All silliness aside, and I am referring to the the title here of course, it is possible to have an ecstatic birth in a hospital. Seriously, I’ve seen it. Now before you get excited and elbow your partner and say, “See?, See??!?!”"
Bear in mind that as a doula I do not take clients that haven’t taken child birth education classes from an independent source.”Lamaze” classes at a hospital DO NOT COUNT; If I do, it’s not until after they have taken my course. It’s important to me that my clients are aware of what their choices and rights are. I want them to understand the holistic stages of labor and know the brain wave states in labor.
Another biggie for me is is that the couple is open minded, and understand that anything can happen in birth. It’s important they treat a birth plan like a wish list and not a promise of outcome. With all of these things under our collective belts we can step into the hospital ahead of the game, as it were.
The four ecstatic births that I have had the honor of witnessing have had the following things in common:
- All of the women were healthy low risk women under the age of 40 (one was 39)
- The couples had attended Independent Childbirth Education Class
- They had strong feelings about what birth CAN be like when left alone
- They were familiar with what NORMAL birth looks like in and out of the hospital
- They were ready to speak up for their rights, and had no problem asking questions
- They were very nice and open minded
- They all waited to go to the hospital until late 2nd stage labor
- All of these clients were attended to by Wade Dickinson, M.D of Omni Women’s Medical Group in Fresno, California.
At each of these births I met the couple at home, we stayed at the house using comfort measures from hip squeezes, time on the birth ball, pelvic tilts and lifts, rebozo use, showers and more. As soon as mom starts to show signs that she’s approaching transition, we go to the hospital. At each of these births the nurses were fairly surprised at how ‘late’ in the game we arrived (an average of 7-8 cm dilated and 60%-100% effaced). They were even more surprised at how calm and collected these couples were.
I wont go into details, but every time I saw Dr. D he remembered me and treated my clients and myself with dignity and respect. I mention this because many doctors will only address the clients and talk to them with their back to you(the doula). I’ve been at a birth where the doctor NEVER made eye contact with me throughout the entire birth! So Dr. Dickinson’s demeanor means a lot to me.
He never coerced or led my clients down a road they didn’t want to go down. At two of these births he wasn’t the couples main doctor. He’s great at putting them at ease and has a great sense of humor. He even let one of my clients pull on a sheet for pushing (rebozo style)!
So, ecstatic intervention free birth is possible in a hospital if all of these things line up.
Is it impossible? No.
Is it easy? No.
Are there lots of Doctors out there like Dr. D? Sure, but it’s your responsibility to go out and find them.
Good luck to you.