Tips for having a Natural Delivery in a Phoenix Hospital

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This photo was taken moments after Elliot was born. I snuggled him like this for the first two hours of his life.
I’ve heard lots of moms talk about the desire to deliver their babies naturally, only to end up with a C-section or an epidural.  Most of the time a woman might say, “I’d like to go naturally, if I can…”  I’m not here to say that C-sections and epidurals are bad/wrong/evil.  Each birth story is precious and, if a healthy mama and baby result, then they are successful!

I’m here to give some tips to women who would really love to experience a natural delivery (drug free and with as few interventions as necessary) and also enjoy the safety/peace of mind a hospital can offer.

And, just so you know, I’m not a pain-junkie.  I don’t think that I’m super woman for delivering naturally (and please don’t think I am).  Confession: I was scared with both kids about pushing them out.  I just really love seeing what my body can do on its own and am so amazed at the results.  In addition, I can see how well-meaning medical procedures can get in the way of the body’s natural way of delivering a baby.  It’s much easier to trust our bodies to grow our babies than it is to trust them to deliver them.  Often, this is the case because we simply don’t know many women who DON’T get an epidural. If they don’t, they deliver at home, which seems to put them on a different level – one many women aren’t willing to explore.

So, I would like to propose that we can have the best of both worlds.  The peaceful, beautiful joy of a natural delivery, without medication or additional intervention, and the security of a hospital “just in case”.

Here are my Tips for Delivering Naturally in a hospital:

Choose a practioner who is ON YOUR TEAM. Make sure that your doctor or midwife shares the same values and goals for delivery as you do.  This is tough to figure out, because many OBs will say that they support natural delivery, but it’s difficult to know what they really mean by “support”.

I chose to deliver with an OB at Scottsdale Healthcare/Shea Hospital with our daughter.  I used a doula to manage my pain.  Everything about Reagan’s birth was wonderful where my doula and the natural process were involved and stressful and rushed where the medical staff and standard medical procedures were involved.  We felt like we were fighting the hospital staff at every turn.

“No, please get this constant monitor off of me.” and “Please, I don’t want an IV drip.” and “Please, just wait a few minutes for my placenta to release and don’t tug on it!”  “No, I don’t want a catheter after I deliver!”

Our son, born just last week at Phoenix Baptist Hospital was deliverd by a Certified Nurse Midwife from Bethany Womens Healthcare.  Everything about his birth was peaceful, gentle, loving and beautiful.   We felt like the hospital staff (from Triage to Labor and Delivery) were on our team, ready to help us welcome this little bundle.  PEACEFUL.  LOVING. SAFE.  Sure, they listened to the heart beat and timed contractions, but just for 10 minutes when I first arrived and then on and off throughout labor.

Select a Hospital your trusted practioner recommends– None of the Scottsdale Healthcare hospitals allow midwives privledges to deliver babies.  That being said, there are several hospitals in the Valley.  I went with Phoenix Baptist Hospital because A.) they have a new birthing unit that is lovely and VERY supportive of natural births B.) my midwifery clinic uses them C.) they are the closest hospital to my home that allows a midwife to deliver. 

If you are using an OB, hire a Doula– Think of your doula as your method for dealing with pain.  She is your labor coach, your insurance against a C-section and your advocate.  She can help your husband or significant other support you better.  She can be your eyes, ears and peace of mind.  Often women think that they can’t afford a doula.  They run between $300-500.  If you were to receive an epidural, it would cost you around $1000.  If you end up with a C-section it could cost around $30,000.  Sure, there are insurance issues that come into play, but for us, with our first, we felt like our doula was insurance against having a C-section and gave us so much support and peace of mind while delivering our daughter.  If I had to use an OB for insurance or other reasons, and if I had to deliver at a Scottsdale Healthcare hospital; I would hire a doula.  We decided to not hire a doula with our second child because I felt so confident that the midwife would be more than enough support for me since we were already on the same page, and she would be at the hospital while I labored (before I started pushing).

Pick a passage to memorize – My husband and I memorized a passage of scripture from the Bible.  We chose Zephaniah 3:17 “The LORD your God is with you, he is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you, he will quiet you with his love, he will rejoice over you with singing.” This was a great tool for us to be connected during labor – he would recite the passage during some of my contractions, and it helped me put my focus on the Lord.  I got the idea from hypno therapy, where women use meditation to prepare for labor. Instead of using the hypno therapy script, I decided that I would use Biblical scripture to meditate on during contractions.  Pick whatever tickles your fancy!

