To home birth or not to home birth?? Experiences pls!!

(144 Posts)
Nicky1306 Thu 17-Jan-13 15:01:34

Arghhhhh! I'm soooo confused! This baby has been breach since 24 weeks......had pretty much accepted I'd be having a section...... Find out yesterday at 36 weeks baby is head down and 4/5ths engaged! Which means I can have the home birth I wanted......but now I don't know what I want, did you have a home birth ? How was it? Would you do it again? What was great about it? What was not so great? Thanks x x

EauRouge Sun 20-Jan-13 08:51:28

I had DD1 in hospital and DD2 at home.

I would have a homebirth again in a shot, even though the poxy midwives ruined it for me. Actually the hospital birth was better for me purely because of the midwives. I think at the homebirth they were bored and kept prodding me and fussing. I was left to it more in the hospital (my choice- make sure you write a birth plan!!).

It was brilliant getting in my own shower and bed afterwards and I got to have DD2 in the birthpool which was what I really wanted.

I didn't stay in the hospital for very long so I was never on the post-natal ward but I imagine I would have hated it with all those other babies and knackered mothers.

allthegoodnamesweretaken Sun 20-Jan-13 09:02:18

I planned a HB but ended up with a hospital induction because of suspected obstetric cholestasis. (I have since read up on it and found that I could have still had a HB :@)

I was treated appallingly in hospital during and after the birth. The midwives were very condescending and I felt, as someone upthread mentioned, like an inconvenience, plus a doctor assaulted me.

I also received no help with bf, and a lot of pressure to ff. (I am still defiantly bf two years later though)

If i have any more I will definitely be planning on a HB.

OP, go for it. I have yet to hear a negative story of a HB but plenty of awful stories of hospital ones.

allthegoodnamesweretaken Sun 20-Jan-13 09:02:57

angry .... not :@ (got my emoticons mixed up!)

LovesBeingWokenEveryNight Sun 20-Jan-13 09:10:09

I was worried about having a fast delivery with dc2 so booked a hb. In the end I went to hospital anyway (my choice) but at least that way I got a choice. Ds was born half an hour after arriving at hospital and wasn't breathing so for me I made the right decision.

LovesBeingWokenEveryNight Sun 20-Jan-13 09:11:01

Btw was likely to have been caused by shock from the fast delivery

nannyl Sun 20-Jan-13 09:28:58

I had a homebirth with my 1st and planning another with my 2nd.

I researched it very very thoroughly, though new before i was even pregnant id plan to homebirth. Reading the research comfirmed it was definitely the correct choice for me

(NHS describe a homebirth as "as safe" if you are low risk.... read all the research and its actually safer)

Of course homebirth isnt about absolutely always having your baby at home... its about having it at home all the while its going well and things are progressing normally

It also means you have 0 chance of the most dangerous birthing scenario; an unassisted roadside birth.... should you travel to hospital you do so in an ambulance WITH a midwife.

My mum / grandmothers had quick labours, so i was expecting to be faster than average. I also lived 45 mins - 1hour +++ from my nearest hospital (though much quicker by blue light ambulence)
I have a birthing centre 20mins away (its lovely)... but everything they can do at the brith centre they can do at home. there are no more drugs / equipment there, and might still need an ambulence transfer.

so i chose a homebirth....

bit of luck as i had done natal hypnotherapy for a hypno birth... it worked so well, i didnt even reaiise i was in proper labour, i assumed early stages... a midwife came to check me out at 10pm, her choice not mine.... she examined me at 2220, i eas 7cm(hoping to be 2 or 3) midwife called the 2nd midwife to come now... at 2225 i had transition.... (this would have been the time I would have called the midwife (or started going to hospital) and 12 mins later my DD was born (un caught) on the sofa.

She was born with the chord twice round her neck and not breathing (I didnt even push her, she came)... midwife "did her stuff" for perhaps 30secs / 1 min then she was fine and breathing.... 10 mins later midwife 2 arrived.

it was not an all come running drama / emergancy like it migth have been in hospital. It was all veyr relaxed and i wasnt even aware there was a problem...

I had my baby skin to skin for about 30 mins, chord clamped then cut by daddy after about 10) (she wasnt interested in breastfeeding immediately)
so i delivered placenta, had some chocolate brioche and ribena had my 1 stitch (will opt to heal naturally next time) then DD was weighed / measured, put in her nappy and baby grow, and had her first nice long breast feed on the sofa.

she then got an hour long daddy cuddle, while i went upstairs with midwife and had a bath.... (in my lovely clean bath)
Then at about 0130, the midwife left, and we went to our lovely kingsize bed, with DD in her moses basket next to us .... and went to sleep.. in a dark room, with our own pillows etc etc in a peaceful house, not on a hospital ward.

