Mama to 2 sweet little boys (May 2010) (Feb 2012)
Got myFeb 2012
Do/can your midwives from your birthing center be with you? If they have a relationship with the hospital they may be able to be your best advocates. I was also considering a doula, but with tight funds, my husband and I are working on being prepared to be very clear, yet polite, about our birthing preferences.
The best advice that I have gotten so far has been from my hypnobirthing instructor, she said it couldn't hurt to bring a draft of our birth plan to the hospital tour to see if a nurse or anyone would be willing to discuss it with us in advance. I also read in another posting that a woman would visit frequently to get to know the layout and some of the nurses - that may be another tool to use.
I am sorry I can't offer any sound advice, but I do wish you the best of luck. Something I have been working on is letting go of my fear of the hospital and trying to visualize the peaceful birth we have been planning from the beginning at the birthing center.
Definitely have a birth plan, and I've seen postings on this board about women in-training to be doulas as an affordable alternative.
Also, try this: http://www.choicesinchildbirth.org/r...illy_08-09.pdf
The biggest problem with Lankenau is that they have eliminated dyad nursing so now your baby has a different nurse than you. What that means is that the baby's nurse will (@ 4am) come to your room and try to take the baby to do its assessment. It is easier for them to assess the babies when they are all lined up assembly line style in the nursery. It is efficient for them but not so great for you if you want your baby with you. I refused to let the babies be taken.
My husband escorted them to the nursery for weights and brought them right back. I insisted that the nursing assessment be done in the room. We also had a problem because our pediatrician was not at Lankenau (we were supposed to deliver in another hosptial) so we got the staff doctor. He also wanted to take the babies. I informed him that doing the assessment in front of me was educational and I did not want to miss the opportunity. He complained about the "bad light" a lot but gave in (because he really had no choice) Good thing too, because he was going to retract my son's foreskin before I told him not to.
Basically, like any hospital, Lankenau does what is best for staff efficiency and that is not always conducive for you. I suggest that you write your desires down, review them with your OB and fax them to the nurse manager of the post partum unit. Then, once you get that baby in your arms, say no to having anyone take him/her for any reason. Just say no. They are not going to pry the baby out of your arms. You will get a lot sighs and rolled eyes but who cares?! I might also print some medical research showing the beneifits of no mother baby separation and hand it to who ever gives you a hard time.
I found Lankenau managable, but my husband and I did have to be very firm in our desires and put up with a lot of sarcasm and eye rolling.
If you have the time, I'd take a really good birth class (PM me and I can suggest some to you). This is cheaper than a doula, and would give you and your husband information and confidence going into the hospital. If you did Bradley Method, your husband would become a very confident coach---but BM takes 12 weeks, so you would need the time.
If you can't get to a good class, I would definitely try to hire a doula. Having a trained doula with you will greatly increase your chances of a natural birth---there are lots of great ones in the area, and I even know a few who are trying to get their certs finished and are cheap and/or FREE. They will help make sure that any birth plan you have is actually followed, and they can do wonders in helping you feel confident and relax. AND if any interventions (during labor or immediately following delivery) are attempted, they will make sure that there is time for you and your husband to have genuine informed consent.
And if you have a good friend, sister, etc. who has had a natural birth, they can also be a great (and free) advocate for you.
I can't speak specifically to Lankenau, but your best bet heading into any hospital desiring a natural birth is to be prepared. Then if interventions do happen, at least you know what is going on, and you and your husband are still able to remain in control and have a say in how things happen.
Send me a PM if you want me to suggest a few options for classes, doulas, etc!
Happy SAHM Mom and CBE to three boys: DS1 (11/06), DS2 (7/08), DS3 (11/10) and D?4 (12/12)!
I'm an IBCLC. I would suggest contacting one of the LCs at Lankenau beforehand and have them advocate for you. (I don't know them, but I haven't gotten all positive feeback about them but I could be wrong!)
As for Lankenau specifically, I didn't birth there but my SIL did twice. I personally have a pretty negative view of them, but take this with a grain of salt since I'm coming at this as an observer and as a birth center/home birther. For my SIL's first birth, they ended up inducing her, on her due date for absolutely no medical reason. They had done a non stress test, everything was fine, and they proceeded to induce her anyway. She had a bad reaction to the pitocin and epidural and her heartrate and the babies heartrate started going down. They did nothing to try to alleviate it more naturally (turn her on her size, give her oxygen) and just told her, "we need to get the baby out now or we're doing a C-section." My SIL is now a nurse and has looked back over that birth and feels that they didn't do a lot of things they should have done. She went there again anyway for her second birth. She got there at 4 centimeters, was 7 cm 2 hours later but gave her pitocin anyway, despite progressing nicely. She again had a bad reaction to the picotin and epidural but there was slightly less panic this time and she was born with a good apgar score and was fine. But, they did take the baby away for a long time. I kept asking, "where's the baby?" to my SIL and she kept saying that they were just doing tests. It didn't seem to bother her much (although it was driving me crazy!) and then once it started to bother her, she started to ask for the baby and said they'd bring her back then. Another hour passed and they still had not brought her back. Finally, they brought her back. This has been immediately after her birth. SHe held her for about 15 minutes after she was born and then didn't see her again for another 3 1/2 hours. I've also seen stats on C-section rates in PA hospitals and Lankenau has one of the highest. So, I personally don't think too highly of them and would absolutely have a doula if I had to birth there. On the other hand, my SIL Is very passive and is uncomfortable stating what she wants so I don't know how they would react to someone coming in saying what they wanted and being more forceful about it.
Already!?!?! ~ Lori, doula, childbirth educator, wife to Jermaine 6/04, and mom to two happy and energetic boys - Tatum 6/06 and Keegan 3/09