Epidurals...

Kate CP - posted on 11/22/2010 ( 222 moms have responded )

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Yes, I know I'm asking for it. :P

1. Did you have an epidural?
2. Did you like it?
3. Would (did) you repeat it?
4. Why or why not?

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Nikki - posted on 11/23/2010

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It really bugs me when people say epidural should be used sparingly. Mind your own business, who are you to decide how another woman should experience her own labour. If you don't want one that's fine, but what is the point in judging other mother's for their choice.

I most certainly had one, unfortunately I held out until the last hour of my labour, hindsight is a bitch! It wasn't the pain that did me in, it was the pure and utter exhaustion, I finally couldn't cope with it any more, the epi and a 30 minute nap made the whole experience more enjoyable for me. Next time I will ask for one sooner, I am no hero, I have no problem with not having the whole natural experience, medical advancements have done wonders for our society and I intend to fully reap the benefits.

Kate CP - posted on 11/23/2010

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In the US the epidural is usually the first and only method of pain relief offered to laboring mothers. The nurses kept trying to scare me into an epidural when I was in the early stages of my induction. Nothing like hearing "We've had obstetricians come in wanting to do a natural birth and even THEY got the epidural after a while!"

I HOPE that in most cases the nurses and doctors aren't pushing epidurals on women but the majority of birth stories I have heard include the words "They kept suggesting I get an epidural so I finally gave in." THAT is the problem I have with epidurals, I guess. If a woman decides on her own that she wants one then that's fine and it's her business and bully for her. But when the care providers are pushing the issue and attempting to scare women into it I have a BIG problem with that.

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Dana, I don't think a regualr GP can deliver a baby in Aus. But i know that my GP has training in obstetrics and pediatrics so maybe thats why he used to deliver?

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Shannen is entitled to her view that epidurals should be used sparingly and by saying so she is not 'judging' other mothers for their choice. An epidural is still a drug, a medication, a medical procedure, an intervention. It comes with risks, side effects, possible adverse reactions. It is not something to be given or taken lightly. Women who choose them need to be aware of all of the potential risks and benefits before making that choice. It is their choice, absolutely, pain and an individuals tolerance to pain is purely subjective and differs greatly from person to person. Unfortunately, the risk of adverse reactions or even the success of epidurals in managing pain also differ greatly from person to person. When successful in managing pain or providing relief, epidurals are a wonderful resource for women who need/choose them in labour and birth. We are fortunate that women are now provided with so much choice and options in medical interventions that assist birthing, but I still think we have a long way to go in ensuring that women who choose to birth naturally or even outside of a hospital are provided with equal support and options.

Sarah - posted on 11/23/2010

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I think the problem I have with people saying they should be used sparingly, is as I said previously, who would decide which women got them, and which didn't?

It's either an option for everyone, in which case, it's the woman's right to decide if and when she uses it, or it's not an option at all.

I can't imagine being the woman that was told "No, you're not in as much pain as Betty over there, so she's getting one and you're not!"

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Jessica - posted on 11/28/2010

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1. Did you have an epidural?
I did. But I wish I'd realized that I was in transition when I finally got it! That's when the pain became too much for me. About 10 minutes after I got it I started pushing- it hadn't kicked in all the way (it never did) and I remember all of a sudden getting that urge to push.

2. Did you like it?
The mild relief from the contractions at that point was good, but there were more things about it that I didn't like. I didn't like that because I was undecided when I got to the hospital whether I was going to get one, they gave me an IV of fluids "just in case" and I was confined to the bed- I think if I could have at least changed positions I could have dealt with the contractions better. I didn't like that while it was patchy and never fully kicked in, it worked enough that after the initial pushing urge I had a hard time feeling what I was doing. Even though I could feel my legs they would only let me push on my back, and I think pushing in a different position would have worked better for my 8+ lb posterior baby and I would not have had the episiotomy from hell (I don't know that I needed it anyway- I think the doctor just wanted to cut).

3. Would (did) you repeat it?
I am planning not to- for this baby I am going to the birth center instead where they do not offer them!

