If you are the author of a five-page, laminated birth plan that specifies you want no fluorescent lighting, your contractions referred to as "uterine surges," and Emmylou Harris singing "Calling My Children Home" right when the baby is crowning - oh, and a Diet Dr. Pepper and two chocolate doughnuts when it's over - you should be aware that your nurses are amused.
Taped to the wall of the public bathroom in a birthing center in Colorado Springs is extensive documentation of how nurses really feel about your birth plan. It comes in the form of a pages-long parody of a birth plan in which a labor and delivery nurse presents herself as the pregnant mother. Across the top, another nurse has scrawled, Great bathroom read! It's funny, and a little mean, but should be required reading for anyone who wants to write a birth plan. It says, in part:
[Insert Name] will be referred to as "The Laborer" for the duration of labor, delivery and recovery. [Handwritten by a colleague: And forever after, too.]
The Laborer has been practicing perineal massage on her cat and will bring in her own bottle of extra-virgin olive oil for use in labor.
The Laborer wants absolutely no visitors. With no exceptions. Under no circumstances. Except for [long list of friends and family], Miley Cyrus, Phineas and Ferb, Michelle Obama, Oprah Winfrey, Ellen DeGeneres, Easter Bunny, Tooth Fairy and Edward Cullen. Other people may be added at The Laborer's discretion.
The Laborer wants Buffy the Vampire Slayer to be playing on the TV at all times. As such, she will be bringing her collection of DVDs and will expect a staff member to switch the discs periodically.
The Laborer would like minimal vaginal exams. Not more than one every twelve hours. But The Laborer will frequently ask how far dilated she is.
It goes on in this vein for five typed pages. Obviously, it's a piece of satire and isn't meant to be taken seriously. But satire is instructive and can go a long way toward teaching us what not to do. Fortunately, that's simple: You don't want to do anything that causes your nurses to see you as "difficult" or requiring "princess care." What you do want is for them to take your wishes seriously and to treat you with the utmost care and attention.
Now it's time to write your plan. For 5 steps to writing a smart birth plan, visit Babble.
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