My sister-in-law is having a baby. Yes, in April she will be giving birth to my nephew and I'm so excited! I think about her a lot and her birth too. I'm a woman to whom birth really matters. I had both of my children with a midwife at a birth center. I try to convince every woman to give birth with midwives. It's just something that I feel very passionate about. I think that your birth experience matters and I think that a midwife tries to bring you the experience that you desire.
My sil is not using a midwife. :( She's using an OB in a small community hospital which gives more epidurals than you care to count. My sil says that she doesn't want an epidural and that she wants to go as natural as possible, but alas I feel she's doomed. Said hospital loves to give Pitocin which often leads to them giving the before mentioned epidural. When your water is broken too early or when you get Pitocin it makes for harder more painful contractions and who wouldn't want drugs? During my second birth my midwife was in California visiting her daughter and I had a terrible military midwife who broke my water at 4 cm. I was in so much pain I thought I might die right there. I had, had a baby before and I knew that it didn't have to feel the way it did. When I talked to MY midwife after the birth she agreed that it was the premature breaking of my water that probably made everything so miserable.
Anyhow, I wish I would have been able to convince my sil to have her baby elsewhere. She won't be able to eat or drink. She'll have an iv and monitors on, so she won't be able to be up and about much. And, there will be no fabulous tub for labor. I loved the giant jacuzzi that I was able to labor in.
I know that every woman wants and needs different things, but if you want a natural birth I think you need a midwife. I also think that you need to not have fear. My sil has fear because she doesn't know what to expect. My midwife made sure that I was not afraid. She said fear was the worst thing to have because if you're tense everything works against each other and not together. When I had my daughter with MY midwife it was so beautiful! Yes, there was pain, but it was manageable. Most of all it was the moment of a lifetime! I just want every woman to have that kind of birth experience. Especially my sister-in-law who I love and care about deeply!