4. Why or why not?
I want the experience to let my body do what it has to do- none of the side effects of the epidural. They are much more laid back and obviously pro-natural birth at the center- there's a big jacuzzi tub, they let you labor and push in whatever position you choose, the midwives offer continuous support. I wanted a natural birth with DS but was totally unprepared for it.

Tah - posted on 11/27/2010

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i had an epidural, i loved it, i wish i could bottle it and take it home for when my back starts hurting and i can't walk straight, not only would i do it again(except i refuse to have anymore babies..lol) but i would call in ahead from the car to see which hospital's anesthesia department's doctor was actually in the building and have him meet me in my room upon arrival.....

Chrystal - posted on 11/27/2010

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Yes I had an epidural. I guess I liked it while it lasted. Unfortunately my epidural didn't last but for like 2 hours so I pretty much felt everything and basically had a natural childbirth. I would repeat it just b/c those 2 hours were like bliss LOL.

Tracey - posted on 11/27/2010

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I had an epidural. Highly recommended. I didn't feel much discomfort at all during mine. The hardest part is holding still while you are having contractions. No big deal, really!

Shawna - posted on 11/27/2010

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1.Yes
2. Yes and no, They had to put it in 3 times but I had to have it because I was having a C-Section
3.Yes
4.I did not feel anything during my c- section and I was amazed by it. Even though it hurt so bad going in

Ez - posted on 11/26/2010

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Ok I'm late to this thread (speaking of hospitals - I've just spent 4 days in one with Milla) but I will try and address all of the points that have arisen through this long-ass thread lol.

1. I didn't have a labour epidural, as a natural birth was very important to me. I laboured naturally for 20hrs but I was given a spinal (one-off anaeshetic) at the last minute for forceps.

2. Again, I didn't have an epi, but I hated the spinal. HATED it with a passion. I was in bed, catheterised, for a full 24hrs after delivery because it took so long to wear off.

3. I would never choose an epidural or spinal. Never in a million years. The only way I would consent to either is if I was convinced either mine or baby's welfare was in jeopardy (which I don't believe was the case with my daughter).

4. I am a natural birth advocate, so that pretty much explains why I don't like epidurals. As someone else said, an epidural is often a fast track to further intervention, which all carry their own risks. I don't believe a normal, low-risk birth is a medical emergency, so if I have any more children it will be in an environment that monitors and observes, rather than interferes and manages.

On the GP vs OB thing.. GPs delivered babies in Australia fairly often up until 20ish years ago. As the premiums for medical indemnity insurance grew, most GPs dropped it from their practice because it was the overheads were simply too expensive. In my area, you can have your early pre-natal care with a GP, and then transfer to the hospital midwives or OBs around 32 weeks. Or you can choose to go straight to the hospital, or elect a private OB.

As for sharing rooms, I was in a 4 bed room. The large hospital in my city does have some single rooms on the maternity ward, but they are kept for special cases (twins etc) or private patients.

And as far as I know, most Australian hospitals don't have nurseries anymore, and haven't for some time. Unless baby is in SCN or NICU, they room in. The midwives will take them out to the desk in some circumstances, like when I had my blood transfusion. It took 8hrs, and I couldn't use my left hand at all so obviously couldn't pick Milla up or hold her. So the midwife took her and bought her back to feed. She would latch her on for me, then come back and burp and change her, and take her again. It was horrible, and I wouldn't never choose to use a nursery anyway so I fully support the mandatory rooming-in policy.

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Where I live - Sunderland, England, the majority of people stay in the room they gave birth in until they are discharged, and baby sleeps in the same room. If you're going to be in longer you are put on the ward where there's 4 beds in a room I think. Unless your baby needs to be in the SCBU baby stays with you in the same room =]

Carolyn - posted on 11/26/2010

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here we dont have the nursery option either. your baby rooms in unless it needs the NICU. I cant remember if you have to have someone with you for 24 hours after a vaginal delivery, but you definitely do after a c-section.

if you deliver vaginally without complications, and before midnight, yougo home the next afternoon. unfortunately my son did come out till 26 minutes after midnight so i had to stay an extra day dammit ! most god awful unrested 2 days of my life, had nothing to do with rooming in with my son , but i could here the nurses cackling at their station all night, the beds were great for delivery but god awefull to try and rest in afterwards, and everytime time i would finally start to fall asleep, dietary would come in with food, or a nurse would come in. i was never more greatful to get home !

next time, i dont care if the doc is delivering another 2 babies on the floor, when im at 10 , im pushing that baby out if it is anywhere near midnight !!!!!! LOL

Rosie - posted on 11/26/2010

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my hospital greatly encouraged it, but i learned after grant how valuable those first few days of rest were to me. although, i would wake up really flipping early and go get them, i couldn't stand being away for very long.

