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

pootlebug Thu 17-Jan-13 15:08:18

Hospital birth with my first. Home birth with my 2nd and 3rd - both born in birthpool in my living room.

I decided to have a home birth with my 2nd at about 35 weeks pregnant. And obviously liked it enough to do it again.

Pros:
- Can get straight in your own shower and own bed after
- Feeling more in charge in your own environment
- 1 to 1 attention (and 2-to-1 at the end) from the midwife all the way through
- Guaranteed to have a pool....no worries over whether the hospital pool will be available

Cons:
- I wouldn't do it if I had significant risk factors against it. But after one pretty straightforward birth (albeit with a long-ish labour) and no complications in subsequent pregnancies, I felt no reason why not.

nickelbabe Thu 17-Jan-13 15:19:15

i did.

would do it again (and will if they let me - I had a PPH.)

I loved most the fact that it was in my own surroundings, I could pretty much do anything I wanted, eat anything I wanted, go anywhere I wanted, be in any position I wanted, all the way through labour.

and even though I packed my bag, if i changed my mind about anything, I had the option of it grin

I had to transfer to hospital immediately afterwards to be stitched up, and I wouldn't have done that journey in full labour! shock

ThatVikRinA22 Thu 17-Jan-13 15:26:31

i had first DC in hospital (wasnt very nice)

i had second DC at home (was lovely!)

at home i was much more relaxed, laboured quickly and by the time i called midwife i was 7cm - didnt need pain relief as felt very relaxed and comfortable, after the birth midwives went and made tea and toast while DH and i spent a time alone with DD, i went and had a lovely bath in my own bath while they helped DH change into clean bed sheets and then i climbed back into my own lovely bed with DD in a moses basket at the side of me.
it was lovely. i snoozed the day away in my own bed in lovely peace and quiet.

i would recommend home birth to anyone if no complications. it was a much much nicer experience.

MrsHowardRoark Thu 17-Jan-13 15:37:27

I had my DD at home and she was (is) my first.

I have nothing to compare it to but I found the whole experience a positive one.

I had a pool set up in the kitchen and I was able to get in and out and wander around as I wanted. The midwives were fantastic and having their undivided attention was really great.

My labour was 24 hours with 2 hours of pushing, so it wasn't easy but I managed it without pain relief. I think this was because the midwife was able to talk me through each contraction.

My DP was also able to be totally involved and he helped with the delivery.

It was very messy and we ended up throwing away a lot of bedding and towels but I'd be more prepared next time.

You can always prepare for a home birth and transfer if it isn't for you.

Good luck.

Is it your first?

You know you don't have to decide at all. Book in for a homebirth and plan to 'start at home' with the 'finishing at home' left open.

Once we stop making homebirths a big deal or a huge choice that actually, it isn't, it will become more of a mainstream option imo.

MoonHare Thu 17-Jan-13 15:56:03

Two very positive experiences of home birth here. DC1 born in hospital and it was fine, still positive but I knew it was not the way I wanted to do it in future.

DC2 and 3 born at home. Both relaxed, calm, really lovely experiences. Still hard work but completely stress free.

I echo what starlight says, plan for a home birth but still pack a bag for hospital - you'll need the stuff in it anyway and it might as well all be in one place. There's always the option to go in if you want to.

Best wishes for everything.

BourbonsandTea Thu 17-Jan-13 16:30:43

I had my first at home and will plan to have any future babies at home too.

Pros -
*You can make your home as clean as you want no need to worry about MRSA, noro-virus, anything that might be carried around hospital or birthing unit
*Stress levels are likely to be lower when you are in your own environment meaning you are likely to have a higher pain threshold/feels less pain. (i'm sure there is a better explanation for that somewhere)
*For this reason, and the fact that it is not available there, you are less likely to want an epidural. I think at some points in labour you would take anything to make the pain stop for a little bit even if it is something you would regret/rather not have had. - one intervention often leads on to another.
* You often have all the 'tools'/ space at home to effectively active birth. Stairs, hallways, clean carpeted floor spaces, chairs, tables and beds to lean on. Bath or shower to dip in an out of at will. Your own toilet.
*Your OH will feel more confident in their own environment and can feel important setting up the birth pool/ grabbing things you need/ helping you around/ rubbing your back (without feeling like he has to answer to someone in a uniform first).
* OH doesn't get sent away shortly after birth of baby if outside of visiting hours
* You can definitely have a birth pool (no having to rely on a quiet day at the birthing unit)
*You can curl up in your own bed after or on your own sofa
*You can have as many visitors as you like at whatever time is best for you
* Two midwives come to you with gas and air when you are established then they stay with you right up until it's all finished and you are all clean and comfy - Mine were great they were right there the whole time but not invasive - they left me to it which is what I wanted.
* In a hospital or birthing unit Midwives may be dealing with more than one person each so in terms of things going wrong it is likely to be spotted sooner at home. If its an emergency they ring ahead and theatre would be set up waiting for your arrival. It could be quicker to travel from home to operating theatre with a midwife supervising you than from hospital room to theatre with midwife in another room. (That sounds a bit scary and I obviously have no experience of this myself.)
* I could go on, and on, and on.. grin

Cons - I don't remember any

www.homebirth.org.uk is a fantastic resource with lots of lovely positive stories (from fathers too), and helpful information.

I also agree with what starlight and MrsHoward say. You could have an open mind about where you end up. Start with the plan to home birth, have a hospital bag prepared, and move on to hospital if that feels right at the time.

Good Luck and I hope that whether you decide to stay home or feel more comfortable in hospital that you have the birth you want and a happy healthy baby too!

nickelbabe Thu 17-Jan-13 16:44:27

Bourbons is right about germs - but even if you don't do a huge clean up, you're less likely to get infections because your body is used to your germs smile

squidkid Thu 17-Jan-13 17:44:18

I had my first baby at home. It was long and tough (30 hours) ... but I think it would have been longer and perhaps gone down the intervention line in hospital. In the end my lovely baby was born completely naturally in my own home without any tears or stitches, midwives were gone in 2 hours, I was showered, fed real food and in my own bed half an hour after that. It was lovely.

I think if it had been shorter I wouldn't have struggled, but I did find it hard and painful. I stayed active and felt safe and looked after. The midwives were fantastic and it was reassuring that they didn't (couldn't) go anywhere. They were very unobtrusive though and it was very much led by me and how I wanted things to go. I certainly felt independent and listened to. I felt very relaxed and stressfree in the early stages. I got to 7cm before I felt the need to call them out, though I was on the phone to them before then to inform them my waters had broken, etc. It was nice not having to make the decision of when to go to hospital.

My boyfriend is a huge fan of homebirths now after initially being dubious, I think because he got to help and be involved more than he might have in hospital. He is a bigger fan than me - I still wonder if a nice painfree epidural labour might have been better!!! grin

No real regrets and will do it again for the second if we have a second (baby is only 15 weeks).

I think the main downside is the possibility of transferring whilst in full blown labour, that must be tough.

higgle Fri 18-Jan-13 14:40:01

I had my first in a (now closed) London hospital that specialised in natural childbirth. They said there was no reason I shouldn't have next baby at home so I hired a birth pool and got on with it.

It was one of teh best days of my life, I'm sure. A short comfortable labour, DS2 arrived ( with his older brother unexpectedly present) after about 3 hours. Back to my own bed, DH did a cooked breakfast and we got up in the afternoon and enjoyed a lovely afternoon together before I made dinner, because I wanted to.

I did decide against a home birth first time around because I was worried about an emergency transfer and then not being able to have a HB the next time. The only disadvantage was that my GP refused to attend in case I sued him. I'm not sure that was a disadvantage as the two lovely midwives who came along managed perfectly well on their own.

On both occasions I had a strong urge to take all my clothes off and be naked in labour, which seemed to be exactly what they expected at the private hospital and up to me at home. Not sure it would have been so easy at an NHS hospital.

TheYamiOfYawn Fri 18-Jan-13 14:50:54

I had both my babies at home. For me it was much better than hospital - midwives with me the whole time, freedom to move around as I wanted to, no hospital smallest or noises to distract me, able to get stuff I wanted from around the house when I wanted it, got to spend our first night all together rather than DP being sent home, a bath in my own bathroom afterwards, with the food I wanted, no uncomfortable journey home.

I think that women tend to get better care at home, because the midwife only has one woman to look after.

SanityClause Fri 18-Jan-13 14:53:38

I had DD1 in hospital - labour was induced and I hated the whole experience.

I elected for a home birth for DD2 and had to be taken to hospital during labour (ambulance, but no blue lights etc.) This was a much better experience. I had a pool at home, but didn't really get on with it. It felt cold, even though it is at body temperature. But I had a lovely midwife in the hospital that time (the community midwives left after their shift, as labour wasn't too far advanced), and she made all the difference.

I elected for a home birth again for DS, and finally managed to do it. It was lovely. My waters broke just as DD1 and 2 were going to bed. I used my own bath while in labour, but got out after a while. I gave birth to DS in my bathroom, after a four hour labour. I had a student midwife. She did all the work, but there was a qualified midwife overseeing her work. Most of the appointments were at home, as well, as my house fitted into the midwife's regular journeys.

If you can, I think you should go for it!

Home birth without a second thought. 1st DS born in hospital car park 2nd DD born at home, very comfortably and quickly. So much more relaxing and calming. Best of luck

Flisspaps Fri 18-Jan-13 15:13:57

nickel - less of that 'let' word please wink

I had a rough (hospital induction) birth with DD. Ended up with forceps, 3a tear, manual placenta removal and PPH. Bloody awful experience.

