Today, I went to the "midwife listening service" to talk about my previous birth experience. For those who don't know, I was induced in hospital, on a ward with other labouring ladies. It took several days for me to get to 2cm and I had no sleep for 6 nights in total (4 because I was on a noisy ward, 1 because I was giving birth and 1 because I had a newborn). I then had a very quick labour, once I was hooked up to the hormone drip, and was denied pain relief because my midwife didn't realise/believe I was in active labour until I was 10cm.

Anyway, today, we talked about that experience and then talked about what we can do to make my next experience less traumatic. I had written a birth plan in preparation - but the senior midwife commented that it talked only about what the medical staff could do to make it better, not what I could do. She also pointed out how the language I had used when describing my previous experience showed that I had mentally handed the entire experience over to the medical staff. She wants me to retain responsibility and autonomy this time....

She asked me to go home and think about what *I* can do to make this next experience better. I've thought of a few things:

- Bring an eye mask and ear plugs
- Ask DH to bring me food (there was no diabetic option on the ward)
- Be more assertive when asking for what I need

But what else can I do? How do you retain autonomy over a process that is what it is?