I started out planning to birth at a free standing birth center 1.5 hours away but am now looking at having a hospital birth for mostly financial reasons thanks to Medicaid not paying my midwife her full fee. I was left with 1200 owed when I have to borrow gas money even to get to the appointment sometimes.
I wasn't worried about getting to the birth center too early since she is a CPM and not operating by a clock, but I AM worried about getting to the hospital too early. I'm actually still trying to decide between two hospitals. One is just at an hour away and my friend had a natural birth there (Augusta Medical Center in Fishersville, Virginia). The other hospital is right next to the birth center so its 1.5 hours from me (Rockingham Memorial in Harrisonburg, Virginia).
I've spoken to a few doulas and they tend to recommend RMH over AMC saying its far more natural birth friendly. I still don't want to get there too early, nor "too late". In my head I want time to adapt to my environment before I push out the baby, but I realize I might not be worried about adapting when the time comes. And certainly probably not able to get comfortable with the environment, but still I'd like to get somewhat settled in....
This is my first baby so I am not sure what to look for as far as getting ready to go. If I lived five or ten minutes away it'd be one thing, living this distance I have to plan ahead an hour and a half!
I thought about renting a hotel room near the hospital in early labor and laboring there in a jacuzzi, but my friend suggested this might be a germ issue. I am not super uncomfortable with the germs in the hospital tub, even though I know they could easily be worse. And obviously I wouldn't think twice about my own tub. Somehow though laboring in a strange tub in a hotel seems a bit.. iffy... But does that sound like a decent option? It would also give my parents or my boyfriend's family a place to stay while I give birth. Also, if I hired a doula, she could meet me at the hotel whereas if I stay at home until I go to to the hospital, I would have to just meet her there since it would add well over an hour to her commute to come here first considering my location compared to the hospitals.
This sort of brings me to my second question:
My partner is not informed about natural birth, nor to be honest, is he that interested in learning about it. He will probably be supportive of me as best he is able, and I know he will be comforting to an extent, but he will not remind me of why I'm avoiding pain medication nor will he know the best ways to help me avoid giving in to wanting them. In fact, he may suggest I use them though I plan to tell him to please refrain from telling me that. I definitely need a doula!
If I do go with Rockingham Memorial as the hospital I choose, they have volunteer doulas on hand. I've spoken with two Doulas not at the hospital, and both are charging 200. One is a student working towards certification but she's already a hypnobirthing teacher and has quite a bit of birth work experience. The other is experienced but no longer attends birth as a doula due to fibromyalgia. However, she will attend as a coach for other people at the birth and guide them in ways to help (positions, counter pressure, etc). She would obviously still advocate, just be hands off due to physical limitations. So, I need to decide between hiring one of them or using the volunteer doulas. I am more or less unemployed so 200 is actually quite a bit of money for me at the moment, but I could probably manage it somehow. However, a volunteer doula would be great because I could then use that 200 for things like cloth diapers or a breast pump or some other essential. I wouldn't meet the hospital doula before the birth though, nor would I know anything about her prior to the birth. They are trained by the hospital, but I assume their loyalty would still be to the birthing woman. Anyone have experience with a volunteer, hospital trained doula?