Friday, May 25, 2012

Plan B

     I often wonder what life would be like if someone had just once explained to me that stillbirth was a possible ending to my amazing pregnancy.  (...if someone had even told me it was really a thing.)  I wonder what I would have done differently.  Would I have avoided anyone with a minor cold?  Would I have written down every single kick?  Would I have cherished every backache, stretch mark and surge of heartburn?  But what hurts me the most is wondering how different my labor would be.
     I had been in labor before I delivered Carpenter.  Liv's birth was pretty simple and totally pain free.  I kept hitting that drip button as often as I could, mostly from listening to the girl down the hall screaming like she was auditioning for 16 & Pregnant.  But I didn't really give much thought to doing anything differently.  I didn't hurt, I had fun with family and friends, and I got to take home a wiggly baby.  Why would I change anything the second time around? 
     Now I know why.  And now I know that without an explanation, any subsequent pregnancy could end in the same terror I felt in February.  Mike and I have agreed to try one more time.  We've decided that we could survive this nightmare one more time before we move on to adoption.  And I'm going in prepared.  For the first time since we started discussing babies, I will be writing a birth plan. 
     No, it's not going to be a granola, burn-incense-while-I-birth-in-Liv's-kiddy-pool sort of plan.  It's my Plan B Birth Plan.  A list of little things I can do to help me survive another loss.  A list of things to help me remember the little life a new angel might have.  And yes, that might sound all morose and tragic, but if you're a BLM, you'll agree that even just one more photo would be the difference between holding onto the life raft and sinking into the darkness some days. 
     I know no one wants to think about losing their baby.  No one wants to have a Plan B.  But some of us know all too well the reality of loss, and with this foresight we can be prepared in the future.  True, nothing I can do will suddenly bring a hypothetical angel back to life.  Nothing I plan can take the pain away.  But if I have to hold another lifeless angel in my arms, I will want to focus on being with my baby.  I'll leave all the other details in my Plan B. 

My Personal Plan B Birthplan (Pending many revisions, I'm sure)

Prenatal Care
If possible, I would like to be seen by my OB more often than the norm.
I will be applying for a rented dopplar and will check my fetal heart rate daily.  
If at all possible, I would like to be induced as early as safely possible.  

Triage or ER
I expect to be told very clearly what is happening with my baby at all times. 
Any health care professional will discuss all findings with me immediately.

I expect that doctors and hospital staff will discuss all procedures with me before they are performed.
I would like any visitors I choose to be allowed in my room at any time.
I would like a quiet, soothing environment during active labor, with dim lights and minimal interruptions.
I would like to play special music during active labor.
Please do not permit observers such as interns, students or unnecessary staff into the room without my permission.

Anesthesia/Pain Medication
I would like to have an epidural as soon as permissible.

Cesarean Section Delivery
I feel very strongly that I would like to avoid a cesarean delivery
If it is necessary, please explain the surgery to me as it happens.
I would like to have a respectful atmosphere without chatter during any part of the surgical procedure.

I would like a soothing environment during the actual birth, with dim lights and quiet voices.
I would like to have the birth recorded with photographs, video tape and/or tape recording.

Immediately after the birth
Please place my baby on my stomach/chest immediately after delivery.
My husband would like the option to cut the cord.

Newborn Care
I would like to hold my baby through delivery of the placenta and any repair procedures.
Please evaluate and bathe my baby at my bedside.

Postpartum Care
I would like to have my baby room-in with me at all times.
I would like measurements done of my baby's length and weight.
I would like hand and footprints done clearly on at least one sheet of paper.
If there is any, I would like a lock of hair cut from my baby's head and kept.
I would like as many pictures of my baby with family members as possible.
I would like a priest on hand to baptize my baby as soon as possible.  
I would like a mold of my baby's hands and feet done as soon as possible. 

Additional notes
I would not like an autopsy of my baby so I can spend more time with him/her.
I would like the placenta analyzed as soon as possible.
I would like all staff entering my room to be made aware of my loss so as to be more sensitive.
I would like any funeral home staff to come at the last possible minute to maximize my time with my baby.
I would like to be taken out by such a route as to not pass by the nursery. 
If there is any way my baby's organs or tissue could be used to save the life of another baby, I want to be informed so that this decision can be made quickly.


  1. After you have said hello and goodbye to a your are NEVER able to have another baby without thinking of the possiblity that you could lose another sweet I think it is not bad to have your birthplan B in place and then pray and hope that all goes well the next time :)

    Like you no matter how much time you may get when you say goodbye to your sweet baby there is never enough time or enough moments.

    1. Exactly! I'm sure I'll be a nervous wreck through the whole pregnancy (if I get so lucky), but I will hope and pray for the best. Then, if the worst happens, I'll make the best of it. Thanks for reading!

  2. One thing that was helpful for me when I delivered my Rainbow was meeting with the hospital's patient advocate prior. I explained the traumas that I faced with multiple losses and together, we planned what could be done differently. It was REALLY helpful, and I felt blessed to have a baby to take home with us, rather than have to say goodbye as I had in the past. Subsequent pregnancies are rough emotionally. Advocate for yourself!!!!

    1. Julie, that is an awesome idea! I will have to do that. Of course, my hospital was very helpful and willing to let me do whatever, but in the heat of the moment, you have no idea what you'll want 3 months later. I am going to try to do whatever I can to survive my rainbow pregnancy with some sanity. :) Thanks so much for the idea!