I planned a homebirth for DS 'against medical advice' (but the Supervisor of Midwives met me and we went through various documents to see what I was and wasn't happy with care-wise, and I was always happy to transfer in if it was thought necessary)

As it happened, I did transfer in after several hours of pushing with no sign of the bugger appearing (BIG baby - 11lb 7oz - who they suspected was transverse at one point) but I would do it again in a heartbeat. Even the transfer itself in an ambulance was fine. Again, he was a forceps birth with a PPH. If I were to have a third, then I'd consider a homebirth again unless there was an issue in that particular pregnancy that meant hospital was safer for the baby immediately after birth.

If you're unsure, then you can always decide to go to the MLU/CLU on the day. Have a look at the homebirth website too - www.homebirth.org.uk, and join the homebirth group on Yahoo. Both very helpful.

NaturalBaby Fri 18-Jan-13 15:19:16

I had 3 home births and they were perfect. We don't live far from the hospital so that helped my worries about transfering, and I really wanted a water birth so bought a pool to use at home.
The mw's sat in the corner and didn't do anything, afterwards I got to use my own bathroom and get straight into my own bed.

Phineyj Fri 18-Jan-13 15:22:25

I ended up transferring to hospital in the end but the home part was fine for all the reasons given above. Getting an ambulance to come out on Xmas day proved to be beyond the NHS though so my DH had to drive, but at least our lovely midwife was with us.

nickelbabe Fri 18-Jan-13 15:25:52

Fliss - i promise the "let" was firmly tongue-in-cheek

for those in any doubt, the medical staff can advise you and can give you options, but they cannot make the decision for you.

Fairypants Fri 18-Jan-13 15:40:25

Dd1 was born in hospital just because I didn't really know how I would cope. Dd2 was a home birth and I'm glad. Would agree with all the comments here about more relaxed and Delhi had more choice etc. the only comments I would add are:
My childcare fell through when if came to it. DH would have missed the whole thing if I was in hospital, also, he managed to grab dd1 between actual birth and cord cutting so she felt she was there when her sister was born but didn't have to watch the labour.
On a (slightly) negative note, having midwives in our home triggered dh's 'looking after guests' behaviour which really pi$$ed me off when he was busy making them breakfast and they were busy eating breakfast and I was on labour in the corner on my own!!! (Grrr).
I'd do it again (and hope to, given the chance.) I just didn't feel unwell at all which is how it should be.

Startail Fri 18-Jan-13 16:00:38

DD2 was born at home.

Pros - Everything

Cons - Non

I could wax lyrical about how beautiful it was to be in my own space, own bed, own bath and have DD1 walk in and meet her sister at 3 minutes old.

I could tell you how much less painful and less frightening labour was being able to move about without other peoples children looking at you.

I could say it was still a bit scary pushing her out and it would have been nice if she'd left gaps between contractions.

I could tell you how much easier BFing is with no one breathing down your neck checking if the babies eaten.

I could tell you about the magic picnic lunch with DH, DD1 and DD2 in our bed when she was 6hrs old.

But I don't need to, if a home birth is for you, you'll know.

clickingtock Fri 18-Jan-13 16:02:26

Good news about baby's position change!

i would say go for it. First and second birth at home, here, fantastic experiences and the NHS are fab about it. Much more relaxed than I imagine hospital would be but don't have that experience to compare.

My dd was born at home 12 days ago and is the picture of health. And I'm 41 now. The birth was about 3.5 hours. I also put it down to hypno birthing which I highly recommend if you want to stay at home and avoid pain control drugs.

Good luck whatever your decision. The main thing is to have a safe and healthy baby, so if you don't get the birth you hoped for don't beat yourself up. thanks

Ahhhcantthinkofagoodname Fri 18-Jan-13 21:51:00

Is it your first baby? I ask cos I think it's so unpredictable how labour pains will feel, some people are fine with no pain relief or just gas and air and some really need more pain relief.

My first baby was delivered by DH in the bathroom an hour or so after being sent home from birth centre and I had a home birth for my second. Because I knew I could just about cope without pain relief and because I liked the idea of being in my home (and because I was worried I'd make it to hosp on time!) I went for the home birth option. It was great to have he undivided attention of two lovely midwives, they said they really liked doing home births too. Afterwards I lay back on my sofa while they stiched me up (much nicer than my previous experience when I was taken to hospital after giving birth in the bathroom!). Then we had all our nice food t hand and I could bf DD lying down in our double bed, again much nicer than attempting to bf DS in a uncomfortable hospital bed.

I guess I would say go for it if it's not your first and you have some idea what it will be like for you or if you are very confident about the whoe thing!

DoItToJulia Fri 18-Jan-13 22:03:36

I have had both.

Ds1was home born (his expression!!). It was bliss. The very best bit was that DH didn't get sent home so we had a huge cuddle, our first ever as a family, until we couldn't keep our eyes open any longer.

The second was a hospital birth because I was induced. The plan was for a home birth and I was gutted. However, the birth itself was fine, and has made me feel ambivalent about where I would give birth in future. The very worst bit was that DH was sent home. I hated hated hated that. I missed my family.

My advice would be to do what feels the most comfortable for you. Good luck OP!

Flisspaps Fri 18-Jan-13 22:05:14

Ahhh but every labour's different - my first one I had an epidural. Second I had the pool and g&a. Coping with pain in one labour (or not) without certain drugs isn't an indicator of how you'll feel in subsequent labours.

It's ok to start at home and transfer in if you do want something stronger smile

I was booked for a homebirth but ended up in hospital as dd was born slightly premature.

The birth itself was OK but I really hated being in hospital for the reasons other posters have said. Also I was transferred between hospitals so I still had an ambulance ride mid labour.

I needed forceps in the end but it wasn't an emergency and would rather have laboured at home and transferred in at the end.

Next time (if there is a next time grin) I would definitely try again for a homebirth.

Mitchdafish Sat 19-Jan-13 10:31:36

I had both my childen at home and would never go in to hospital unelss I felt the benefits of being in hospital really outweighed the risks for me and my baby. IME women who are even thinking of a home birth are already half-way there, already feeling that they and their baby will probably be absolutely fine, and the likelihood of birth being shorter and easier and more straightforward is far greater if women have babies at home.
You may come across recent research that shows that a first time Mum might be better off in hospital, but do look at the statistics very carefully to decide if you feel they apply to you. (not certain if this is first baby)
It's so lovely to have confident midwives who are there just for you, to not worry about going to hospital, lower risk of infection, feeling relaxed and in control, hopefully to be tucked into bed afterwards with your baby... Good luck with your decision-making.

nickelbabe Sat 19-Jan-13 14:22:00

definitely get a Tens machine.

and make sure the battery is full - and get someone to check it every hour or so (mine ran out and the pain was really bad, but I didn't know it had run out, and no one thought to check. it could have been a lot better for that time - when they took it off because it wasn't working, no one though to replace the battery and put it back on hmm )

rosamarina Sat 19-Jan-13 19:54:02

My DS2 was born at home last week, and it all went well. 5 hours of labour, I didn't need any pain relief, and though it was a bit messy at the time you'd never guess I'd had a baby on the living room sofa now! It was very good just to go upstairs, have a shower and get into my own bed afterwards. DS1 was a homebirth transferred into hospital and ventouse delivery, and I got vastly better care at home than I had in hospital - no waiting around for doctors/midwives/etc to be free, the midwives' undivided attention, and I'm sure they took a lot more care over the stitching (also on the living room sofa!) afterwards at home than they did at hospital where I felt like the doctor was in a huge rush to get off somewhere else, and everyone took the time to explain things properly.

I mean, I would only go for a homebirth if I fit the low-risk criteria and wasn't too far from a hospital, because there are times when a hospital is exactly what you need, but DS2's birth was so much less stressful than DS1's.

WingDefence Sat 19-Jan-13 20:45:25

OP - thanks for starting this thread smile I'm 29 weeks and seriously considering a HB. DS (now 4) was born at hospital and although it was a straightforward and fairly quick labout, I have still got issues with the care I received (wasn't allowed to get off my back because they didn't believe me when I said I wanted to push etc) and the idea of having a midwife all to myeslf is selfishly a massive deal for me.

Startail, your post nearly made me cry.

Can I please just ask you lovely ladies (if you don't mind, OP) about the messiness of it all? I know this is what is putting DH off as we have cream-ish carpets throughout our house blush grin

Yorky Sat 19-Jan-13 20:59:18

I have had 4 home water births and loved each one!
I have only positive experiences to share, but no hospital births to compare to.
Good luck whatever you choose (but don't underestimate the power of a decent mug of tea afterwards!)

SanityClause Sat 19-Jan-13 20:59:57

Wings, we put a load of dust sheets down to protect the carpet, which was actually unecessary. I actually gave birth in the tiled bathroom, so no problem there.

DS was born caught in a towel by the midwife according to DH ( I was too busy pushing and roaring like a wounded bull to notice blush ) so obviously there was a bit of washing to do. But, not very messy at all, really.

Fairypants Sat 19-Jan-13 21:38:32

On the midwives recommendation we put down plastic sheets covered in towels/old sheets etc to avoid puddles. They have some soaking pad type things they use for the actual delivery mess so it was more for when I was pacing around than anything else.
In the event, labour started with waters going on the way to the loo in the middle of the night so big puddle on the floor before we even put down coverings. Other than that, no mess and I wouldn't have escaped that in hospital cos I wouldn't have gone yet.
They took all the waste away with them too so really not a issue.
Good luck girls, I hope you have a positive experience no matter what you choose.

RuchedCurtain Sat 19-Jan-13 22:01:51

I had both dds in water at home -amazing, inspiring, empowering experiences.

I felt completely able to go with my instincts, vocalise, move around, eat, drink, etc.

I had the complete attention of mw, and felt utterly safe and supported. I washed in my own bathroom after, ate my own food and slept undisturbed in my own bed.

