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Creating a C-Section Birth Plan

Author: Naomi Liddell

I have an appointment with my consultant this week to discuss my birth plan for the impending baby. Having a birth plan seems to be the norm now and it’s something my hospital actively encourages. I even had a midwife tell me that she panics a little bit now when a woman presents in labour without a birth plan as they need to deduce the woman’s choices in the moment. I think it’s great and a sign of the times, I’ve heard so many family stories from my Mum’s generation of women being shouted at, bullied and even sedated so they would be a good girl and give birth ‘the right way’. We have choices now that we’ve never had before and I for one will be taking full advantage.

I should now state however that I only have one line that truly matters in my birth plan:

“Please help deliver my beautiful baby in the safest possible way.”

Everything else can go right out of the window if it were to compromise that first line in any way.

But since I’m expected to discuss the following with the consultant, I figured I would give it all a good think and share my choices with you lovely ladies. I ended up with an emergency caesarian with Ethan. If you’re interested, you can read both parts of his birth story here and here. I started this pregnancy with a bit of an obsession over choosing a VBAC (vaginal birth after caesarean). But after some new health-related variables, a lot of research and reconsideration, Gavin and I have decided on a Planned Repeat C-Section instead.

So this rundown on my birth plan focuses on a caesarean section, but if any of you are interested, I’m sure we can focus another post on birth plan choices for a vaginal birth?

Also, remember that each consultant’s advice and hospital policy differs, so please have an open discussion with your own consultant about what feels right for you. It’s a special day that you will remember for the rest of your life, so whilst none of us has a crystal ball to know how any birth will go, we all have choices.

Music

Gavin is currently working on a playlist of songs for the birth. I have friends who have said that it just adds a whole new level of relaxed atmosphere to an elective section (better tell him to keep the thrash metal for another day then). I also love the idea of one of the songs he’s chosen playing as the baby is born and having that one song remind me of that moment forever.

Explain It To Me

During Ethan’s birth, one of the things that settled me most on the operating table was the awesome anaesthetist that talked me through the entire procedure. I was never left wondering what was happening to my body below that sheet. She kept me involved. I would love that in theatre this time too.

Drop The Screen

I’m going to ask that the screen is dropped when the baby is being lifted out of my tummy. I have a photo of Ethan being born which is one of my most precious possessions, but instead of having Gavin waiting in the wing with a camera, I’d love us both to be present and be able to watch the baby being brought into the world.

Keep Baby With Me

This, for me, is the most important part of my birth wishes for this time around. When Ethan was born, he was in respiratory distress and was whisked away, thankfully! The wonderful hospital team looked after him and he was ok. But I didn’t get to see him for about six hours after the birth. This time, providing there is no medical reason to take the baby away again, I’d like the baby to be laid on my chest as soon as s/he is born and kept in my arms in theatre and recovery.

Delayed Cord Clamping

If possible, we’re asking that the umbilical cord is allowed to pulse the blood from the placenta to the baby for a short while after the birth, instead of being cut immediately. This has been proven to give a variety of health benefits to the kiddo and poses no extra risk to me. It also just makes sense in my mind to let the baby get the most out of the placenta and the blood before being separated from it.

Pain Relief Options

I have been prescribed Tramadol after two previous surgeries (one being Ethan’s birth) and man… It did not agree with me. It gave me shocking palpitations and anxiety through the roof. I’m going to specifically request that I don’t receive this at any point. After having a baby, I don’t need anything that’s going to make me feel even more bluesy and vulnerable that I might already feel!

Revealing The Sex

We haven’t found out the sex of the baby this time and my dream would be to hear the news from Gavin. I know it sounds silly and I don’t really have any reason other than the romantic notion of having my husband tell me “It’s a boy!” or “It’s a girl!” (between you and me, my money is on girl… Although I will be delighted either way).

What are your thoughts on birth plans?

What have been the choices you’ve made for your babies birth?

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Naomi can’t decide which she loves more: adventuring with her boys or being left alone in a luxurious bath with a great book.
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25 thoughts on “Creating a C-Section Birth Plan

  1. Love this! A couple of points from my own experience (3 kids, last was a semi-planned/sort of emergency section 6 months ago). I was very similar to you and was all about skin to skin, cord clamping etc. However after about 90 seconds of babe on my chest I realised I was shaking (from the anaesthesia) too much to trust myself to hold her! Something to be aware of, just in case. Also take your own ibruprofen and paracetamol into hospital as back up. I found as a non-first timer I was very much bottom of the list when it came to being checked on/given pain relief etc which was fine by me as I wanted to be left alone but I was thankful I could keep up with my drugs! You sound like you’ve your head on right, for sure.

