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Thanks for hosting a discussion on this topic. I just wanted to add my personal story to the long line of personal accounts appearing here, especially because I suspect my experiences are representative - where pregnancy and delivery are low risk, normal, and satisfying experiences.
I have given birth twice. The first time was at Portland Providence and the second was at Adventist Medical Center. I had a different doctor for each one as well. However, both were family practice/ ob-gyn physicians from Portland Family Practice that provided prenatal care as well as attended delivery. Each birth was natural (save for a shot of fentanyl during transition at my second son's birth which I practically had to bribe the staff to get : )). I had a doula assist me during my first labor and delivery and would've hired one for my second as well if money weren't an issue. And each time I labored for as long as possible at home, trying to time my hospital admission to right before complete dilation.
In both pregnancies and deliveries I was well cared for, able to move into whatever position I needed to, never pressured or cajoled, my wishes were respected, my questions answered, and my babies lovingly attended to. Both my doctors were happy to work with a doula; both hospitals were fine with whatever family and friends I had in the room with me; I was given guidance and encouragement by the nurses; and by and large the hospital medical staff did a great job of helping me do what I needed to do.
I considered giving birth at home for my second but my husband was uncomfortable with it and, honestly, I figured that as long as the hospital nurses were compassionate, open-minded, and experienced, it would all work out just fine.
I was fortunate in many ways. If I lived in a different era or place, it's likely that my births would've gone about the same. I didn't have perfect information or the perfect doctor/midwife/doula/hospital/etc. What made a difference is that I always felt like I had choices and that if something unfortunate were to happen, my baby and I were going to get the care we needed, whether that was in a hospital, taxi cab, or my bedroom.
I believe there are as many ways to experience labor and delivery as there are babies in this world and that the best thing we can do is ensure our medical and insurance systems - both in practice and philosphy - support this diversity in values and medical situations.
posted 4 years ago
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