Starting our life as a family together, not separated, felt so right. And, as dd2 was born overnight, dd1 woke to find her and was not disrupted in any way.

I always planned to start at home stay at home as long as possible & see how it went. No pressure but all options open.

Good luck.

maxbear Sat 19-Jan-13 22:25:08

I've had one hospital (mlu) water birth, two home water births, all were great, especially the home births. I would always choose homebirth if there were no anticipated problems. Mess was all in the birth pool and my dh sorted it all out so not an issue. I bled a bit more than usual with the middle one, not enough to cause me any major issues, just enough to make me feel a bit rubbish for a few days, its didn't put me off having any more and the carpets all survived!

ImKateandsoismywife Sat 19-Jan-13 22:51:42

I've had one hospital birth and one homebirth and would choose home every time! I had much better care at home, the mw was so lovely and totally hands off but right there if I needed her. In hospital I was fobbed off and treated like an inconvenience which led to a lot of panic and not coping very well with the pain. I get the impression that community mws really like delivering babies as they are not doing it on every shift and that positive attitude can make a huge difference. As lots of others have said you can always book a homebirth and change your mind on the day.

Also wrt the comments on transferring in during labour - with my hospital birth I was told not to come in several times when I really wanted to go in as the mw didn't think I was in labour yet. When they eventually decided to let me go in - via taxi - I was 10cm dilated and really distressed! Ime they will put you off as long as possible so this kind of thing does happen, especially now with the baby boom and mw shortages. At least if you transfer from a planned homebirth it will be in an ambulance with a mw and gas and air available grin

I had my first (and only so far) ds at home and I would and will do it again all being well. MW did raise a concern that I might need to be transferred by ambulance (but not emergency) due to high blood pressure but waited til the gas & air arrived to see if that brought it down and it did! I was fine about being transferred if medically needed.

I had 9 hour labour with 20 minute 2nd stage, no pushing, no tears. I didn't bother with a pool as I knew i would end up nagging dh to clear it away after the birth! (lucky I didn't bother as dh ended up missing the birth) MW were very keen to keep me mobile, active and then on all fours to keep labour going (and because ds was back to back - he turned just before transition)

I gave birth on the bed, with a shower curtain under the sheet. After the birth, the mw's laid down my old sheets and towels on the floor to make a path to the bathroom and I showered. When I came back the mw and my bff had changed all the bedding for me and the kettle was on smile (they also put down mats for the delivery and any slips/leaks washed out. I recommend some bed mats though for the bleeding afterwards - twas a bugger to wash out of my sofa)

The MW's set up their resus equipment in my spare bedroom so between that, the gas & air (and pethidine had I wanted it) I had pretty much everything the MLU had.

Having a shower in my own bathroom then being tucked up in my own bed was one of the main reasons I chose a homebirth (plus the full attention of 2 mw's plus a student) and it was especially good as there was no chucking out time for dh (he got home 2 hours after ds arrived).

YY to book and then make your mind up during labour. My mw said I can start at home and if I don't like it transfer to MLU but if I start at MLU they won't let me transfer home smile

MoominmammasHandbag Sat 19-Jan-13 23:27:48

DC4 was a home birth, and by far my best experience. It was also the only time I felt I had proper, focused, unhurried midwife care and the only time I have had a baby delivered with two midwives present (which is apparently what should always happen).

mumzy Sat 19-Jan-13 23:51:50

Had ds2 +dd1 at home ds1 was a hospital birth. Second all the positives mentioned also to add it was great not to have the world and his mother traipsing through while I was in labour which happened at ds1 birth. You are definitely much more in control and have the undivided attention of 1 then 2 midwives.

Had both mine at home so no hospital birth to compare to, but having had the experiences I've had there is no way I'd ever opt for a hospital birth unless medically necessary. Lots of the same reasons as above but ultimately I felt safer at home and think you should be able to give birth wherever you feel safest as that gets you pretty far towards having a good outcome. You just can't beat the care received by two midwives who really want to be there and only have you to focus on.

Have to sat every labour is different, DD was quicker than DS but much more intense, much more painful, to the point of which I almost begged to be transferred in from more pain relief!

Keep your options open, they're most likely to remain open if you at least start off aiming for a home birth - you can transfer in at any point for any reason.

Mess wise, we didn't have a pool either time but MW cleaned up and took it all away, you'd have never known I'd given birth in my flat!

Honestly, it's an incredible experience and soooooooo glad I Didn't have to do with post natal wards

hellohellohihi Sun 20-Jan-13 00:08:04

I had a homebirth with DD and would definitely recommend it. We bought a birthpool and I was probably in it less than 1 hour before DD turned up. I had no pain relief, no stitches or tears.

My closest maternity unit is reknowned for being too busy and people get sent away to other hospitals (which is another reason I decided I wanted to be at home) and we'd been warned that if it was a busy night there would be a possiblity that there wouldn't be a midwife available to come out to us, and then if it was that busy, we'd likely have to go to a hospital over an hour away (the closest is 5 mins)...

Lo and behold when I called up to tell them I was in labour I got the "well, we're very busy and don't have anyone to come out to you"... I told them I wasn't going anywhere (I'd read up on homebirth.org.uk that they couldn't force me to go in, nor could they refuse to provide me with car).

The first midwife turned up 45 mins before DD was born, the second about 10 minutes afterwards. They were gone 2 hours later and we were left snuggling in bed.

I should also point out that my waters broke just before I got in the pool, and they weren't clear. When the first midwife arrived, she asked about my waters/asked to see the pad I'd had in and mentioned something about transferring to the hospital due to meconium. I also recall her being on the phone to the second midwife saying "there's no way we'll get her to hospital on time, this baby is on its way". They later told me that officially they should've sent me and DD in, but seeing as there were no issues otherwise, they would leave meconium off my notes and leave us in bed. They also said that they wish all births were like that.

I did a hypnobirthing course and told the midwives that, and they said they should be standard and given to every woman.

There seemed to be a real divide between the hospital midwives and the community midwives, the latter being more modern in their approach and somehow softer.

Whatever you chose it will be a magical moment smile

Homebird8 Sun 20-Jan-13 00:30:59

I did it twice and would do it again in a blink if it didn't result in the change of lifestyle which goes with a baby. I love my big boys and they love their birth stories!

Boobz Sun 20-Jan-13 05:40:49

I had all three of mine at home (two in London, one one in Nairobi, Kenya) and they were the best experiences of my life.

If you have a low-risk pregnancy and the midwives are supportive, I cannot recommend it enough.

If you search "Boobz" and "homebirth", you will find literally hundreds of posts about it from me - I am somewhat evangelical about it!

Two dedicated midwives concentrating completely on you and your baby, as it should be, is the best way to give birth.

Good luck, whatever you choose!

Boobz Sun 20-Jan-13 06:29:15

If you need any more convincing, I have two (non-gory) homebirth vids from my second two children:

Connie born at home in London

Kit born at home in Nairobi, Kenya

sparklingsea Sun 20-Jan-13 06:32:09

I had my first in hospital, it was not a bad experience however he was born very quickly (20 minutes after arriving at hospital after just 2 hours of contractions). I had never really given home birth much thought but it was suggested by my midwife as a second labour might be quicker still. It turned out to be the most euphoric day of my life. He was born in the bath, which wasn't my intention but didn't want to get out once I had got in! It felt like the most natural thing in the world, I had 100 percent confidence in the highly experienced midwives and any mess went down the plug hole. I was very lucky though to have two very uncomplicated, easy and quick births. Like I say the hospital birth was by no means bad but the home birth was just wonderful.

Weissdorn Sun 20-Jan-13 06:33:01

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Hiddenbiscuits Sun 20-Jan-13 06:45:49

Had a home birth with first (and only) baby and it was amazing, i felt completely in control which helped manage the pain. After pushing for a long time the midwives called an ambulance but was very controlled and I trusted their judgement on mine and baby's safety- they were very calm, competent and knowledgeable. In the end DD appeared just as the ambulance crew came up the stairs (4 of them!) so had quite an audience grin i put cheap shower curtain down to protect the carpet but there was no need, very little mess in the end and the midwives cleared it up afterwards. I loved that DD was dried and snuggled in a big comfy towel from the radiator when she was born

MothershipG Sun 20-Jan-13 08:00:09

I'm another one with first DC in hospital, like sparkling short labour, only in the hospital 20 mins and he arrived. So decided to have no. 2 at home. She wasn't as quick (I think she was quite happy where she was and was really rather cross when she did make an appearance. grin) My midwives just sat about drinking tea and chatting about their holidays while I did all the work. wink But seriously I too would recommend a HB for all the reasons everyone else has given.

Are we unanimous? smile

Lindt70Percent Sun 20-Jan-13 08:39:54

DS was born in hospital because he arrived at 36 weeks. The birth was very quick but I had a retained placenta which had to be dragged out of me.

With DD I thought labour could be quick so planned a HB. I used to see two midwives during my pregnancy and one was fine about it and the other was quite against it because of the previous retained placenta. The anti midwife even arranged for me to see a consultant but he was happy about the HB.

Anyway, DD was born at home. She arrived 45 minutes after I had the first contraction so it was just as well I was at home as I had only convinced myself I was really in labour about 15 minutes before she was born. The midwife arrived as she was crowning. She said she didn't even have time to put her gloves on. Two further midwives arrived after the baby. The placenta took another 45 minutes to come - natural 3rd stage rather than managed this time. Incidentally, I hadn't met any of the midwives who came out before which didn't matter at all.

It was lovely to be at home. DS was 2.5 yrs old and was only out of the room for the moment she was born (just happened that way rather than particularly planned that way) so he was quite happy, particularly as he got a celebratory chocolate biscuit as well as a new sister. My Mum came round with a cake. The midwives left and I had a bath in my own bath and got into my own bed. The midwife who delivered DD came back late that night to check on us and we chatted and laughed about the birth.

