Coming To Grips With A Hospital Delivery

Did you all know that I was born at home? I was. My mom is a natural kind of woman and when it came to her babies, I was born at home (when we lived in New York) and my brother was born at the birthing center (in Delaware.) When I got pregnant, call me crazy, the last thing that was on my mind was how in the world I was going to give birth.

At first, all I could think about was how sick I was and about getting through that. Then there was the joys of being done with the sickness part and it being time to tell everyone. Once the fanfare died down slightly, and I started showing, they handed me a packet at the OB/GYN called "pre check in papers" and sent me on my merry way. A couple weeks ago, as I am nearing my third trimester, I finally felt ready to open that packet. (Up to that point, I had been avoiding thinking about the delivery at all.)

What I was not ready for was the meltdown that came with it. You see, I am completely unfamiliar with hospitals. To me, they are mystery places reserved for when you are...I hate to say this...dying. I hate the way they smell. I hate the way they look. I want to never have to go to one if at all possible. But I happen to live in a very small community with do I say this..."modern" views on childbirth.

Why "modern," you ask? Well, for me, the way I view childbirth is natural occurrence that in 90% of cases needs little to no intervention. IE- no hospital necessary. Just give me a midwife and a few good hours and you're bound to get a baby. I feel my body will know just what to do. The state of Delaware feels very differently than I do. Home birth in our state is illegal. And there is one birthing center located 2 hours away. My options are pretty limited (especially considering how quickly my mom had both my brother and I--in under 8 hours, start to finish!)

Hospital births account for 99% of the births in our country--very modern. Women are taught that they need fancy things like pitocin (used to induce labor) and epidurals (to help take away the pain) when in reality receiving either one of these interventions sky rockets your chances of getting a c-section. We are bombarded by messages that we can't trust our bodies and then when the interventions lead us to more interventions we praise modern medicine for doing what the modern woman couldn't achieve on her own.... at least this is the way I see it.

This was why I had a safeguard against this: a doula. This was my light at the end of the tunnel. I was going to have my doula and then I would be safeguarded against routine hospital interventions. I would be much more likely (22% to be exact) to have a natural birth, even in the hospital setting. And then I opened the packet, and it read only three support persons are allowed in the room while you are in labor.

This meant leaving someone out of the birth experience...either my mother, my mother-in-law, or (gulp) my doula. That was about when the meltdown began.  Why was I being told who could and couldn't be there? Why did my doula have to count as a support person? After agonizing over the decision, my husband and I decided that my doula would have to sit the main event out and help train my mother and mother-in-law to do what she would have done. We simply couldn't pick between my mother and his, and we felt this was an experience we needed to have together.

With a heartsickness I can't describe, I filled out the rest of the packet, and brought it to the hospital and asked to see the place. I smiled and the nurses were so nice to me. They answered my questions and asked a few of their own. They stayed calm when I asked how long I would have to stay. They told me that if I was breast feeding, 48 hours is customary...why? Because women often have trouble with breastfeeding. (Sheesh...again, how do these dang bodies work?!)

My mom and I left the hospital, got in the car, and again, I had another meltdown, saying through my tears, "I don't want to have my baby here! It smells like old people!!!" (Sorry, no offense old people.) The fact remains: I am having a hard time accepting the fact that I have to birth my child in a hospital. It feels wrong. The beds look uncomfortable. They want to keep me for 48 hours!!!!!!!!!!!!!

A huge part of me feels like I am being cheated by having to go this route. Another part of me feels helpless to stop the hospital machine as my due date marches closer. A large part of me worries that they won't listen to me when I say "no thank you" to the IV, or the pitocin, or whatever else. And then there is the baby...who I don't want to have to come into the world this way. I want my baby to come into the world in a calm, less germ infested where whoever wants to be in the room can be there to say, "hello!"

Maybe I am old-fashioned. Maybe I am new-school. Maybe I just feel entitled to the birth experience I choose...and I don't understand why I have to be told to fit into this one-size-fits-all box. Either way, I am struggling to come to grips with the hospital delivery, and a part of me is deeply sad that I can't have my baby in the comfort of my own home, just like I came into the world.

I am perplexed by the system and having an inner crisis because of it. Why have we taken something so natural and complicated it so much? I just don't understand. I am trying desperately to push past these negative feelings in order to get to a place where I feel good about delivering at the hospital. I never thought that it would be this difficult. One would think that having no other choice would allow you to move into an acceptance phase, but for me it just hasn't been the least not yet.


  1. Oh honey, I wish I could send you a thousand hugs through the computer right now! (In a totally non-creepy way). I feel the EXACT same way about child birth; I was blessed to be considered low-risk both times with my two pregnancies, and I am very anti-unnecessary interventions. At the moment, I live in a state with one of the highest c-section rates in the country, and the OB I was originally seeing had an 80% c-section rate. Seriously. When I found that out, I jumped ship and switched to a midwife at a freestanding birth center (which, thank God, was only 45 minutes away from us). If you're interested in reading either of my birth stories-first one was a hospital birth-let me know and I'll post them for you. Something else to consider...would it be possible to speak to someone in the L&D ward and ask if they could make an exception for you, as you desperately want to have a doula but don't want to exclude family members? You never know; many times those "only xyz people in the delivery room" rules simply exist to keep out intrusive family members. I bet it's not too often they hear requests to have MORE people in! :) Regardless, I praying for a peaceful, non-invasive labor and delivery for you and your sweet baby.

    1. Hi Marisa, thank you so much for your kind words!!! I am supposed to have a midwife, which gives me a certain amount of peace of mind. When we asked in L&D, (during the tour) they actually told me they reserve room for "the medical students." I can decline to have them in the room....which brought up even more confusion for me because I read that most medical students have never seen a natural birth. But if there is room for them, there is room for my doula!!! Please do post your birth stories---I would love to read them! Even though we have to be the hospital, we are going to try and keep it as natural as possible.

      Thanks again for your kind wishes for our baby and our family!!!! xx

    2. No problem! I wrote a 3-part series ("Why I am Choosing Natural Childbirth," which includes the birth of my son in Part II), so I'll post all three of those. I'll also post my daughter's birth story. If you have any questions, feel free to ask!

      (Sorry I can't make the links clicky. I'm kind of technologically impaired).

  2. Maybe being born at home is what is wrong with you. You, my dear, are no different than any other pregnant woman. They all go to those horrible, ghastly people with medical licenses who, unlike your or I, spent years and thousands of dollars perfecting their specialty. No one is out to get you. In fact, no one is thinking of you, well, except you. Everyone else interest is your innocent baby and it's a good thing someone is interested in the baby, because you're certainly lacking interest or concern. I birthed a baby, in a hospital, via c-section. Fact is, I could not have birthed my baby naturally and even with hospital intervention, that I thankfully had, my baby still had to be transported and do a 5-day tour at th Christiana NICU. Thank goodness for hospitals. I'm not so sure I'd have a happy, healthy, THRIVING, intelligent 6 year old had hospital intervention not been readily accessible to her in those critical moments of getting her out. Funny thing is, with a c-section, I was ready for discharge after a mere 30 hours!! Would have been sooner had I not birthed her at 1am. Furthermore, I was adamant against an epidural when I was admitted, but after 48 hours of labor, no sleep and no progression, I shamelessly decided I wanted one. The doctor IMMEDIATELY came into my room and questioned me in depth as to why I changed my mind and to be absolutely sure I was 100% on my decision and had thought it through completely before she would call in the anesthesiologist. I'm sorry that your views are so negative during such an amazing time in your life. I'm sorry that you are so selfish. There are advancements made every day for the betterment of the world and human kind. Sometimes I wish the electronic device you are typing on hadn't been one of those advance,ents so I could be spared your chronic complaining. Your poor innocent baby. As if jeopardizing it's health for your own selfish sex life wasn't enough, now you don't even want proper medical accessibility in place in case it is needed. But, maybe that's because you can't have sex in a hospital. I am so glad I am not one of the nurses or doctors that has to tend to you. I'd hate for my investment to obligate me to patients like yourself.

    1. There is no need to be mean. Everyone goes through their own process and what ever process that is, It's OK! It's actually really good to talk about your fears about pregnancy/childbirth because it helps you process and eventually get over those fears so they don't interfere with the birthing process. Being born at home is not a bad thing if you are low risk, are with experienced midwives and near a hospital in case you need to be transported. I was born at home and so were my two boys. I don't think Billy was saying that hospitals are bad. It's just not what she initially wanted for her. Your story is YOURS alone. Don't try and make it someone else's and be mean while you're at it. PS I'm graduating from nursing school in May. So no, I'm not a fruit loop who hates hospitals. Just an educated mom who made an informed choice.

  3. Thank god for hospital deliveries! I have a healthy three year old, and my best friend, my sister, because of them! If either case would have been home deliveries neither of them would have been here! Good luck getting bags of blood delivered to your home while you are bleeding out because god forbid your uterus flips itself inside out as my sisters did. As the doctor put it at the hospital, it was a perfect example of the type of delivery a mother would have died in childbirth during before we had "modern" hospital births. In our case lightning did strike twice! I did not have to stay 48 hours, in fact I was out in 14 hours! I would of loved to stay for 48 hours enjoying special time bonding with my new baby, but instead I had to follow her to Christiana. If you want to talk about "being cheated", try not getting to even hold your newborn for three days after giving birth. Also, A LOT of woman have trouble breastfeeding! Even though it is what our bodies were made to do. It is difficult, frustrating, and when it doesn't go right you feel like a failure of a mom and a woman! Try being exhausted with a screaming hungry baby when everything you try just isn't working! I even went back to that place that smells like old people to get additional help with the breastfeeding and the lady there was so patient and so kind and was so dedicated to helping me! Thank goodness we have that available to us! Lastly, good luck with the not being a selfless mom thing! Just please promise you will do a follow up post to that blog when your little one is a year old! I have a feeling you will serve the shit out of that little one just so you will have two seconds of peace to go potty by yourself!

    1. A lot of people are perfectly comfortable with hospital deliveries, and that's awesome. For you, it was great that you were there--and thank goodness your baby was well cared for before, during and after your delivery! Even with home births, there are times when you have to go to the hospital and midwives are very well educated in when those times are. My greatest interest is, of course, having a healthy baby--that's what all moms want!

      I'm not suggesting that what works for me will work for every person. I'm just exploring and giving voice to my personal experience. I have friends who loved their experiences of home births. My mom loved hers. I wish it were an option. Luckily for me, I just found out that my doula WILL be allowed in the room, which was great news!

      And my selfless mother post was merely suggesting that sometimes autonomy is a good thing. Like taking date nights and still making your marriage a priority. We all need to be well rounded, right?!