This will be my 3rd hospital birth as well. I definitely would love a homebirth. But I don't currently have a home suitable for such things, so...that's the way it goes sometimes.
My first birth was not a terrific experience and definitely shaped some of my strong aversions to "interventions."
My second birth was amazing and empowering and I'm delivering with the same midwife group at the same hospital this time. The MW who actually delivered DD2 is no longer with the practice (sadface!) but, I do like most of the midwives I've met and feel comfortable enough that if I request it, I'll be allowed to just labor privately with DH a lot of the time.
I love all the NCB stuff and I'm totally committed to it as part of my own journey...but, for me, I am equally committed to the idea that it can take place beautifully in a hospital.
On playlists, I didn't even have an ipod when DD1 was born. For DD2, I made up a bunch of different ones for the different stages of labor. When the time came, the only music that I wanted to hear was some cheesy guitar by the sea music...I loved the wave sounds, they kept me focused and relaxed and really did help me maintain some kind of zen tranquility. To this day, when I hear that music, I go back to a very happy place in my head...it reminds me of sitting quietly in the dark in my old apartment, on my birth ball, swaying through contractions and feeling very at peace with the work my body was doing. So I'm planning on using that again. But this time I have my iphone and between my ipod and pandora, I'll have lots of music to choose from should a different mood strike.
On in-laws and visitors...I do tell family when i'm heading to the hospital (or at least I did w/ DD2, MIL was the one who watched DD1 while we were gone), but we have a very strict NO visitors policy. I don't plan on staying more than 24 hrs; a lot less this time if I can get away with it....but I really don't want people cramming into my hospital room immediately after the ordeal of labor and delivery to "seeee the baybeeee" they can wait.
If I have to be there longer than 24 hrs, I'll probably want DH to go back to the house to get the girls and bring them to meet the new baby. HOnestly...at this point, this is my biggest problem with the whole hospital birth thing. I'm really nervous about my MIL watching the girls and there is literally no one else in my life right now to do it (support system? lacking); I'm worried I will have hang ups about this while in labor and that it will hamper the process....but...I'm trusting it will just all sort itself out in the next few months.
This thread is a really great idea! Thanks for starting it Sandy!