Sunday Confessions: I Liked My Hospital Birth

November 13, 2011

As Bella’s second birthday approachs (Tuesday! ::sob::), I’ve started thinking about the days leading up to having her.

I had a really special, personal, empowering birth with Bella – at a hospital. With an epidural. I know, right? Because so often nowadays we’re told that can’t happen. I had a doctor who was a breastfeeding advocate, a comfortable, private birthing suite, a whirlpool tub, and staff that listened to my thoughts and desires.

Well, one nurse didn’t want to – but I had enough knowledge and confidence about what I wanted that she eventually just let me be. And stopped suggesting I supplement with formula. 12 hours after giving birth. :/

I went in hoping for a natural birth, but it didn’t happen. I’d been in premature labor/bedrest for 6 weeks, was 3 weeks early, high risk, and took a full 4 hours to get from 2-7cm while in fairly active labor. Her heart rate dropped as my blood pressure went up, and I just couldn’t take any more.

Sam holding Bella for the first time.

I honestly could have married the anesthesiologist right then and there. Having that epidural was like Christmas in a needle.

I still felt everything after that. Just at a very low level, which I loved. I pushed for several hours and at the end they turned the epi off/down so I could feel it all. We had immediate skin to skin contact and they waited on the eye drops and washing her till she breastfed.

We got to co-sleep and I had round the clock breastfeeding help (which was fine at first, then was awful when I got home). Sam and I stayed another night and had our “Last Meal” as they called it (how true it was I didn’t know at the time), where we got to order from their menu and have a table set up for us with roses and candles as the nurses held and cooed over Bella in the nursery.

Right after she was born. She got all purple because we lived at 8,000 ft.

I’ve never had any real regrets about it all. At first I was like, “Oh, I’m not going to do it natural.” ::sadface:: But once the epidural was in I was like, “DEAR SWEET MOTHER – CAN I HAVE TWO?” I had a hard, long birth but I knew I did what was best.

I realize this isn’t always the case with hospital births – that there are situations that go wrong, or end up even more high risk than I was. But most of the women I’ve spoken to that learned beforehand what their expectations were – and how to let them go if needed – were very happy with their hospital births.

And if we decide to have more, I’d do it again – hands down. I’ll choose a Dr I know is on the same page as me (possibly midwife if I can and they have hospital access), tour the local hospitals, and ask questions about their policies. I’ll have a bag packed and get ready to be pampered for 2-3 days while someone else cooks, cleans, and takes care of me.

Would I try to do it natural next time?

Well, probably not. For me, it just wasn’t a big deal. Maybe it was the books I read, how Sam thought I did amazing no matter what, how much I trusted my Dr to make choices with my interests in mind, or the birth class that was open and encouraging about doing what was best for us – regardless of what that meant. But I left happy with the outcome – a healthy baby and mom.

I had my best birth, and felt proud of what I did. Then I focused on the really hard part. Motherhood. And getting your kid to stop throwing dinner on the floor. Again. While smirking at you.

First pics! This is my reminder to always wear bangs...


  • Julia’s Child / Sarah

    November 16, 2011 at 4:04 pm

    Amen! I had two hospital births, before I knew anyone who had tried home birth. I would have found home birth personally overwhelming, and I am impressed that there are people who do not find it overwhelming. But as for me, I was happy to walk into a big building where everyone there knew more about birthing than I did. I was lucky to have great people around me both times.

  • Autumn

    November 14, 2011 at 6:23 pm

    I totally agree with you! I went into the whole thing terrified of hospitals and came out loving my experience. I was amazed that the doctors and nurses were so dedicated to following my wishes. I also would have died if not for being in a hospital with a doctor that was on the ball. And I was soooo low risk! I had no issues through pregnancy and so there was no reason to think that anything would go wrong, and so quickly. This is why I now encourage women to at least be close to a hospital. It does have its place 🙂

    Congrats on Bella turning 2! Give her a hug for me.

  • Frances D

    November 14, 2011 at 2:17 pm

    Just discovered you via the NaBloPoMo blogroll. Love the baby’s name Bella, it fits ’cause she is beautiful. I had an epidural too. Two minutes after they gave it to me I was in seventh heaven – I had been in labor for so many hours trying to do it naturally – it just wasn’t happening. I would have loved that last meal with roses and candles.
    Be back again soon.
    Happy Posting.

  • Jessica @ The Southern Belle Baby

    November 14, 2011 at 12:09 pm

    I totally agree with you! I had a fabulous hospital birth experience (minus the 10-day NICU stay afterwards, of course). My doctor was totally on-board with my wishes to try a natural birth, but when that didn’t work out, my birth experience with the epidural was fabulous- no pain and still a very intimate and amazing process. I had a doula there for support, though her primary task ended up being bringing me popsicles and adjusting my pillows after the epidural, and my husband has never seemed so wonderful to me than in those moments. I think a lot of birth is about your mind-set instead of where you are.

  • Sol

    November 14, 2011 at 8:49 am

    I had okay hospital experiences. I was informed, good care provider but it still wasn’t the right setting for me. Home was better FOR ME.

    However I will not tell other women where/what they should do with birth. My hope is that as time goes on all women will have access to the best care possible for THEIR OWN best births. That more women who do have hospital births have experiences like your own. That those who do not want to birth in hospitals don’t have to due to limited resources/options.

    I feel the latter gets lost in the whole ‘natural birth’ community.

    1. Diana

      November 14, 2011 at 9:35 am

      This right here? This is why I love and respect you so very much.

      1. Sol

        November 17, 2011 at 9:44 am

        Aww thanks. Much respect for you too 🙂

  • Sara

    November 14, 2011 at 8:17 am

    I loved my hospital birth too! I did end up going natural (partly because Oliver gave me NO CHOICE) and I absolutely agree that you can have your best birth anywhere!

