West Valley Medical Center - November 29, 2016

You guys know me well enough by now to know I like getting a rise out of people. This blog is riddled with silly rants and mildly inflammatory statements — some of which, I’ll be honest, are intended to offend slightly, but most of which are just meant to make you laugh. On good days, I accomplish both.

One such moment was the now-infamous “basket of kittens” rant in Week 32. To refresh your memory:

“People ask me often if I have a birth plan, and the answer is no. I hate those websites that present you with a laundry list of ridiculous options: I want only organic, Egyptian cotton linens; I want the room to smell of roses and French baguettes; I want my baby immediately placed in a basket of kittens.”

Ring a bell? I can tell you this gem really got the maternity nurses chuckling. But I can also understand how it would touch a raw nerve for some. After all, having a baby is one of the most important moments of your entire life. In scale and significance, it’s often compared to a wedding. Like it or not, an entire industry has sprung up around planning for this big day. Thousands of websites offer advice, checklists, planning guides, dos and don’ts of every variety.

The post-partum maternity suites in our Family Maternity Center

And really, what’s so wrong with that? When I go on vacation, it is with the preparation and precision-like efficiency of an invading army. It only makes sense that I would put in that amount of planning, if not considerably more, to the birth of my baby. And because I’ve never done this before, my plans will start in the same place I start everything else: Google. Suddenly, all those lists and guides look pretty darn handy.

To clarify my original position, no, there is nothing wrong with having a birth plan. I love plans. But there are two things I want you to keep in mind:

  • The Internet contains some horrendously bad information. For example, I found a birth plan on a well-known pregnancy website that talked about procedures no OBGYN has performed since 1972 … and talked about them as though they were inevitable for every woman. Also, try to remember that many of these sites are geared toward women in big cities. I sincerely wish we offered a menu designed by Gwyneth Paltrow, but sorry, this is Caldwell. (And I think our food is pretty tasty, Gwyneth or not).
  • The big critical difference between a wedding and childbirth is that one offers very little chance of hemorrhaging … my wedding being an exception. Kidding, kidding. And I know humans have been having babies incident-free for … oh, 200,000 years or so. But things can go wrong. Big things, like prolapsed cords, but also just little hiccups you didn’t foresee, like getting dehydrated and needing an IV when you really didn’t want one. Or unanticipated latching issues that make breastfeeding problematic. All I’m saying is even the best-laid plans go awry sometimes. Be flexible.

Cam on a tour of the West Valley Family Maternity Center. They showed him the kitchen, the nursery, how to check in as a guest. He found it reassuring, almost like a dress rehearsal for the real thing.

Now that I burst your bubble and stomped all over it, I do have a recommendation for you. For birth plans, I’m a big fan of the options on Baby Center. They refer to your birth plan as “a way to start the discussion,” which I think is a great way of looking at it. I also think the information they share is practical, medically accurate and up-to-date. No baskets of kittens or 1970s surgical procedures in sight.

Based on the information at Baby Center — and what we learned at our excellent Childbirth Education Class — here are some things Cam and I have discussed:

  • I want to labor at home for as long as possible. I’m fairly comfortable in the hospital environment — it is my job after all — but still, my own bed and my own TV are preferable.
  • Cam will be the only one in the room, aside from medical professionals. We both get too easily overwhelmed to have the whole family clustered around my open legs.
  • We will try for an unmedicated birth, followed by an analgesic injection if it gets to be too much. I’d like to avoid an epidural, but hey, all bets are off once I’m actually in labor.
  • I want to labor in … whatever position feels good at the time? Sitting, standing, walking. Yoga ball, bathtub, aromatherapy. I’ll try anything if the nurses think it will help.
  • If I have to have a c-section, we’d like to watch the procedure. West Valley offers clear draping for this very purpose. A little too graphic for some, but we’re both pretty cool with medical stuff.
  • Cam is going to cut the cord, although we’d like to delay clamping for a few minutes if the doctor agrees.

There are other things too, but you get the general idea. In closing, I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, the No. 1 most important thing is your relationship with your doctor. Make sure you choose a doctor who respects your wishes but, above all else, you trust to keep you and your baby safe in the event things don’t go according to plan.