Not All Hospital Births Are Created Equal
If there was one thing I couldn't understand when I was pregnant, it was where people have the gall to think that they could tell you ANYTHING about how you should deliver YOUR child.
I previously wrote of my decision to opt for elective induction at 39 weeks and wanted an epidural within five minutes of Pitocin being administered, and I wouldn’t change any of my decisions for a minute.
If I’m being totally honest, which if you’ve read my posts before or follow me on any of my social media accounts, you know I am brutally honest, I never really envisioned what I wanted my birth experience to be like. My mother had caesarian sections (c-section) with both me and my brother, which were very positive experiences for her. So naturally, she thought that I should also have a c-section. I wasn’t too keen on the idea of surgery, but knew that I would be perfectly okay with it, if it was medically necessary for either myself or the baby. I was leaning towards a vaginal delivery, but knew that with the epidural, it wouldn't be anywhere near un-medicated!
One aspect of the delivery experience that I never gave any thought to, was WHERE I would give birth. I had heard of women having amazing experiences delivering at home, but the thought of not delivering in a hospital, frightened me a little bit. I do not have a ton of knowledge on midwives and doulas (though it was HIGHLY recommended that I have one with me from the unsolicited advice of numerous self-proclaimed experts), so I honestly was not educated on their medical experience, should the delivery quickly go south. I was extremely surprised how many negative things I had heard about delivering in a hospital.
I had often heard how many women feel that they no longer were in control of their deliveries or their own bodies; unfortunately, many felt that they were horribly mistreated during the deliveries of their children, as is reflected in this from Huffpost. I was forewarned that if you do deliver in a hospital, the nurses can absolutely make or break the kind of experience you’ll have. I had heard an array of stories, ranging from fantastic nurses to Nurse Ratched types , that will belittle you to your core.
When all was said and done, I can confidently say that my hospital birth was nothing short of amazing. As I had opted for elective induction, it made it convenient to know an exact time to check into the hospital. I was quickly registered and shown to my room (nothing too fancy, of course). Since I checked-in close to shift change, I jokingly told the first nurse that she needs to make sure I have the BEST nurse take care of me when she clocks out for the night. Little did I know that I absolutely would have the best.
Without being requested, I ended up having the Nurse Manager assigned to my room. She doesn't usually see patients, but I think that just ended up being a fluke thing. She was just the start of my wonderful nurse team. The next morning, I had Pitocin administered around 7:30 a.m. There was another shift change soon after that, and the Nurse Manager confidently told me that she would see me on her next shift and was looking forward to helping with the delivery.
With the next shift change, I was met with a godsend of a nurse. Unknowingly, she would be the one helping me deliver. I could not have asked for a more wonderful person to have next to me (aside from my husband, of course!). She went over my entire birth plan with me, and listened intently to each portion. If she made me feel anything, she made me feel as if I mattered. She was there every single time I had to pee, unplugging all of the machine cords, wrapping them up in a delicate circle for me to hold. As soon as I was finished, she would come back to plug everything back in, making sure I was in a comfortable position to continue monitoring both myself and baby. Naturally, I had to pee often, but I was met with a warm smile whenever she would come into my room. I never felt like a burden.
Since I willingly admit that I am a huge baby when it comes to pain, I told my labor nurse that I DEFINITELY wanted an epidural. Within an hour of receiving Pitocin, she called in the anesthesiologist, who advised that he generally gives the epidural when the woman is three or four centimeters dilated. As I was still a measly one centimeter, I decided to wait. My labor nurse told me that if it was something I really wanted now – she would advocate for me and have him come back. I was so taken aback. Here is this woman, who doesn’t know me from the next woman giving birth, but she was my advocate. She would speak on my behalf for what I wanted. She told me that this experience should be nothing short of wonderful, and she would do whatever possible to have that happen for me. Hell, she was even willing to hold the bed pan under me if I needed to poop!
Labor quickly progressed and the little man was born about six hours later. She was with me the whole time and never missed a beat. When I was moved up to maternity, I couldn’t even find the words to thank her. She made such a frightening and nerve-wracking experience, into such a beautiful one.
After I had been moved up to recovery, the Nurse Manager (who had just come back on shift) actually came up to my room to see me and the baby. She was so surprised that I had already delivered, as most of her Pitocin patients are still in labor & delivery the next morning. Without even asking, she got us a bigger room, which we were so appreciative of.
With the exception of one baby nurse that made me feel like shit at 3 a.m., when my son had undiagnosed tongue ties and I couldn’t latch to save my life, my hospital birth experience was fantastic.
Aside from me gushing about how wonderful my whole labor and delivery experience was, my hopes in writing this, is to make other soon-to-be moms feel comfortable in their decision to have a hospital birth. It happens all too often that women try to influence other women’s decisions. Just because one person’s experience was shitty, does NOT mean that your experience will be shitty, too.
Trust your gut. You know what is best for YOU. If you always envisioned delivering in a hospital setting, then so be it. Childbirth is always scary, but it doesn’t have to be miserable. Make whatever choice feels right, and believe in yourself. You got this.