When I saw the midwife who had been nervous about the HB while I was pregnant she said, "Wasn't it good you had her at home, she'd have been born in the car if you'd tried to go to hospital".

squidkid Sun 20-Jan-13 08:41:40

Lindt aw that is such a lovely story, though I have to say after 30 hours of labour I HATE people like you!! wink

schilke Sun 20-Jan-13 08:47:44

Dc1 & 2 born in hospital and I hated every second. Dc2 seriously ill a few days after he was born. He had picked up an infection in his umbilical area. I am convinced he picked it up in hospital.

So for dc3 & 4 I decided on home births. Lovely. Felt so much more relaxed. Dc4 was born at 7:30 pm and the other dc came in a few mins after wards. I'm very quiet during labour so knew I wouldn't freak the other dc out!

Nice cup of tea afterwards and my mum brought us fried eggs on toast!

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.

Xenia Sun 20-Jan-13 15:20:17

Our first there were in hospital but we had a "6 hour transfer" which meant we could get straight back home, which was lovely. The 4th was due to be at home, private midwife... but then was twins which is risky so we started at home with my own midwives, one twin came quickly, second one obviously wanted to wait 2 or 3 days... so eventually we went to the hospital where a drip got him going and he was born naturally and we all got back home the same night. His older twin was technically a hospital visitor!!

The twins were born in different London boroughs. They were calm good births, 4th adn 5th children often are. It was fine and I would certainly recommend home births but start and see how it goes. I chose to go to hospital when I was tired with twin 2. I just did not expect I would have two separate 7 hour labours in a day for each twin, never ever read that could happen. Birth is unpredictable.

It is lovely at home, much much nicer. I was the only one of my siblings born in hospital and my mother was one of the first members of the NCT in the very early 60s.

ISpyPlumPie Sun 20-Jan-13 15:56:30

Had a lovely hb with DS2 7 weeks ago. Think most of the advantages have been outlined by PPs - being more relaxed/ in control in own environment, 2:1 care from mws focused on you etc. A massive bonus for me was the fact that DS1 slept through it all and woke up the next morning to meet his little brother. He had no disruption at all, and we just had a really lovely chilled out day with grandparents visiting at times that suited everyone. It really did feel as if DS2 arriving was the most natural thing and he just slotted immediately into family life.

In terms of mess, I gave birth in the pool so it was all pretty self-contained. DH emptied it and said it really wasn't that bad. I'd bought a cheap duvet and the mws also bought some pads which we made a nest from for me to sit in while I delivered the placenta and DS2 latched on for his first feed. Think the pads and maybe one towel ended up being binned. Overall it was really easy to clear up and the mws who came out to do the newborn check (later the same day) said you would never have guessed there'd just been a birth in my living room.

Good luck smile.

wisemanscamel Sun 20-Jan-13 18:17:49

We were advised to buy a couple of packets of those bed mats and one of the plastic sheets you get for DIY to cover the carpet. We put old towels on the top - but they didn't need binning, just a hot wash. Didn't fancy a pool, just sat in front of the sofa and used it to lean over in the final stages.

My home birth was the best day of my life so far and really influenced how I felt about DS2, which actually led to a few issues later with his older siblings.

DH was sent up to bed and was woken up in time for the pushing. It was lovely to sit in my front room with dim lights, biscuits and two lovely calm midwived gossiping lightheartedly about their colleagues.

However, it's not a competition. Do whatever suits you. Good luck.

heliotrope Sun 20-Jan-13 20:17:49

Like many others here I've had one in hosp (1st) and the 2nd and 3rd at home. For the first I planned to stay home but had to go in due to meconium in waters, so ended up with syntocin drip, giving birth on back with ventouse, a few stitches, but still over the moon! 2nd and 3rd lovely experiences at home.
I would go for it if you have the option but be open to the transfer if needed or you decide you want it.

DewDr0p Sun 20-Jan-13 20:37:32

aargh just typed a long post and lost it!

Jist was: wonderful experience, mws were amazing, would prob have had intervention in hospital but they managed it really well and ended up with minor tear/no stitches, barely any mess and mws cleared up (groundsheet recommended), utter bliss sinking into own bed afterwards, wonderful when ds1 woke up and realised his baby brother had arrived.

The only downside I could think of was perhaps less support in establishing bfing - this didn't matter for me as I was on ds3 and quite an experienced bfer by that point. I was lucky that I had ds1 in a MLU and their bfing support was great - I know lots of people don't have this experience in big hospitals though.

Zoidberg Sun 20-Jan-13 20:44:35

I had a great homebirth with DD (first and only DC), in a pool in the lounge.

The only downside was I felt a little bit treated like "oh, she chose homebirth, she knows what to do" and this was okay apart from I needed help with breastfeeding. Due to time taken with stitches (plus waiting for a missing suture kit to be biked over from the hospital), we hadn't even tried and then the midwife was off. There followed a couple of stressful weeks.

But the day itself was great, or as I have often said, as great as something involving serious pain can possibly be grin

discrete Sun 20-Jan-13 20:52:57

I had both of mine at home, I hate hospitals so it was a no brainer to me.

I loved being at home and feeling like I was in control, and that I would be listened to and my wishes would be respected.

I am not in the UK, so the midwife who attended me was the same as I saw all the way through my pg, so I knew her well and knew I would be relaxed with her. I would have felt less secure if I had not known which midwife would attend me.

FOURBOYSUNDER6 Sun 20-Jan-13 20:57:04

I compromised as I wanted home birth but dh was scared of -the mess- being far away from hospital if problems arose .... As it was no 4 and i had no probs labouring with other three in conventional hospital set up I was allowed to birth in the birthing suite at Bolton rather than the traditional hospital labour ward and delivery suite which was amazing and like a hotel room / being in your own room so I got my home birth experience whilst dh was happy knowing the conventional hospital ward was just a couple of floors down in the lift if intervention was needed ..... I LOVED it..... Felt pampered as they were running me baths bringing me drinks putting tens machine on and my iPod and dimming lights but were not intrusive and dh could stay and visitors whenever too They were more like doula s.... smilesmilesmilesmilesmilesmilesmile

Nosleeptillgodknowswhen Sun 20-Jan-13 21:48:34

Had 2 homebirths for Dd2 and DS - both lovely. Having more space to move around in definately meant i stayed on my feet for longer than in hospital with DD1.

Nosleeptillgodknowswhen Sun 20-Jan-13 21:51:08

Btw was very glad i got an on call midwife for DS as i had done more homebirths than my (new) community midwife grin! and it turned out to be the midwife who had done the day 1 checks on DD2 when my midwife had gone on holiday.

Reaa Sun 20-Jan-13 22:03:35

Home birth with DC6 was great had baby at 5.50pm by 8.00pm house was clean and tidy, midwifes had left, myself, DH and newborn were ready for bed, it was so relaxing and I found it so much easier than a hospital birth.

Reaa Sun 20-Jan-13 22:04:39

Home birth with DC6 was great had baby at 5.50pm by 8.00pm house was clean and tidy, midwifes had left, myself, DH and newborn were ready for bed, it was so relaxing and I found it so much easier than a hospital birth.

lisianthus Sun 20-Jan-13 22:20:42

DC1 - hospital birth in large london hospital. For DC2 I had a HB (water birth) as (1) I am am a wuss and wanted to make sure I had a MW on hand if anything went dicey (at the hospital, the MWs disappeared for hours at a time to help people in immediate need and I was worried that if something happened quickly it wouldn't be picked up by me as I am not medically qualified. (2) i wanted to give birth with midwives I knew, liked and trusted and had read my notes.

It went really well- turns out that DC2 is another baby who would have been born in a car if I'd tried to give birth in hospital anyway! I was in a nice clean bed with something to eat and my baby to cuddle, having had a SHOWER (bliss- i'd had to really push to get any of these things in hospital) within 20 minutes of giving birth.

I'd only not do it if I lived too far away from hospital or had risk factors that made it dangerous for my baby. I still think epidurals are awesome though! grin

firefly11 Sun 20-Jan-13 22:21:33

I had a hospital birth with my first which was horrible. Then I had homebirths with my 2nd and 3rd and they went so smoothly and so much less painful too. I did do a Hypnobirthing course prior to my 1st homebirth. I would not say that my homebirths were painless despite utilising Hypnobirthing techniques, but the pain was very manageable and the techniques I learnt in my course helped me get through the entire labour and birth without anaesthetic. For my 2nd homebirth it was also a very smooth experience and once again, I employed the techniques I learnt in the Hypnobirthing course I had before my 1st homebirth, found the techniques really useful from start to finish. My homebirths were also very intimate and private experiences, and I felt in full control of my body and it worked the way it was supposed to both times. I guess I'm just not cut out for hospital births. I hate having lots of strangers looking down at my privates and telling me to push or do stuff. It stresses me out. I can do all this on my own without prompting. And yes I also found it wonderful to be in the comfort of my own home, with all my food and stuff around me if I want them. That we didn't need to go anywhere after the birth, but just stay on the bed or couch if we liked. My kids also got to see their baby siblings immediately after the birth and it was a great experience for them too. I'd like them to grow up thinking of birth as a natural thing, not as something scary which was what I grew up thinking with my mum telling me so (she had 3 elective caesareans and was always telling me how horrible natural birth was).

firefly11 Sun 20-Jan-13 22:29:40

By the way I have friends who had nice hospital birth experiences. But they did not have them on the NHS, they are abroad. My own experience of having a baby in a busy central London hospital 10 years ago was... it was not nice. Overcrowded and understaffed. I would not do it again. It's just my experience though. I think it really depends on your circumstances and your hospital. And maybe things have changed for the better now. I don't know. Also I think I remember reading before that for first babies the transfer rate to hospital is higher for planned homebirths. Have a look at www.homebirth.org.uk there's lots of info there.

dabdab Sun 20-Jan-13 22:48:50

Had my 3 at home. All brilliant, some of the best experiences of my life. Lovely being in my home, in control, having 2-3 midwives at each birth, getting into my own bed and waking up in my own bed, bringing just-woken-up sibling in to meet her new sister and so on. We were lucky though as all my pgs were straightforward and hospital was not far. I can't think of anything bad.

