I haven't even begun writing this post and I already know it's going to be the first installment of a series. There is just so much to write about hospitals and the fear that can be associated with them. We live in a society that loves to dramatize everything and hospital birth is no exception. Although it's really no surprise with the staggering number of interventions that hospital births can involve and the fact that cesarean births currently make up 32% of all births in the United States. People also often associate hospitals with sickness and death, since their main purpose is to treat people who are in poor health. We may have visited ailing grandparents there or even held someone's hand during his or her last minutes. It can be difficult to put those negative experiences aside to prepare for an event that requires us to be calm and at one with our bodies.
So hospitals can seem scary. But giving birth at one does not mean you cannot have a wonderful birth experience. I was GBS positive, had my water break before labor began, and had a mostly peaceful water birth at FAHC in Burlington. I went into my labor with a lot of information and knew what I wanted from the hospital. And I wasn't afraid to speak up when I didn't like the sound of something they were suggesting. I also chose my birth team carefully and had full confidence in the people I chose to be in the room with me.
What can you do to help make sure you have a birth you're comfortable with in a hospital? The first step is to think about your ideal birth. Does it involve music or silence? Are there a lot of people with you or just you, your partner, and the medical staff? Do you want to feel your body's contractions or have the pain eased with medication? Write down what you want and envision that scenario.
Next, take a few moments to think about what you fear most. Don't dwell on this but think about your fears and name them. When we confront our fears, they no longer have control of us and we can take steps to prevent them. Is there anything you can do to prevent that fear from coming true? Letting your birthing team know your thoughts around birth - even the scary ones - is a great start.
Speaking of your team - make sure you have one! Take time to consider who would make you feel the most safe and cared for during this amazing experience. You want people who can anticipate your needs and add a sense of calm to the room. No extra drama is needed! You do not have to let your mom come if she makes you stressed - no matter how much she wants to see grandbaby born. This is YOUR time. The people present at your birth can make a big difference on how everything plays out and you have the ultimate say in who is there.
With those things in mind, you are well on your way to a fantastic hospital birth!
New Day Doula
Rainbow and Mary share thoughts on pregnancy, birth, and the parenting journey.