Becky - posted on 11/26/2010

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In our hospital, they encouraged rooming in, but the nursery was an option. They offered to take Cole to the nursery at night because he was under the bili lights, but I wasn't letting him out of my sight.

Stifler's - posted on 11/26/2010

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The nurses took my baby away so I could sleep 2 nights I was there. It was awesome.

Sarah - posted on 11/26/2010

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Because I was pretty ill after my eldest, she was taken to nursery quite a bit for the first few days.

After my youngest (I'd had an emergency C-section) they took her to the nursery for an hour to let me rest, but then she was with me the rest of the time.

Johnny - posted on 11/26/2010

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I'm interested that people have the option of sending the babies to the nursery. At the local hospitals here, the only nursery beds available are for special care. If your baby does not need that, you must care for them after the birth in your room. The rule is pretty much that as long as you are physically capable, (not recovering from surgery) the baby should be with you and you are instructed to have someone in the hospital with you to assist (generally a family member). There is no nursery to send your baby to, even if you wanted to. It is not due to financial issues, it is because the hospitals are trying to follow the WHO baby-friendly rules.

Becky - posted on 11/26/2010

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Wow, 6 other women! You must not have slept at all!
Because I had pre-e with Cole and was induced, I was on the antepartum unit for a night. In the bed next to me was a 32 weeker who had slipped on the ice and her membranes had ruptured. I felt so bad for her. Well, my labor started and progressed very quickly with nothing more than cervadil, so I did 95% of my labor on the antepartum unit. I must have freaked the poor girl right out, moaning and groaning and crying in the bed next to her! It was her first, too.
Being there, I was only allowed to have gas too. They couldn't give me any other form of pain relief until I got to L&D. I didn't really find the gas did anything except make me focus more on my breathing, which did help. By the time I got to l&d, it normally would've been too late for an epidural, and I initially refused it for that reason. But then they gave me the whole, "you might die..." speil, so you know, I didn't want to die, so I got the epi.

Bonnie - posted on 11/25/2010

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@Cat, yeah it was pretty bad. That's is why I made sure I had a private room with my second baby:-)

Sarah - posted on 11/25/2010

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I haven't read all the replies about the rooms, but after I had my two, I was on a ward with 6 other women and their babies. Luckily with my youngest I was only there for 2 nights, but with my eldest I was in for a week!! It sucked! LOL!

Rosie - posted on 11/25/2010

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it is weird how everything is different in different places. with my first 2 i was in a different hospital than my last, but each time we had a private room. they redid teh hospital right before my second child and i was supposed to labor and deliver in the same room (i didn't because they wanted to have me in a surgery room-i was huge they were afraid he would get stuck, and also his heart rate had some problems while in labor). my third birth, the hospital was labor and delivery suites as well. finally got to utilize that. it was nice instead of being transported around everywhere.

i can't imagine sharing a room with another woman and her child. i'd be pissed getting woken up by another womans kid, lol. hell, i didn't even want to be woken up by my own in the hospital, that's why they stayed in the nursery. i know, i know, i'm heartless. grant stayed with me when i first had him, and that was enough. i figured i would have plenty of time at home to get woken up every 30 minutes by a crying baby, why not take advantage of the help when i can get it?
my last birth was the only one i was told the price of (the other 2 we were on title 19 only), and it was $5000. although because of my husbands car accident that year we had already met our deductible, and we didn't have to pay anything! :)

Cat - posted on 11/25/2010

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@Bonnie, wow, you had to share a room with 3 other women and babies??? I can't imagine how hard that would be! I guess I was spoiled. In the hospital where I had my kids, every woman had a private room. Mine had a TV and a comfy bed and my child was right next to me. And there was a comfy chair that unfolded flat for my husband to sleep. I think all women should have that after giving birth because they need to get rest and should have the privacy to start bonding with their baby. :) But I guess some hospitals may not have the room or the funds for that. I'm glad you got to have a private room for free though! How nice!

