Having a natural birth experience at a hospital is TOTALLY doable. I had mine at BWMC last summer and it was amazing! My OBGYN is Dr. Ross at OBGYN South. When L was born, Dr. Campbell was on call the first 24 hours, then Dr. Ross came in and was there until L was born 8 hours later. They were both AMAZING. They basically just left me alone to let my body do its thing. Dr. Campbell didn't check me the first 5-6 hours I was there because she wanted to give me a chance to progress "without feeling like she needed to do something" to help it along. Even though my labor was slow, they never pushed pit on me (with the exception of one particularly evil L&D nurse who "enjoys making natural mamas give into drugs") and were open to natural methods of induction like nipple stimulation. I did opt for a tub so I could labor in the water, but I didn't use it as much as I thought I would. I hung out in the shower more often.
If I had any advice (I know you didn't ask for any, sorry , it's to be sure to communicate your wishes with your team. When I was admitted, they made sure I had an L&D nurse who was experienced with natural labor and she was a GODSEND. She pulled out several of Ina May Gaskin's tricks and was pretty much an answer to prayers. They also knew ahead of time that I wanted a heplock, so I didn't have to fight anybody on it.
If you're interested, here is a link to my birth story.
Thank you for your extremely helpful response! You have such an amazing and inspiring birth story! It's so great to hear from someone locally who did it exactly the way I am hoping to. I would love if you could refer me to the doula you used-- I always prefer getting recommendations rather than "rolling the dice", and I've read how important the use of a doula is when going natural so I definitely want to do that.
Congratulations on your beautiful baby boy! And thank you again for replying to my post. I hope I have as fulfilling a birth experience as you did. I'm definitely going to be checking out more of your blog tonight too.
I had a med free birth plan with Dr. DeRosier at St. Vincent's. My nurses there were all awesome. My first one after I was admitted got my hep lock in, got the birth ball for me, and was super sweet about giving us space and about monitoring me intermittently. She did it while I was sitting on the ball, which was the only thing helping manage the pain on the time.
My practice was supportive while also being realistic with me about expectations as a first time mom. I went in and got everything I asked for at he hospital, and never felt pressured. I was the one who made the decision to make changes when they became necessary.
FWIW, even with the changes I couldn't have been happier with how everything happened-I didn't have a med free birth but had a great experience. Sometimes I think people are too hard on themselves when things work out differently, so I feel like I should make a point of saying that, too.
My doctor is Heidi Straughn at Brookwood Women's Health. I love her! I've been seeing her for years and she is always very open to my thoughts and respects my opinions! I go for my first pregnancy appointment next week so I don't have first hand experience but I did ask a Doula before I concieved who were the NCB friendly doctors and she said that Dr. Straughn was great! She said that a lot of the labor and delievery nurses use her. So, she has to be good if they choose her:) Hope this helps!
mm6681:I think that most doctors at Brookwood at least let you labor in the water. Before they got the new building and just had the blow up birthing tub that was the policy. I have heard (but don't know first hand) there some are letting you labor and birth in the tub. That could just be a decision that each doctor makes. I do know, from talking to a Doula the other day, that at least one of the doctors in Sparks and Favor are not very friendly to natural child birth. Once again I don't know first hand. I'll be honest. If I were you I would probably start checking around if they don't answer your questions they way you want at your next appointment. I would whole heartedly recommend Dr. Straughn at Brookwood Women's health if you don't hear what you want from your dr!
My OBs at Brookwood would absolutely let you labor in the tub, no problem. It was just the birthing that had to happen out of the tub, but that was kind of the appeal of the tub was the waterbirth part! I understand that they want to be safe and so I didn't argue, as it was my LO was breech and I had a c-section anyway. But just wanted to agree with you that they will let you labor in the tubs!
I realize this post is now a few months old, and I hope your were able to find an OB to support your goals. But just for information, I am an OBGYN in Anniston, and I am very supportive of natural labor. Regional Medical Center, where I deliver patients, in Anniston is Baby Friendly and now offers tubs for laboring. I would be glad to support women in their goal of NCB and the tub is a great way to do that.
Joshua Johannson MD