Birth Plan

If you have received a diagnosis that will limit your earthly time with your precious little one, I strongly recommend you make a birth plan.  This is to give the caregivers who will be in your midst a quick reference so that your wishes for your birth experience are carried out as much as possible.  While some hospital staff members may balk at a birth plan, the circumstances surrounding the birth of your son or daughter may be extremely different than any other birth they have attended.  For example, one reason we knew that we needed to find another hospital and practioner was because the staff of my kind and wonderful OB really didn’t “get it” and that was only apparent once our birth plan was in place.

Birth plans can be quite general or rather complex.  My experience with 5 birth plans shows the more straight-forward, practical, and respectful, the better.

Here is some information to include and some to consider as you form your birth plan.

Essential Information:

Your name

Baby’s name (if already chosen)

Contact information for obstetrician, pediatrician, and other key caregivers

Diagnosis

Estimated delivery date

A brief history of your pregnancy

Personal Care:

Family and friends who may be present at labor, delivery, and postpartum

Adult chaperone of siblings

Keepsakes or photographs being made

Any special prayer observances you plan to make

Bathing your precious one

Holding the baby as much as possible (or not) while dying or after his or her death

Medical care:

Caesarean or vaginal birth planned, barring complications

Fetal heart monitoring during labor (How often? Do you want to be informed if your little one’s heart stops beating before delivery?)

Comfort measures and pain relief for mom (i.e., “We hope to have a nonmedicated birth experience” or “We wish for mother to be kept as comfortable as possible, including the offer of pain medications”)

Cutting the umbilical cord (Who?)

Medical interventions after delivery such as oxygen, delaying routine procedures or providing them while baby is in arms, resuscitation, ventilators, etc.  ((This last part is really a question of medical intervention or palliative care for little one.  You will hear many opinions on all side, but you and your spouse must make the best decision for you and your little one.))

 

Here is a sample text of Jedidiah’s:

Jedidiah Nestle’s Birth Plan

Jedidiah is the fifth son of James (Jim) and Kim Nestle.  He was prenatally diagnosed with multiple heart and brain defects as well as a bilateral cleft palate and an extra digit on each hand.  Amniocentesis shows that Jedidiah’s defects are due to full trisomy 13.  He is due on May 8, 2011.

Below are our wishes to ensure that we have quality time with Jedidiah

before his life-limiting condition forces us to say an early goodbye.

  • We have an unmedicated, natural delivery planned.  Please do not offer or suggest pain-reducing drugs.
  • Please limit all fetal monitoring to the minimum as required by law or hospital policy.
  • We prefer a saline lock so that Kim can have increased mobility and comfort.
  • The umbilical cord is to be left to pulse; then, Jedidiah’s father will cut the cord.
  • Kim will attempt to breastfeed Jedidiah immediately after birth.
  • Jim will give Jedidiah an immersion bath.  The lights should be turned down with only quiet sounds please.
  • Jedidiah will not receive any eye ointment or shots.
  • All other routine procedures for baby care should be done while he is in our arms.
  • We hope to have a professional photographer present as well as Jedidiah’s brothers, grandmother, and aunt.
  • We plan to make memorial items such as hand and foot molds and foot prints on Grandma’s basket.
  • We have spoken with the neonatologist about oxygen for Jedidiah as well as a feeding tube if he is unable to nurse but survives longer than expected.  Both of these comfort measures should be done in the same room as Kim is in.
  • We have no intentions at this time for life-saving measures such as resuscitation, ventilator, etc.  Please help us to ensure that Jedidiah’s time with us is as simple and pain-free for him as possible.

 

Thank you so much for your support during this bittersweet time in our lives.

We have been followed by the team at Vanderbilt Children’s Hospital [number], where we plan to deliver, as well as by Kim’s OB/GYN at [name] and [number].  If there is an emergency, please contact Vanderbilt for our most recent and accurate records.

 

 

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