Well - I don't know if it was "fabulous," but it was pretty good - I thought it was fabulous 'til a few weeks ago (it was nearly three years ago) - and I'm still very happy with it (I just know more this time).
My Mom, Aunt, and sister all had NCB's (Mom 7/7, Aunt 5/5, Sister 2/3 - she had nubane to slow her contractions 'til her dh could get there, and that was her most difficult labor in the end) .... Also my cousin had an unplanned homebirth, obviously NCB. So I relied on them for my information/advice in re: what to expect with NCB and NCB in a hospital. In retrospect, I should have done some reading and research but I thought I'd done enough, with my talks and with a (very good, very pro-NCB) hospital birthing/bf course.
How things went -- we called the hospital at about midnight, told them that contractions were only about 30 seconds but were less than 4 minutes apart, should we come in? They told us we'd probably be sent home, but come in to be checked out.
So, nurse helps us settle into the room, tells us that often FTPs arrive too soon, we'll probably be sent home, etc., and when she's finally ready to check me her jaw drops - I'm 5 1/2 cm.
So -- they go into rush mode getting things ready, although not TOO concerned, I still have plenty of time.
I think they're taking their cues off dh and myself, who are calm, relaxed, I'm not in much pain really (Mom was right, it was like bad menstrual cramps) .... About an hour later she comes back to check how I'm progressing before calling our OB to let him know we're there, because, "He'll probably want to know how far along you are."
This is where she really does a jaw-drop, I'm now at 8 cm.
So, she rushes out to call the doctor and starts really rushing to get things set up for a delivery in the room. I'm in back labor, so doing pelvic tilts to try to get Ina to turn .... She asks me if I'd like to go to the bathroom now, to get that taken care of. I do, and discover that it is MUCH more comfortable to have a contraction on the toilet than I was on hands and knees ... so we spent some time on the birthing ball between pelvic tilts -- then they said the EFM was not accurate enough in that position, and asked me to do more pelvic tilts on the bed .... hands and knees .... I did that 'til I was 10 cm, which was when Ina *finally* turned. Whew!
I had to have an IV because I needed abx for a heart condition that I have - other than that I felt I had a really natural labor and the nurse and doc didn't do *anything* patronizing or try to push drugs or anything.
Nurse told me that the other nurses asked her if I "knew" I was in labor, I was so quiet and calm.
I asked her at one point if I should be shifting my breathing since I'd moved on to the next stage in labor, and she said, "Hey, what you're doing is working well for you - change it when you feel like you need to change it, you're doing a great job!"
We checked in at 12:30 am and Ina was born at 4:30 am. No pain meds, no known interventions, all good and very proud.What will happen differently this time:
1. They whisked Ina away almost immediately after birth (laid her on me, dried her, then did their tests/bath/etc. with dh present in the nursery). Since I hadn't researched this AT ALL, I didn't know that this was not the way that it should have been done - that babe should have been given to me, allowed to latch, no unnecessary interventions until a full feed completed, etc. [My nurse sister, whose youngest is 6, was aghast when she figured out that Ina wasn't "in trouble" when they whisked her away - her babes all got to latch etc. immediately before they messed with anything else].So, this time, babe stays with me -- until s/he has latched on both sides. I'll keep babe warm, etc. Already discussed with OB and with the hospital about this.
2. Delayed cord clamping - I didn't know anything about this with Ina, but we will be doing it this time. OB has no concerns
3. "Active Management of the Third Stage of Labor" - Here's where I've learned the most, actually, and am least happy with my first birth. I didn't know that it's pretty standard to give moms pitocin via IV or shot immediately after babe is delivered - only discovered it by noticing pitocin on my bill from Ina's birth when I was revamping our filing system a few weeks ago.
: It's supposed to help deliver the placenta more quickly, with less risk to mom, etc. But it's controversial (WHO recommends against it) -- anyway, have discussed this with the OB and we will not use pitocin this time unless he's seeing signs that I'm beginning PPH, will allow baby at breast etc. to do the oxytocin naturally
I need to make sure we've got a detailed birth plan this time, and that dh knows what/when to really watch what's going on to make sure that I'm kept warm after delivering babe, and the cord clamping/pitocin stage -- but I'm feeling very confident that this next hospital birthed NCB will go even better than the last one.
I really do think that the key is whether you've got a good doctor/midwife. We really like our OB. He coached my aunt and uncle through my cousin's unplanned homebirth over the phone - he's relaxed, not patronizing at all, and really listens to us. I think (obviously) he'll skew toward the more medical approach unless a mother directs him differently but he isn't opposed to natural birth etc. - his office has brought a CNM in as the first CNM in the community, expressly to serve that need (if we didn't like him so much we'd probably switch to her, but whoever's on call that weekend is the one we'll see anyway).
So, my personal experience is that you need:
1. An open-minded and non-patronizing OB/MW (and good nurses are a big plus!)
2. An informed mom who makes her expectations clear ahead of time (this is where I fell down bigtime with Ina, although it still was a really positive birth). They met my expectations - I just didn't know as much as I should have about birth/labor itself. I spent my pregnancy researching bf and child development/infancy issues.
The only thing I'd add is that the hospital was very pro-bf with us, checked latches etc. several times ... I didn't need a lot of help, because I DID research that. I could see a mom who hadn't researched that, needing more assistance than I received. And the "'bf' ff
success baggies" were still given out ... There's not LLL here so I don't see enough support in the community for bf moms to bring the hospital in line for Baby Friendly status.
At least at this point.