Thank you all so much for the support/advice! It's very helpful and makes me feel like I can totally do this if I prepare correctly. I'm glad I have lots of time to plan. I am going to talk to my DH and let him know my thoughts. I am sure he will support me in this. Especially since this may be our last baby and we had such negative experience with the drugs before. Thx again!!!
First of all I want to congratulate you on your pregnancy!! I also want to say I am very sorry for the loss of your second child.
I understand your concerns about wanting to be in a hospital in case something goes wrong so that there are people and tools right there that can assist if necessary. I just want to tell you that a natural child birth in a hospital is very possible. I have had all 3 of my children in the same hospital with a midwife...completely drug free. No epidural, nothing. Everyone is always very supportive when I am there. I have never had anyone try to force anything on me. I was able to have the lights low, not many people were in the room and it was very quiet and relaxed for me. We also have jacuzzis in several of our rooms that we can labor in. And they allow you to bring your own music or whatever. So those are all things you can ask about when you tour the hospital.
I also know you love your OB but I would suggest meeting a few midwifes that deliver at the same hospital you are familiar with just to see what they have to say. Or talk to your OB extensively about your desire to go all natural and get your OB on board. If your OB is supportive, then that is half the battle.
I would tour the hospital and birthing center and ask questions, like others have suggested. Find out about the staff and request to have a nurse that is supportive of an all natural birth. That way if your OB is on board and also your nurse or nurses, you will have more support in direct contact with you and you will feel more at ease.
I just labored each birth however I could get through it before...but this time around I am going to try hypnobirthing and I have heard many great things about it. I am also reading a book called Hypnobirthing The Mongan Method by Dr. Marie Mongan that I would recommend to you. It is a great book so far and I am not done yet. I think that if you can prepare yourself mentally more than anything and practice relaxation techniques it will help you greatly in your labor.
Like others said, I would also put off going to the hospital until you must go. I prefer to labor at home also as it is my own comfort zone and I can do my own thing.
Good luck with your research and your decision! I have never gone to a birth center although I think it would be amazing to try it...but my main reason in staying at the same hospital and not trying out a birth center is because I don't want to lose my midwife....much like you don't want to lose your OB. So my only experience is going to a hospital, so that is why this post was all about that.