AngelDog Sun 20-Jan-13 22:51:54

I had a hospital birth with DS1 and a homebirth with DS2. I'd definitely recommend a homebirth. It was so much nicer being able to relax more during labour (well, as much as you can smile) and having your own space.

Both babies arrived really fast.

I'd plan for a HB but pack up and organise for a hospital trip. I was glad I did, as I bled a lot and the MWs couldn't work out which bit of me was torn, so I had to go by ambulance to hospital so they could stitch me up afterwards.

Note: it works best not to pick the second floor of your house which has a tight turn on the staircase for your labour room. The ambulance crew couldn't get their evac chair around the bend, so I had to bump down the stairs ungainly on my backside as they were worried about me fainting on the way down (though actually, I think I was okay enough to have walked it).

Definitely put down LOTS more coverings on the floor than you think you'll need. We didn't really have enough, and they got a bit rumpled. It cleans up more easily than you think though. DH was appalled - we used our most recently decorated room. DS2 arrived very fast and messily - my mother described it as a 'crime scene' appearance, and we even got blood on the walls & sloping ceiling. shock But by the time I came home from hospital the next day there was no sign of it (thanks to my lovely mother)

Homebirths are supposed to be good for babies' digestive / immune systems from what I've read - the microflora in their gut resembles the microflora in their mother's gut, whereas hospital-born babies have at least some of the hospital microflora (not always a good thing).

HarderToKidnap Mon 21-Jan-13 08:31:00

Had a homebirth with DS, my first baby. It was lovely, pottered around my house in early labour, the midwives came out to check me about 9am and then went back out to do their visits whilst DH set up the pool, I had a wander round with the TENS on. Contractions were totally fine and manageable, I actually wouldn't call them painful, they were an intense feeling but I have had headaches that were worse! Midwives came back to me about 1pm and I was 5cm, got in the pool which relieved the niggly backache I'd been having. Started to get urges to bear down, so started on the gas and air about 2pm. About 5pm the urges to push were intense and at 6 I started pushing. He was born in the water about 6.45, got out and had two stiches, ate crumpets, had a shower and got into bed. Midwives left about 9pm. It was FABULOUS, absolutely the very best day of my life, and I felt great. I would have done it again the next day!

ImKateandsoismywife Mon 21-Jan-13 09:12:46

I've just remembered something from dc2's birth - I woke up a few hours after the birth absolutely starving and wandered into the kitchen to fins something to eat. We had bought loads of biscuits and cakes for the mws but it was such a fast birth there was loads left. I made a cup of tea and grabbed some biscuits and a big slab of chocolate cake then sat watching my lovely newborn sleep whilst stuffing my face - bliss! In hospital I wasn't given anything to eat - I think I was supposed to go and get meals from somewhere but no one told me where so I missed breakfast and lunch.

Consils Mon 21-Jan-13 10:34:49

I gave birth in the garden on a sunny day. No pain relief at all. I went into labour the night before but it was just like period pain so I read a book. I missed out on gas and air which was a disappointment because I wanted to try it. It was very relaxed and the midwife was barefoot.

Consils Mon 21-Jan-13 10:36:18

We had laid on a spread for the midwives too but they didn't have a chance to eat it.

Viviennemary Mon 21-Jan-13 10:40:26

It absolutely wouldn't be for me. But people I've known who have had home births say it's great. But I'm too cautious and I'd worry about things going wrong. I feel safer in hospital. So it's all a matter of how you feel and what you think is best for you.

Consils Mon 21-Jan-13 10:59:19

Hospital food influenced my decision. smile

eagleray Mon 21-Jan-13 11:35:37

Great to read all these positive stories (am 40+ 3 and currently feel like the birthing pool in situ in my lounge is laughing at me as beginning to despair of anything happening)

Re hospital food... was in hospital for a while being monitored on saturday and someone came round to get the lunch orders. I'm vegetarian and so opted for the cheese/onion pasty and a few mins later it was brought to me on a tray. A couple of bites revealed... chicken and mushroom! I had tried to be open-minded about hospital food but that told me all I need to know.

Consils - love the idea of a garden birth, although I seem to have picked the wrong time of year and wrong sort of neighbours

Fairypants Mon 21-Jan-13 13:07:44

Eagle ray- I too am veggie (not through choice). In my local hospital you order the next meal at the previous one ie choose dinner at lunchtime. Even in delivery suite where you are basically always going to be ordering a meal for the next person! I went in in the middle of the night and left early evening and didn't get anything to eat in all that time. You'd think they could cope better than that!

I didn't actually manage a home birth with DS because he was back to back and the labour was very very slow (53 hours in fact!) so I did decide I'd rather go to the hospital the night before he was born, and, in my case, it was lucky I did because I'd been so ill during long labour that I'd gotten v dehydrated and needed an IV.

But... what I would say, is that being at home during labour is really so much nicer than the hospital. You feel so much calmer and in control in your house, I was wandering around listening to hypnobirth stuff on my iPod, getting into the shower at 4am, sitting in a rocking chair watching old re-runs on TV, lighting scented candles and being able to just easily grab a basin to throw up or wander round with hardly a stitch on if it felt more comfortable! Hospital was reassuring for me because everything was taking so long and I was dehydrated and in a lot of pain but it was stressful at the same time and I can def see a good argument for homebirth if things looks like they will be straightforward...

Good luck whichever route you choose!

Equimum Mon 21-Jan-13 13:17:01

I had a HB three weeks ago with my first child. We entered into it with the view that we'd stay at home at home for as long as possible and listen to the midwives. I had a really long first stage and felt so relaxed being at home. We called the midwife when my contractions were 3/10 and she came out, assessed me as being 3-4cm and asked whether we wanted her to stay. We felt totally in control and able to make any decision. In the end, we called her back three hours later. I spent much of the night in the pool, relaxed and calm, with my DH being the main source of support. Having made it clear that we were using hypnobirthing techniques, the midwife asked us to guide her on what we needed and was very unobtrusive, but kind and compassionate at the same time. The whole scenario was lovely, relaxed and I can't recommend water enough.

In the end, we had some complications which weren't detected particularly early due to being so relaxed. Our baby was more than two pounds heavier than predicted and got a big stuck. After the midwives refusing to believe this, as I didn't seem to be in much pain, I was asked to get out of the pool so they could get a better look. Although I had been told that no procedures could be conducted at home, they felt it was too late to transfer to hospital and prepared to do an episiotomy on my bed. By then, though, the contractions were too powerful and I ended up pushing my little boy out, causing third degree tears and losing a lot of blood. We were transferred to hospital ASAP and I was stitched up under a spinal block.

Okay, so this may not sound like a positive homebirth story, but we are still relieved we had a homebirth. Why? 1) I was lovely and relaxed throughout, until the very last hour, 2) because I was relaxed, our baby's heartbeat remained calm until the final moments, 3) I still dread the idea of transferring to hospital by car in advanced labour, 4) i got to be in water for several hours, which really helped and meant I did't need any other pain relief, 5) had I been in hospital, it would almost certainly have been a forceps delivery, which I would have found much more distressing, and 6) had we been in hospital, I would have felt much less in control. No, we didn't get to have cuddles in our own bed, although I did have asking-to-skin there before we transferred, and no, the final stages weren't beautifully serene, but 98% of labour was just as I had wanted it. I think the message is, just be prepared that things can go wrong, but know that the midwives know what they're doing and are prepared for these events.

As for mess, I lost over a litre of blood when on my bed, but the mess was relatively limited. I had planned to birth in the pool, so hadn't really prepped the bedroom, however, the midwives did put the bed pads and spare sheets we had out down. We also put shower curtains (78p from Asda) on the carpets throughout the house. In the end, all the towels were covered in blood, as we're the sheets, but the midwife who didn't come to hospital put them all in the bath to soak, and most were as good as before after a wash with some Vanish. So, just be prepared, have plenty of towels ready and cover any surfaces you don't want stained.

Good luck...I hope you get the perfect homebirth!

sheeplikessleep Mon 21-Jan-13 13:30:34

Aww, some of these stories are so lovely.

I've had two hospital births, first was long, drawn out and intervention after intervention.

Second was much shorter and had just gas and air and a bit of pethidine half an hour before giving birth.

I'm pregnant with DC3 and tempted to homebirth this time, but the mess really puts me off (that would stress me out) and having the boys here too, I'd worry about them getting scared when I go in transition.

My MW is very pro HBs and she said I'm the ideal candidate as my second labour went so well.

I wish there was some sort of option in hospital where you could give birth and then go home like an hour later with DH and not have to stay in. It's the bloody paperwork afterwards that really grates me!

VenusRising Mon 21-Jan-13 13:44:44

Such lovely stories!
I suppose the after care is important, tbh giving birth can be painful and terrifying at the best of times, but seems more daunting with lots of different people coming and going and the stuffiness and noise of a hospital can be off putting. Also sometimes you don't get a private room afterwards, and the noise of the drugs trollies, blood pressure equipment, food trollies, of other people's hair dryers, the smell of other people's spray deodorants and hair spray, and even the screaming of other peoples' babies and visitors' chat can be really off putting.

I suppose the question for the OP is, how old are you? And are you healthy? Is everything uncomplicated, and how comfortable do you really feel about pushing a baby out your vagina?

If you are a little bit reluctant in any way for a birth without the back up of a hospital, then pack a bag and keep it in mind that you very well may transfer for some serious help at some stage.

If you're happy enough with your mid wife and have a good feeling about the support you have, then I'd say go for a hb.

And lastly, Good Luck, because it is all down to the luck of your womb doing the work, and the baby's head position at the end of the day! Think about the birth in the same way as an orgasm. If you're happy enough having them with lots of strangers around, in a drafty or stuffy noisy atmosphere, then go for the hospital, if you prefer something more intimate and controllable, then home is best.

thunksheadontable Mon 21-Jan-13 13:44:59

It wasn't for me. I booked it at 34 weeks or so, got the pool, sorted the tarpaulins and champagne and all sorts. When labour started and the midwives showed up, I knew almost instantly that despite all my prior beliefs that it would make me less anxious it was having the opposite effect. I just couldn't do it. It felt weird having people in my house. I didn't feel in control or relaxed or any of those things.

Happily, the homebirth midwife was very understanding and flexible and she got the home from home suite booked for us and she allowed me to 'acclimatise' by labouring with just Dh and quiet checks until I got to 6cms.. so I got a beautiful relaxed non rushed water birth anyway. I was so lucky.

marmiteandhoney Mon 21-Jan-13 13:53:21

I had my first four at home. I had my fifth baby last week in hospital (had to be induced) and I'd never choose it unless I had to. The mws at hospital didn't trust me to know what to do in the slightest, and every little thing was a fight (plus my perfectly-fine-baby got clamped, and cut, and wrapped up within moments of being born, despite this being clearly against my wishes, and completely unnecessary).

I mean, it was ok , in that I got to come home with a lovely baby, but not the empowering confidence-as-a-parent birth that I've had with my others.

Toomuchtea Mon 21-Jan-13 14:48:20

I think Venusrising is absolutely right when she says it's up to you, and how you feel about where you give birth.

I had DS in hospital, which wasn't a particularly marvellous experience, but it was what I wanted, having had a traumatic late miscarriage at home before DS. I wasn't at all confident about what I was doing, and wanted to be somewhere that would help if it all went wrong (again).

DD was born at home, though I knew I might not get right to the end as the midwife thought I'd probably have to transfer as I'd bled like a stuck pig after DS. However, I had no problems with bleeding. I was so relaxed I had no idea how far along I was, called the midwife far too late, and she made it up the stairs just in time to catch DD as I was hanging on to the side of the bed. It was all very peaceful, apart from the last five minutes, when it finally dawned on me that I didn't have the few hours I thought I did to go, but it was great.

Good luck, whatever you decide, OP.

PickleSarnie Mon 21-Jan-13 15:13:16

My homebirth was sooooo much better than first hospital birth.

First time around was taking forever to progress, had epidural and syntocin and then almost ended up with ventouse. Two long, lonely and horrible nights in the hospital. Cried all night (had own room thankfully!)

Second time didn't quite go to plan but was still a million times better. Midwives came after couple hours of regular contractions, my BP was a couple of points above what it should have been so they sent me to hospital. Resigned myself to a hospital birth. They hooked me up the monitor and saw that my BP was slap bang in the middle of average. So they sent me home again. Was v v weird driving away from hospital whilst in labour. It's of potholes and the "sports" suspension in DHs car meant that everything ramped up really quickly. Waters broke on the way home ( we no longer have that company car - I pity the person who now has it and has probably switched on the heated seats in this cold snap!! ).

Staggered out of car, slumped over birth ball whilst DH tried to get hold of the midwives whilst trying to fill up the pool. Midwives arrived shortly before the pushing phase ( which was well before this pool got full). Had 4 pushes and DS2 was born on the living room floor.

Not exactly the calm water birth I'd wanted but was so lovely to have a shower in my own bathroom and sleep in my own bed with DH. Oh, and my toast and coffee was so much nicer than NHS toast and coffee!

BatCave Mon 21-Jan-13 15:23:18

I had a no frills no fuss home birth with my second, all the pros reiterated from above. Such a positive experience and I would do it again. Didn't have the birth pool (no room little money) just had a king size duvet, towels and a shower curtain. Tens machine and fairy lights smile fantastic.

My DH was not keen but he's now converted. Peaceful and calm, my daughter slept through y labour and just woke up at the end (from the front door opening) as his head was delivering - and she was so excited!!! Midwives were fantastic (2nd nearly didn't make it in time) a world away from my hospital birth with dd.

DeTamble Mon 21-Jan-13 15:27:36

I had a home birth, baby born on bath room floor. I would do it again in a heartbeat.

I would also say to any one without any medical condition ruling out a home birth to go for one, because you can always transfer later on, and hopefully you won't have to. Go for a home birth and you're quite likely to get one, go for a hospital as first option then there's no chance you'll get a home birth.

Can I just interrupt this discussion to bring us back to VenusRising's tip??

<<Think about the birth in the same way as an orgasm. If you're happy enough having them with lots of strangers around, in a drafty or stuffy noisy atmosphere, then go for the hospital,>>

grin grin grin

That's brilliant! (and that's coming from someone who ended up in the hospital lol)

Consils Mon 21-Jan-13 16:09:08

I had mine in the garden because I didn't realise how messy it was and the rented house had white curtains. smile

clickingtock Mon 21-Jan-13 17:24:27

Yes, but not sure I agree with venusrising about age being an issue. I had two HBs at 38 and 41 and know others in same boat. Good health, position of baby and timeliness most important (eg, can't have preterm HB and you will be under pressure for induction from around 41 weeks...)

CinnabarRed Mon 21-Jan-13 17:29:39

I have very fast labours. I was instructed to have a HB for DS3 because DSs1&2 had come so fast.

Bloody lucky I did too! Midwife 2 didn't get here until it was all over, less than an hour after DH rang the labour ward. Midwife 1 only arrived 15 minutes before DS3.

I loved my HB. Wouldn't have changed a thing.

Weissdorn Mon 21-Jan-13 17:48:52

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Solopower1 Mon 21-Jan-13 18:12:19

What's brilliant about so many of these posts is that having a home birth is now seen as a perfectly valid option.

When I had my first child at home (30-odd years ago), everyone thought I was headstrong, even wilfully reckless. I knew no-one else at all who had had one, except for my mother, ten years previously. One doctor said that because I had small hands and feet I would have a small birth canal. I was 36 weeks pregnant before I found a doctor who was prepared to allow it!

These things seem to go in fashions, but I'm very glad women are encouraged to have home births now.

FrankSpenser Mon 21-Jan-13 19:01:04

Both my two children were home births. Water birth home births.

I'd thouroughly recommend HB as long as no significant high risk complications are noted, which is obvious really.

I shaln't (sp?) be having any more children again, but IF the oppertunity arose again, it'd be HB no doubt. The thought of Hospital birth is so alien to me now.

Apologies for the poorly written text. I'm so full of ill!

JiminyCricket Mon 21-Jan-13 19:29:35

Opted for hospital first time because didn't know what to expect - great experience of the delivery suite, but poor experience of being in hospital afterwards (dd1 didn't feed well and no support given). Super home birth second time. We hired a heated birthing pool, two lovely midwives turned up when needed (several midwife visits prior to that). Had to go into hospital afterwards anyway (retained placenta), but ambulance was really quick and I was weirdly blissed out by endorphins from birth experience (certainly didn't have this first time after epidural - just felt overwhelmed and teary). If I was doing it again I would be very insistent on good checks that the baby wasn't an undiagnosed breech - my midwife sent me into hosp for a scan to check this anyway. One point is to be aware of how much cleaning up your birthing partner might need to do afterwards - can be a bit overwhelming.

Yfronts Mon 21-Jan-13 19:58:29

I so wish my last birth had been a home birth! It was so smooth and I quite enjoyed it.

HenD19 Mon 21-Jan-13 21:19:20

I'm 24 wks with DC3 and after 2 hospital births I'm tempted by homebirths but worried as needed ventouse for both deliveries. 1st time as I was exhausted and 2nd as baby's heart rate dropped. Think I'd worry too much about the end at home??

ConstantCraving Mon 21-Jan-13 21:21:25

Home birth all the way. Had DS in hospital - a technically normal birth but felt detached from the whole thing and 'done to'. I had DD at home in a birthing pool (aged 40!) and it was completly different. Peaceful, calm, i found it much easier to manage the contractions - DH still raves about it now! Midwives were excellent and cleaned up all the mess and made me toast afterwards. Had a bath in my own bath and then was cuddled up on my sofa with DH and DD and champagne grin. Perfect!

Sevillemarmalade Mon 21-Jan-13 23:04:43

Both my children were born at home and I couldn't be more enthusiastic about home birth if I tried! Both labours were short and easy to manage, I had dedicated, caring midwives and the constant reassuring presence of DH throughout, plus all the space and privacy I needed in familiar, comfortable surroundings, own bathroom, own bed, access to whatever food and drink I wanted when I wanted it...it was all brilliant. I didn't need pain relief apart from paracetamol but did use a hypnobirthing CD throughout both pregnancies which I think helped me be relaxed.

Was it messy? Yes! But mess was cleaned up - and a stained carpet was the least of my worries as I faced loads of breastfeeding difficulties, PND, shock at how my life had changed overnight (not so bad with the second baby, but that brought new challenges!). BUT the overwhelmingly positive birth experiences helped me get through the tough times. Choosing home births was the best decision I've ever made. Good luck, OP, with whatever you choose. If you go down the hb route I would heartily recommend 'New Active Birth' by Janet Balaskas for information and inspiring stories.