Mary - posted on 11/25/2010

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It really varies so widely from region to region! In the greater Baltimore and DC area, ALL rooms (other than triage) are private - both labor rooms and mother/baby rooms. It's been like that for years. My sister's room 8 years ago was semi-private (Northern VA) - but their maternity ward was redone the following year with all private rooms.

I did want to address Jodi's comment about losses being in L&D. Although difficult, it is actually the best place for a woman to be. I really struggled with this when I first started working in L&D - it seemed unnecessarily cruel and insensitive to me. However, a big part of the problem is that for losses that occur after the start of the second trimester, they really do need to be cared for by a staff that is familiar with the pregnant body, and the unique changes that occur with pregnancy. A med/surge floor or general OR staff does not know how to treat them, what is normal, and (more importantly) what is not - especially with regards to bleeding. While I cannot speak for all hospitals, I know that most L&D staff undergoes special training for how to deal with the the emotional aspects that are unique to pregnancy loss. Grief related to the loss of a baby is very different from other losses, as some of you know only too well.

Is it difficult to be in L&D during this time? Absolutely, but the truth is it would be difficult no matter where they put you in the hospital. I actually have come to realize that trying to place you in a med/surg unit is a bit of a denial of what is really happening. You are still having a baby - it's just that this delivery is an ending, and not a beginning.

First trimester losses, and D&C's actually can be done in the general OR - since they are technically considered to be GYN surgeries as opposed to obstetric. Most hospitals do try to do them somewhere other than L&D, but there are times when situations unrelated to the patient dictate that it must be done in L&D.

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When I had to have my D&C I was in the med/surg part of the building... not OB.

When I had the girls.... they were the first twins born in the new OB department and we were the only people there for the entire 5 days. When I had my son 6 years later (same hosptial) they were so crowded that they kicked me and him out to the med/surg department at 2 days (had to stay for 3 cuz of my son, but SO wanted to leave already).

Desiree - posted on 11/25/2010

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1. Yes
2. No
3. No
4. I didn't enjoy not being able to move, it extended my labour and I wasn't in control.

Isobel - posted on 11/25/2010

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and I was covered for a private room, and I had one with my first but the hospital was too busy with my second and I had to share :( that sucked because she sent her baby to the nursery for the night cause she wanted to sleep and I kept Q with me to BF...I spent the whole night feeling guilty for waking her up.

Isobel - posted on 11/25/2010

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So weird the differences between everybody...I had nubaine (sp?) AND gas before my epidural...and the anesthesiologist DIScouraged me from getting the epidural.

Bonnie - posted on 11/25/2010

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When I had my first son I was in a standard room where I had to share with 3 other woman and babies. It was horrible. My son wasn't sleeping enough as it is and as soon as he got to sleep a baby would start crying and he would wake up. I had a really bad infection within 2-3 days after giving birth because I had a third degree tear and they dropped a stitch ugh. I was in so much pain I could barely move as well. My doctor was so nice. She came to visit me and heard what happened and that I wasn't sleeping she felt so bad she had me transferred to a private room for free. I was so grateful and thankful. When I was in the hospital with my second son, I made sure I was in a private room from the start.

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When I was admitted to hospital for monitoring I was in a ward with four other ladies but when I was induced I had a private room and kept it until I left the hospital, although they did move me into the low risk section after I had my son and my blood pressure had settled down a little. As far as I'm aware most hospitals here have private rooms for labouring mums and their babies, our babies are only took off us if they need to go to NICU, otherwise they stay in our private rooms and our healthcare is free.

While I was in the wards, a lady who had a stillbirth came in to have post natel checks, in the maternity unit surrounded by new babies and heavily pregnant women. At the time I was on the fetal heart-rate monitor and they asked me if they could switch it off because of this lady. It was horrendous my hubby and I were in floods of tears, this poor woman had lost her baby and she was still suffering post natel symptoms like mastitus a month after, and she had to go into the maternity unit. They don't think how things like that could be distressing to people, surely they could find another location in the hospital for people in situations like this and like you Jodi.

