Thoughtful pregnant woman looks out her hospital windowGiving birth is an emotionally and physically challenging process. So, getting ready for your baby’s delivery can be a nervous and anxious time. When you add adoption into the mix, things can become even more overwhelming.
 
We encourage you to create an adoption hospital plan in advance, so you’ll have less to think about when your contractions start, or when your doctor wants you to start the labor process. With open adoption, you have rights as a birth mother and many choices too. It’s up to you who is allowed to see and hold your baby, and also who’s allowed to be in the delivery room. Keep reading to learn how you can make a hospital plan that works for you!
 

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What is a Hospital Plan in Adoption?

It’s common for women choosing adoption to worry about how things will go down at the hospital. The more you can prepare and plan ahead, the more confident you will feel. That’s why at Lifetime we encourage you to create what’s called an “adoption hospital plan.”
 
Your adoption hospital plan will allow the adoptive family, the hospital staff, and Lifetime to know exactly how you want the hospital visit to be handled. Having your plan in place before you go into labor allows everyone (especially you!) to concentrate on the birth of your baby. Like your adoption plan, you’re also in the driver’s seat with your adoption hospital plan. You have many choices to consider.
 

What Choices Do I Have?

You have the right to spend as much time as you wish with your baby in the hospital after you give birth. You’ll have lots of options for your adoption hospital experience.
 
For example, if you want your hospital stay to be a special one that includes just you and your baby, that can be arranged. Or, you might like to spend time together with your baby and the adoptive family. It’s up to you and what you feel comfortable with.
 
A big part of making an adoption hospital plan includes how you want the delivery to take place and what role, if any, you want the adoptive parents to have. To get started, you might ask yourself a few questions, like:

  • Am I OK with the adoptive family I chose being present in the delivery room? Or, should they stay in the waiting room?
  • Do I want the adoptive family to take part in the birth process, and if so, how?
  • Do I want to be admitted to the hospital confidentially?
  • Will my other child(ren) be at the hospital?
  • Do I want any of my family members, close friends, or other people in my support system to be with me at the hospital?

What Does a Typical Hospital Plan Look Like?

Some birth mothers want the adoptive parents to experience the birth themselves as much as they can, and bring them into the process. For example, they might ask one of the adoptive parents to cut the umbilical cord, be the first to hold the baby, and start the bonding process right after their baby is born.
 
Others decide they’d like to spend as much time as possible with their baby so that they can say goodbye. This can help with the healing process because it’s hard to say goodbye to someone if you haven’t first said hello. Spending time with your baby, holding her, and talking to her can help with the healing process.
 
Lifetime can connect you with a peer support counselor, a birth mother who can give you the support you need as you make an adoption hospital plan. She can share what her adoption hospital plan looked like, the choices she made, and how it all turned out. It can really help to speak with a peer support counselor since she understands what you might be going through right now!
 

Packing Your Hospital Bag

Many women who are choosing adoption for their child feel uneasy packing their hospital bags. Your Adoption Coordinator at Lifetime will have tips for what you’ll need at the hospital, and you can also check out these tips about what to pack in your hospital bag.
 
One of the ways that Lifetime helps women facing an unplanned pregnancy is by providing packed hospital bags, which we call “labor bags.” Each of our labor bags arrives packed with necessities like shampoo, conditioner, socks, pads, deodorant, mouth wash, lip balm, and washcloths.
 
To get your free hospital bag packed with the essentials, visit BirthmotherBlessing.com and complete the request form.
 

How to Prepare for Your Hospital Stay

Expectant mother filling out paperwork at a hospital waiting room areaTaking these actions will help you feel more prepared and ready for your hospital stay:

  1. Tour the labor and delivery area of the hospital and ask about pre-registering at the hospital.
  2. Plan to take time off work. You may be eligible for pregnancy disability leave before and after your baby’s birth. Check with your doctor and your employer for the proper documents.
  3. Sign up for childbirth classes if this is your first baby.
  4. Determine your hospital preferences and write them down.
  5. Decide who you want to be at the hospital with you when you deliver.
  6. If you have children already, arrange for someone to take care of them while you are in the hospital.
  7. Have your bag packed and ready to go.
  8. Think about who can pick you up from the hospital when you are discharged.
  9. Rest up! Getting enough sleep in your third trimester will help you feel rested and refreshed.
  10. Eat healthy: fill your plate with nutrient-dense superfoods like lean meats, lentils, yogurt, wild salmon, nuts, veggies and whole grains.
  11. Keep moving: since labor is hard work, getting regular exercise will improve your strength and stamina.
  12. Practice mindfulness through meditation, yoga, stretching or deep breathing will help train your mind to stay focused and relaxed on the big day.

Lifetime is Here to Help You

At the end of the day, the choice is yours. We encourage you to talk with your Adoption Coordinator at Lifetime to create a hospital plan that works for you and that you’re truly comfortable with. She will help you work out the details beforehand so that the process goes as smoothly as possible.
 
Your Adoption Coordinator will start talking with you about your hospital plan early on in your adoption process. But you probably won’t have finished your hospital plan until a few weeks from your due date. That’s because your preferences could change. For example, you’ll probably get more comfortable with the adoptive family during your match. So, you might decide that you do actually want them in the delivery room with you, when before that may have seemed awkward.
 
Maybe you’ve been thinking about adoption but haven’t decided yet if it’s right for you. It’s never too late to choose adoption. You can call us from the hospital and get started with adoption right then. Whenever you’re ready to move forward with adoption, you can get started by calling or texting Lifetime at 1-800-923-6784.
 

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This article was originally published on December 8, 2017, and has since been updated. 

 

Heather Featherston
Written by Heather Featherston

As Vice President of Lifetime Adoption, Heather Featherston holds an MBA and is passionate about working with those facing adoption, pregnancy, and parenting issues. Heather has conducted training for birth parent advocates, spoken to professional groups, and has appeared on television and radio to discuss the multiple aspects of adoption. She has provided one-on-one support to women and hopeful adoptive parents working through adoption decisions.

Since 2002, she has been helping pregnant women and others in crisis to learn more about adoption. Heather also trains and speaks nationwide to pregnancy clinics to effectively meet the needs of women who want to explore adoption for their child. Today, she continues to address the concerns women have about adoption and supports the needs of women who choose adoption for their child.

As a published author of the book Called to Adoption, Featherston loves to see God’s hand at work every day as she helps children and families come together through adoption.

Read more about Heather Featherston

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