How I’m Using What I’ve Learned

I know I at least mentioned this before, but in speaking with family and friends this weekend I found myself more clearly stating my plans for birthing a second child.  I will absolutely do things differently next time around, and that means I will stay out of a hospital if at all possible.

Now, don’t get me wrong.  I have nothing against hospitals.  I worked in a hospital and absolutely loved it.  I love the people and their commitment to helping others.  I love that hospitals offer safety and a variety of medical expertise.  There is so much about Jack’s birth that I cherish.

But!  The downsides are many.  The people in the hospital don’t know their patients for the most part.  The number of staff is large, and the shifts do not cover an entire labor.  Some of those members of staff have a horrible bedside manner, and patients are stuck with what they get.  Of the four nurses who attended us during our time in the hospital, two of those four were absolutely horrible.  And unfortunately due to timing, those two horrible nurses had a much greater impact on my birth experience than the great nurses.  I do not want people I don’t know to have that much impact on what is a very personal and unique experience in my life.

Despite my birth plan, despite my doula, despite my OB’s agreement with my wishes, despite my repeated restatement of my wishes, choices were taken away from me in the hospital.  And the reason why those choices were taken away?  Simply for the nurse’s convenience, or due to someone else’s mistakes, and my OB was not there to overrule in my favor.  Being admitted to the hospital meant that others took over and had more control over what was happening than I did; in spite of all previous reassurances that my wishes would be respected.

I didn’t have a horrible birth experience.  I was able to deliver Jack vaginally, without pain medication, and I healed pretty quickly.  My son is healthy, and I am healthy.  My goals were achieved.  But I know if I had simply chosen to give birth at home or at an independent birth center, there would have been a lot less stress, a lot more support and comfort.  I thought that the birthing room looked homey and warm, but I didn’t realize that decor is only one small piece of what makes a person feel comfortable in their environment.

Let me be clear.  I am not the type of person who desires to “experience the miracle of birth” or “realize my strength as a woman” or other such romantic notions.  I am nothing if not practical.  I simply don’t want to hand over my autonomy to a large number of strangers who have done nothing to earn my trust and who have protocol in the forefront of their minds at all times.  Birth is about babies and parents and nature and all working together in a common goal.  I want to be surrounded by those who respect that with words and deeds, and I want the birth to be the priority, not something that is thought of after the institution is taken care of.  I understand why hospitals do what they do, but that doesn’t mean I have to let a hospital and its staff dictate how my child comes into the world.

3 thoughts on “How I’m Using What I’ve Learned”

  1. It’s great that you are able to realize what you want for your second birth, whenever that may be! 🙂 I think that every woman should have the choice to deliver where they want, although I think it’s best that women have their first in a hospital (but that’s just me). I’m not sure WHY I think that, but I do! 🙂

    Personally, I don’t think that I would consider having a baby in any place but a hospital. Unless I could find a birthing center with an OB and an emergency C room. It almost came down to that for us, and in the end, I was forcep-assisted. Kitten probably would have died, had we been at home, or in a place where the doctor couldn’t have yanked her out at the last minute. My L&D nurses were great… my PP&R nurse (the first one) sucked (after her shift ended, it was ok. I mean, this is a lady who grabbed and pulled my nipple, trying to shove it into Kitten’s mouth, plus she took Kitten out of the room to bathe her, because her “back hurt”. Really? Your back hurts? YEAH WELL MY LEGS ARE STILL FROZEN AND I CAN’T FOLLOW YOU, YOU IGNORANT COW!!! I guess I’m grateful that Rob lied the entire time about filming her and took videos. Her first bath is something that I will never get to experience first hand). ::ahem::

    Anyway, good luck to you, on your next baby. I hope that you find a birthing center/home birth experience that is amazing and safe! 🙂

  2. friends of normal childbirth !

    I wish to share my delight, comfort and safety at having been able to give birth at home to all my children. Explore your options for safe childbirth with an open mind, try to avoid cultural blocks, resource best evidence, and step confidently forward, prepared and willing to change plans if needed.

    A landmark study, “Outcomes of planned home births with certified professional midwives: large prospective study in North America,” published in the British Medical Journal in 2005. The study, which followed over 5,000 intended home births (with a few intended birth center births)with Certified Professional Midwives, found maternal, intrapartum and neonatal mortality rates to be statistically similar to those in hospitals, with far fewer medical and surgical interventions as well as complications.

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