|The staff at our hospital could not have been more supportive. They were all kind, compassionate, and tried to accommodate us in any way they could. The care they gave us made Charlotte's life and death a much sweeter experience. I cannot praise them enough!
Birth Plan for Charlotte Mary
Charlotte has been diagnosed with anencephaly. We have already lost a baby to this condition, and many of you were a part of our son Benedict's life. We are hoping that Charlotte's time with us will be as peaceful and beautiful as was our time with our precious little boy. We are so grateful for the way we were cared for last time we experienced this heartbreaking situation. Much of this birth plan is based on Benedict's, but we have added and altered several items, so please read on.
Some of the things that we think will help us through this difficult time are listed below. However, if you have any other suggestions, please let us know. We know that circumstances beyond everyone's control may prevent or change some of these things, but we thought it would help all of us to have this down on paper.
We would like our daughter to be referred to as Charlotte.
Due to past classical incisions Charlotte will be delivered by cesarean. We would like Mark to be present at all times, and Maggie (midwife) if possible. Teresa would like to have spinal anesthesia.
As we are Catholics, we would like Charlotte to be baptised immediately after birth. We will have blessed water with us, but any water will suffice. We are hoping to have a priest with us but if this is not possible, and if Mark is unable to do it for any reason, then we ask that one of the attendants do so by sprinkling water on her forehead/face, while saying the words "I baptise you in the name of the Father and the Son and of the Holy Spirit, Amen" This Baptism is very, very important to us.
Since Charlotte is going to be with us for such a short time, we want every second possible with her in our arms, beginning from the moment of her birth. Mark and Teresa would like to hold her immediately. In the event of medical complications arising from the removal of the placenta, Teresa would like to remain conscious if at all possible. Our fertility has become such a fragile thing, but it is still important to us. We understand that a hysterectomy may be necessary, but we ask that it be done only if there is no other safe option.
If the diagnosis of anencephaly is correct, we request only temporary assistance to initiate Charlotte's breathing, i.e. normal suctioning etc. and after that, comfort measures only. (Note: if the diagnosis was incorrect, take whatever medical measures are necessary, but please keep both parents completely informed)
We will keep Charlotte with us at all times. We would like to warm Charlotte with skin to skin contact, rather than placing her in a warmer.
If possible we would like a single bed room.
We do not know at this time when we will want to call family members and have them come and be with us. Please help us with phone calls and getting visitors in at any time, as time will be of the essence for us, and we do not want to have any avoidable regrets or missed opportunities.
We hope that Charlotte will live for several hours, and if so we would like to feed her. Our first preference is breast milk. If Charlotte is unable to breast feed, we will feed her expressed milk on a spoon. Should she live for several days, we would like to tube feed her expressed breast milk. Teresa would like assistance with expressing.
Teresa would like advice on appropriate pain relief so she can enjoy Charlotte while she is alive, and then cope with grieving and her funeral etc.
We have brought clothing for Charlotte which we would like to dress her in. We would also like to bath her at some stage.
If Charlotte dies during our hospital stay, please notify staff members who will come into contact with us. Please do not take her from us after she dies, we will tell you when we are ready. We would like to take her home with us for some time, even if she has died.
If Charlotte does not die during our hospital stay, please give us advice on how to feed her and care for her head at home (with dressings etc.). We would really appreciate your follow up care, if we are fortunate enough to have Charlotte at home while she is alive.
This is a very difficult time for all of us, including you, as you work to support us and care for us throughout this part of our lives. We truly appreciate your help and support, and ask that you understand the varied range of emotions we may experience. We also appreciate and find great comfort in your expressions of grief, so please do not hesitate to cry or be sad in front of us, if that is how you feel. We would like you to join in our joy and sorrow at Charlotte's birth. Please feel free to approach us with any questions you may have.
We never thought that we would lose another baby this way. We have tried our best to prepare for this short time with our little daughter. Saying 'Hello' and 'Goodbye' in such a short period of time brings such bittersweet feelings. Everything went so perfectly during Benedict's short life, and we are hoping to give Charlotte all we gave him. Thank you so much for helping us and supporting us through this celebration of our daughter's short but precious and meaningful life.
To help us celebrate and remember this special time with our daughter, we would like to keep mementos of her life. The following list includes some of these and other things we would like to do. We are open to other suggestions as well.
Prints of hands and feet
Molds of hands and feet (we will have kits)
Lock of hair (if she has any)
Hospital ID bracelets
Video of bath
Signatures of staff who cared for Charlotte Mary (we will supply a book)