Susie's hospital birth story

I knew I wanted a no-drug, no-intervention birth. I also knew I'd feel most comfortable giving birth in a hospital, just in case of emergency. I arrived at the hospital at 6:30pm on my due date, 3cm dilated. My doctor checked me and said he'd come back in 20 minutes or so to talk about pain relief. I said I was doing fine and didn't want any. When he came back he checked again and I was 7cm dilated! He said if I really didn't want drugs, this was the perfect labor to do it (he meant it was going to be quick). When it was time to push my husband and a girlfriend each held a leg, and the very nice doctor and very nice nurse coached me through it. The doctor didn't do an episiotomy (I tore a little and had some stitches) and he didn't use any tools except his hands to guide my lovely little son into the world at 10:50 pm.

That was the good part. The actual hospital stay was awful. Although the hospital had a great reputation and a pro-breastfeeding policy, the actual nurses on the maternity ward were old-fashioned, unhelpful, neglectful, and rude. The bed was too small to sleep with my baby, which is what I wanted to do, although he did stay in a bassinet beside me. And I didn't get to see a lactation consultant until the morning I was leaving. As a result, a week later we were back at the hospital to treat my son for jaundice. This time it was much better: The pediatric nurses were kind and helpful; they brought me an electric double breast pump and showed me how to use it, and woke me every two hours through the night to pump. (My son was in perfect health after 24 hours.)

Yes, I would give birth in a hospital again, though not the same one (we've moved and the hospital here has an even better reputation). But I might not stay two nights, or even one night -- although I wouldn't want to give birth in my bed, I'd like to be airlifted there immediately after delivery!

Overall: Thumbs up.




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