I hate hospitals. I've had 20+ surgeries to repair orthopedic / car accident breaks, so have had plenty of chances to change my mind. I won't use hospital soap, as the smell of it stays for hours and stinks (has anyone else noticed that they all use the same brand?) I know and loathe the smell of the laundry detergent they use. With my eyes closed, I can have a good guess at which ward I am on by the ambient sounds that waft in from the open elevator doors. I can no longer eat Jello (actually, this does not sadden me too much.) I get hives at the sound of the musical intro to morning TV shows from all the long, boring days spend alone in a hosital room with TV as company. Walking into the hospital brings on some fierce PTSD every time. I get weepy easily in hospitals, and spend a lot of time being stoic and hiding my stress.
Due to all this, I always thought I'd go for a home birth or a birthing center, but after Homestead Mama's birth experience in our local hospital, I decided to bite the bullet and follow in her footsteps. I don't think that it is a bad decision, and I certainly have given it an enormous amount of thought. Firstly, our OB docs are fantastic, laid back, willing to give us the natural approach to childbirth that we want regardless of hospital norms. Secondly, the maternity ward is great - the nurses are, for the most part, sweet and fantastic, it is nicely decorated and pleasant to be in (unlike many other wards in the hospital) they have a birthing tub, and they now have a neonatologist/perinatologist on staff. The standard labor/postpartum policies are very much in line with what our birth plans were listing, so we don't have to do battle every step of the way to get what we wnat, like to have bare skin time immediately after birth, keep the kid with us 27/7 if we choose to, decline tests & procedures commonly done to newborns, etc. The rooms are small, but a heck of a lot cleaner than my living room.
Given my history, I have had a rather higher than average amount of physical pain in my life, and hope that it helps me cope with the labor. If I can make it through with no meds, I'd like to, but if I want something to take the edge off I'll have it handy at the hospital. I have always felt that I was made for birthing babies - my mom birthed 4 kids like a pro (and I was 8 lbs 13 oz and breech - butt first!) I have her hips, which will certainly help. On the flip side, I actaully believe that if something bad can happen, it probably will to me. I was hospitalized for mono & also had to have a tonsilectomy in high school. Since my car accident at 18 years old, I've had a string of bad luck that had nothing to do with the accident but required surgery: appendectomy, a second rhinoplasty to fix my already beleaguered nose when a softball smashed it, my last ankle fusion NOT FUSING and having to go through the surgery all over again 4 months later. See a trend? Abnormal amounts of physical trauma - this is my life. I am doing as much meditating and ruminating on all ths to help keep my mind right - labor and childbirth will be the first thing I enter a hospital for that I may have some control over, that are not inherently medcial conditions, and that I could technically do all by myself without a surgeon. The mind boggles.
You can safely assume that music and aromatherapy will be a big part of my expected labor experience in an attempt to transport my brain to a happier locale than the one we'll be in. Homestead Mama played the same Carlos Nakai cd over and over during her labor - it did help a lot to make her mind peaceful and inject a nice vibe in the room when we were able to focus on it (which wasn't all the time). I want to have something less like air pudding (I will be best friends with anyone who knows where that reference comes from without googling it). I am thinking that some music that is peaceful, upbeat, rhythm-driven and not too complicated would be good. I love the album Baka by the group Outback ( http://tinyurl.com/2yzatx). Does anyone have any suggestions? A nice drum circle cd, pleasant upbeat chanting album?