t tell you how much I wish we would have left them intact and let THEM decide about their bodies when they got older (because I know exactly what their choice would be now and it wouldn’t be to be circumcised).

    Oh and I can also tell you that never ONCE has it come up that our third son is intact and the other two are circumcised! And they are 15, 13 and 9 so it surely would have come up by now if it was going to be an issue—especially since I can’t imagine my 15 and 13 year olds agreeing to compare penises with their 9 year old brother from here on out! LOL

  67. Take a vibrator with you to the hospital. If you have back labor your attendants will be exhausted because you need to have your back rubbed very hard and ALL the time. Even if you don’t have back labor they are wonderful to rub out a muscle kink if you have a cramp from assuming a position (squatting, on all fours, etc)

  68. I realize that this is an awkward topic to bring up, especially considering that this conversation is about babies, but circumcision is an extremely effective means of preventing STDs. There is something to be said for long-term thinking in this instance. I’d also like to address a pretty common sentiment on this thread, and that’s a general distrust and skepticism towards doctors. Frankly, physicians know a lot more about this process than the layman. I think think that any OB deserves a certain amount of respect for going into that field. This isn’t meant to be an overly abrasive comment, but I think it’s odd that people seem to assume that doctors have anything but the patient’s best interests in mind.

  69. Hey Kath. I was just reading “Journey into Motherhood” and remembered you mentioned relaxing music for playing during delivery. (In one of the birth stories in the book a woman talks about listening to “ocean dreams”.) I am trying to find a selection of my own relaxing music and was wondering what kind of music you were thinking is going to be relaxing for you. Just looking for ideas.

    P.S. – The women’s health practice I’ve been going to for years has three midwives on staff and I am seeing one throughout my pregnancy. There are also two OB/GYN’s. Since you never know when a baby will come, who delivers will depend on whether it is during office hours and if not, who happens to be on call. We are thinking of hiring a doula but haven’t decided…

    1. I’m hoping to just play Pandora – perhaps the Spa station? Our hospital has wifi so that shouldn’t be a problem and we’ll have a laptop with us. I suppose I should have a back up plan should the internet be down, so I might pack a few of my spa-like CDs – Enya and things

  70. Reading your plan makes me think back to Levi’s birth and our birth plan. Policy is to wear the fetal heart monitor for 20 minutes…Jamie had to remind the nurse at 30 minutes to take it off. Not to scare you, but it wasn’t a concern of mine as my butt was in the air and I crawled on all fours up the bed 😉 Same with the IV. I tell my patients (even the adults) that it’s just a flexible, plastic straw 🙂 …no needle. I was GBS positive so I needed to get two doses of IV ampicillin, which I never received the second dose due to Levi’s rapid birth. Oh yes, my mantra was “get him out”. I found squatting on the bed with the bar was very encouraging and spent a lot of time on my hands and knees rocking. Of course, I was in transition when I arrived at the hospital. I never got in the tub or sat on a ball, but I’m happy I only spent 3 hours in pain. No meds. Coconut water is great too.
    Can’t wait to meet little Matt.

  71. Hi Kath

    I am going through the archives because we are expecting our first little on in February! The Ina May book you recommend is her book titled “Guide to Childbirth” correct? She seems to have a couple. Thank you!

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