So last night DH and I went for a Birthplace tour and were toured around by a L&D nurse who also worked in the NICU. I am SO pumped about what I saw and what I learned. The hospital sounds like they are super supportive of natural birthing. Each of the rooms has a tub, a birthing bar, birthing ball - you name it, they have it in there. You can bring aromatherapy, music, DVDs, etc.
Unless I'm on a pitocin drip or have an epi, I am not required to have an IV, nor will they do continuous monitoring. I'm required to have the baby on the monitor for only 5 minutes per hour as long as things are looking good. The baby never has to leave the room after the birth, unless he requires NICU care, and they encourage 24 hour rooming in with baby. In the case of emergency c-sections, mom and baby are usually only separated for no more than 10 minutes, and during those 10 minutes, dad is encouraged to be with baby at all times. She totally pushed the breastfeeding issue, and have lactation consultants on 24/7 for postpartum support with BFing, which was a total shock to me since the last hospital that I delivered at was so blase about the whole thing. They encourage immediate skin to skin contact and immediate BFing at birth. She even said that they try to get c-section moms BFing ASAP, too, even though it's tough since they can't sit up all the way right away. They routinely wait until 2 hours after birth before they administer Vitamin K shots and eye crap - whereas at the other hospital they did it immediately after birth.
I talked to quite a few nurses there who had all been there for 5+ years who made me feel so comfortable about the whole natural birthing thing - it's much more common there than it is at other hospitals - I'm not sure why, but I'm not going to look a gift horse in the mouth. They said that if I didn't go in with a birth plan, that they would spend 10-15 minutes with me upon check-in (unless there's no time) to go over things with me and make sure they are familiar with what I want and am envisioning my birth to be. They even have a massage service that will come do postpartum massages for mom in her room (for a fee, of course, but it'd be totally worth it!) The only thing that isn't in line with what I'd like is that they do not allow moms in active labor to eat during... you're restricted to a clear liquids diet. I told DH that they can suck it - I'm bringing food in my hospital bag whether they want me to or not... lol
So all in all, I'm very pleased. It's alleviating the level of stress I was feeling over the hospital, especially after reading Anna and Ariel's birthing lodges!
In addition, DH and I met with a doula on Friday night - I really liked her. DH is still not convinced that we need a doula - he doesn't see the value, but I do. But even though he's not thrilled about the concept, he's willing to do whatever I'm comfortable with and will support me all the way. So I think I may have a doula, too! :woohoo: