As Eli's birth begins to loom, I'm thinking over my last two birth experiences. Because I planned to have both Claire and Jude at home, and ended up in the hospital BOTH TIMES (for two different reasons) I've decided to start off at the hospital this time. But, I am discovering I have no idea how to plan for that. It's like the first time all over again, not knowing what to expect. All my preparation for birthing has always been predicated on being at home. The hospital is a foreign place to me, and only ever experienced during the dire moments of emergency. They have always involved feeling railroaded, mistreated, yelled at, and scared. So, now the thought of voluntarily going there and spending much more of my labor, delivery, and postpartum recovery there is frightening to me.
I need advice and encouragement from the wonderful moms and dads in my life who have had POSITIVE hospital birth experiences- especially if you have done an unmedicated birth. Tell me what I should be prepared for. I need simple tips, like what to pack in my bag, (I've never packed a hospital bag before!) How were you able to focus and stay comfortable? How easy was it to do your own thing and avoid being meddled with by the nurses (even the well-meaning ones)? When did you go into the hospital? I'm thinking of staying at home until I'm all but pushing, but then the thought of trying to get there when things are the most intense kind of stresses me out! Will I feel rushed? Will it make it impossible to relax through the most powerful contractions? But if I go too early, will I be more vulnerable to routine hospital procedure that may lead to intervention? I know I have heard many of your birth stories before, but it was with ears that were never expecting to need to remember the tips and details!
I know you will all have different experiences, and different advice. I want to hear it all! But seriously, please no horror stories, or anecdotes about how things turned out all wrong. I already have two of those myself to give me anxiety. I don't need to have them reinforced by your experiences too! Thanks guys!!