I'd love to have a natural homebirth, but I feel safer in the hospital. What do you suggest I do to create a homebirth environment at the hospital? Will a doula help me at the hospital?
The expert answers:
Many people believe that doulas work with homebirths more then hospital births. Truth is 95 percent of the births I attend are at the hospital. In fact I'd say the majority of doulas work in hospitals helping women have a natural, home-like childbirth experience.
There are five steps to realize your desire for a home-like, natural and painless childbirth at the hospital. I speak about a painless childbirth, because I have experienced it firsthand, and so have many of my clients, friends and fellow doulas. Here are the five steps.
1. Become willing to have a natural experience, no matter what. Willing to change what you believe and what you have being taught. For us to change our intention and the outcome of any of our endeavors, we need to start by becoming clear as to what we want.
Get a clear intention of the kind of birthing experience you want, regardless of what you have heard, what kind of birth your mother, sisters, etc have had, and regardless of your age, size, heritage and so forth.
Before the Golden Gate Bridge was built there was an idea, a desire to build it and a willingness to do whatever needed to be done to make it happen. Reading books on natural childbirth, and talking to women who have experienced natural childbirth is a good way to begin.
2. Trust that you can do it. Believing that not only you can do it, but that you deserve to have such an experience is a very important step toward success. If Columbus did not believe that he could circumnavigate the earth, he would not have began his journey east to get west. Fake it till you make it if you have to. Tell yourself every day that you will have the birthing experience you desire.
Write it down, meditate on it, pray for it. Do whatever it takes to grow the self-confidence that you have all that it takes to have such an experience. Make sure you surround yourself with supportive people. Do not waste time listening to those who are quick to tell you that it is impossible, those who like you to have the same medicated experience they have had.
3. Make a decision that a natural childbirth, a homebirth-like experience is what you want and will have. So far the first two steps had to do with an inner dialogue. This step suggests that you actually no longer vacillate about your intention.
Yes, you have chosen to have your child at the hospital because you feel more comfortable. You have made a good decision, now decide that you will have a home-like birth at the hospital you will choose. Make sure you choose a hospital that will allow you to have such an experience. Go and visit the hospitals that are covered by your insurance company, ask about each facility to other women, doulas, childcare educators and if you have any midwives in your town, ask them too.
4. Take action. Choose a care provider that will support your desire. Interview a few, make sure they have supported other women with the same experience you want. Ask the doctors for references, be polite, ask them if they are willing to give you the names of patients who have had a natural childbirth, so that you may talk to them and get some advice. We never ask our doctors for references, yet our references are always checked when we are to get a new job. Go to independent childbirth education classes, hire a doula (visit DONA.org to find a certified doula in your area), find alternative ways to cope with labor. Look into hypnosis for a painless childbirth.
5. The fifth and final step comes much later. Because you have been successful obtaining a natural, home-like birth at the hospital, share your experience with other women and helped them fulfill their desires, and dreams. If you can do it, we can all do it. Share the joy. What you focus on expands!
Many of my clients will tell you they have experienced a natural, and painless childbirth. When I say painless, please understand, I don't mean you will not feel anything.
What you will feel is a lot of pressure, you will feel the might of creation come through you. But pain is associated with something gone wrong. You break a leg, you feel pain. Something is not "right." Childbirth is a lot of hard work, and the sensations that accompany it are very strong, but there is nothing "wrong" with labor.
Labor is what happens when a baby comes into this world. Remember, until something goes wrong you are not a patient, you are a healthy birthing mother using the hospital facility to bring your child into this world. Labor comes one minute at the time, and if you focus on managing that one minute you will be able to conquer it.
Birth is sacred and if for some reason you have to be medicated, or even if you have to have a Cesarean birth, know that it does not make you less of a woman and you have done nothing wrong. We are blessed with modern technology, great medicine and amazing doctors who are standing by ready to help us in the moment of need. We embrace all births, and we take charge of our own, as we stay open to whatever happens.