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Why do some people assume this kind of birth is unpleasant?

Nicole was stoked to have such a beautiful birthing experience

When I had my baby girl nine weeks ago I was surrounded by family.

My husband was there. And so were my mum and dad.

We all sat in comfort, with our choice of music playing, a television at the ready.

I enjoyed a coffee and a laugh between contractions as I moved from chair to bed to bouncy ball.

I had a beautiful midwife who made every attempt to ensure my labour was as relaxed and natural as possible.

Third time around, I was fortunate enough to have a smooth labour and healthy delivery, and that meant my birth experience was serene and beautiful (well, as much as it can be when one considers the pain of childbirth!), and exactly how I’d hoped it would be.

But I wasn’t at home.

Nor was I in a birthing centre.

I was in hospital.

Had I required an emergency cesarean, I could have had one immediately.

Had my baby become distressed, help would have been at hand.

If things got ugly or my capacity for pain simply wavered, an epidural wouldn’t have been far away.

Yet my birth didn’t feel clinical. Or sterile. I wasn’t being invaded or poked unnecessarily.

Nicole says her hospital birth ‘didn’t feel clinical. Or sterile.’

There was no evil doctor ramming epidurals or c-sections or episiotomies down my throat.

Because this time I didn’t need them. Had I needed one or more of those things (as I have in the past), I’d have had immediate access to them.

And the fact is, sometimes birthing mothers do need those things. Sometimes other intervention is needed. Sometimes that intervention can save lives.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not about to write a piece against home-birthing or birthing suites. I’m not in the business of publicly judging another woman’s choices.

What I do want to get across though, particularly to any expecting women out there, is that it is possible to have a beautiful, natural labour in a hospital.

And if things don’t go to plan or don’t end up being beautiful or natural, as is unfortunately often the case – well that’s life and they were never going to be – regardless of the location.

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Birth is what it is and is rarely something you can plan.

One thing you can count on in hospital is that you and your baby will be well looked after if the unexpected were to happen.

But that security doesn’t has to come at the cost of an amazing birthing experience.

I’ve delivered babies at both the Mater and most recently at Greenslopes Maternity in Brisbane.

I was happy with all three labours and deliveries, however, my most recent was the smoothest and therefore the most enjoyable as far as the birthing experience goes.

In other words, if your labour and birth is event-free, you can have a really beautiful experience in hospital. But with the added bonus of peace of mind regarding the safety of you and your baby.

Although I was induced, my labour progressed smoothly, I didn’t require an epidural or an episiotomy and delivery was straightforward. This was simply good fortune.

The birthing suite and rooms were beautiful and felt more like a hotel room than a hospital.

Although the memories of a beautiful birthing experience are priceless, a healthy baby is even more so.

My midwife, Rachel Turner, was divine. My obstetrician, Dr Brad Robinson, was brilliant, utterly supportive of all my wishes and ensured the healthy delivery of my baby girl.

The entire process was a total paradox to the reputation hospitals have for providing clinical births managed by interfering doctors.

I elected to have my baby monitored, however, I had to consent to this, meaning you can opt out if you so choose.

The same applies for the post-birth oxytocin injection and bub’s Vitamin K injection – it’s all up to you. I also chose to have my baby’s cord blood stored.

So for all those mums-to-be who are longing for a beautiful and natural labour and birth, you have nothing to fear by considering a hospital delivery.

If the birth goes smoothly, that’s exactly what you’ll have – how you want and with whom.

But if things don’t go to plan, as is often the case in labour, you’ll have the peace of mind knowing that professional help is at hand.

And although the memories of a beautiful birthing experience are priceless, a healthy baby is even more so.

Tags: birth , family , lead , motherhood , pregnancy
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