how to have a nice hospital irth? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 16 Old 02-21-2010, 08:21 AM - Thread Starter
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wanted a home birth... but due to low lying placenta looks like i need to go to hospital i am absolutely gutted but want to try ad make the best out of a (for me) horrible situation... so how to make a hospital birth as nice as possile? please? my last birth took place in a lovely midwife led birthing centre and was beautiful in every way.
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#2 of 16 Old 02-21-2010, 12:03 PM
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I had one hospital birth that was ... eh... and one hospital birth that was amazing. The latter was basically like a home birth, except I did have to have a hep-lock (or my CNM wouldn't have been able to stay with me) and we did have to cut the cord in order to get DD2 to the oxygen as opposed to being able to bring the tank to where we were.

The significant factors in the different experiences were: my care provider. I went with a different CNM for the second one and she was WAY different. turned out, the first one was much more medically minded.
I also had a birth plan written ahead of time. Reviewed it with my midwife. She forwarded it to the hospital and seriously advocated for me when they weren't very happy about a few points. So all that drama was taken care of weeks before the birth. I also caught wind of which nurse I was supposed to get, and requested a different one (I'd had the first one at my first birth and she was well-meaning but not helpful.)

In summary... communicate. Communicate with your care provider as to what your hopes and goals are. Communicate with the hospital so they know what you want. And so you can flesh out what is actual policy vs 'the way they just do things'.
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#3 of 16 Old 02-22-2010, 02:42 AM
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I had an amazing and lovely hospital birth. Like the OP, I was in the hospital for medical reasons rather than by preference. My best advice is to be clear about what you want, but advocate for it in a collaborative and gracious tone. For me, it was better to have the care provider write up my most important requests/preferences in my medical record instead of having a birthplan as such. It gave my preferences more of a stamp of approval and helped the medical people feel less like I was telling them how to do their job.
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#4 of 16 Old 02-22-2010, 03:17 AM
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- Get a doula
- Inform yourself
- Bring your voice!

I'm Amy wife to Joe 11/06 and mommy to Aubrey 3/08 and Levi 4/10
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#5 of 16 Old 02-22-2010, 01:56 PM
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i agree with pp about having a doula and preparing yourself ahead of time. i had dd with a mw at the hospital, 36 1/2 hrs of labor/3hr pushing and allowed nubain. thought i'd still had my ideal birth afterwards, that is till i had ds.

ds was dr attended in the hospital. we went thru 3 losses in between dd and him, so i thought i'd be too anxious to relax enough for a homebirth. i read a ton ahead of time and had a clear picture in my mind of what i wanted from the birth experience. we also found a wonderful doula. when it came time for ds's labor/delivery, it was basically a homebirth that happened in the hospital. we went in armed with a birthplan, but also understanding that things weren't set in stone. i labored for a few hours at home before realizing that we needed to head to the hospital earlier than i had been anticipating. i was 6cm when admitted, and really didn't think i could possibly be that far already. got to our room and turned down the lights, put on the cd i brought of ocean waves, and set to work. the dr stopped by to introduce himself since he wasn't from our practice, and to look over the birth plan...which he was surprisingly supportive of our choices. he only checked me once during labor, and he sat by in the rockingchair while watching/coaching/supporting dh during a good portion of the delivery. (we had requested that dh do the "catching"). i believe that alot of our experience had to do with getting an amazing dr...the ones form our practice seemed very pro c-section which caused many hours of worry on my part during pregnancy. another thing that made a huge differnce is that i had gone over alot of different scenarios in my mind and tried to figure out how i would handle each should they occur.
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#6 of 16 Old 02-22-2010, 04:01 PM
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If I had to do a hospital birth again, I would:

- hire a doula
- train DH in Marine Corps fashion to know what to do when (last time he was all intimidated by nurses and doctors)
- go really, really late to the hospital (hold out at home for as long as you can, try arriving at the hospital when you are pushing)
- not go in when my water breaks (I was scared of infection and went in a couple hours after it broke without contrax, dumb mistake)
- if your water breaks early or before labor begins, do not tell them when, say it just happened or they will put you on antibiotics immediately or within 18 hours after water breakage, and they will want to use Pitocin on you (depending on the HP, right away or after 24 hours)
- have your DH or trusted person watch the actual birthing process so they can yell NO EPISIOTOMY or LEAVE THAT CORD INTACT (someone needs to have his or her eyes down there, really!)
- be strong, stern, yet friendly. might not work during contractions though. if they want to do something you don't want to, don't hesitate being bitchy.
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#7 of 16 Old 02-22-2010, 04:11 PM
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Know what you want and tell your provider that.
Make sure that whoever is in with you knows what you want and is willing to speak up for you if you need them too.
Labor at home as long as you feel comfortable.