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Joy is the Co-founder of Scottsdale Moms Blog and absolutely loves living in Scottsdale with her hubby Kevin and their daughter Reagan (born August 2009) and son Elliot (born May 2011).  She is a lover of nature, a research analyst on all things related to life, a home manager, a crafty art-eest, Chief Marketing Officer for Cactus CrossFit, mommy, daughter and friend.

15 COMMENTS

  1. Joy, were there any books or classes that you thought were helpful as you prepared to have a natural childbirth?

    • Hi Sharla,
      YES! The best book on Childbirth period, that I found is “Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth”. Yes, it’s as hippie as it sounds, but is the most complete explaination that I’ve found on the body’s natural process of bringing a baby into the world. It also has some great birth stories to help get a better picture of how each birth has similarities and differences. (I started reading the second section first and then read through the birth stories at the front.) By far the most influencial book I read about birth. (available at Scottsdale Public Library)

      xoxo

      Joy

  2. I had heard great things about that hospital and their support of natural childbirth. I am so glad to hear that you were able to have the experience you were hoping for. My first time around I too went with an OB at Scottsdale Shea, but just wasn’t all that educated about the unnecessary interventions, thankfully after lots of fighting with Dr.’s the ’emergency c-section’ they claimed I needed, ended up not being necessary. My second time around, I went the Midwife route- but due to an un-supportive hospital, and lots and lots of pressure I ended up with an epidural before she arrived.

    I am SO proud of you, not because you had a natural birth, but because you AND your husband took the time and effort to educate yourselves about what you wanted and planned it out and worked together to achieve what you wanted for your labor and birth. I think very often women just think you go to the hospital and come home with a baby and don’t realize that they have choices about what steps are taken to get there.

    I hope you are enjoying your family of 4. Soak up those snuggles 🙂

  3. Joy, I just found this post and find it very helpful! I am getting very frustrated with my search for a provider who doesn’t have the usual 30-40% c-section rate. Since I’m low-risk, it sounds like a midwife might be the best solution…and I was looking into Bethany Womens for the very reason that they advocate for natural births.

    In the hospital environment, did you feel any pressure to deliver sooner than what was natural (e.g. Did they want to break your water or induce you?)? From everything I’ve read, I am worried that once you’re actually in the hospital, there’s a lot of pressure for you to speed up things with medical intervention.

  4. I would love to hear more referrals for OBs in the area. I recently moved to Scottsdale from CA, where I delivered my son naturally and unmedicated using Hypnobabies. He came very fast and I was hoping to find a hospital and doctor, supportive of natural birthing, close to me in N. Scottsdale for our next pregnancy. By what I’ve read, it sounds like I would have to leave the area for a natural delivery in a hospital. Anyone have a positive natural experience in N. Scottsdale?

  5. Very true regarding OB can say they are on board and not be as on board as you would think. I went to the same OB/GYN for 10+yrs but I wish I had shopped around, a great GYN does not make a great OB, especially bedside manner. I had Dr. Carol Hahn and delivered at Good Sam downtown. I didn’t realize until i was close to my estimated due date that my dr wasn’t on board with my natural birth plan, even after she had signed my birth plan in the presence of my doula at one of my appointments. I was a first time mom about to give birth and my dr scared me but i was more scared of trying to find a new dr so late in the game. That fear was my biggest roadblock besides my combative dr while i was in labor. She even yelled at me while i was in the middle of a contraction. I had a wonderful doula, would use her again but I sadly ended up with a csection after-all. Education is key as well as trusting your instincts, even if you aren’t feeling as confident the later you get in your pregnancy, your instincts can be trusted!

  6. i agree with earlier posts but is Babymoon or Baptist really the closest for N Scottsdale resident? Scary. Also, any doulamidwife/OB recomendations for those wanting natural delivery? Thanks in advance.

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  8. Joy, I will be delivering at either Scottsdale Shea or Osborn b/c that’s where my doc has privileges–the further I’ve gotten in my pregnancy (now 31 weeks) the more I realize I want a natural birth, and my husband and I are looking into a doula and after reading this post makes me want to connect with one as soon as possible. Any chance you could share who you used as a doula or have any recommendations? Any help is appreciated! Hope you and your family are well

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