    If you’re comfortable with your surroundings, it doesn’t matter where you are (or if you got an epidural or not). Informed consent and an open mind are where it’s AT.

  • Brooke

    November 13, 2011 at 7:52 pm

    This is so fantastic! I cannot tell you how many times I’ve had to counsel students to let go of their grief/disappointment/embarrassment at not getting an all-natural birth, at home or in the hospital. They feel as if they’ve already failed their children right from the get-go, when nothing could be further from the truth. If they had the intention to have a natural birth and then nature took its course, as it does, and they had an epi or a c-section, then that is the birth they were meant to have… both of them! 🙂 It’s their job to move past their worries and move into their strength as mothers. Obviously you’ve already done that. To feel so empowered about your birth experience, no matter what it is or what other people may think of it, is the best gift you can give your child. It helps them to feel empowered… for the rest of their lives.
    (Obviously, this issue hit a nerve…)

  • Jennifer @ Also Known As the Wife

    November 13, 2011 at 12:54 pm

    I’m so glad to hear someone else enjoyed their hospital birth. I feel the judgmental mom mafia watching me when I say that I enjoyed my hospital setting-induction-epidural birth…they make me feel like somehow I cheated in the “birthing game”. Whatever. My baby was born perfectly healthy with 45 minutes of pushing and I didn’t feel a thing. I even said “this is kind of easy” to the doctor half way through pushing.

    I think women put too much pressure and set up too many expectations for the birth when really it’s just a teeny, tiny moment in your child’s life. It’s very similar to a wedding v. a marriage. So many people focus on the wedding when the marriage is the most important part.

    1. Diana

      November 13, 2011 at 2:13 pm

      It’s like you’re in my mind…

  • Anne-Marie

    November 13, 2011 at 10:13 am

    I love your focus on your care provider; that’s got to be much more important than the setting, right? I don’t worry about the hospital (well, I do, because I hate hospitals with a passion, but that’s different) but I do worry that I’ll be ignored. Worry is too tame a word, really. I’ll be in a hospital for lots of reasons, even though I would rather replicate the home birth my mother experienced having me. (The way she talks about this stuff you would think pregnancy and birth were one long party! Lucky duck!) I really hope I can find a doctor or midwife (or both) who will stand up for what I want like yours did!

    1. Diana

      November 13, 2011 at 2:01 pm

      That makes such a difference – finding that provider that you know can step in and say, “Wait, didn’t you want this instead of this?” or “I know we discussed this, but I think we may have to do it differently for these reasons.” I didn’t want an episiotomy. I was so against it – but after 3 hours of pushing and the Dr giving me the option of more pushing or taking one – I chose it. And it worked.

      The providers are key – it can make or break the entire experience in any birth setting.

  • Amy @ dwell in the season

    November 13, 2011 at 9:40 am

    I love this! Thanks for posting it as I’m in the midst of my first pregnancy and still figuring all this out. Thanks for writing a good version of a hospital birth!

    1. Diana

      November 13, 2011 at 2:03 pm

      I’m a big advocate of doing what you feel best with – so just go with you and your spouses/partners comfort level. Be sure to ask LOTS of questions, you want to know going in what to expect in a normal birth. Things can change but at least you’ll have a solid foundation to make decisions on. I’m here if you ever want to throw questions at me!

  • Crystal

    November 13, 2011 at 8:31 am

    I’m glad you posted this…because you hear a lot of anti-hospital births. I have had 4 in the hospital…and have had great experiences with my nurses and Dr. And I plan on delivering #5 there as well. I think it has a lot to do with our own attititude on the situtation. And we shouldn’t judge other mom’s for their decisions. We have no idea what is right for another person.

    1. Diana

      November 13, 2011 at 2:05 pm

      Amen. I’d love to know if yours have been a military hospital. That’s where I tend to hear even more horror stories, but because we were civilians when we had Bella we didn’t (obviously) do that.

      I loved my time in there and left wishing I could have stayed an extra day. I remember one of the nurses saying, “We can tell the insurance company you’re having trouble breastfeeding and get them to cover another day for you…” and smiled. I almost took her up on it.

  • Misty

    November 13, 2011 at 8:30 am

    oh, and going from 2-7cm in 4 hours is actually a lot faster than most bodies do it!!

  • Misty

    November 13, 2011 at 8:29 am

    The hospital can be a perfectly good place to give birth, especially with the caregiver who’s right for you. And there’s nothing wrong with an epidural, as long as you understand that it’s got some risks that go along with it (just like every intervention, if you weigh the risks and benefits, you will make an informed choice). I’ve realized as a doula that some women can labour naturally and be very happy, some can labour with an epi. and be very happy, and some have an unhappy experience regardless. It’s the nature of birth – you never know which cards you’ll get dealt. Thanks for sharing your story!

    1. Diana

      November 13, 2011 at 9:04 am

      I love this – you’re so right. I think it all depends on your mindset. For me, knowing Bella was in danger far outweighed the risk of an epi – so I felt good about my decision. Thank you for sharing your perspective on this!

  • Samantha

    November 13, 2011 at 7:55 am

    I love this. Sometimes I feel like everyone in the natural parenting community is terrified of giving birth in a hospital – and I have no idea why. There are so many horror stories floating around, but for the most part it’s a really great thing.

    I had a home birth and a hospital birth. #3 is due in 2 months and I’m doing a hospital birth again. It was a lovely experience.

  • Noelle

    November 13, 2011 at 7:54 am

    Love it! Love you for posting this. I think my scheduled csection was amazing and I had a great experience. Sure I didn’t have a “natural” birth but my son had the birth he needed and I have no regrets at all.

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