Our Birth Plan

by Jenni

I am a list maker.

Writing things down onto To-Do Lists, Grocery Lists, Packing Lists and Wish Lists gives me clarity and direction. Lists can be empowering. (They can also be enslaving if we judge ourselves or others harshly by them. So when I make a list, I try to envision all the blank spaces filled in with grace.)

Given my love for lists, I was thrilled to find this resource at Pregnancy Today for creating a free, customized birth plan (http://www.babyzone.com/pregnancy/labor_birth/article/birth-plan-considerations). A birth plan simply outlines your labor and delivery goals and preferences in writing. It condenses all the research and planning you’ve done with your partner into an easy-to-read list for you and your care providers…and blog readers. 🙂 A list for my delivery–right on!

While good intentions and planning can’t guarantee what kind of birth experience I’ll have, common sense tells us and research confirms two tried and true ways to make birth as safe, gentle, and healthy as possible for baby and mom (from http://www.Lamaze.org and http://www.MothersAdvocate.org):

1) First, make choices that support and assist your body’s natural ability to give birth.

2) Second, avoid practices that work against your body’s natural ability, unless there is a good medical reason for them.

These guiding principles have informed much of my instinct and decision making as we’ve prepared to bring our first child into the world. They also provide a simple framework for adapting when things don’t go as planned. Already, I’ve had to adapt my plan a few times, as our move and job change led us to find a new primary care provider (the only Certified Nurse Midwife in Central Oregon is in Bend, too far from Madras 😦 ), a new place to deliver, as well as three different health insurance companies over the course of this pregnancy.

My desire is to be fully present mentally, physically, spiritually and emotionally throughout my birth experience. Our doula, a good friend from Sisters, has been working with Seth and the past several months to help us approach this process together as a husband-wife team. I know I’m going to rely heavily on their support and I look forward to experiencing one of the most challenging feats I’ve ever accomplished. I also understand that the unexpected may occur and if it does, and a totally natural birth isn’t possible, that doesn’t mean I am somehow a failure. My biggest goal is to come home with a healthy baby.

If you’re interested, below is our Birth Plan which we’ll print and take with us to the hospital here in Madras sometime very soon. All the blanks are filled with grace. 🙂

Birth Plan – Jenni Burke

Due Date: 10/24/2011
Patient of Dr. Delamarter
Scheduled to deliver at Mt. View Hospital

Dear doctors and nurses,

Thank you for familiarizing yourself with our unique birthing wishes. You will see below that our goal is as natural, non-interventive a birthing experience as possible.

We appreciate your help and support!

Jenni Burke


  • I wish to be able to move around and change position at will throughout labor.
  • I would like to be able to have fluids by mouth throughout the first stage of labor.
  • I do not want an IV unless I become dehydrated.
  • I would like to wear contact lenses or glasses at all times when conscious.
  • Other Labor Preference: I would like to be able to labor in the jacuzzi tub


  • I do not wish to have continuous fetal monitoring unless it is required by the condition of our son.
  • I do not want an internal monitor unless our son has shown some sign of distress.

Labor Augmentation/Induction

  • I do not wish to have the amniotic membrane ruptured artificially unless signs of fetal distress require internal monitoring.

Anesthesia/Pain Medication

  • I realize that many pain medications exist. I’ll ask for them if I need them.


  • Unless absolutely necessary, I would like to avoid a Cesarean.
  • If my primary care provider determines that a Cesarean delivery is indicated, I would like to obtain a second opinion from another physician if time allows.
  • If a Cesarean delivery is indicated, I would like to be fully informed and to participate in the decision-making process.


  • I would prefer not to have an episiotomy unless absolutely required for our son’s safety.
  • If possible, I would like to use perineal massage to help avoid the need for an episiotomy.


  • I would like to be allowed to choose the position in which I give birth, including squatting.
  • I would like the chance to touch our son’s head when it crowns.
  • I would appreciate having the room lights turned low for the actual delivery.
  • I would appreciate having the room as quiet as possible when our son is born.
  • I would like to have our son placed on my stomach/chest immediately after delivery.
  • Other Delivery Preference: I would like Seth to be able to “catch” the baby if he wishes

Immediately After Delivery

  • I would like to have Seth Burke, husband cut the cord.
  • I would prefer that the umbilical cord stop pulsating before it is cut.
  • I would like to hold our son while I deliver the placenta and any tissue repairs are made.
  • I would like to hold our son for at least 15 minutes before (he/she) is photographed, examined, etc.
  • I would like to have our son evaluated and bathed in my presence.
  • I would prefer to hold our son rather than have (him/her) placed under heat lamps.
  • I do not want a routine injection of Pitocin after the delivery to aid in expelling the placenta.
  • After the birth, I would prefer to be given a few moments of privacy to urinate on my own before being catheterized.
  • I would like to see the placenta after it is delivered.
  • Other Immediately After Delivery Preference: I would like the first hour after delivery to be as quiet & private as possible for the baby, my husband, and me


  • Unless required for health reasons, I do not wish to be separated from my baby.


  • I plan to breastfeed our son and would like to begin nursing very shortly after birth.
  • Unless medically necessary, I do not wish to have any bottles given to our son (including glucose water or plain water).
  • I do not want our son to be given a pacifier.
  • I would like to meet with a lactation consultant.


  • My support person(s) is/are Cara Boles, doula and I would like them to be present during labor and/or delivery.
  • I would prefer that no students, interns, residents or non-essential personnel be present during my labor or the birth.