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HOMEBIRTH - your thoughts and advice

(55 Posts)
iamwhaticallpregnant Mon 04-Feb-13 08:37:14

Hi all - I attended a 'homebirth' talk yesterday where the midwife advocated homebirth. To be honest she made giving birth in a hospital sound like the worst experience ever. fluorescent lights, strangers, shared toilets, invasive checks, bad rooms, exposure etc and implied that itll make your labour longer and more painful because yourbody will not like its surroundings.
On the homebirth side she made it sound like heaven. dimmed lighting and private, relaxing, safe, 2 midwives, your own birthing pools, all your choices and natural. She insisted it was "just as safe as a hospital birth" which previously we had thought was not the case so we completely discounted home births.
my partner and I are more or less convinced - but she was obviously biased ,,,, so - what do you think? and what are your experiences?

a bit of info about me - I am TERRIFIED irrationally of birth, incredibly anxious, terrified about being exposed/ having no dignity.

iamwhaticallpregnant Mon 04-Feb-13 08:38:13

get very anxious in hospitals too.

iamwhaticallpregnant Mon 04-Feb-13 08:41:34

and I am not over exaggerating about my fears. yesterday was my first class in 9 months of pregnancy and i cried and nearly passed out while I was there - discreetly. they played a video and i had to sit and look at the wall and desperatelytried to hold back my tears. I can still hear the woman's screams.

Locketjuice Mon 04-Feb-13 08:50:43

I had mine in hospital as alot went wrong so was very glad I was there and not having to be rushed to hospital.

My sister has 4, first 3 really quick easy labours so the 4th she had at home and said it was amazing, we were downstairs once she had him she handed me him went for a bath got some toast and the rest of the kids came to have a look smile

Is it your first?

Locketjuice Mon 04-Feb-13 08:52:32

But reading how scared you are maybe a hospital would be better to calm your nerves at least then you know you are surrounding by lots of professionals not just two midwifes if something (fx it doesn't) does happen

massagegirl Mon 04-Feb-13 08:55:25

I am planning on trying to so it at home. I am not a huge fan of hospitals.. find them very hot and uncomfortable. So on advice I am going to try and do it all at home to be im more comforftable/familiar surroundings. But I will have a bag packed ready for hospital if it feels that I can't cope or midwifes think we need to go. Hopefully best of both worlds. Have you thought about trying some hypnobirthing to help with fear, I have just bought the book and cd but havent started it yet. Good luck wahtever you decide.

iamwhaticallpregnant Mon 04-Feb-13 08:55:54

yes it is my first and i am considered low risk. The woman kept saying that you are monitored continually and if anything even looked like it wasnt normal they would get you to hospital. we are about 5 mins in normal car from hosp.

iamwhaticallpregnant Mon 04-Feb-13 08:57:43

massage - i tried the cd but after a while it annoyed me - its not very 'me' - but i might put it on during labour if at home and it might be better once i am in labour.

plummyjam Mon 04-Feb-13 09:00:19

How many weeks are you? Have you thought about having your baby in a midwife led unit of there is one near you? They usually do tours of the unit - I was surprised by how nice and non-medicalised they are.

tomatoplantproject Mon 04-Feb-13 09:03:41

If its your first I would say be in hospital - I've heard of people having a really amazing experience at home but personally I would feel safer particularly with your first with a medical team nearby. I had a breech that was caught by the dr after 12 hours of labour - if the breech hadn't been caught and I was at home I would either have had to give birth naturally with midwives unsure of what to do or blue lighted to hospital, and I know of enough first time births that have not been straightforward. Before my experience I was all for the natural way of doing things but now would always advocate having a medical team near. The hospital was fab - before the breech was discovered I was being monitored but had worked with the midwife to make things as nice as possible - lights down, in a comfy position etc. I also think when it comes down to it your state of mind is really important - so if you're freaked out spend some time doing some hypno birthing techniques, preg yoga etc so you can deal with the twists and turns positively rather than focussing too much on your environment. Good luck!!

mercibucket Mon 04-Feb-13 09:04:33

first births have slightly higher risks at home but labouring at home, which is what you'll be advised to do anyway, is much more relaxing.
midwife led unit sounds a good compromise

Salbertina Mon 04-Feb-13 09:04:44

Recommend... Highly (if you're low risk) You get two midwives all to yourself/baby ... Be lucky to get 1 stay w you in hospital.,,
Yes, i felt so much more relaxed-looking out of my window to my garden, cat on the windowsill, unrushed, familiar and for me v safe.
Don't beat yourself up about bring scared of birth- it is a biggie! Think we all feel like that, at least some of the time. It's how you handle that and how you're supported to handle that which gets you through.

silversmith Mon 04-Feb-13 09:08:08

What are your local options? My local hospital recently-ish lost its maternity unit, and instead opened a midwife led birth centre. Beautifully appointed, with 5 rooms (all ensuite & private - and 2 with pools). For me this was the perfect solution. Nice homely feel, but with gas & air piped through the walls, midwives on hand and ambulances nearby in case I needed blue lighting to the nearest big hospital. I managed to get a lovely waterbirth (no screaming from me!) and there was a sofabed for husband & I to try & sleep on after the event.

And because, despite appearances, it was part of a hospital, everything was easily cleanable - by someone else!

If I had a second, I'd do the same again even though part of me thinks I could probably manage a home birth (if all went as smoothly as last time - never guaranteed of course)

exBrightonBell Mon 04-Feb-13 09:09:35

I had my first ds last July, and I wanted a home birth for very similar reasons. I had it all planned and the pool installed ready and waiting.

