How do I make a hospital birth not suck? Suddenly midwife-less. Local hospital a horror. Bitter, depressed. What does a doula actually do? Etc, etc.
I had a midwife; was going to stay home. I moved, and now I don't have a midwife. I am, so far, pretty happy with the obstetrician here she recommended, but.
We toured the local hospital's maternity ward, and, hell. I left almost in tears. This is a rural hospital with a couple of wee labour rooms straight out of Monty Python
. Apologies for the length of this; I'm a bit obsessive at the moment. Of course nothing's helped by all the people who I thought would be weird about home birth having said "Fantastic idea. I would've loved to. The hospital was awful."
They're in the middle of L&D ward renovations, many of which are supposed to be completed by the time I'm ready to go (early August). It's not clear how much things will improve, though.
The hospital would like to send Mr Kmennie home, but hang on to me for 24h. Modern they are not. The OB's fine with me leaving four hours after the fact. That he and the meddlesome-seeming nurse contradicted each other a fair bit seems to suggest an adversarial position (towards the hospital) for us parents-to-be whether we like it or not.
Do I need to get all his "Sure, you can go home"-type assurances in writing? Do I need to go further than that, and bother the hospital about it before the fact?
And, can somebody explain the value of a doula here? Everyone makes them sound fantastic. The studies on them are nice. I asked the OB's opinion. "My secretary's a doula... My wife and I had one with our third child; just great... Get a doula."
I can't stand massage and have no interest in aromatherapy or anything else many of them seem to be offering, along those lines. What I would like is somebody to run interference with the seemingly meddlesome nurses and keep them and their monitor out of the room, but a few doula web sites say: that's not their job.
So I'm confused as to what a doula might actually do. The one thing I am going to look for is a labour assistant with enough training to find out how far along I am so I can stay at home as long as possible, but I don't know if that's to be found around here. If you had one, can you explain even minutiae of what she did while with you? At the moment, all I can see is somebody who'll fetch me the right variety of cold drink.
What else might I be planning to make it less sucky? (And, that said, I'm not going to get nuts about anything going exactly as planned.) This is our first; first-hand experience is badly wanting. The hospital's clearly not big on dignity/privacy, or even birthing chairs/balls/etc; there's not much beyond a bed and just one (too bad if somebody else is there) tub. (Creepy leg-immobilizing attachments were well within view, just beyond the massive Baby Bothering Box. The irony is that this is a low-tech rural hospital; if there's any real problem, I'll be immediately fired off to the city. Where I'm tempted to go in the first place, but: I like this OB, and I like being a very quick drive, for the go-as-late-as-possible idea.)