ImKateandsoismywife Mon 21-Jan-13 23:59:09

HenD19 my first dc was born by ventouse and I had a lovely calm intervention free homebirth second time around. I was still considered low risk in my second pregnancy and my community mw was very encouraging of my homebirth plans so don't assume that your history will prevent you from having a homebirth smile

loubielou31 Tue 22-Jan-13 09:19:05

DD1 Planned homebirth but transferred to hospital. DD2 Chose a hospital birth but in a nice hospital.
Both hurt a lot!
DD1 I prepared for a homebirth and laboured at home for most of it but DD got quite stuck so transferred to hospital and needed every intervention short of a cesarean to finally yank her out leaving us both battered and bruised.
Being at home was probably nicer than being in hospital for all that time and arriving at hospital in an ambulance means you completely bypass the admissions process. The midwife who'd been with me at home stayed with me until after dd was born, she was lovely. At no time were either of us in any danger and all was properly managed.
DD2 I chose to go to hospital, we'd moved house and lived further from a hospital. It was also a hospital I knew and had heard good things about so was happier to go there. In hindsight I was really pleased because whilst labour was really short and a homebirth would have been absolutely fine the mess took the midwife ages to clean up, whilst I just had a bath. grin even with all the preparations I'd made it would have taken ages to clean everything at home.(also and this is different from hospital to hospital both DDs had tongue ties but I was able to have DD2s snipped on the day she was born which I feel made BF so much easier)

LemonBreeland Tue 22-Jan-13 10:50:27

I've had a hospital birth and two home births.

The hospital birth was fine, well 3rd degree tear but apart from that okay. The lack of help on the postnatal ward was appalling. I barely saw a mw in 3 days, except to give me medication.

DS2 HB was wonderful. I chose HB partly because my first labour was pretty quick. I found that I felt much calmer, and having a bath then my own bed was brilliant. I had a small tear but was stitched at home. 1hr 45 mins from start to finish.

DD was also a HB following on from my previous good experience. Unfortunately my labours sped up dramatically and with DD I was in labour for less than an hour. The MW didn't make it in time and DH had to deliver DD with the help of a 999 operator on the other end of the phone. I was just unlucky that the mw on call was coming from near the hospital rather than my local mw who lives in the next village. The mw turned up just after DD was born, and an ambulance right after her.

I did have to go to hospital as unfortunately had another 3rd degree tear, but would never have made it to hospital to give birth, so HB was still the right choice.

JumpJockey Tue 22-Jan-13 10:58:04

I had Dd1 at home, in a pool, and it was an amazing experience. First twinges at about 6 am, sent dh off to work (first babies always slow...!) Doula came at 9, called Dh home, they got the pool set up while I walked around the house lots, got in pool about 12 after MW agreed things were getting going, DD1 born at 2.30. No tearing or grazes, had a big cuddle with her in the water, then we went upstairs for a sleep in our own bed while DH cleared everything away! I must point out that we live about 10mins from the nearest hospital, I might have been a bit more nervous as first timer if were miles away.

We planned HB for Dd2 but she arrived a month early so had to go to hospital, but having had a very good active birth experience first time I felt confident to say actually no, I don't want to lie down on my back, if you need to monitor could you do it while I stand up? The MWs (one was a trainee) were brilliant, very hands off and only took her away very briefly to check she was ok, weighed in at nearly 7lbs so they gave her straight back to me for cuddles. So having a "this is a HB" attitude really helped make that be a good labour experience. It was quite easy to block everyone out and focus just on me and DH, curtains closed, no interruptions etc.

Someone's bound to have mentioned Ina May Gaskin, if not get a copy of her Guide to Childbirth for lots and lots of inspiring birth stories. I would definitely try for a home birth if we had another baby.

JumpJockey Tue 22-Jan-13 11:02:11

Also re mess, it seemed to be remarkably mess free - my waters didn't go until I was in the pool, and the notes say I only lost about 150mls of blood. They took the placenta away, so DH just had to get the hose from the pool out the back door and into the drain and it was all done! <preen> wink

BigSpork Tue 22-Jan-13 12:45:20

I've had 2 home births (and 2 hospital births).

One was good with amusing, mostly relaxed midwives and very glad to have done it with DD1. I had it due to poor treatment during the first hospital birth and it was a very healing experience from the trauma of my eldest.

The other was awful and dangerous as the midwives who arrived were very inexperienced at homebiths and unsupportive and I felt harassed and looked down upon throughout the whole thing (midwife one kept making horrible comments about our house, about the room we'd set up for the birth, for not waking up our friends who were upstairs sleeping from their trip to watch the kids right the moment she thought they should which was from the moment labour started) and after DD2 was born with a normal delivery, the other midwife moved her out of my sight instantly - didn't get to hold her at all for over half an hour and she has the audacity to yell at my husband for knowing where the baby hats were while he was standing in panic not knowing whether to stay with DD2 or with me who was screaming as the other midwife forced me to have the injection and began pressing down and yanking on the cord straight away. I was in more pain from that than the labour that had just ended and she caused a chunk of the placenta to come off and me to bleed really heavily (when we got to hospital, she blamed it on my lower than average blood iron count and began taunting me with the midwife3 on how I would end up with an epidural anyways for the manual removal - hospital midwife 3 wouldn't stop going on about it). Other than the OR staff, I was treated very awfully that night by midwife 3 in the high dependency wing. I still have pain and regret over that one.

I had a hospital birth for the next and, though my hardest birth (stuck shoulder, much bigger child than my others), it was the one where the birthing staff were the most supportive and it was a wonderful, healing experience after DD2 and after the horrible treatment I had with the community midwives during the pregnancy (ruined the last weeks by telling scare stories of bleeding out and how much more aware my children would be if something went wrong - in front of those so aware children. DS1 was petrified I was going to bleed out any second and didn't know why I wasn't in hospital right away. Spent the last few weeks calming him down - one of the main reasons for not having another is I don't think I could deal with the stress/anxiety/poor treatment from the community midwife who outright blamed me for my bad experiences as midwife1 was one of her students so couldn't be her). /rant

TL;DR: It can be wonderful with the right people, it can be awful with awful people, a birth experience mostly comes down to having good caring people with you.

flossfour Tue 22-Jan-13 12:52:20

Hi, I had a home birth 15 years ago with my fourth child. Unfortunately, he came early on the same day we moved house AND decided to be awkward enough to come out face up!

However, was still my easiest birth (apart from the removal men turning my hot water off so I could only have a cold bath after!) - no drugs needed, just a little gas and air, and wish I had had them all at home!

At least if you start at home, you can always change your mind!

DC 1 was a hospital birth and I disliked it- my labour was augmented when it should not have been (not just my opinion but acknowledged by the supervisor of midwives). I hated being left on my own in postnatal when dh had to leave.

DC 2 I thought about a hb but decided to go in and aim for an early discharge. Dd had other ideas and arrived at home after a very quick labour. I loved being at home with my own bed, bath and food plus dh being there for her first night.

With DC 3 I was advised to have a hb due to previous fast labour but I would have picked it anyway. I had 3 mws who were totally hands off, I felt totally comfortable and dh was much happier as well- in fact he recommends it to other dads.

I definitely do it again.

spooktrain Tue 22-Jan-13 14:27:03

DS1 - hospital birth - induced, 12 hour v. painful back to back labour, epidural that didn't work, left traumatised and with bonding issues, followed by PND. Plus the night after DS was born the woman in the bed next to me nearly died of pre-eclampsia in front of me. It was horrific.

DS2 - home birth - 2.5 hour labour that was completely manageable without pain relief, an empowering (sorry! but it was grin) experience that left me on a week long high afterwards. The midwives were lovely, very unobtrusive and quietly supportive. It was soooooo nice to snuggle up in my own bed afterwards too. The first week of DS2's life was probably one of the nicest of my life

Kaida Tue 22-Jan-13 16:00:00

I had a fab homebirth for my first (and so far only) child. I would do it again in a heartbeat. I had an easy time coping with the contractions as I was so relaxed in my own surroundings (studies have shown women feel less pain at home than in hospital), which probably shortened my labour too, and we had a birthpool. We had an independent midwife (also recommended if you can afford it) so we were guaranteed someone confident and comfortable with homebirth (and guaranteed a HB barring medical complications - the NHS kept threatening not to attend if they were too busy angry). DS obviously approved of our choice too - APGARS were 9 and 10, and he didn't even cry his entry into the world was so calm and peaceful.

THERhubarb Tue 22-Jan-13 16:26:29

Nicky1306 everyone is different as you will have gathered. I read somewhere that if you were the type of person who took paracetamol at the first sign of a headache then you probably wouldn't cope with a home birth. I was that person.

I wanted a home birth for my second. Well actually I didn't, I thought I would be all bravado and insist on a home birth knowing full well that I was 0-, slightly anaemic (sp?) and had an epidural first time round. There was no way they would let me go through with it. But they did. So as not to lose face, I kinda ended up going along with it.

Plenty of people thought I would wuss out. Plenty. Even dh wasn't fully convinced. But I didn't.

I had one of those big balls. I used it to get the labour going (probably not supposed to but it did). I clung onto it and didn't let go all the way through. Ds had a big head. That was good in one way as he came out pretty darn quickly. Bad in another as I tore (again).

The pain was bearable. I had been to NCT ante-natal classes (which I highly recommend for a home birth) and the info I gleaned from them was invaluable. I knew what to do. Of the other women in the classes with me, 4 were convinced they would have epidurals. After we had all given birth, none of the women said they felt they needed an epidural. Armed with our information we all felt in control and we all felt we could cope. And we did.