With my first, I had no idea what I was doing and my labor was pretty standard for hospital deliveries. With my second, I went in knowing exactly what I wanted and didn't want and got the labor I really wanted.
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#8 of 16 Old 02-22-2010, 06:16 PM
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--visit the hospital where you will birth as often as possible. I wanted to be familiar with the sights, sounds, smells, location of random things. I wanted to "know" the staff and the traffic patterns and all those little details. I took the maternity floor tour every week. By the time I showed up in labor I knew the nurse at the desk, I knew where the towels for the tub were kept, people knew who I was and what sort of birth I wanted. I think it helped to create some of that "home like feeling" I wanted.

--if possible, pick a hospital with a strong natural birth vibe. Or the strongest vibe you can find. I birthed dd1 and dd2 at my tiny local hospital because it was very pro-natural birth at the time. That changed and ds was born at the bigger regional medical center an hour away because they had the best facilities and the stats to back it up. I really wanted to stay clsoer to home, but I picked the hospital that was going to give me the best shot at another vbac and that meant travelling. I don't regret it.

--make a sign for the door and ask that the door stay shut with the sign visible. Mine simply thanked people for their PEACEFUL, QUIET, RESPECTFUL participation in my hypnobirth. It also had the relevant names (mine, dh's, doula, midwife, pediatrician for the babe).

--have a doula you can work with and a care provider who supports your birth style.

--have a short, polite, to the point birth plan and go over it with EVERYONE. Have a copy in your chart, a copy for your nurse, a copy for your partner, a copy for your doula, a copy signed by your care provider, etc.

--at the hospital ask for a nurse who enjoys supporting natural birth. If you don't like the nurse you're assigned, ask for another. Nurses can really make or break a hospital birth so be polite but also let them know what you expect... they've only just met you and don't know your style.

--make a "what if" plan. Check out books like the Labor Progress Handbook by Penny Simkin and decide for yourself what interventions you're ok with and when you'd be ok with them. (Barring an actual emergency of course) And then make sure your partner and doula have a list of your decisions. That way you wont be trying to think while in the middle of labor... if someone says "we're going to do X now" you and your team will be prepped with a response.

--when packing your bag, pack things that make you feel in control and comfortable and happy! LED candles, mp3 player with speaker, a banner to hang on the wall, scented massage oils, coconut water or other yummy beverage to drink, etc. I also packed a binsi birth skirt and a nice bathrobe plus postpartum clothing. I never wore the hospital stuff, despite staying for the full 72 hours allowed.

Good luck and happy birthing! I'm sorry you wont have the homebirth you hoped for, but I'm sending you wishes for a wonderful hospital birth. I have to say I've really enjoyed my hospital births... so it can happen!

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#9 of 16 Old 02-22-2010, 08:44 PM
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These replies are really great. Thank you OP for starting this thread .


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#10 of 16 Old 02-22-2010, 10:11 PM
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What excellent posts...I am bookmarking this for when my time comes. Thanks ladies!
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#11 of 16 Old 02-23-2010, 11:34 AM - Thread Starter
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thank you all for your replies. i would love to have a doula but cant afford one although have thought about how we could! what i have decided to do now is to write a birth plan underlining the most importat things like no episiotomy, leaving me to move around etc, basically leaving me ALOnE! also im going to ask my CM to bring the Hb kit round anyway, and for her to come once i go into labour so there is a profesional here for me to labour at home as long as possible. as 2nd births can go so much quicker i thik i'll feel better if she's here. also i ont know how i will feel on the day - i might freak out completely at the thougth of going to hospital so i want to be prepared for both possiilities. I wil also ask my CM to come with us (DP ad i) to hospital to support me there so i have the continuus care. does that sound reasonable?
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#12 of 16 Old 02-23-2010, 01:19 PM
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You don't need a doula to have a doula. What I mean is, ANY woman who has experienced birth (esp. a natural birth) or supported birth can be your doula. My mother was mine, and she was GREAT. If you have had to transfer your care to an OB/GYN, then you might consider asking your former midwife if she could accompany you in the role of a doula to the hospital. But seriously, anyone can do this as long as you are on the same page.