  2. My husband was the one to tell me that our daughter was a girl when she was born, and it’s a moment that I will always remember!! That was in our birth plan and it was really really lovely.

    I remember the midwives saying that they liked my birth plan, as it was fairly flexible, with the main aim being – use your expertise and knowledge to do what is necessary to keep me and the baby safe. I don’t deal well with plans changing, so I didn’t want to be too set in my plan as it would stress me out if it changed – so I made it as loose as possible – as my midwife said – the baby doesn’t read the plan!!! I had decided that I didn’t want to use pethadine as I’d read that it had effects for the baby, but that was it!!! So when I had to be induced and they recommended an epidural, I went with that.

    If I had a second baby I would go with a similar birth plan I think – with one addition – that the baby not receive their vitamin K injection whilst being fed – in the biggest letters ever – that happened with my first and after that breast feeding seemed get more difficult and ultimately didn’t work out, and part of me will always wonder if that was why.

    1. “The baby doesn’t read the plan” So true Amy. In a chat with Lauren about this, she had mentioned them being called ‘birth preferences’. I liked that. A lot more fluid.

  3. I had a planned c-section as my son was breach. I found the whole experience surprisingly calm and lovely. I had been a bit worried about being in the theatre on my own and getting the spinal but everyone was so lovely and it didn’t hurt at all. The anaesthetists were great and chatted away to us the whole time. We didn’t know the sex either and I guess I was expecting to find out when they held the baby up. However we actually found out when the doctor told us that the baby was peeing (still inside me I guess!) and mentioned testicles lol.

    1. Aw Suzy what a lovely, positive experience. I’m actually quite looking forward to it all now too. And how hilarious that he was born peeing! Ethan pee’d all over the paediatrician who checked him over too.

  4. See, I totally disagree about birth plans. I think if you’re made to think about things too much then you have an expectation of how it will be and if its not like that then you might get disappointed.

    I had a C-section with both of mine and in two different hospitals. Neither were official emergencies more “your baby is too huge to come out”. Interestingly, they were massively different. 1 in the North, 1 in the South (read into that what you will about the NHS postcode divide). London was slick, I was in and out of surgery in 20 minutes and they had the next person wheeled in. They kept the lighting dark, music played low. Didn’t feel much like theatre.

    Cheshire was hilarious. 45 minutes looking for the surgeon after lunch whilst the trainee kept asking the nurses whether they had any more butterfly clips. Bad radio. Bad lighting. I had to ask them to switch the radio off for fear of the baby coming out during something by Robbie Williams.

    What was amazing both times is that my husband got skin to skin before me. Almost as soon as he came out and as they got carried over to the table to get them checked over. So its worth telling Gavin to be sans t-shirt under his gown so he can be stripped off quickly to make the most of the opportunity. It was absolutely lovely to be able to continue to throw up from all the drugs (you know, same old) whilst knowing both babies were having skin on skin.

    He also did the “sex” reveal both times and even now, I can’t think about it without getting teary. No words will ever describe how he said it. It was just absolutely the best moment of my whole entire life. Just absolute wonder.

    SO BROODY OVER HERE.

  5. Naomi your plan sounds spot on. I’m currently 35 weeks with #2 and aiming for a VBAC after an emergency section last time. I’ll find out next week for sure whether I can try or whether the complications from the first time are present again.
    Despite having an emergency section last time, I was asked quickly if there was anything that was really important to me. I asked for husband to reveal the gender, for him to clamp the cord and for immediate skin to skin. As someone above said, I did not enjoy the skin to skin, I felt too shivery and overwhelmed to hold my baby comfortably. So my husband stepped in and got the immediate skin to skin which he loved. Tell Gavin to be on standby 😉 Best of luck!

    1. Need to take these shivers into consideration this time I think. From what I remember thy had subsided by the time Ethan came out.
      So glad you were able to get some of your wishes granted in an emergency situation.

  6. Similarly to above I had an emergency section but still managed to have skin on skin, delayed cord clamp – they also cut the cord longer than usual so my husband could cut it to the right length himself and my husband revealed the gender. I was also too shivery from the anaesthetic to hold baby comfortably for too long but watching my husband hold him whilst I stroked him was amazing, and then they nestled him in to my arm when they wheeled me out of theatre so I could hold him without taking his weight. So hopefully all these elements of your plan will be able to go ahead! Such exciting times ahead xx

  7. After everything going very much not to plan first time out, I approached it second time as a birth map. It was still so important to me as the only nice memories I have from that are the scraps salvaged from the birth plan, like my husband telling me we had a daughter. I was disappointed, not because I had a plan but because I felt I had had no agency, very little support, 15 stitches and a hole in my spinal cord. Nobody plans for that.

