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When I found out that we were indeed expecting again, the one thing we knew was that we wanted this time to be different. Now don’t get me wrong, my first pregnancy was pretty flawless but when it came to her delivery, it was traumatic. Aside from experiencing a scary situation (check out Cassidy’s birth story here to see what I’m referring to), the thing that we say most affected us in her birth was the feeling of complete lack of control. I didn’t know what decisions to make, what to reject, and what to ask for. In summary, I was not a very good advocate for myself.
Of course, in any pregnancy and labor, there is only so much a person can do. In fact, that’s pretty much true in all aspects of life. Some things just can’t be planned for. Instead, all we can do is hope for the best. This very approach was the exact thing we wanted to acknowledge this time. We wanted to stay realistic but also not be afraid to tailor requests based on our desires. We didn’t want to create a birth plan but rather we wanted to create a birth preference.
Whats the difference? Well a birth preference sheet maintains structure while still remaining fluid. It takes into consideration that things at the end of the day may not always go exactly how we want them to. Instead, a birth preference sheet gives a general idea or rough blue print to your practitioner of how you’d like for things to occur so that they can best help you meet those goals. They might not be able to adhere to it all but at least they can try and get some things matched.
So with that being said, I created three different birth preference sheets: one for a unmedicated vaginal delivery and one for a cesarean and then one for a general vaginal delivery, in the case an epidural is requested.
Now with all birth preferences, I should note that each hospital has its own sets of protocol and procedure. For example, our hospital is one of the leaders in New Jersey to do “gentle c-sections.” Because of this, that is what the birth plan follows and is structured for. I’d recommend you check with your doctor and hospital to see how they operate. Another thing to keep in mind is that we are going in for an elective c-section so this obviously means things should run a tad more smoothly than it would if it were an emergency.
Trust me, I know how easy it can be to set your mind to a specific idea of how you want your birth to be. I did this with Cassidy (my first), did it with my son (my second) but with my third I am leaving it up to fate. While I know that I can’t ever say with absolute uncertainty that things will go according to plan, I know that with the help of a well structured birth preference sheet, I can better prepare and set myself up for a birth that is as close to perfect as possible.
TO DOWNLOAD THESE BIRTH PREFERENCES, SEE BELOW