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  1. #1
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    Default Anyone else confused by conflicting information?

    I'm a first-timer, due in November, and my doctor is encouraging me to take prepared childbirth classes and make a birth plan. I've scheduled classes (the hospital ones, and Bradley ones) and I've been reading a lot. I've done online research and read Dr. Sears' The Birth Book, etc. I also attended an anesthesiology class with a pregnant friend of mine.

    So my question is, how on earth do you make decisions about what kind of birth you want when:

    a. You've never done this before and have no idea what it's really like,
    b. Everyone has an agenda and wants to convince you their way is best?

    The Bradley folks tell you all these scary stories about side effects of medication, the hospital folks tell you all those stories are outdated and untrue, and mamas I know range from "it didn't hurt at all; it was over before I knew it!" to "I was in labor for 4 days and it wouldn't have lasted nearly as long if I'd given in and gotten a epidural!"

    In short, dear friends, I am confused. So I am reaching out to the Good People of the Internet for some advice. How did you/are you making your birth plan?

  2. #2
    SnuggleBuggles is online now Black Diamond level (25,000+ posts)
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    I made a birth plan...with my 1st it was a monstrosity of a check list from Baby Center. I learned a lot from birth #1 plus tons of subsequent reading and research (I became a certified birth junkie!) and had much better birth plans with #2. I broke my birth plan up into straightforward, easy birth- induction- c-section- minor complications that meant I had to go to the hospital vs birth center. That way no one was bombarded with useless, irrelevant info. I have them all if you want to see them. My doula with ds1 was helpful in somewhat narrowing down my birth plan because she knew my CNM and the hospital so she could tell me what sort of things were non issues.

    I found that with almost every birth book and class that you had to take everything with a grain of salt. Find neutral, reliable sources to fact check on. American Pregnancy has some neutral info on pain meds and other things that I really appreciated.

    I dislike fear mongering about birth and wish that people, books and classes wouldn't do that. Facts so parents can make informed decisions. I would dislike if any of the classes I went to said the other one was wrong but then didn't back it up with evidence vs anecdote.

    Even though Marsden Wagner can be biased, I found "Creating your Birth Plan" to be pretty helpful. I have lots of other books and website info if you want them as well as sample birth plans.

    Basically you need to find neutral sources to back up the 2 extremes you are dealing with. The Birth Book isn't bad but it's a bit outdated (unless a new edition came out and I missed it).

    Beth

  3. #3
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    Yes, please! I need samples, neutral sources, the works. I am normally an organized person (low-key, but organized) and I'm surprised at how difficult this is.

    I planned my whole wedding, with no drama, in about a month. But then, I've been to weddings before, and it is relatively easy to predict how they'll go. Also, there's not a lot of propaganda.

  4. #4
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    I agree that you need to take everything with a grain of salt. Everyone has strong beliefs about how they prefer to do things, but the truth is every birth experience is different (some intentionally so, some unintentionally.) The best you can do is inform yourself as much as possible so you know what *could* happen, and you are better equipped to make decisions if something unexpected happens.

    Think of the different perspectives as options you have, and you can choose which ones you want to focus on. I agree with Beth that your birth plan should be simple, no irrelevant info. Remember, you will probably have a number of different nurses and doctors caring for you during labor, and you don't want all of them to have to sift through pages and pages of info. It also helps for you to clarify early on the most important thing(s) to you, so you can verbalize them quickly and clearly. Although I had a birth plan, my water broke early, and I had to be induced (not in the plan.) I kept my request simple and to the point - "If possible, please place him on my abdomen as soon as he comes out." I said this to every single nurse and doctor who cared for me. Their response was usually - "We can't promise (based on the medical situation) but we'll try." That was good enough for me.

    The best piece of non-propaganda advice I heard was from a nurse in the childbirth class who said basically - "Be prepared with a birth plan, but don't try to control the process to much. The baby will decide how your labor goes, so if you try to make it happen your way, you'll always be disappointed. Be aware of all your options (i.e. breathing, Bradley, epidural) and choose which one you want as you need it."

    Good luck! And - I know it can be overwhelming.
    Mom to Mr. Sunshine 9/08
    and Miss Happiness 3/11

  5. #5
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    FTM here, so I'm in the same boat as you. One thing I've heard that is helpful is that it's really hard to do a non-medicated birth without mentally preparing for it -- so even if you're not sure you want to go that way, try to prepare for it so that it's an option; if you don't have non-medical comfort measures that you've thought through, you'll most likely end up with the drugs (not that there's anything wrong with that). It sounds like you're totally doing this by taking both sets of classes, and I hope you have the resources available to have a "just right" birth, no matter how it happens.

    The place where I've been really surprised by contradictory information is breastfeeding -- I've been going to LLL meetings and our Lamaze-based childbirth classes does a session on BFing, and I was shocked that there were such different views! Like LLL seems to be all about watching the baby and feeding on demand, while our childbirth lady said it's possible to overfeed a breastfed baby. I think those two views can actually be reconciled (i.e., make sure that baby is actually hungry when you feed him, but go for it if he is)...but it's kind of upsetting to get such different views on something that seems so simple.
    Emma in Bermuda
    Mama to furkids Beau and Mattie
    DS1 born June 2010
    DS2 born November 2012

  6. #6
    lizzywednesday is offline Red Diamond level (10,000+ posts)
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    Quote Originally Posted by PearlsMom View Post
    ...

