amanda's maternity photo shoot

Amanda’s Birth Plan With Pain Relief and an Intimate Delivery

By Stacey Feintuch
December 26, 2023

Amanda Lauren of Los Angeles knew how she wanted her baby’s birth to happen. The writer and public relations consultant created a birth plan full of specifics including getting an epidural and making special health considerations for her baby.

Here, Amanda shares the details of her birth plan that were important to her. She also tells us her birth story, which included some unexpected emergencies.

Why Amanda Wrote a Birth Plan

Amanda knew from the start of her pregnancy that she wanted to write a birth plan. She didn’t want to make quick decisions when she was in pain or medicated. With a birth plan, she could think through her wishes and spell them out in writing.

“I wanted a birth plan to make sure that everything ran smoothly and that we could do as much as possible for the hospital to abide by our birth wishes,” she says.

She knew she’d be making a few special requests. As an adult, Amanda was diagnosed with Bell’s Palsy, a condition that causes sudden weakness in the muscles on one side of the face. This experience has made her extra cautious about certain health decisions. So she opted for no hepatitis B vaccine for her baby at birth.

“I’m not an anti-vaxxer, but I didn’t want her to get vaccines on the day was born,” she says. “I want a modified schedule.” She felt that coming into the world would be enough for the baby in one day.

She hired a doula named Giuditta to support and advocate for her during the birth. This was important to Amanda after having gone through a previous miscarriage that she felt was poorly handled at a different hospital.

Guiditta gave Amanda a template to write out her birth plan. Once it was written, she gave her ob-gyn a copy.

Amanda says she and her husband, Ethan, knew they’d need to be flexible about the birth plan. “We wanted to make sure our plans wouldn’t supersede our health and safety,” she says.

Amanda’s Birth Plan

amanda pregnant and smiling

Amanda’s birth plan included the following details:

During Labor and Delivery

  • Scheduled induction: Amanda planned to have labor induced at the hospital.
  • Alternative plan to labor at home: She decided that if she started labor on her own before her induction, she would not go to the hospital immediately. That way, she could labor at home as much as possible, a suggestion from her doula.
  • Birth clothes: She would wear her own delivery and nursing gown.
  • Pain relief: She would be given an epidural to help ease labor pains.
  • Vaginal birth: She would only have a c-section if it was medically necessary.
  • Music in the delivery room: They would play her labor playlist, which included tunes from Walker Hayes, Taylor Swift, and Jay-Z.
  • Intimate birth: The birth would be as intimate as possible with Ethan in the room. As few nurses as possible would be present.

After Labor

  • Delayed cord clamping: Her baby would have delayed umbilical cord clamping. This suggestion was made to her by her doula, since waiting to clamp the cord may provide health benefits.
  • Skip some post-birth procedures: Her baby wouldn’t get the hepatitis B shot or eye ointment.
  • Bonding with baby: She would be able to hold her baby skin-to-skin after birth.
  • Staying close: Her baby would leave the room only when necessary.

Amanda’s Birth Story

amanda with her baby

While Amanda had been planning to be induced at the hospital, her baby had other plans.

About two weeks before her due date, she was getting out of her husband’s car in her driveway when her water broke.

Amanda knew that meant her baby was arriving early, but she didn’t rush to the hospital. “I had a work deadline, I hadn’t packed my hospital bag, and we hadn’t eaten dinner.” She packed her bag, and she and Ethan ordered food from their favorite pizzeria.

“My husband was worried,” she says. “He thought it was weird we weren’t going to the hospital. But I wasn’t worried at all.”

She said she wasn’t in any pain, and she checked in with her doula, who said she didn’t need to go yet. After that, Amanda managed to get a few hours of sleep. Then the couple headed to the hospital around 6 a.m. on a Saturday. “The nurses at the front desk of the maternity ward were surprised how calm I was.”

Laboring at the Hospital

After she checked in, Ethan distributed copies of the birth plan to the nurses. Amanda was examined and told her labor wasn’t progressing. “It was apparent that I wasn’t going to give birth on Saturday.” She got a few doses of Pitocin, a medication which can start or speed up contractions.

She began to experience labor pains later in the day, so she got an epidural. “I was surprised how intense labor was,” she says. She said she was in so much pain she never even played her music playlist.

“I felt great after the epidural,” she says. “No way I could have given birth without it.”

The Pushing Stage

When it came time to push, Ethan held one of Amanda’s legs and Guiditta held the other.

She wished one thing went differently. One delivery nurse left to take a call while she was pushing. Amanda felt that was inappropriate and regrets that she didn’t stand up for herself.

After an hour and a half of pushing, Amanda gave birth—it was Sunday at 3 p.m.

Meeting Baby Carlin

amanda's baby carlin

Amanda was in a haze after Carlin was born. “I was in shock—I had my first child and was exhausted,” she says. “She was beautiful and perfect. She had a lot of hair, and she was gorgeous.” She was able to have some skin-to-skin contact. She doesn’t remember it, but her husband said it was for a good amount of time.

Post-Birth Emergencies

The doctor discovered that Amanda had retained some of her placenta. That’s when the placenta doesn’t completely come out of the uterus after the baby is born. So, the doctor had to remove the rest of it.

Then, Amanda started hemorrhaging. “I was at the level of blood loss before a blood transfusion is necessary.” The nurses even asked for her approval for a blood transfusion should she need one.

At the same time, Carlin’s hands and feet were turning blue. So, Ethan left to tend to the baby.

Thankfully, everything ended up fine though for both the baby and mom. Amanda was told that Carlin’s issues happen to babies after birth sometimes, and the situation resolved on its own. Amanda stopped hemorrhaging, so she didn’t need a transfusion.

Once they were both stabilized, Amanda was able to nurse her daughter, giving her colostrum, or the first milk from the breast. “She literally took the booby and put it in her mouth,” she says.

The nurses did try to get Amanda to reconsider giving the baby the hepatitis B vaccine, she says. “Even though we told them in the birth plan that we didn’t want it, they tried to change our mind.”

Going Home

Today, Carlin is thriving, and Amanda is thankful her baby is a good sleeper. “She’s been sleeping through the night since she was four weeks old.”

Amanda says she’s happy that her birth went close to plan. She’d like to have a second child, and will try to do things the same way if she does. “I wouldn’t change anything in my birth plan,” she says, adding jokingly: “Except maybe I’d bring hair products and a flat iron.”

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