I gave birth in Dublin last August, specifically the Coombe hospital (I absolutely refuse to go to the NMH, especially since I don't qualify for the midwife-led scheme).
Luckily I had researched my birth options and knew I wanted a natural birth. The first thing I was asked when talking with my midwife - what pain meds do I want?
I told her to please not ask me if I wanted pain meds, but that I would ask for them if I wanted them. I got a quizzical look but to be fair, she was great about not asking again.
When I took a while to progress beyond 4cm, she told me that they have a progress chart and that if labour slows down, they need to start using artificial means to speed it up. I told her no. I didn't care if I was labelled a difficult patient but there was no way in hell I was going to start down that road. I had to convince her though to let me continue with the walking. BTW, I was the ONLY labouring mother walking the corridors that day (and there were a lot of us labouring on the floor).
I did get put on the monitor and LEFT on it for over an hour. After that labour was very fast. I did ask for entonox and my midwife was great about suggesting good positions to aid labour (such as on all fours, drapped over the bed, etc). She was also great about massaging my back.
As for the pushing part - well since I had so much back labour, lying on my back was the most comfortable positiong FOR ME. I honestly didn't think it would be and the midwives did encourage other positions first.
From my experience, I was lucky to have 2 midwives who, while they had to talk about progress charts and the like as per hospital protocol, did respect my wishes and after a while stopped fighting me on my wishes. One of them, the lovely Judy, even congratulated me on my birth saying it was quite rare to see a natural birth in the hospital anymore. That I found sad.
UNtil recently, I believe, waterbirths were suspended in Ireland. as for AROM, you don't have to have it done. Pressure is put on you to have it done but you can say no.
I'm also not sure about homebirth after fertility treatment or the domino scheme after such. There is so much liability that there are lots of women who should qualify but don't.
I had a very easy pregnancy and birth but I don't qualify because I have a clotting disorder and require injections during pregnancy. Eventhough it wasn't an issue at all for me and the injections practically cut all risks out, it would be hard for me to find a midwife who would take me on for homebirth or the domino scheme. And definately not homebirth now after my baby ended up in NICU. There would be too many worries that my next child would need to be in the neonatal unit, at least for some monitoring.
I remember about a year ago, the master (
) of Holles Street was on Ireland AM (morning TV show in Ireland) along with one of the top homebirth midwives (whose name unfortunately escapes me). I just couldn't get over the utter comtempt the master had for homebirths, waterbirths, basically any birth outside of a hospital based managed birth. That is what Irish women are up against.