Stifler's - posted on 11/24/2010

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That's awful Jodi. They put me in with someone who just had their baby while I was in labour and all I could hear was babies crying and stuff all night. I can't imagine going through that if I wasn't taking a baby home at the end of it xxx

Jodi - posted on 11/24/2010

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Anika, I was put in the maternity ward in the public hospital when I had my miscarriage and had to have surgery. Ok, I had my own room, but it was rather cruel to put me in the ward where I could hear the crying babies.......sometimes they don't think.

Cat - posted on 11/24/2010

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1. I had an epidural for my 2nd child
2. No, the doctor missed the first time and had to do it twice. It was painful!
3. No, 2 kids is enough for me. :)
4. See answers 2, and 3

I went natural with my first child because she was coming fast. I was in labor for 2 hours and only pushed for half an hour. With my son, I decided to try an epidural to see what it was like but as I said above, the doctor missed the first time and had to do it again. I did not like the needle going into my spine. It hurt like mother! But after I had it, it was fine. I ended up taking a nap, and watching TV and not feeling any pain, but it slowed my labor down a lot. I was in labor with my son for 7 hours. But when he finally came I only had to push for 5 minutes. :)

Becky - posted on 11/24/2010

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We have both private and shared rooms at our hospitals here. Alberta health care covers shared rooms. For a private or semi-private room, you'd either pay, or your supplemental insurance might cover it. Patients who have c-sections and multiples are given priority for the private rooms, after that, it's first come, first serve. I had a private room with Cole, which was excellent, since we were there 4 days after he was born and he had to be under the bili-lights. Because we had a private room, I could keep him with me. If we'd had a shared room, he would've had to go to the nursery at night so the light wouldn't disturb my roommate. With Zach, I had a semi-private (only shared with one person), but I was only there for 24 hours and I never got a roommate in that time.

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LOL Jodi and Lindsay - I was lucky. I had my baby mere months after the new maternity department was opened so everything was brand spanking new and shiny and I only had to share with one other person. In the old department you had to share with THREE other mothers and their babies!
EVERYTHING else was excellent, even the food, so I didn't really mind sharing the room. I never saw the other people (though of course I could hear them).

Jodi - posted on 11/24/2010

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I can't imagine it either Lindsay. That's why I went private, to guarantee my own room (if I'd gone public there was no guarantee). I would have found it REALLY difficult when I had Taylah, because I was not allowed to have her in my room and instead had to wake regularly to go to the nursery to feed her. I couldn't imagine coping with all of that AND having to share the room with other people's babies when I was barely even allowed to touch mine.

Lindsay - posted on 11/24/2010

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I can not imagine having to share a hospital room. I've never seen that! I'm shocked to hear so many people have had to do that.

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Fiona, With my last baby thats what the hospital i birthed at was like. It was horrible. But once i wasback to our local hospital it was all brilliant. I guess bigger hospital being really busy i was just a number and they were put out by me being there and even wanted to send me home until my Dr spoke to them.

[deleted account]

I have beenpublic with all 3 babies. 1st i was the only one there and on the day i went home another woman came in. 2nd was the same and i as in a share room even the same bed with them. With my 3rd i was given a private room and forgotten about which i kinda liked then when i transferred back to our local hospital i was still given a private room but the maternity was empty while i was there.

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It was all free for me and I feel I got what I wanted and was listened to. My midwife did most of the delivery and definitely advocated for me (stupid epi man), we had a doc at the end but that was due to things that arose. Like I said before, we have a very midwife based system. Maybe that factors into it?

I did have to share a postnatal room though. That was the only sucky thing.

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A friend of mine said they paid $10,000 to have their baby when they didn't have insurance. That was probably 16+ years ago.... Having state insurance, none of the kids cost me anything... medically speaking.

Sharon - posted on 11/24/2010

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I didn't mean that if you didn't pay for your service then you can't complain.

Just because the service is free (which it technically isn't since you're all paying taxes right?) doesn't mean it gets to be subpar.