    The place where I've been really surprised by contradictory information is breastfeeding -- I've been going to LLL meetings and our Lamaze-based childbirth classes does a session on BFing, and I was shocked that there were such different views! Like LLL seems to be all about watching the baby and feeding on demand, while our childbirth lady said it's possible to overfeed a breastfed baby. I think those two views can actually be reconciled (i.e., make sure that baby is actually hungry when you feed him, but go for it if he is)...but it's kind of upsetting to get such different views on something that seems so simple.
    FWIW, breastfeeding may be natural but it sure as crap isn't "simple"!

    Sometimes you have to work a bit more with your baby to get him/her to feed ... like my nephew was a super high maintenance baby and my sister wasn't up to the patience it would have taken to get him to start feeding. My daughter, on the other hand, had latching problems because she was bottle fed in the hospital due to a medical issue she was born with, so it took us a couple of weeks and a visit with an LC to work out our problem!

    In my short experience as an EBF mama, I'd say the best BF advice is to watch the baby for his/her hunger cues. Crying is a super-late cue, so watching for earlier signs - lip smacking, fist chewing, etc. - helps you identify actual hunger rather than generalized discomfort or another issue. My DD's hunger cue is actually a vocalization (eh-eh-eh, like she's trying to say "eat") with a big, wide, open mouth and she gets REALLY pissed if I don't feed her when it's about that time!

    Also, to the OP - I wanted to do Bradley classes because of what a good instructor will help you with learning about your own body, but never fully intended on a medication-free birth. I was comfortable with that idea and I don't think I would have been frightened by any well-intended misinformation from an instructor.

    When my DD's medical issue was diagnosed at 21 weeks gestation, most of my plans went out the window because I had to learn about her condition and treatment and make plans for her first few days that differed from what I had wanted. My original hospital pretty much insisted that I would HAVE TO HAVE a C-section, which wasn't something I wanted to pursue as an absolute, so we switched hospitals for my OB care. I felt that, at the specialized hospital where DD was born, I had a greater chance of delivering vaginally, so I was more comfortable with whatever would happen there because the docs, midwives and nurses had such a positive outlook that it would be OK to deliver DD vaginally and a C-section would only be used as a last resort intervention, rather than a mandate.

    In the end, I was induced and ended up with a C-section after failing to progress beyond 7cm dilation. Because I knew this was a possibility and I liked and trusted my doctors, I felt at peace with this result despite not having planned on it. My doctor also made sure my incision would allow for me to be a good VBAC candidate for my next DC, so I am going to look for an OB/CNM who specializes in VBAC for my continued GYN care.
    ==========================================
    Liz
    DD (3/2010)

    "Make mistakes! Get messy!" - Miss Frizzle

  7. #7
    catsnkid is offline Platinum level (1000+ posts)
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    My plan was this- I'm open to pain meds if I need it. I was induced- I started having contractions in the middle of the night from cervidal.. Walked around for a bit. They wore off. Didn't get the pit until noon due to staff issues. I cried uncle around dinner time. Relaxed for several hours, unfortunately I got to 4 cm and stayed there.. Had C-section just after midnight. DS was oblique and I apparently have an android pelvis- that combined with a large headed baby probably caused my situation.. My ob said that this would probably happen again- I am a-ok with scheduled c-section next time. Things don't go as planned. I was the only one in my birth class that was induced/ c-section. Several in the birth class were planning drug free births- I think only one or two actually had no epidural.

  8. #8
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    larig is offline Diamond level (5000+ posts)
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    Quote Originally Posted by catsnkid View Post
    Things don't go as planned.


    have a plan, but keep in mind that it will potentially need to be altered (by you or others) if circumstances dictate. Be mentally prepared for that. My SIL was devastated when her carefully crafted plan had to be abandoned. Things happen. My "plan" was to go in mentally prepared for anything.

  9. #9
    hellokitty is online now Pink Diamond level (15,000+ posts)
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    I did not know there was a bradley class in our area until I was pg with baby #2 and by then we were unable (nobody to watch DS1) to take the class. I do not think it hurts to take more than one childbirth class, esp if this is your first baby, if you want to take the class for subsequent pregnancies, you may run into problems like us about getting childcare for your older child. I took the hospital one and it basically was all about the epidural and assumed EVERYONE would get the epidural. There was no talk of ANY other options than going with an epidural. If I had known about the bradley class I would have taken it, it would have helped me so much. I haven't run into a single woman who took bradley and regretted it, even ones who didn't end up being able to give birth w/o meds.
    Mom to 3 LEGO Maniacs

  10. #10
    newg is offline Emerald level (3000+ posts)
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    I agree with PP about having a plan or "idea" of what you'd like....tell the nurses and doctors around you, but be prepared that (for whatever reason) they may not be able to follow the plan.....or you may change your mind.
    Just 'cause you have it written down, doesn't mean you have to stick to it either.

    I was totally up in the air about an epidural and I couldn't make up my mind. It was a nurse who told me I don't have to "make up my mind" up until the very end....and that she would let me know when that time was approaching. I ended up getting one about half way through because I started to feel like I was going to throw up...and being in labor and throwing up was not a combo I wanted to experience. I also wanted to hold DD right away, but I had a semi-emergency c-section and was shaking so badly from the whole day's experience I didn't want to hold her because I was afraid I was going to drop her. DH held her for me so I could see her.
    I didn't have anything set in stone about what I wanted/needed and was ok with a go-with-flow type plan.

    You are going to hear all kinds of stories, just like you would with anything else. If you are delivering at a hospital I would get a tour and ask questions of your docs and on the tour. It is possible that many of the techniques you'd learn in a class (of any kind) wouldn't even be possible where you're going to give birth (like taking a shower, or sitting on a ball).........at least if you know what you can/can't do ahead of time, that's less stuff you have to think over as you make your plan.

    DD1 2/08
    DD2 8/10

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