Update: Natural birth in the hospital

Posted by Saraline , Thursday, September 4, 2008 8:54 PM

I had an appointment at the Royal Victoria Hospital today, and after speaking with the nurse and with the doctor, I feel confident that I will be able to have a natural birth there. I was told that episiotomies are not routine, having a cesarean is my choice, and I can sit up when I am giving birth. They do not make a habit of intervening with an episiotomy or cesarean unless it is absolutely necessary. I will need an IV, but I do not have to have one for water.

The nurse told me not be scared because having a child is a natural occurrence and it does not mean that the woman is sick. This is how I already feel about having a baby and it was reassuring to hear that from somebody at the hospital, especially when I have been reading that people who work in hospitals think that they are rescuing women from childbirth.

The nurse also said that she was surprised that I do not want a cesarean, as most people who broach the subject really want to have one. This supports my theory that the cesarean rate in Canada has as much to do with the attitude of the patients as it does with the attitude of the doctors.

1 Response to "Update: Natural birth in the hospital"

Buttongirl Says:

Hi, I've just come across your blog today, and haven't read much further than this in it, so I don't know the rest of the story. ... but I gave birth, twice, at the Royal Vic.

The first time I was 25, and very ignorant. I was not a single mom, but the delivery nurses treated my like an un-wed 16 year old. I hold myself largely responsible for not being better informed or more firm about what I wanted. I wanted to try a natural birth, but finally I couldn't manage the pain. That said, aside from offering me gas for the pain, the staff did nothing to help. I was more or less strapped to the table with a monitor for the baby's heart rate, and was told I couldn't get out of the bed because of the monitor. When the gas made my nauseous, I was offered the epidural. This was after explicitly saying I wanted to have a drug-free birth. I took the epidural, and obviously from that point on, couldn't get out of the bed if I'd wanted to.

The second birth I was more experienced and older. I'm convinced the nurses' attitude has a lot to do with how they perceive the patient. That time, I stayed home as long as possible, remained standing during the contractions, because I found it really helped the pre-labour to progress, and it lessened the pain. Once I was at the hospital I was asked if I wanted the epidural. I said I wouldn't rule it out, but that for now I was doing well with standing and leaning through the contractions. They told me I needed to get into the bed ASAP because they wanted to put a monitor on me, and I could not be standing for that, and if I was going to choose the epidural I had to have it right away. So out for fear of not being able to manage the pain later, I got into the bed, the pain got worse, I had the epidural, and labour took a lot longer.

The unfortunate thing with delivering in a hospital is that the nurses change shifts, they don't know you from Eve (or care, really) and they judge your "smarts" by your age and marital status. The doctors breeze in for the 10 minutes it takes to actually pop the baby out.

The after care is dismal. And I mean truly horrid. I got out of there as fast as I could.

If I have another baby, I will likely try to find a birthing centre. I just don't see how hospital births have changed that much from the 70s when I was born.