With DD, my 1st pregnancy, I was on DDC for Apr 2008 and would've liked to have seen a thread like this. I just watched episode 2 of Season 3 of Mad Men where Bets has her 3rd kid. The horror! The hospital procedures and such of the 60s. Although much has changed, they can still take a very controlling/commanding approach.
For some of us, homebirth is not an option, to those going to a hospital, here are some words for what you can do ONCE you're there. There's been great discussion about how to plan for the best birth in a hospital. Still, it all starts with how you walk in the door.
1. If you've got it in you, don't check in via the EMERGENCY entrance, you'll be treated like an emergency. Walk yourself to the maternity section if possible. I was 6 cm when I entered with DD and SHOULD have walked myself up there. Labor at home as long as possible, they'll be so pleased that you're already so far along.
2. Have your paperwork prepared in advance, even if a hospital is your back up option. It will minimize the logistics/procedures that need to be handled.
3. When you're getting prepped, hospitals, particularly teaching ones, love to have interns/residents come in. You CAN refuse this and keep to your core team, don't be shy. Present that upfront-write it into the birth plan, so you don't have to turn anyone away, if you think that will make things awkward.
4. Once the baby is out, if you can't get a wheelchair within a timely manner (30 mins of getting all cleaned up) walk yourself to your recovery/private room. As slowly as I had to walk over to my own room, it sure earned me the 'bad ass' badge by the midwives and nurses.
5. After 12 hours of being in your own room, feel free to request to leave/be discharged. They have enough data to support you can handle yourself if your vitals AND the baby's vitals are reading normal/great.
Always go with your instinct!