All According to Plan

This past April, my husband, Dustin, and I welcomed our baby boy, Jonah, into the world. We are thoroughly enjoying being parents, and we feel very blessed to have had such a great pregnancy, delivery and postpartum care experience.

When we made the decision to start trying to get pregnant, it was important for me to find an OB-GYN who I really connected with and who could help guide us through our family planning and pregnancy journey. With Dr. Meredith Watson-Locklear, a board-certified OB-GYN with Orlando Health Physician Associates, I couldn’t have asked for anyone better. She was phenomenal.

And while I know there are many options when it comes to delivering your baby — whether in a hospital, a birthing center or at home, with an OB doctor or a midwife — for me it was always going to be Orlando Health Winnie Palmer Hospital for Women & Babies. With over 14,000 babies born there each year, I feel like they’ve experienced every possible scenario delivering babies, and they’re the experts. Plus, there was a comfort in knowing that if anything unexpected should happen, everything I needed was going to be right there.

Dr. Watson-Locklear only confirmed my decision, telling us that if she was not on call when I delivered, there was an amazing group of doctors at Orlando Health Winnie Palmer, and I was going to be in trusted hands no matter what.

I am a planner, and I did not want to be surprised by anything. So, I took advantage of everything Orlando Health Winnie Palmer offered along the way. I was able to preregister online for my hospital stay; educate myself with very informative prenatal, baby care and breastfeeding classes; enjoy wonderful stretching with prenatal yoga; and go on a comprehensive tour of the hospital. Dustin was able to join me, except for the yoga, and he also took a Boot Camp for New Dads class on his own.

On the tour, we were given a birth plan to fill out at our convenience. The birth plan included an extensive list of options and preferences — from choosing if we wanted to dim the lights and create our own playlist of music to selecting birthing aids and managing my pain during labor, and much more — so we could really customize the delivery experience.

I have to admit, I was not at all familiar with what a birth plan was, so I took it to my next OB appointment and jokingly asked my doctor, “How official is this? Do I have to get this thing notarized or anything?”

I trusted in my doctor’s decisions, but I wanted to make sure I was doing my part, too. Dr. Watson-Locklear explained to me that while her birth plan was to keep me and baby as safe and healthy as possible, she and the hospital team would do everything they could to follow our preferences to give us the experience we wanted.

For me, that was exactly what I wanted to hear. Being such a planner, it was a nice to have a little more sense of control. Dustin and I went through and selected things we thought we would like and brought our birth plan with us to the hospital when the time came. 

I went into labor almost right on schedule, at 39+ weeks. Because we had done the tour, we knew what we needed to do and where we needed to go at the hospital. I was thrilled that Dr. Watson-Locklear happened to be on call for my delivery. I was overcome with relief when she came into the delivery room, helped us get our playlist started (as our birth plan indicated) and guided me every step of the way. After a very short labor, Jonah was born. We didn’t know our baby’s gender beforehand, and it was like a sign when our baby entered the world to Salt-N-Pepa’s “Whatta Man,” and Dustin told me we had a little boy.

During our classes, we learned the value of skin-to-skin contact. That first time holding Jonah was truly surreal. At Orlando Health Winnie Palmer, they see the benefit of having the baby in the room with mom. This was so helpful for me as I was trying to learn Jonah’s cues to breastfeed on demand. Still, it was nice to know the nursery was there if I needed a little break – or some sleep. I felt very comfortable with all the safety protocols that they have in place.

Because I was so confident in the Orlando Health Winnie Palmer team’s decisions for the delivery, we realized the items on the birth plan that happened after the baby was born were even more important to us. For instance, we chose that if Jonah needed any procedures outside of the room, either Dustin or I would need to be present. So, when we decided to have Jonah circumcised, Dustin was able to go along, which really gave us peace of mind.

Dustin was well looked after, too. In fact, knowing he is a little faint of heart, they were ready if he needed some attention during the delivery. Luckily, he stayed upright! While the first few nights were tough getting used to a newborn, it was great knowing he had his own bed in the room, ready to help whenever Jonah or I needed. 

When we chose Orlando Health Winnie Palmer, we knew we were going to a place that knew what they were doing, and that we were going to be well cared for and in the best hands possible. And everything went just according to plan.

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A Special Gift

Having a birth plan gave me and my husband the opportunity to think about choices we didn’t even realize were things we cared about. And with me being such a planner, it was a nice gift to not only have a little more sense of knowing what to expect, but also to know that our medical team would do everything they could to follow our wishes and give us the experience we wanted.

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