    Second time out I approached it as a birth road map: I wanted to lay out the ideal route we would take to our destination of healthy baby and happy parents, but I also wanted to be aware of alternatives that we might need to take if we encountered bumps in the road. So I had my plan for birth in the water etc but also had an induction plan- no propess as I reacted very badly to it. If I needed an epidural it had to be the senior anaesthetist available thanks to my history- this was all flagged up in a yes/no spider gram so it was very clear what was what. Just like you and the Tramadol- propess was a cul de sac on my road map and I wasn’t going down there this time. Of course, none of that mattered as he had his own plans as I’ve written about here!!

    (http://www.rockmyfamily.co.uk/homebirth-precipitate-labour/)

    Very happy to write a longer post about mapping instead of planning if that’s of interest or helpful to anyone..

    Also Naomi squeee getting closer and closer 😍😍😍 How fab to have a date and know Ethan will be sorted and to have such clear and thought through options 💓

    1. I LOVE this idea of a birth map. Especially after what you went through!(A hole in your spinal cord?!) I will no doubt report back to these pages with how it all goes.

  8. I didn’t have a c section but had a lot of the same hopes on my birth preferences, mainly delayed cord clamping, skin to skin, and my partner telling me the gender of our baby… sadly I was robbed of the last one as our son was born onto the hospital bed, legs akimbo… all I had to do was glance down (I was kneeling at the bed head) and there was no need for anyone to tell me boy or girl! (Although credit to the midwife, she still didn’t mention the gender until she was sure I knew, just in case there was any salvaging that wish!)

    We also made a birth playlist but it never made it anywhere, we didn’t have the time!

  9. Great post with lovely ideas. I’m impressed what things are possible during the C-sections in GB apparently. I’m a doctor in gyn/obs in Germany and our rules are rather rigid. I had an unplanned C-section with my son and went to try for a VBAC with my daughter 14 weeks ago. Unfortunately I had a C-section again. As the epidural didn’t work properly I was completely put under so bye bye memories of Linn’s birth… I wish I had gone for a planned C-section, things might have been a lot different…

  10. Correct me if I’m wrong but isn’t the massive shaking to do with hormones (adrenalin I think) after giving birth? I had massive shakes but only had gas and air so I don’t think it was anything to do with that. Having your husband tell you the sex is a nice idea.

    1. Hi Emma – it could be but is also a side effect of anaesthetic. I shook uncontrollably whilst in theatre. X

  11. I have just completed a hypnobirthing online course with Siobhan Miller and she recommends a ‘natural section’ and if you look at the videos on YouTube it is quite remarkable as the baby is born gently and slowly crawls out which sorts of mimics being born naturally. She also mentioned about dimming the lights (if you need that to remain calm) and asking to have your chest clear of monitoring devices instead having them on your back so you can have complete skin to skin once born.

    I am 31 weeks and hoping not to have a C section but if required I will be writing the above and other things like my husband announcing the gender, delayed cord clamping, dropping the screen as it is be important to me.

    Good Luck!

  12. Please help deliver my beautiful baby in the safest possible way

    ABSOLUTELY this. Statement made me blub on the bus. As a loss mum the blubs hurtle out sometimes

  13. I really hope this doesn’t seem creepy/stalkerish but from your insta-stories, I *think* you are delivering at the same hospital I did.

    Lots of people told me birth plans were a waste of time, but my consultant and midwives took mine very seriously and followed it to the letter, unless I asked to deviate from it. Even when things went a little bit wrong right at the end, they still stuck to my wishes as much as possible. For example, they held my daughter up so my husband could tell me she was a girl, whilst rushing her off for resuscitation! He kind of shouted it back at me while running out of the room.

    I had such a wonderful experience there and I hope you do too.

  14. I had an elective c-section after a 3rd degree tear with my first born and I absolutely loved the experience!

    I asked them if they could play relaxing music, and most importantly if we could take photos and videos! They kindly agreed, adding that we couldn’t share the video of the c-section itself online at all so that is just for us but they lowered the curtain for us after the incision which was amazing (highly recommended) and we took all the photos and videos we wanted which now, 7 months on, are amazing to look back at.

    I love the hospital stay that comes with giving birth, I think it might be my favourite bit (!) and the experience of planning and knowing the date (we were able to have my late Grandma’s birthday which was perfect) made it even more special!

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