If you are low risk and happy to be at home, homebirth makes the most sense... you get more care from experianced midwifes (not someone who qualified last week) who focus soley on you.

Do pack your hospital bags though as transfers are not uncommon, but transfers almost always happen for non emergancy reasons, so long as you are happy to follow their advice, as they can normally sense a problem well before it happens.

I looked at it as i was at home all the while i didnt need to be anywhere else.... was all set to go to hospital.
I also decided id hate to sit in the car for 1hour + in labour, so chose the option of going by ambulnence with midwife if i needed it... but thankfully never did.

hoping all goes as smoothly in june!

It's nice to see all the encouragement towards a home birth!
The main question you have to ask yourself is "where will I feel the most relaxed, warm, happy, loved, and comfortable?"
In order for Oxytocin to flow effectively, (the labour hormone) you need to feel safe, and relaxed. Many women labour wonderfully at home, then when it's time to go the hospital, their labour stops because their body says "I've moved somewhere different and it's not safe here" The transition to hospital is often very disruptive to the flow of labour, causing adrenalin to flow prematurely. Adrenalin and Oxytocin cannot function at the same time.
For first time mothers, it's so important to have good support around you. Ideally from your partner, and another woman who supports your preferences and believes in you, l in addition to midwives. This support is what can keep you going when you hit a wall of "I really don't know if I can do this". This is where many women will hire a Doula, even if they have excellent support from their partner and family.
I once asked a midwife what the biggest reasons for transferring into the hospital from home were and she said "Many times it's just first time mums who just lose faith in themselves" Labour is amazing but it is flipping hard work too and the more support you have the better!

BoffinMum Sun 20-Jan-13 10:08:44

I've had three home births and one hospital one. I found it hurt less without drugs at home than with drugs in hospital. As I am a coward this was enough if a reason for me to stay home.

BoffinMum Sun 20-Jan-13 10:13:35

What I would add that TV presents birth as a trauma ridden event with instant crises, whereas crises take about an hour or more to brew, so if you are within an hour of hospital by ambulance you're no worse off. However it is vital you have a midwife present, as unassisted births are highest risk. This is not something to get too soppy and spiritual about.

Theas18 Sun 20-Jan-13 10:14:50

have a look at the statistics for transfer in labour/after birth and see how that looks to you. I know of many forum home births, most of which were fine, but 2 I know personally- one had a lovely home birth then a rather worrying transfer after with retained placenta (and her DH following the ambulance with baby in car seat etc, all very stressy for them both). The other was an emergency transfer with a bay starved of oxygen and not doing well post birth- fortunately near to ambulance and hospital.Some time in NNU and some rather anxious years before they were sure he was "alright" .

Look at the way your brain works re " blame" too. Sadly some babies don't make it. Often because there is a congenital problem meaning they probably wont live what ever. But if that was you would you blame yourself? I would, what ever happened,so I couldn't have a home birth planned I don't think.

ElectricSheep Sun 20-Jan-13 10:22:39

As long as there are no special reasons why you'd be better off in hospital I'd go for hb every time.

You get much better care and attention, it's far more relaxed, and as others have said, it's cleaner, quieter, safer. (My local hosp is horrible --v rough--)

My GP said no to hb which I ignored and I had a brilliant lovely mw who only lived around the corner from me. Just as well as it was snowing heavily.

The birth was long (20 hours, 11 of proper contractions) baby was back to back so 2 hour second stage on just g+a which was very grim. I was way past being able to think of anything let alone a transfer, but the mw was great and seemed happy to let me do my own stuff in my own time. Afterwards was so lovely and relaxed.

MWs cleaned up while I had a shower and stayed for a couple of hours.

I bought 2 x new sheets and duvet cover (think I'd get one or 2 more next time)
I had a plastic sheet for the bed.
2 x dust sheets (cheapo plastic from homebase) with old sheets on top.
newspaper
A cardboard box with plastic in at mw request for examining/transporting placenta to ensure it was complete.
tin of biscuits for mws + loads of tea/coffee/juice

HTH. Advice of planning for a hb and staying at home for as long as you feel best there, I think is a really good way of looking at it. Just have a hosp bag packed in case you suddenly change your mind.

BoffinMum Sun 20-Jan-13 10:25:32

Personally speaking I think the proximity to a decent hospital is a major factor in whether a home birth should be considered. Also whether you are likely to give birth too quickly to make it in time to hospital. One size does not fit all, as they say.

BTW a friend's baby died in hospital because the hospital oxygen tank was empty and the subsequent chain of events was not well handled. That was in a top US teaching hospital in the 1980s. Shit happens.

BeaandMe Sun 20-Jan-13 11:04:32

I just had a home birth. DD is now 6 weeks. I had a hospital birth with ds and felt out of control and harassed by the midwives there, had an epidural and vacum delivery with legs in stirrups. I felt that it didn't have to be that way, that if someone had just said 'you can do this' to me, that I would not have called for an epidural.

So anyway I decided to have a home birth this time. It was great, really really amazing. I actually enjoyed it (in a weird painful way)! I just used TENS. I was supposed to go into the birth pool but dd came really quickly. The pool was all up and running thanks to dh but I didn't realise how near to giving birth I was! I had the same midwife attend me all through my pregnancy, birth and for two weeks after I gave birth, which was so lovely. I had two midwives with me during the labour.

Personally I think I would recommend home birth for second and subsequent births for people with no complications. I'm not sure I would do it on my first, because I feel that you have no idea of what to expect and the feelings can be very very overwhelming. So I imagine that first time around it could be a bit scary. I could be wrong though! I just felt overwhelmed myself first time. Whereas second time I knew that this was the way labour felt and knew it was all good. Sorry if that is a bit convoluted grin!

BeaandMe Sun 20-Jan-13 11:09:46

Oh yes, just read some earlier comments. I found that in the hospital people kept on prodding an examining me, seemed to be looking for something to do. When I gave birth I noted there were five people in between my legs confused. At home my midwife just went downstairs and let me get on with it with just dh. She came up and checked very regularly of course but then went away downstairs again right away. I think that was a key difference. During labour I like to be on my own, I'm not even mad about dh being there, so the prodding/examining continually by loads of people really didn't suit me.

My midwife said that people are either one way or another when they give birth; either need to be alone, or need loads of reassurance. Perhaps it depends what type you are to see whether or not it would suit you?

TimidLivid Sun 20-Jan-13 11:17:47

I had a home birth and while it was better being in my own space, the birth was worse, the pains was worse and the crowning was worse, being at home could not help with that as the baby was bigger than my other 2. so ti was more traumatic. But no tears no damage healthy baby. But still the midwife examined me with her hand to measure my pelvis and that stayed with me for 6 months afterwards, how horrible it felt and how she didnt stop when i asked her too. so everything went fien but I still wasnt happy may as well been in hospital

breward Sun 20-Jan-13 11:31:33

DD born in hospital after starting off as a home birth- her heartbeat was down to 90 then upto 220 so they wanted me on a monitor. Everything fine and she was born naturally 3 hours later.

The hospital after-care was awful. No one to help with breast feeding, advise if and when I could shower. All I got was "As you came in as a homebirth, you are not under our care." Could not wait for 6 hours to be up!

DS born at home in the bath with two midwives with me. Water really helped in both labours so I went in a warm bath. Laboured quickly (1.5 hours from first sign to birth) and when I said I wanted to push the midwife pulled the plug out of the bath (as they were not insured for waterbirths!!). After, I stood up and was showered down and went back off to bed, whilst all paperwork was done.

DD aged 2 slept through the whole thing and woke up to meet her new brother. Within 5 hours of DS being born we all went out for a walk to the park and to the shop to buy 'The Times'.

Homebirth for me, anyday.

zamantha Sun 20-Jan-13 11:41:06

had two HBs a long time ago and they were lovely, if exhausting first time round - first birth.
would have gone to hospital if any concerns but the privilidge of being home was wonderful. Felt very supported with DH and two independent midwives.

zamantha Sun 20-Jan-13 11:42:55

Notice a few American posters - understand high-tech, in hospital is almost compulsory there. how do independent women who go against the grain manage a home birth?

Or do I have America all wrong form biased news reports?

BumbleBee2011 Sun 20-Jan-13 12:55:14

Loving this thread - I'm 18 weeks with DC2, DD1 was nearly born at home (wanted to start pushing as we were heading out the door!) The MLU near us is wonderful for a first-timer, but I don't fancy another car ride like that.

First real thought of HB was when we went to the booking appt this time and MW asked where we were thinking, I just blurted out "homebirth maybe" - poor DH's face, he was rather caught out! grin Especially as he said our MW looked so happy when I said it (she loves delivering babies locally) so he pretty much knew he'd lost the argument there and then.

