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  • Writer's pictureNicole Ament

What happens when things go different than we expected/planned for?

During our prenatal, we sit down with you and we talk about what you envision your labor and delivery to look like, and how we fit into that picture with the support that we give. We help you learn about all of the decisions that you'll like be faced with during that time, such as what kind of pain management you want and who you want in the room, to what you would like to happen after baby arrives. Birth plans aren't just a roadmap for how your baby is going to make their way Earthside (if only!), but rather a way that we help you become informed on all the decisions that you may be facing during that process.

No matter how much we plan, though, things sometimes happen during labor and delivery that are out of the control of everyone, even you. For this very reason, we like to discuss all types of scenarios, as well as talking about what interventions you're okay with should they be needed.

For example, it's perfectly within the realm of possibilities to want a completely unmedicated hospital birth. They're possible, I promise! Even knowing that desire, however, we still discuss different ways to manage pain and the sensations that come along with labor, including medication options, because we don't ever want you to suffer through your labor or think that you have to continue through pain just because you intended to go unmedicated. There's NOTHING WRONG with having a Plan A and switching to a Plan B.

Beyond pain management, though, there are things that can happen during labor that can cause one to have to stop and consider alternatives and new paths. For example, sometimes baby come down through the pelvis all wonky, or get stuck, or require more drastic measures to help deliver them, such as vacuums or cesareans. When your baby starts showing signs of distress or you're showing signs of exhaustion or infection, you and your birth team may want to consider alternative options for delivery.

At ANY TIME, you have the right to decline ANY intervention. There are risks, of course, but those risks are most important to YOU, because this is YOUR labor and delivery, and your baby. What might not be a risk for me, may be for you, and there's nothing wrong with that. If we can help educate you on your options, when and if things go sideways, and you have to make a decision quickly, you can be better informed about those decisions. Sometimes, though, no matter how much we prepare you, things just pop up and decisions have to made quickly, in order to keep you and your baby safe. So, it's always recommended to do some of the work on your end to educate yourself about possible interventions as well. Even in-home births, no matter how much we plan and prepare ourselves, things can happen that make it safer for you to deliver in a hospital rather than at your home at the last minute.

Just know, no matter what unexpected things happen, we will be right there with you, supporting you and encouraging you through them. In your postpartum, if you're up to it, we'll discuss and process your labor with you; the good and the bad parts. We go over how things could have been done differently, and the moments when we really were at the mercy of fate, and no matter how much we could have prepared, it still would have happened the way that it did.

Birth is unpredictable, that much is true. Trust in yourself, your body, and your baby. Even though outcomes don't always happen the way we envision, that doesn't mean they have to be traumatic or unmanageable, and they certainly aren't a precursor of things to come with any future babies and deliveries. Being well-informed about the kind of birth you desire and also preparing for anything to happen, sets you up for a much more enjoyable birth. Make those plans, have a strategy, and then allow yourself to go with the flow. Babies come how they want to, no matter how much we prep and write things down. Your body knows what it's doing, and so does baby. Trust that process.

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