1. Get your hands on The Business of Being Born, if you haven't already. It is a wonderful documentary that will really confirm your desire to go natural. Here's the website and you can get the movie on Netflix or Amazon.
4. Develop a birth plan. If you choose to hire a doula, she will help you with this. I recommend it be as short as possible while still making your wishes known - I usually have my clients do a one-pager with a "Yes, please" column and a "No, thanks" column. Each column has bullet points such as "Dimmed lights in my hospital room," "Freedom to move, eat, and drink," or "Skin-to-skin contact immediately after birth." Your "yes, please" column should have a lot more than the "no, thanks" column - whenever possible turn a negative into a positive. For example, your "Continuous monitoring" in the "no, thanks" column can easily be changed to "Intermittent monitoring" in the "yes, please" column, and etc. Give your birth plan to your doula and your care provider as soon as it's finalized, and discuss it with your care provider to get a gauge of his/her thoughts on it.
5. Read these books:
- Ina May's Guide to Childbirth by Ina May Gaskin is written by the "pioneer of modern midwifery" and is just chock full of awesome stuff. Warning/disclaimer: I don't fully endorse everything in the book, and a lot of it is pretty darn crunchy, so be prepared if that has a possibility of catching you off guard. But it's still REALLY valuable and worthwhile to read.
- Natural Hospital Birth: The Best of Both Worlds by Cynthia Gabriel will give you lots of tips on how to have the greatest possibility of the natural birth that you want in a hospital setting.
- Your Best Birth by Ricki Lake and Abby Epstein is written by the creators of The Business of Being Born and will help you think through all the possible considerations of interventions in your labor. Your doula will do this too, but sometimes it's helpful to have it all in one book.
- The Birth Partner by Penny Simkin will help your partner prepare for the big day by learning about your labor and how to support you in it.
6. Most importantly, remember the sacredness of this journey and that your body was designed to do it. This doesn't mean that you are perfect and won't need intervention, but don't believe for a second that you definitely WILL need intervention either. Whatever the outcome is, you will almost certainly be warmly greeted by a cute, squishy, suckling little baby at the end of it all, so look forward to that as much as you can!