Unfortunately nothing went as I had hoped, and I ended up in hospital having all the interventions that I didn't want. I eventually had an emergency c-section! I'm not trying to put the wind up you, but do think about what you would feel if you had to go into hospital. I had a meeting with a midwife counsellor at my hospital when I was about 36 weeks, where I went through all my issues. She listened, and then suggested ways that things could be changed or managed to help me stay calm. She then wrote this all down and attached it to my notes at the front. All HCPs dealing with me then got directed to these notes which meant I felt a lot less anxious about what might happen.

Your hospital might have a similar person - I would strongly recommend discussing beforehand about any issues you have. They took me very seriously and really did try to help me out.

Have you been on a tour of your maternity unit to see for yourself what it's like? I think this is very important so you can see things like the toilet facilities, lighting etc. A home birth can be your own private experience, but it may not happen for a variety of reasons. In which case you need to have thought about how you would handle hospital.

But, try not to get worried about the whole thing! Research and prepare yourself and then you can cope with the events that unfold.

iamwhaticallpregnant Mon 04-Feb-13 09:21:35

Oh God - I just don't know what to do. I am freaking out. I am 8 days from due date. The woman said I could easily book a homebirth now.
- I have never heard of a mid-wife led unit place - I assume they would have told me about this at some point? I am in Leeds.
- we had a tour of the maternity wards after the talk and there is basically one nice room but she said it wouldnt always be available - there was a waterbirth room but that was being used - and the others were just fluorescent normal hospital rooms. She said that you couldnt guarantee a nice room and now I just don't know what to do. She told us that Leeds hospital is a 'high risk teaching hospital' so the rooms are not designed 'mid-wife led'.

LeBFG Mon 04-Feb-13 09:26:16

I think hospital tranfers are quite high for first timers? That's why it still remains quite safe to birth at home - you always have the option of being blue lighted to hospital. BUT if you're big fear is loss of dignity etc I would be worried about having to be in labour (potentially wearing no more than a nightie) and shipped off in an ambulance with strangers! Have you considered this possibility? Plus, as I'm sure you know, you'll have no access to an epidural - are your fears very much greater than wanting to have all pain relief options available to hand?

N0tinmylife Mon 04-Feb-13 09:26:47

I think for a first baby hospital is the better option, because you have no idea how your labour will be, or how you will deal with it, and it hospital they have everything they need to deal with any eventuality. I had DS in hospital, and it was a very positive experience. My labour was only 5 hours from start to finish. I did need ventouse, but I actually asked for that, as I could feel that DS had got stuck. I had at least one midwife with me throughout, and two towards the end.

If I'd been lucky enough to have a second child I would have seriously considered a home birth, with the knowledge, that I'd had a short labour the first time round, and coped with only gas and air, I would have just hoped the second one didn't get stuck

Good luck with whatever you decide. I think it helps to go into it with an open mind, because these things rarely go to plan, but it is all worth it in the end! smile

iamwhaticallpregnant Mon 04-Feb-13 09:30:11

LeBFG - I don't really want an epidural if i can help it.

MrsHoarder Mon 04-Feb-13 09:31:52

Who gave this talk and what was their agenda? It sounds raster one-sided. Fwiw I had a hospital birth (induction) and it was fine. The post natal ward was a bit grim, but I was only admitted due to complications and ds needing monitoring.

TheSecondComing Mon 04-Feb-13 09:36:38

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

iamwhaticallpregnant Mon 04-Feb-13 09:40:40

MrsHoarder - it was COMPLETELY one sided. She made hosp sound like HELL - She made home sound like HEAVEN. i feel like i haven't got a choice now. i am absolutely terrified. my partner has a theory this is about funding? as hosp births cost more? But he does have his theories. I don't know what to do.

If you are 5 minutes drive away then it is worth considering - it takes 20 minutes to get ready for a CS, though I think the record at the hospital I was at was less than 3 minutes, but it is a big teaching hospital!

You don't know how you're going to feel, you may breeze through with a bit of gas and air, or you may be begging for an epidural after the first contraction. We all respond differently.

Have you considered hiring a doula so that you have constant experienced emotional support through your labour?

iamwhaticallpregnant Mon 04-Feb-13 09:42:10

She said you have EVERYTHING you have in hospital at home except an Epidural. She said AND you have two midwives to yourself and a pool is guaranteed (I have to hire this apparently which we wouldnt mind).

mercibucket Mon 04-Feb-13 09:43:12

you can speak to your midwife today to organise a home birth kit to be delivered to your house and still decide to have a hospital birth - just don't phone the homebirth team when labour starts!
or you can change your mind at any time and go to hospital
i think most firth time hb transfers are for access to pain relief

the advantage could be better 1:1 care in the earlier stages of the hb, when you would usually be labouring at home anyway, but a mw would come out to you and assess you.

with a hospital birth, you still have to travel to hospital in labour, but without a mw with you

why not speak to your mw today? she might put your mind at rest about the hospital, or be positive about hb.

tbh though, hospitals do seem horrible when you're not in the throes of labour. once you get to a certain point in labour, you are v inward focussed and less aware of your surroundings, so it's not the same experience as a tour of the labour ward.

iamwhaticallpregnant Mon 04-Feb-13 09:44:36

worldgonecrazy - I wouldn't know where to start with a 'doula' - am i too late ? (due in 8 days), and most of my anxieties centre around strangers being near me at that time.

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