In the circles I was raised in, especially as I got older, home birth was a big deal. It seemed like most people I knew were having their babies at home or in a birthing center, so naturally I thought I'd follow in that trend when I had my babies. I had heard all kinds of hospital birth horror stories and all about the evils of doctors "just doing what's easiest for them" and had dreams of a water birth in a birthing center. After all, that's really the only way to have a good birthing experience, right?
Well, that's all well and good if you're in a sizable city, but in Natchez (population 20,000) there isn't a female OB, much less a birthing center with a midwife. This caused me no small amount of frustration when I first found out I was pregnant. I decided I'd drive to Brookhaven (a little over an hour away) to the only female OB around, but was still distressed about having to have my baby in a hospital at all, especially without the option of laboring in a whirlpool. After my first visit, I knew she was definitely not the doctor for me. I racked my brain all the way home... how in the world was I going to have a remotely successful birth that I wouldn't look back on with horror? I got home and made an appointment with an OB in Natchez. I had heard great things about Dr Carey as a doctor and as a person, in fact, one of Cole's best friend's credits him to his wife surviving a very difficult miscarriage. But still, it's a small town, and I knew him. In fact, my mom works for him and his wife doing housekeeping and I taught his son guitar lessons. But I went forward knowing I was making the best decision. Then Merisha and I toured the 2 hospitals. Neither of them seemed as conducive to natural birth as I had hoped, but I made my choice. I trucked along for the first few months discouraged. After my first visit, I was very glad I had chosen Dr Carey to be my doctor, but still didn't want a hospital birth at all. It was just not what I had in mind. I decided to research doing natural childbirth in hospitals. Wow. I read all kinds of helpful things like "a hospital is the most unnatural environment imaginable to labor in," "hospitals are such a cold, sterile enviornment" and "doctors only care about what is easy for them, whereas a midwife has your best interest at heart." I'm pretty sure I had never been so discouraged in all of my life. I had resigned myself to having a regular hopsital birth with all of the medications that go with it because I honestly didn't belive it was possible to give birth naturally in a hospital and it be anything less than horrid. Much less a good experience.
I hired a doula to be a labor coach and to offer support and advice (that was definitely the best little chunk of change I've spent lately!) She was really encouraging that I could have a good experience regardless of the fact that I wasn't getting my way. So I stopped pouting, stopped reading the nay-say books and stopped listening to everyone's opinions. This was the only option I had and I was going to give it a shot! Who knows, I thought, it may not be as bad as they say. And you know what I learned? "People" are wrong. My doctor did care about how I felt and wanted me to have a good birth. My nurses were supportive of me wanting to try to go natural and honored my wishes. Laboring in a bed is not the end of the world. In fact, I found it far less painful than using the birthing ball my doula brought for me to try! No one tried to force me to get an epedural to make me easier to deal with. No one gave me unnecessary checks, cuts and surgeries.
And I did it. Not only that, it was a wonderful experience. So here's a success story. If you've got a doctor you trust to do what is best, nurses who care about your wishes, and a person or two cheering you on, natural childbirth in a hospital can be great :)