For me (I had a really nice hospital VBAC) the key was to go through your expectations about the birth with your husband, healthcare provider, and whoever else would be there. Make sure doc puts notes in your chart in case he/she isn't there when you get to the hospital. Ask lots of questions - what is routine? What is optional. Pick your battles to some extent (ie wear a hospital gown and get over it. This one is not worth the fight).

Finally, designate someone (DH?) to remind everyone in the room of your birth preferences AS THEY BECOME RELEVANT. I was able to catch my own baby because my mother remembered that I wanted to do it and mentioned it just minutes before she was born. (I would have forgotten until the moment was past).

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#13 of 16 Old 02-24-2010, 11:28 AM - Thread Starter
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Homebirth back on!!!! just thought id let you all know. had a TV scan today and everything is fine - placenta well out of the way!!! yay!!!! thanks for all your support
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#14 of 16 Old 02-25-2010, 09:32 PM
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Congrats on the homebirth plans!

For anyone else who might be reading this, I'd say one of the biggest things that helped me have a great hospital birth was asking for a labor nurse who liked (and had experience with) natural births. You CAN ask for a nurse--you don't have to take the one you're given.

RedOak ~ Momma to DS (8) , DS (4) , DD (3) , & DD 9/10 ~
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#15 of 16 Old 02-26-2010, 01:34 PM
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Originally Posted by RedOakMomma View Post

For anyone else who might be reading this, I'd say one of the biggest things that helped me have a great hospital birth was asking for a labor nurse who liked (and had experience with) natural births. You CAN ask for a nurse--you don't have to take the one you're given.
This, this, this! I had a wonderful, intervention-free hospital birth, and my nurses were fabulous. I had never been hospitalized before, and I didn't realize what a big role nurses played in your care. Our first nurse, though not overly experienced with natural childbirth, had seen a few and was excited to help with mine. The nurse who attended the birth (after shift change) was a doula in her free time, and totally on board with NCB. We lucked out. But absolutely you can ask for a new nurse if yours isn't a good fit!
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#16 of 16 Old 02-26-2010, 07:01 PM
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this is great info, i'm taking notes! i've had 2 hb's but will be having a hospital birth this time for financial reasons. so many things are going through my head right now. what do i bring with me? i don't want to wear a hospital gown, because then i will feel and look like a patient iykwim. music- i didn't want it at home, but maybe it will help at the hospital. asking for a supportive to natural birth nuse is a good idea.

and do i want a doula? if i can afford one. with both my previous births i labored with just my husband till very close to the end. the first time when the backup mw came i was ready to push (which took 2 hours, i'm sure the fact she was a stranger to me slowed things down) and the second time my mw came as i was entering transition, but she stayed back till the very very end when she stepped in to give some counter pressure to my back. my last birth was a water birth which i absolutely loved and wanted to do again. the hospital has tubs for laboring. i asked the cnm if i can birth in them and she just said they're too small. i will go check them out for myself. i wonder if they'd let me bring my own tub? i wonder how to go about getting a hospital to approve something like that?

i go back and forth about when to go to t he hospital. since i'm a private person and prefer laboring on my own, do i want to get there ready to push? or do i want to get there a little sooner so that i have time to settle in and feel comfortable?

** on the doula question, i'm trying to think if i have a friend who could support me. but i don't think so. my mom had homebirths, but she is lousy at standing up to drs. she gets very upset. neither of my sisters has had kids. and i only have one friend who is interested in hb (she has one kid, born in the hospital with an epidural/etc.)

mama to DS born 9/7/05, DD born 8/20/07, DS born 9/4/10 and DS born 11/26/13

Loving our chaotic, crunchy, homeschooling life!
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