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Planning a Natural Birth at a Hospital
The Freak Out!
I always thought I'd deliver in a hospital with an epidural...until I got pregnant! Naturally inquisitive, I began reading about childbirth almost as soon as the pee stick dried. The more I read, the more horrified I became by the inane practices of American hospitals; particularly in my home state of South Carolina. I began to feel helpless. How will I know the doctors are doing what is necessary for the health of my baby?
With worry swirling in my head, I decided my hospital's birth class was the perfect way to assuage my fears...boy was I wrong. What was touted online as 8-10 hours of instruction including pain management, birth options and relaxation techniques turned out to be a lecture series on how to be a good patient, and do what the nurses and doctors tell you. Before finishing an hour and a half early, the instructor actually ROLLED HER EYES when talking about patients who refuse pain medication. And that's another thing; I'm not a patient of the hospital, I'm a customer! I am not sick, I'm giving birth! The customer angle really hit home with me mentally. I picked this hospital out of the others in my area because of its reputation. I am paying them for services. I am not being admitted against my will. I do not want to be tethered to a bed with IV's and drips. I want to enjoy my childbirth.
Anyways...I left the class in tears and called the hospital to be removed from the class. The hospital told me I would like the other instructor more. They said she did all the feel-good, sit on the floor, hippie stuff. Hmmmm, that did sound good. Sign me up! I was ready to give the hospital another chance and was super excited about my new class. My husband and I showed up early and found janitors setting up the room. Then 8:30 turned to 9:00, 9:00 to 9:15...no one was showing up. We finally left at 9:30 to find out what was going on. No one could tell us. I did find out, on Tuesday, that the class was canceled, and, whoops, the hospital forgot to tell us...and the janitors, and the security guards. After verbally assaulting several employees of the hospital I got my money back and enrolled in a "Birthing From Within" class at my local birth center. The class is heaven by the way, and so is the birth center. I wanted badly to deliver there. Alas, I am precluded from using the birth center due to a medical condition...tear. So now I have to make the hospital work for me.
Here's my plan: As soon as labor kicks in, I'm checking into one of 5 potential hotels between 1 and 5 blocks from the hospital. I am first drinking a big ole' glass of red wine (as recommend in the awesome book ) and going to sleep to prepare for the torture headed my way. When I wake up, it will surely be because of pain. At this point I am moving myself to the jacuzzi. I hear this really eases labor pain. I will labor there with the support of my husband and my awesome doula until that baby is ready to pop out. Then we will high tail it to the hospital with no time left for them to induce me, or shove a needle in my spine. The Bradley Method
I realize this is going to hurt A LOT! But I am consoled by the fact that people were having babies long before pain relief. I was made for this.
In the Meantime
This, of course, is a plan, and nothing goes according to plan. I will write about the reality of my birth after. In the meantime, I encourage expectant mothers to do their research. Try searching "benefits of an epidural" on Google. Guess what, the only benefits are pain relief to you, but there are many potential consequences to you and the baby. The only time I could find adequate support for getting one is if you have to be induced. From what I read, you'll need one then because Pitocin turns those contractions all the way to 11.
At any rate, it shocks me the number of mothers who never attempt to inform themselves on hospital procedures during childbirth. The argument is "they know what they are doing." Of course they know what they are doing. They are doing what is needed to not to get sued. They cross every "t" and dot every "i" even when it's not medically necessary. Hospitals are great for abnormal births; they are not great for healthy ones. They treat everyone the same, which is opposite from the definition of fairness.