As a quick recap, before we started TTC, I had honestly not given much thought to pregnancy and childbirth. I basically assumed that once we tried to get pregnant, it would happen, and then when the kid had to come out, I’d go to a hospital, get an epidural, and bam, we’d have a baby in a perfectly easy, pain free process!
The Hospital Experience
One of the benefits to us having 20 months to think about pregnancy before it actually happened for us was that it gave me a lot of time to research. I mostly learned about the importance of knowing more about our bodies and the mind/body connection while TTC, but then a kind of crazy thing happened… through my research and through reading your blogs, I started to realize that there was more than one way to do this whole pregnancy and birth scenario as well.
By the time we got pregnant, I wanted to do a home water birth (attended by a midwife), but my husband was not comfortable with that idea because we live in a rural area, and it is 27 miles from our front door to the hospital. Also, in Colorado, CNM (certified nurse midwives) are licensed in an either/or manner – for home births or hospital births. Not both. GRRRR. I didn’t like that if there was any sort of complication at home that the CNM I was comfortable with wouldn’t have hospital privileges to deliver there.
SO, the compromise we came to was to use the local midwives group that is licensed through our local hospital. There are five women CNMs, and so far I’ve met four of them, and really like them all. All of my pre & post-natal care is taken care of through their practice, and the delivery will take place in a hospital setting and be attended by the midwives. The only way an OB would get involved is in the case of an emergency c-section.
Our hospital wants expecting couples to come in between 26-36 weeks to do a pre-registration to get us in the system to and get us acquainted with the L&D area, and since my husband and I both had the day off yesterday, we decided to go in right at 26w and get that checked off the list! It was actually really interesting, and we had a great experience with the nurse who gave us the tour. Turns out she’s our neighbor (lives 3 doors up!), and when I expressed my desire to have a natural birth that was free of meds using the hypnobabies methodology, she was incredibly supportive and immediately started telling us about other hypnobaby births she attended that were incredibly positive experiences. I really hope that whichever nurse is on that day is as supportive as her!
Unfortunately, the maternity wing of our local hospital is the oldest section of the hospital (the next closest hospital, complete with an awesome birthing wing, is 100 miles away). There are 4 labor rooms equipped with small bathrooms, and there is one TINY room with a jacuzzi tub located down the hall. They deliver around 35 babies a month, so it’s a crapshoot if the jacuzzi is open for you during your labor or not. Two of the four bathrooms have shower stalls big enough to sit in on your birthing ball if you want. The other two are too small / have drains located right where the ball would sit, and thanks to previous “floods” caused by mothers on birthing balls, if you get one of those rooms, you can’t sit in the shower. Needless to say, I’m hoping it’s a quiet day in the maternity wing when this baby decides to arrive, and I get to pick the room I want. We shall see.
Other than the water-birthing and/or laboring situation not being ideal, it seems like the hospital is on board with many of my birth preferences.
*It’s normal practice to have the babies stay in the room with the mother unless she specifically wants to get some uninterrupted sleep.
*The routinely put the baby on your chest immediately post-birth for as long as you want, and breastfeeding is encouraged immediately – both in vaginal deliveries and asap after c-sections.
*They specifically asked if I was coming in with a birth plan / birth preferences so they’d have a good handle on what my hopes were for this experience.
*She noted in my chart to not offer meds, which I like.
Overall, I know that you can have a positive birth experience no matter what your surroundings. I’ll go more into my birth preferences in another post, but for now, here are a few more (blurry) pictures of the hospital where we’re going to meet our baby!