The problem is, you will hear SO MANY negative stories, these will overwhelmingly bury the positive ones. The people sharing their stories mean well, and their stories are valid, but with our human nature we take on their trauma as we open our hearts to their stories. That is carried with us as we head into each appointment and into our labors.
The emotion attached to what has filled our hearts plays a huge part in the choices and reactions that we have to our own births. When we do this, we miss out on having an empowered birth of our own. We can fail to build strong trust filled relationships with our care team. Instead of protecting ourselves we can inadvertently set out to cause more trauma, because we carry the trauma from social media.
Protecting your heart during your preparation phase is so important, I cannot stress enough that you should only fill your head with positive, empowering birth stories. Don’t carry other peoples hurt into your birth experience.
Choosing your Birth Location
Do a deep dive on the birth environment that you live in. Call and ask the hospital or birth center that you are looking at what their policies are regarding birth. The place of birth sets the framework for the safety parameters that the care providers work within. People can have varying experiences within each place of birth. No two births are exactly the same, so you have to remember this when you are hearing stories about what is the standard of care at a particular place. Always, always go straight to the source for this information.
I have seen so much heartbreaking misinformation floating around about every place that I provide care as a doula. I know I have seen some situations that I did not care for, that should not have happened. What I can say is this is NOT the norm at any of these places.
Leap Frog Ratings will let you dig into each hospital you are looking at and see their ‘personal’ score on things like cesarean rate, high-risk deliveries etc.
You can check out the link here for the current ratings on Mission Hospital in Asheville: Mission Hospital Leap Frog Rating.
The Provider Search
So many people today are not doing their own research on finding a great provider that truly matches up with their hopes and dreams. There are some great guides out there for asking the right questions as you are looking at who to choose for your provider. Simply asking for other people's opinions about a practice, place of birth, or particular doctor you are going to get a wide variety of opinions. You have to make sure you know what kind of care you are hoping for. I truly believe that every practice, place of birth and provider is a GREAT match for someone. That is not to say that everyone will have a great experience there.
How can we change this? Do our own research. Meet with practice managers to ask questions about policies within the practice, if you can set up an interview with a doctor within the practice to see if it is a good fit, that is great. (Below you will see some good interview questions to ask.)
Building Bridges, Not Walls
Remember your provider has a goal of safety, satisfaction, and success when they are working with you.
It is so important to start early by building a true relationship with them. Build bridges with each interaction. This does not mean that you blindly accept everything that they suggest, but that you have built a relationship of trust so that you can confidently have open and honest conversations with them.
Physicians, doulas, nurses, places to give birth all are at the mercy of what is said about them, from people who may or may not understand what place they are coming from when making recommendations, or taking action during a birth.
When a doctor is not a good fit, it does not mean they are a ‘bad’ provider (with the exception of a few bad apples) that other people should stay away from, it means that ultimately they were not a good fit for THAT person, which is why your own research needs to be done. There are some practices that are EXCELLENT for a person who wants or needs a highly medicalized birth, but those are not so great for someone looking for a very low intervention birth.
Questions to Ask
Some top questions to ask:
- What hospital does this provider have rights to work at? (If you are hoping to deliver at a particular hospital, make sure the care provider you choose can work there.)
- What is the cesarean rate of your provider and your birth place?
- Does your provider recommend routine induction around 39 or 40 weeks?
- Are there policies against going to 41 or 42 weeks?
- Do you limit the length of labor?
- How often do you support birth with low interventions — no pain medications, no Pitocin, no IV fluids, no episiotomy?
- How often do you support physiologic birth, upright positions, eating and drinking, and a variety of pushing positions?
If you check out the link to Lamaze, they have a great pdf that will help you choose your provider as well as help you think through good questions to ask as you shop around. Remember, these are questions to ask the provider, (not Facebook), you may have to speak to a practice manager rather than a specific provider as you ‘shop.’