Since then a friend has said we can borrow her pool - yay! - I am actually giddy at the thought of giving birth again, which is not a sentiment any of my pro-hospital friends ever expressed.

ReshapeWhileDashingThroTheSnow Sun 20-Jan-13 13:59:21

I'd probably do it at home again (DS1 hospital, DS2 home) but not with an independent MW (mostly because of cost reasons, plus the government are about to make them, effectively, illegal). Or I'd pop down the road to the MW unit (attached to a cottage hospital and 20 mins from a big hospital) because they have a pool and it's all lovely and no older children inhibiting my contractions. I liked snuggling up with my baby in my own bed, and being at home already. I valued not having to make a panicky rush into hospital, and since my baby was fast, I doubt we'd have made it. (Weather was very inclement too.) BUT I have to say, despite DS1 being induced for medical reasons, I enjoyed his birth more. Not anything to do with pain (I had an epidural with him) but things seemed clearer and more special. Perhaps it was the pain issue - I maybe wasn't able to focus on actually having my baby the second time round, because I was too preoccupied on thinking that I was being split in half. confused

Anyway, no more babies. grin

BartletForTeamGB Sun 20-Jan-13 14:02:08

I had DC1 at home and it was all very uncomplicated.

DC2 was stillborn and while it was clearly a very sad experience, we were treated with such love and care in the delivery unit of our local hospital. I don't have any concerns about going back to the hospital.

DC3 is on the way and I have booked a home birth, so you can see I am not against them, but it does concern me that sometimes women get very fixated on the idea of a home birth, even where there are risk factors, so if it doesn't happen, they feel that they have failed.

I am hoping that DC3 will be born at home and I think the evidence, assuming I stay low risk, supports that as a good idea, but ultimately it doesn't matter whether the birth happens at home or in the delivery suite or in theatre after a section as long as the mother and baby are alive and well.

So, yes, consider a home birth, but keep a light hold of your plans and be willing to be flexible.

nikosmum2010 Sun 20-Jan-13 14:04:55

i had DC2 in NHS hospital, I had a wonderful time and a wonderful midwife, she was there with me throughout. I could still move about as I wanted in the labour room and give birth naturally in the position I wanted.
When DC2 was being born, her shoulder was stuck and the midwife quickly pressed a button and instantly there was a team of qualified proffessionals ready to deal with the emergency. In addition, DC2 came out with the cord wrapped round her neck 3 times so needed oxygen straight away. This is something that you can only know once the baby is born and I do not know had I chosen a home birth wether the midwife would have had that emergency equipment. This is the main reason I went for the hospital birth

ninipops Sun 20-Jan-13 14:19:06

I had DD1 in hospital - had PIH so had to. DS was born at home in the pool - that was so much nicer. I was so much more in control - I was able to get in 'the zone' much more easily and stay there. All the other pros too own bed shower etc.

DD2 was born at home too - 6 days ago! In the end she came so quick it would have been a homebirth even if it hadn't been planned. Spoke to midwife at 8:15 DD2 was caught by DH at 8:40 10 min before paramedics arrived and 20 before the midwife. Other kids slept though it - even me getting shouty and sweary! - and we were all tucked up in bed by 11. Can't get any better.

If you have no risk factors then go for it.

Doingthedo Sun 20-Jan-13 14:55:25

I had second baby at home. Amazing experience, midwife didn't quite make it in time for the birth but all was ok. I had breakfast, went into labour, had a baby, had a shower then was back in my own bed before lunch! I loved it. I prepared the bed with plastic sheet and old towels on top that could be just gathered up after, revealing my clean bed underneath to get straight into!

spiderlight Sun 20-Jan-13 15:18:09

I had a brilliant home birth with DS. I'm a total wuss with pain, have major anxiety problems and am terrified of hospitals, but I had DS with no drugs (pool and TENS) and my midwife said I was the calmest labouring woman she'd ever seen and that I must have an incredibly high pain threshold. It was just because I was relaxed, felt safe, could potter round and see to the dogs/make us all a cuppa/watch a bit of telly/send DH to the chip shop as and when I felt like it, and being able to use my own shower in private and then cwtch up in my own bed afterwards was bliss. I'm sure I had better attention from the midwives as well - at one point there were four of them plus a student in my front room because there was a shift change and the first two were hanging on and hanging on in the hope of seeing DS arrive. Honestly, I can't recommend it highly enough - it was an amazing, calm, peaceful experience and I coped with it vastly better than I'd expected to.

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