I hear what you're saying Aimee, and I think it does happen - I saw it happen to my friend when we were 19. She wanted "natural", but did nothing
to prepare for it, so nothing like natural is what she got.
BUT, I have heard far, far too many women who WERE prepared, who did have extremely detailed birthplans and really supportive, educated husbands and really great doulas, who still
were run over by "hospital policies" (even when they had signed OKs from their OB/CNM, even when they had talked to the hospital beforehand) and "this is for your own/your baby's health" (even when they knew that wasn't true, and protested, and had a written and signed birthplan to the contrary). I hear those stories much, much more often than I hear one like yours.
Honestly, I think you got lucky. I think you influenced your own luck tremendously with the work you did, made your odds much better, but nothing you did guaranteed that you would have the wonderful experiences you had. You played the odds, just like we all do to a certain extent in childbirth, and you came out with a good outcome. My problem with seeking a "natural" hospital birth is that the odds are so, so poor for most women, even if they're willing to put in a lot of work. The system is just set up contrary to what natural birthers, people who trust birth and their own bodies, are looking for. It's not quite as impossible as the McDonald's scenario implies, but it's not nearly so easy (or possible for all) as you imply, either.
And as rabid a homebirth supporter as I am, I don't even think this means that women who want natural childbirth should all stay home (although that would probably be a good start
). Hospitals do have to change, not just for women who haven't heard of or aren't comfortable with homebirth, but for those who have a medical reason to be in the hospital, for those who need surgical birth, for those who have to transfer. After watching the history of the past 20+ years (mostly in retrospect!), I'm not convinced that working within the system is entirely the way to do it (I think moving birth largely out of the hospital, so they realize that they are there to support and serve us
, as backups
, is a better way to go), but I fully respect and admire the women who, like you, do work within it, do work to expand the range of what's possible in hospital, and I thank you. I just don't buy the "I did it, so anyone can if they just work hard enough" argument.