Wow, OP, this reminds me of my very first post on mothering! I originally joined after lurking for a long time because I had just listened to my dear friend tell me about her first birth, which was hindered by an overbearing midwife who advocated an epidural, unnecessary pitocin, and an (obviously) unnecessary episiotomy, but which turned out well *despite* the interventions. She was actually very happy with her birth experience, and I am really glad she wasn't traumatized by it. I smiled and nodded and told her I was glad for her. But it was definitely the phenomenon that PPs have mentioned, when you hear the story and you're dissecting it in your head and sort of mentally slapping your forehead as you hear the details. So I joined and vented on the UC board because it was the only place I felt normal!
Since then I have come to a much more peaceful place about conventional birth stories. I don't react personally/emotionally anymore because it really isn't my business to react at that level ("God's business, your business, my business" - this has been so helpful to me in letting go when it's something I shouldn't worry about, or figuring out if it's something I should be worrying about). Everyone is on a journey and except for in specific circumstances (like when they ask for information) most people just need to find things out for themselves. For example, the friend I mentioned above had a second medicated hospital birth, this time one that didn't leave her feeling good. She then mentioned casually that "if I have another one I think I'll just do it naturally - drugs just slow things down and don't help much anyway". Inside I was like, woohoo! You figured things out for yourself! But outside of course I didn't make a big deal out of it. (This friend has heard me go on and on about out-of-hospital birth years ago when I was more vocal about these things so she knows my point of view already... to the point of exhaustion. I've found since then that support and positivity is more effective.)
I still shake my head when I hear stories like your friend's, though, OP. It's one thing to get personally riled up and another to see clearly just how screwed up the hospital system is.
And, I didn't immediately know I wanted to UC with #2. I thought I could do it at home with midwives...
ElizabethE, this piques my curiosity. Why do you say this with an eye-rolling smiley? I ask because I am in the awkward situation of having a strong *feeling* that I would like to UC but DH being very uncomfortable with it and a part of my mind saying "well, you should have someone around to help in case of emergency". Of course my logical brain is then like "ok, just hire a midwife, next best thing, right?". But then I get this cautious feeling about that. In a way, depending on the midwife, I could get less privacy than at the hospital (where they aren't watching you as intensively as a midwife might). But I don't really want to go to the hospital. It's way different here from the US and I think I could get a pretty intervention-free birth if I just say so, but it's still the hospital, not the corner of my bedroom, which is where I feel like secretly giving birth in the middle of the night right now Anyway, sorry to derail the thread, but that just caught my attention.