Please do not offer me an epidural or other pain medications.
Even though I knew my resolve for a natural birth was strong, I had read enough about transition to know the allure of numbing drugs would be strongest during the phase immediately prior to pushing and I didn't even want that card on the table at the most difficult stage of labor.
I am happy to have 20 minutes of electronic fetal monitoring upon checking in. After that, I prefer only 15 minutes of monitoring per hour.
Electronic fetal monitoring is the strap placed across your belly checking baby's heart rate and your contractions. Research consistently shows constant fetal montitoring does not improve birth outcomes and being strapped to the bed is the last thing you want during a natural labor.
After the initial cervical check, I would like my cervix checked only upon my request.
If you are in labor, you are in labor and the baby is coming. Knowing your dilation, effacement and station tell you nothing about when your baby will be born. You might have a short early labor and a long active labor or vice versa. Emotional signposts are much more effective at letting you know your stage of labor.
I decline all IV fluids. I will stay hydrated and energized by drinking and eating at my own discretion.
Although they do not address possible risks os IV fluids, even ACOG (which has no concept of 'normal' birth) states women should be allowed to drink clear fluids at their own free will. Of course, the same release states that a laboring woman wouldn't want to eat. But, if a woman does want to eat, she should absolutely be allowed food. Labor is like a marathon, taking every bit of your physical and mental energy. Would you restrict foods to a runner simply because of the tiniest remotest possibity she might need general anesthesia for an emergency surgery? I think not.
I would like my bag of waters to remain intact.
My baby is in a bag of water for a good reason. I prefer not to mess with a good thing to possibly shorten labor by a few hours. Amniotomy is not medically necessary. Fact.
Freedom of movement will be important during labor and delivery. I will not be limited to the lithotomy position as I push.
During labor, movement is important in order to cope with labor pains, to aid gravity in moving baby down into the birth canal and to help baby get in the optimal position for birth. The lithotomy position during the pushing phase only serves to give the birth attendant a good view of what is happening below. Pushing flat on your back is not a good idea for a number of reasons, such as it narrows a woman's hips and compresses major blood vessels limiting blood flow to your hardworking baby. Squatting, kneeling, or hands and knees are much more comfortable and physiologically appropriate for delivering a baby.
I intend to use "mother directed pushing".
If you are not numb from an epidural there is no need to be told when to push. Your body will let you know when the time is right.
I prefer to tear naturally rather than receive an episiotomy.
Think about this way: either a doctor can cut you to the point he thinks is necessary or you can allow your perineum to tear to the point which is necessary for your body and your baby. Also, research shows that episiotomy can do lasting damage unlike a spontaneous tear. Of course, not tearing at all is the best case scenario and there are plenty of things your provider can do to prevent perineal damage during delivery.
I intend to breastfeed and use kangaroo care immediately after birth.
Why would I want my baby swaddled and placed in a warmer immediately after delivery when my bare chest is warm and cozy and just right for initiating the very important first breastfeeding session.
Baby's cord is not to be cut until it is finished pulsing.
Baby receives oxygen and blood from the placenta via the umbilical cord until the cord is white and no longer pulsing. There is no need to clamp and cut the cord until my baby gets every bit of blood and placental goodness that belongs to her.