What I meant was - that since I was paying for the service - if they screwed up I can get back at them directly by with holding payment, plus legal recourse. For my last birth I had a birth plan. I had a copy, hubby had a copy and my doctor had a copy. It was in my chart. We all talked it over carefully. Considering my issues my doctor was hesitant to say "yes. we'll follow this" Considering my issues I was prepared for just about anything. But in the end she acknowledged my wants but advised me that NEEDS would take precedence. I was ok with that.

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I think Sharon, that it is more likely as you pointed out in previous posts: you were proactive, vocal about your wants/needs and didn't take shitty advice without questioning your options. Maybe because you were paying for it you were more likely to take that role than if it was free and you felt you shouldn't complain about whatever care you got? I don't know.

I DO know that here in Australia I birthed in the public health system and it cost me nothing. I didn't like the local public hospital, I felt like most of the midwives were just glorified obstetric nurses/handmaids to the doctors wishes, they didn't have much autonomy of practice and weren't actively advocating for individual women's wants/needs. The system was stressed due to high demand and women were treated like numbers and subjected to time-frames for pregnancy and labour/birth progression and limits on birthing options that reflected doctors and hospital schedules and didn't take into account individual circumstances and situations. So, I looked at my other options and went to a birth centre (also public health -no cost) where I was provided one on one midwifery care, offered more options and choice in my labour and birth experience and generally felt more comfortable with the type of care provided. I know of a few local women who weren't happy with their birth experience in the hospital and weren't aware that the birth centre was even an option. I had to travel a little bit more to get there (half an hour, but only to go for the booking in and the birth, the midwife came to my home for ante-natal visits) and I had to fulfill certain low-risk criteria, but it was an option for me. It really depends sometimes on what you know, how much you question things and how actively involved you are in your own care as to the outcomes and satisfaction with your experience.

Sharon - posted on 11/24/2010

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But, I'm sitting here wondering? If because of what I paid... is that why I got the birth experience I wanted when so many others did not? I paid for the service I wanted, I shopped for a doctor that thought the same way I did (or said she did and later proved it).

Stifler's - posted on 11/24/2010

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Emerald is a pretty small hospital though. At the antenatal they were like are you going private and I was like no no. Even though I have private health. Then it got to the room sharing and babies yo yo crying and bathroom sharing and I was like NOOOO ask them if I can have a private room. And they said no. So I went home.

Kate CP - posted on 11/24/2010

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I didn't pay anything to give birth or for the hospital stay, either. Sharon, I think you had shitty health insurance. :/

Jodi - posted on 11/24/2010

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I actually had both of my kids privately, one as a private patient in a public maternity hospital, and another in a small private hospital here in Canberra. I think I was out of pocket a total of $400 for my son 13 years ago, and $800 out of pocket for my daughter (and that included her care in the special care nursery and her pediatric care). Those out-of pocket expenses were pretty much just the payment to my private OB. However, it was my choice to go private. I could have opted to go public and paid nothing.

Charlie - posted on 11/24/2010

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Emma Im on medicare and it was not only free but i was placed in Private , hehe .

I can't imagine having to pay to give birth .

[deleted account]

$5500! That's ridiculous! I think the only thing I ever paid for was the visit to the GP when I first found out I was pregnant. EVERYTHING else was free. Blood tests, scans (and I had like 5 of them), mid wife checks, delivery, drugs, hospital stay, food, antenatal care. Even the antenatal classes were free.
$5500! I just can't even fathom that. Why haven't you guys rioted yet! LOL

Stifler's - posted on 11/24/2010

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But it's free to have your baby here even with pain relief and food.

Stifler's - posted on 11/24/2010

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I wanted a private room and they refused to let me have one. Lame. Next time I'm telling them at the antenatals that I want a private room from the start.

Sharon - posted on 11/24/2010

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Ok now I'm smiling. Yes really - we had to pay the hospital THOUSANDS (I gotta capitalize it because its still painful to contemplate) to have a baby.

I'm trying to remember what our deductibles were and how our insurance worked back then. We had to pay fivehundred dollars upfront. Then $1000 to cover something our insurance didn't, then another $4000 was ours to pay. THIS even after I told them to keep their meals (BLECH) all I wanted was coffee from them. Hubby brought me all my other meals.

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