I had the most wonderful natural hospital birth!
I'm so excited to be able to say that! I had a rough hospital birth with my first, though I can't really blame the hospital because a lot of it had to do with my decisions and lack of knowledge. But yesterday I delivered my fifth baby and was totally taken by surprise that it was my longest and hardest labor and birth. We got to the hospital early-ish because I didn't want to risk delivering in the car (which happened with my third baby, and my fourth was born in under an hour start to finish). I ended up laboring there for 9 or 10 hours, and despite that it was a wonderful experience!
My OB was so wonderful (luck would have it that she was on call for her practice that day, so she was there and delivered him) and the nurses were amazing and supportive. I didn't once have to request a low intervention labor and birth, it just seemed like their default. They actually surprised me by only offering an IV if I wanted one, bringing me a birthing ball without me asking for it, bringing water and ice the whole time, doing very minimal monitoring without me having to request it, etc. They really encouraged me to walk and get in the shower even when I didn't really want to as the pain got worse. The shower was amazing- it helped me relax and helped with the pain much more than I thought. I would have loved a tub but unfortunately that was one thing that wasn't available.
At one point I had decided that I wanted my OB to break my water so I could just get it over with and she very gently helped me remember that it would be wonderful to let things happen naturally, which we ended up doing. They helped suggest positions and break down the bed however was comfortable for me to labor. We tried to deliver him en caul, but right before he came out my bag broke (all over my poor OB who was sitting right there at face level! She just laughed about it, though, but I did feel the need to apologize profusely!). I did end up delivering on my back, but at that point it was by choice because I couldn't get myself into any other position. And after the delivery, even though it was baby #5 for me and everyone (myself included) was worried about bleeding, they didn't even end up giving me the IM pitocin that I had been expecting, just did a lot of fundal massage. The nurses were very supportive of my choice to have no pain medication and after initially asking my plan for pain control didn't even bring it up again. Actually the nurse who was there for most of my labor and for the delivery, who was a younger girl who hadn't had any children, told me that I was very inspiring:)
My sister has been breast feeding (I carried him for her and she was able to successfully induce lactation) and the hospital has been super supportive of it, which she was worried about. Apparently she had read that some women aren't allowed to breastfeed in the hospital if they aren't the birth mother, but it sounds like they've had a lot of support from the LCs and nurses and it's going really well.
Sorry that ended up so long, I'm just so happy that everything went well and that I was able to labor just how I wanted to despite being in the hospital!