Why I Used a Cheat Sheet Instead of a Birth Plan
The first time I had a baby I was told to make a birth plan and to give it to my doctor ahead of time so they could approve it and we'd be on the same page. We did this but my doctor wasn't at the birth and the one we got did not care at all what our preferences were.
In retrospect, my husband didn't understand the birth plan and this didn't help him to stand up for what I wanted. I had never seen a birth before and was fully expecting to be in charge of the whole process. I was not able to maintain control in that environment and situation, neither was my husband.
This time, I focused more on prepping my husband so he could stand up for me if needed. He focused more on this too. He read The Birth Partner which seemed to be helpful. I made him a cheat sheet so he could reference it quickly and ask questions before hand. I finished the cheat sheet a day or two before Robin came so I just made it.
I discussed preferences with my midwives but didn't submit a document. Most of my preferences have become common practice in the last few years anyway. I didn't want to write a plan in case I went to the hospital because I really didn't want to go to the hospital. I was worried that if I prepared for that possibility it would happen. I didn't even pack a "just in case" bag until I was in labour and it just had clothes for me, the baby and our health cards. I felt like if I ended up there they wouldn't respect my plan anyway, given my past experience. And my midwives would be there to keep me safe anyway.
I needed confident people around me and that was what I focused on. My midwives are experienced and I trust their judgement. My husband was confident and had my back. I was confident, a lot more calm, and I could easily communicate this time around. What a difference having the right people around in the right environment made. This birth was still pretty painful, it's birth after all, but no part of it was traumatic. Instead of waking up with flashbacks I feel legitimately empowered this time around. My husband is happier with this experience as well.
I will attach a copy of my cheat sheet below. It is an editable document so anyone can download it as a template and change it to suit your own preferences. I left the hypno-birthing stuff on it in case it's useful to anyone but honestly, it was not useful to me and I won't be using it next time.