I breathed through the pain. Yes it hurt but it is a different kind of pain. I broke my tailbone 2 years ago and that had me howling in agony. This pain was productive, which sounds odd but there you go, I knew why I was in pain, I knew what was going on, I knew what stage the labour was at, I knew the pain would not last and I knew that the more painful it got, the closer I was to the end result.

I could not have had a home birth without the information the NCT provided me with.

I am so pleased I did it. I never thought I would and I can honestly say it is one of the proudest moments of my life.

Gilby Tue 22-Jan-13 20:48:32

I thought I would post as I want to give a different perspective. I had both of mine in hospital, and both labours were fairly quick- in the end I didn't have any pain relief for either (not because I wasn't screaming for it but because there wasn't time grin and gas&air did nothing). My experience in hospital was fantastic both times- the full attention of two midwives both times, my own room, a large corner bath. I was showered and felt back to being myself within an hour and home within 6. DH said it was like a quick, easy day at work hmm hmm. Best of all, I knew if the baby got into trouble that there were plenty of able people around. Yes, if it's busy the experience is different but even if the midwife is in another room you can get hold of her quickly if necessary.
There are LOTS of pros to home births, as above, but hospital births can be good experiences too. It depends, like others have said, if it's your first (difficult to know about potential problems, things which may recur)- if it's your second or more then go for it at home.

mummymafia Tue 22-Jan-13 21:53:14

I had my first DS at a midwife run birthing centre which was amazing - in a birthing pool but had to be transferred to hospital because of a few complications I had 4 days after the birth. I had second DS at home, the day after I finished work (!), in the bath (I'm small & we have a big bath! It did look a bit like a scene from Psycho afterwards!). No pain relief, all done & dusted in 4 hours. I was super lucky in the fact that my wonderful midwife lives 4 doors away & had dropped off the home birth pack the day before. It was an amazing experience, I was so much more relaxed, I was in my own bed tucked up with DS2 half an hour after giving birth, eating toast & having a cup of tea. When DS1 woke up the next morning he wandered in as normal to our bedroom to see his new baby brother had arrived which was the most magical experience for all of us. I would recommend it to anyone who doesn't have any complications - I did have to fight for it as I had PPH first time round - I figured if anything cropped up the midwife would make the call to get help way sooner than they would in a hospital/birthing centre. But it's a very personal thing & if it's your first time there is no way you can judge how you will be with the pain. If you have a midwife you trust & feel comfortable with then go for it.

Alison71 Wed 23-Jan-13 00:29:40

Hi Nicky1306, are you still in waiting/deciding? I've just read the start of the thread so apologies if I'm out of touch/repeating things. Maybe you're overwhelmed by stories now!! First of all congratulations! xxx

I've had one little girl, born at home 3 days before I was due to be induced. It was good to have a home birth planned so that I felt more confident to curl up somewhere familiar and let the first stages of contractions establish and strengthen. I had a TENS machine and was able to just curl up on a bed and get used to using that.

I think I honestly believed the midwife would come round and announce failure to progress and that I needed to transfer but no! Quite the opposite! She offered congratulations on being 7cm dilate and that she would stay with me from that point! Think my husband could have kissed her!!! (He went from being alarmed at the idea of home birth to wanting it that way and is very proud of it being at home... personally I think the dad's view is very important too but the buck definitely stops with you!) Anyway, I looked forward to the gas and air coming as TENS machine wasn't quite cutting it only to discover I couldn't tolerate it so realised I'd have to just get on and give birth.

It's so difficult to know what would suit when you've not been in the situation before isn't it?

To be honest, at the time and just after, I thought that I'd never chose a home birth again. It would have been very difficult for me to get down stairs and transfer in the middle of labour so I did feel a bit exposed in that. However as time has passed it has been very peaceful and lovely to think my little girl was born in what is now her bedroom. She'll be two this weekend.

The midwives who will do home births are very very very experienced and have absolutely no intention whatsoever to put you and your baby at risk, they are watching and monitoring all the time and have time to respond. The resources they bring with them can deal with many things, so it is really important to remember that and trust their judgement... doesn't mean you can't question them though.

Top tip from me - hedge your bets, get them ready for home birth - you can change your mind at any point right up til the actual delivery! Be open to the uncertainty, that's ok. Factors on the day matter - if the weather turns bad you might feel more secure to go to hospital when the time comes. Being a winter birth it was important for me to consider how far away hospital was should transfer in labour be needed and what the roads in my area tend to be like in bad weather and at rush hour.

Oh and if you've not seen one already, ask them to bring a birthing stool. It's not elegant but it gets you in the right position to get baby 'round the corner' which is the slow and tricky bit and where things can get a bit stuck. Was VERY effective for me.

Home birth helped me get on with it and get the baby born, if you see what I mean... with only a TENS machine or the prospect of transfer to hospital mid-labour I just wanted to get the job done! I think that helped.

Alternatively, no hospital visit means no yummy cheesy photo of you, hospital staff and baby in a car seat to ooh over after!!!

All the very best to you xxx

Alison71 Wed 23-Jan-13 00:39:28

PS - I would have punched anyone who tried to take the TENS machine off me - it helped a lot! That little push button was what I held onto!

I appreciate what Gilby wrote above. I found birthing a little gruesome to be honest but instant amazement to see a little baby after it all! I've been at an emergency caesarian (with a woman who was dead against hospitals!) and it was the same total wonder and miracle.

Missymoomum Wed 23-Jan-13 06:43:23

I've not read all the threads, so i'm probably repeating a lot of what's already been said! I have 2 children, first was born in hospital and the second was born at home in a pool. I was very lucky as both experiences were wonderful experiences but the home waterbirth was amazing. I just wish DH would let me have another baby so i could do it again! A big positive for me, apart from the obvious being in your own environment benefits, was the fact the my DC1 was just 18 months when his sister came along and with no family living near by, i didn't want to have to worry about who was going to look after him when the time came and if i had to make a quick dash to the hospital (my mum was coming over when labour started but she would need 2.5 hours at least to get to our house). As it was, first contraction started about 8pm just as i was putting DS into his cot and DD was born at 01.47 that night, so less than 6 hours including 3rd stage smile. DS slept all the way through it and his face was a picture the following morning when he came into our bedroom and found his baby sister sleeping in the moses basket. It was great to have the reassurance that there was a midwife around all the time, but she also basically left me to get on with it and was very hands off which was also really nice. However, even though it doesn't seem like the mw is doing anything, she does carefully monitor you through observation and she will be highly experienced in that should any complications arise, she will transfer you to hospital. The fact that she is with you all the time, also means that is there are any complications then they will most likely be picked up quicker at home than in hospital where unfortunately mw's just aren't able to stay with you all the time.
If you're thinking of a homebirth then i would say definitely book for one as the community mw's will then be expecting you and then, once you're in labour and you think you would be happier in hospital then there's absolutely nothing wrong with changing your mind. Good luck!!

PetWoman Thu 24-Jan-13 20:19:20

I planned a home birth for DC1 as I wanted to give myself the best chance of a calm, intervention-free birth. However, I had a very long and frankly very painful pre-labour (2 nights and a day - TENS, co-codamol, bath etc not helping) and eventually rushed into hospital because I was bleeding (though this turned out to be a normal variation of the show). Anyway, at hospital a wonderful midwife examined me in a quiet, dim room and coached me to breathe through the contractions. Finally I was able to manage the pain. In fact, it sort of stopped hurting. She gave me the option of staying in hospital (saying 'where will you feel safest?' - and I did feel very safe with her) but as I'd forked out for a pool at home and done all the preparation, I decided to head home again.

Anyway, things went well at home. I used the pool and had gas and air at about 8cm. But then I had a cervical lip so after waiting an hour to see if it would go away (and that wait was pretty painful) I transferred back to hospital in an ambulance. Wasn't great, but I was beyond caring by then.

At hospital I had a range of interventions but actually I didn't mind all the people there (something I thought I'd hate) as I knew they were there to help. And I didn't really notice them that much iykwim. DS was born with forceps eventually.

Being on the ward afterwards was good because I got lots of help with bfing (and actually I wished I'd stayed in a few days longer because the feeding problems started on day 3) but the food (when I got any) was terrible!

Meanwhile DH had a lot of mess to clear up at home.

But to sum up, I think there are advantages to both places, and you can't know in advance what your body will do. I don't think being at home automatically leads to a calm birth, and the things that you think might bother you about being in hospital may turn out to seem irrelevant. If you live close to hospital then why not book a home birth with the knowledge that you might end up in hospital, and it won't be the end of the world, or you might be lucky enough to have a beautiful calm water birth at home?

Nicky1306 Sun 27-Jan-13 17:52:21

Wow!!!! Thank you so much for all the lovely replies! grin I can't believe how many there are!!
I have been booked in for a home birth......but I'm still not sure, and DP is even less sure! X x

BartletForTeamGB Sun 27-Jan-13 19:16:24

Well done. I am all for booking home births even when you are not sure, because you can always change your mind. You are not forced into it! smile

I never for one moment imagined I would actually have a home birth, but it just seemed to go fine so it just happened. I have booked for another one this time, so we'll see what happens. Equally, there is no shame if it doesn't happen. Important thing is that you are both alive and well at the end of it.

Do let us know how it goes, remembering that we'll be most interested to hear about your new baby, not how he or she got out. smile All the best!

What Bartlet saidsmile. You can always change your mind and by booking a hb you've kept your options open.

Just been discussing Ds2's birth with dh and debating the exact spot in the living room that T landedgrin feeling all nostalgic now...

TepidCoffee Sun 27-Jan-13 21:43:28

Marking place so I can come back and read the rest of the stories later.

nappyaddict Wed 24-Apr-13 15:16:47

I want a homebirth but DP not keen. I love the idea that after the birth we can all get into bed and snuggle together. You can't do that in a hospital!!

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