I'm on the fence. I think the idea of a home birth is great, as I share Mark's philosophy that modern medical interventions cause more problems than help.
I'm more in favor of a free-standing birth center as opposed to a home birth, as these facilities are home-like and structured around birth being a NORMAL, NATURAL process, but understand that things CAN go wrong and have the staff/equipment to deal with it.
I dislike continuous EFM, medically unnecessary IV's, AROM when not medically necessary, etc., etc.. I like auscultation, no IV, using the tub, birthing ball, music, blah blah blah....yep, I'm a 'granola' at heart. I can manage a high risk mag/pit/epidural/hellp patient racing to the back for a crash c/s with the best of them, but I PREFER the alternative.
I do think good prenatal care and prenatal testing/screening is a good thing, though.
Canoehead, the best advice I can give for you being your sister's 'doula' is to leave your nurse hat at home and just be her sister. I did it for my sister. It was hard to not be all 'medical,' but it was the best thing for the comfort of the staff and my sister alike for me to just act as a lay person who was helping her loved one. And above all, DON'T LOOK AT THE MONITOR. It'll drive you nuts if you do