Tuesday, 5 May 2015

The No-Plan Birth Plan

"The best laid schemes o'mice an' men gang aft agley"
- Robert Burns

OK, so it is a complete cliché that I, as an English Teacher, would choose the quote that inspired John Steinbeck's title for the novel 'Of Mice and Men' as my blog post opener; but it is a perfect fit for my No-Plan Birth Plan.

Being a first time mum means that you become a victim to loads of other people who want to tell you what to do, when to do it and how to do it - whether it is about breastfeeding, weaning, dressing your baby or giving birth. Whilst the majority of the advice you receive is great and super useful, there are many instances where it is thrust upon you and is unhelpful, scary even.

My Experience During Pregnancy

As I got bigger through the second and third trimester, lots of other women, doctors and the midwife would often ask me questions about the upcoming birth. interrogatives such as, 'Have you written your birth plan yet?' and 'Natural or c-section??' were regularly thrown at me and accompanied with the anecdotal comments of other mums' experience of labour. These little stories would often be one of two extremes: a) it was a 'shelling peas' experience, or b) it was hell on earth. When faced with these questions and their corresponding tales I would inevitably resort to my ever sophisticated vacant expression and shrug; I didn't know.

I mean, I couldn't wrap my head around the fact that you were supposed to plan. To have a baby. Which you'd never done before. Surely this was entirely out of my hands? I plan for a living - and it seemed an overwhelming task!

As time went on, visits to the midwife became comical as we went through the same conversation in which she asked me about my birth plan and I responded with the same old answer, 'I'm just going to see what happens'. Her agitated despair became a little running joke for us, in the end. At least I was original.

Birth Plans

Birth Plans are a great opportunity to have your say. They help some women take advantage of alternative methods and mechanisms, and they allow women to establish whether they want a water birth, a home birth or a planned c-section. They also can bring an element of calm to the delivery, allowing the mother and partner to feel as though they are taking some control. 

You can find out more on birth plans and writing one here.

Why didn't I have a birth plan? 

Well, being the anally retentive control freak that I am (read 'used to be before having a child') and having a job which required me to plan every hour of my working day down into chunks of 10--15 minutes at a time you would think a birth plan would be a given. A must. An absolute.

In all honesty? I couldn't think of one. I could never decide. I didn't really know what I wanted, and then I became scared of wanting something that - in the end - I wouldn't be able to have, I don't cope well when things don't go the way I hoped they would. I often allow these little 'failures' to worry away at me and I didn't want to feel like that when Jake decided to arrive.

However, what I did begin to do was identify things that I *didn't* want, and I wrote down in my notes that I didn't want a c-section unless an emergency, and I wanted to be free to move about.

In the end...

It turns out that I was right. Things don't go as you plan. They don't go to plan and you can't control labour!

I was due 28th August 2014 and ended up going 13 days overdue and being induced. I spent 20 hours in the hospital before labour began - then it began full speed - then it all stopped when I was in labour because Jake turned his head and got himself stuck; he took a dump and then we were rushed to emergency theatre with a full epidural and prepped for a c-section. Terrifying doesn't cover it. Let alone the huge failure you feel when you realise you can't deliver your baby by yourself. In the end, Jake was 'helped out' with emergency forceps, narrowly missing the need for an emergency c-section.

I certainly wouldn't have planned that!

Perhaps my no-plan birth plan was a sign. Perhaps it was fate? In the end - I'm glad that I didn't have a plan - that I wasn't following - to worry about.

You can find out more on birth plans and writing one here.
Mami 2 Five


  1. Bless you, we were quite naïve in our expectations first time round and hadn't even considered a C-section which is what I ended up having so I completely agree about keeping an open mind on what might happen #sundaystars

    1. Thank you mamavsteacher - it is definitely worth being able to go with the flow! x

  2. I had the same approach of writing down what I didn't want, although I then surprised myself when I realised I'd actually planned most of the birth by doing this. I wasn't expecting anything in my plan to actually happen, so was very surprised when everything went almost exactly to plan. I think for anyone overwhelmed by the thought of writing a birth plan, it's at least a good idea to let your partner know what you don't want so they can talk to medical staff on your behalf if they need to. You're right though that there as so many things about labour that we can't control and sometimes it's best not to be too fixated on details x #sundaystars

    1. Thank you LoveFromCluelessMum - I agree, that a conversation with your partner is essential!!x

  3. I've given birth to twins and three further children and never once wrote a birth plan! I totally agree with you that I would just have been stressing more if things weren't going the way I expected them too lol Thanks for linking up with #SundayStars xxx