By Caring Doula
First let me be clear, I have a great respect for medical practitioners and hope to learn from them, but I also believe that they should have mutual respect for their patients. That being said, here we go!
I was at a routine OB appointment last Wednesday with an OB I have never met before. I have to “make the rounds” as they say in the office there and meet all of the OBs because I can not choose which one will attend my birth, they all rotate at being on call for Labor and Delivery. So on Wednesday I was meeting the third one, let’s call her Dr. B.
At first when Dr. B entered my room she seemed really caring and nice and she shook my hand. We discussed a few things like the flu shot, and then she asked me if I had any questions. I asked two, the second question being, “Who can I give my birth plan to?”, to which she answered, “You would just give it to the nursing staff at Labor and Delivery, but they think birth plans are bad luck and that if you bring a birth plan that you won’t get the birth you want”.
“THEY think birth plans are BAD LUCK”.
I was in total shock when I heard that, I said out loud to her, more than once actually, “Really? I have NEVER heard of that before”, and the rest of the conversation is a little blurry, but I must have asked her why they believe that, and she just said, “They are superstitious over there, you can just tell your nurse what you want”, and I know I said something back like, “Well I had a birth plan for my daughter’s birth and I had her vaginally without drugs, and having a birth plan is not bad luck for me”. At which point her personality completely changed. She turned totally cold and kind of snappy, rushing through the rest of the appointment and acting really upset, like I had said something to upset HER when she was the one who had just greatly upset ME! She was all fake and weird after that, and I was in total shock and totally freaked out.
I went in the bathroom and cried. I couldn’t believe what she told me and how she acted toward me. I could not help being so appalled that anyone would think having a birth plan was bad luck. At Kaiser where I delivered my daughter in 2010, they gave you a fill in the blank birth plan at practically every visit I went to during my last trimester, and stressed that we should give it to their labor and delivery with our check in papers. Not to mention all of the research I have done about birth and my doula training classes have instilled in me that having a birth plan is the best thing for everyone. I think a lot of care providers believe that when a woman comes in with a birth plan, she is unwilling to change the plan if any complication occurs. Well I am not talking about a non-negotiable contract here, I am talking about MY wishes and plans for MY birth and obviously any birth plan needs to be flexible in case of complications, or you will limit yourself and make things harder since birth can be unpredictable. Even women who are scheduled for C sections can and should have a birth plan with their wishes, saying things like, “If my baby has to be separated from me for any reason, I want my partner to be with our baby the whole time and for them to have skin to skin contact if possible.”
I don’t think anyone has the right to tell any woman that her birth plan is bad luck, and this doctor is discouraging woman from bringing a birth plan to their own births based on a stranger’s superstitions. This is just WRONG! I have been upset over this since it happened, I still can’t believe they think they have the right to call my birth plan bad luck!
When I asked her who to bring a birth plan to, the perfect answer to hear from her would have been, “You should bring it to every visit from now on so each doctor can over look it and discuss any issues with you. After all, your birth is important, and we really care about you and can not say for sure which doctor will attend your birth.”
That would have been great, right?
Also, Dr. B said “Just tell your nurse what you want”. Really, you think I am going to be in a talking mood when I enter the hospital while having excruciating contractions? And if I arrive at the hospital unable to carry on a conversation, than what do I do? Of course in my case my husband, if he is even in his right mind, or my doula could explain our needs and wishes to them, but what about a woman in labor who comes in alone? She is supposed to sit the nurse down and tell her what she wants? From the sound of that statement by DR. B, they don’t care what we want or they would be more prepared for women in that situation.
I have to admit that this doctor has instilled doubt in me about birthing with her facility, because I WILL BRING MY BIRTH PLAN, no matter what anyone else says or thinks. But now I am worried about a bunch of things like whether or not they would actually try to purposefully interfere with my plan so that they can say MY plan was bad luck, and whether bringing a birth plan to their facility is actually bad luck? These are all crazy things to be afraid of, as if birth isn’t scary enough already. Despite my fears, I will not let this change my own beliefs and ideals when it comes to birth.
Thanks a lot Dr. B for the damage you caused me and every other woman you have given this information to, you should be ashamed. I have more doubts now, and I have given birth once before, I have had the birth of my dreams thanks to a fantastic nurse named Heather and all the people supporting me including my husband and sister. How would doctor B’s comments effected me if I was a first time mother who had never birthed a baby before if I have even the slightest doubts now?
One part of me is afraid, and one part of me is saying, “Fuck you bitches, I am going to bring my birth plan to the birth of MY baby, and praying that everything goes right, I am going to rock this birth and have my baby exactly the way I WANT under the circumstances that will be given to me”.
This saying has never rang so true: “Birth is like a box of of chocolates, you never know what you are going to get”, and I never felt so strongly that for this reason, one should always be prepared, have a plan, and be open minded. This means you, you superstitious bitches. Be open to MY birth, MY plan, MY wishes, and I will be open to your suggestions as/if complications arise. I want to learn from you, not be discouraged by you.