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Wanting homebirth due to fear of hospitals

(23 Posts)
18wksplus Fri 05-Oct-12 22:12:54

DD was born in hospital via ventouse. I was induced. Ended up giving birth in stirrups when her heartbeat dropped (it dropped once, and we nearly had an EMCS, but recovered, and the second time she was low enough for me to push out). Was 48hrs of hell to be honest, but I was grateful for having been in the hospital - when my MWs hit the red button (when her heartbeat didn't recover) the room was seemingly instantly full of experts.

Since then I've had major hospital treatment for a very serious and scary condition. All is fine now, but hospitals for me are no longer 'safe' places: they're places where you go to be told bad news and to receive horrendous treatment/surgery (albeit treatment which makes you healthy again). In addition, I'm now due to give birth (am 22wks) at a new hospital where procedure is to make you wear a gown throughout labour. Sounds silly but even the thought of putting on a hospital gown freaks me out because of memories of the last time I wore one.

I'm starting to panic, thinking that I'll freak if I go into hospital again, which will slow down my labour and I'll end up with the horrible birth I had with DD, or, worse (since it's more surgery and recovery time in hospital) a CS. So I'm thinking of a homebirth, but I think it's really unlikely it'll be agreed to because of DD's birth scenario and my more recent surgery. Plus I'm not entirely convinced of the safety of it (I'm not wanting to start a debate on this!).

So what do I do? Anyone else been freaked out about going into hospital? Feel like I'm caught between a rock and a hard place.

gallicgirl Fri 05-Oct-12 22:17:02

I felt very much the same. Not due to personal trauma but had little confidence in consultant and hated idea of partner being kicked out while I was left on ward with no privacy.
Fortunately I had a low risk pregnancy and opted for a home birth. I was comfortable, relaxed and received excellent care and support.

Talk to your midwife about your fears and see if you're a suitable candidate for homebirth.

18wksplus Fri 05-Oct-12 22:20:24

Your concerns are other ones I have too! My last consultant appointment lasted all of 10mins with him on the phone to someone else most of the time: was given no chance to ask any questions (since he put me on the phone to the hospital to schedule my scan and then left the office for the day!)....

I'll have a word: I'm glad you don't think I'm automatically ruled out because of my history.

SoozleQ Fri 05-Oct-12 23:22:54

You can't be 'automatically ruled out'. If you really want a home birth you cannot be denied one. What all the health care professionals will want to do is thoroughly discuss the potential risks of you having a home birth and will be likely to go through your notes from last time to assess what happened and what may happen this time. If, after all this, you would still prefer to have a home birth, the midwives are legally obliged to support you.

I am booked in for a home VBAC which I know they are less than enthusiastic about but, having done a lot of reading and going through a lot of discussions and meetings with them, I believe it is the best option for me.

I would recommend reading as much as you can about home births, opening up the discussions with your midwives and consultants and taking it from there. Good luck smile

Rhianna1980 Mon 08-Oct-12 11:40:34

Let me get this straight: You didnt have a straight forward birth with first child and baby almost died. so you are scared of going to hospital again because it reminds you how traumatic the experience was. However , the final result was a healthy mum and baby.

Now because you are scared of repeating the upsetting experience you would rather put yourself and baby under more risk for the sake of not being in a scary hospital ?
What will you do if the same complications arise at home while u are giving birth. There won't be a red button for your midwife to press for others to come and help. You are at the mercy of the Ambulance and traffic jams.

About the hospital gown : tell them u have ur own gown and wont we wearing theirs. Be assertive .

cbeebiesatemybrain Mon 08-Oct-12 12:46:27

Wow Rhianna judgy much? hmm

Op I was in a similar situation and went for homebirth with dc2. All went to plan and it was a lovely healing birth. My dc1 was born by ventouse due to his heartrate dropping but I felt that it happened because I wasn't allowed to get up off my back and because I was terrified and hyperventilating! Imo we were much safer at home where we were guaranteed 1-1 care throughout labour rather than being "discouraged" from going into hospital until I was fully dilated like with my first (hence being terrified when I got there!)

weezl74 Mon 08-Oct-12 13:15:46

agree wholeheartedly with cbeebies. it sounds like your fear and the interventions you experienced were a huge part of what was risky.

i hope you are able to give birth in an environment without fear, and if this is your home, great!

lots is said about the 'risks' of homebirth but very little about the risks of hospital birth. i personally think maternal anxiety is a huge one. fear contracts your sphincter muscles. it surely makes sense not to attempt a 10cm dilaction of a sphinctrally muscle in a frightened environment smile

all the best with whatever you choose and are happy with.

weezl74 Mon 08-Oct-12 13:16:53

scuse the appalling typos driven by autocorrect

trafficwarden Mon 08-Oct-12 13:26:57

OP - I understand your fear of hospitals. Lots of people find it difficult to separate from that fear when it comes to childbirth. As already said, talk to your MW and if she is not supportive ask to be referred to the Consultant MW or Supervisor of MW's. They are the people who can really make a difference in explaining your choices which definitely includes a homebirth.

Sorry to contradict weezl74 but your uterus and cervix are not sphincters! Your anus is but the baby shouldn't come out of there.

ValiumQueen Mon 08-Oct-12 13:43:09

I had a very similar first birth to you, but thankfully not the frightening health problems and treatment since. When folk have a traumatic first delivery, they often do not have any more children, but if they do, they can sometimes decide on one extreme or the other for their second birth. Like many others, you are wanting a home birth, which they can advise against, but have to support providing they have adequate staff cover - a point you should bear in mind. I, however, chose an ELCS. It was a wonderful healing experience, and I am due to have a third child via ELCS also in two weeks. The thought of a home birth does appeal to me, but with my history it is a risk I am not prepared to take.

I would encourage you to have some kind of counselling to address your fear of hospital. There is a real chance there may not be sufficient cover for you to labour at home, and if there are complications, you would need to be transferred there. Just because you want a home birth, does not mean you will actually be able to have one, even if you are told you can. Good luck thanks

YoullLaughAboutItOneDay Mon 08-Oct-12 13:51:42

Have they told you that you are considered high risk? Your medical condition is obviously one aspect, but a previously instrumental delivery does not automatically make you high risk for a homebirth. DD1 was forceps for distress and I was postively encouraged to have a homebirth for DD2 (which I did, no problems)

Rhianna - The OP is willing to come on and correct us, but she hasn't said her baby nearly died. A dropping heartbeat and an instrumental for distress is not the same as 'nearly dying'.

EdgarAllanPond Mon 08-Oct-12 13:59:16

if you are low risk, then there's really absolutely no reason not to have a home birth - and evidently plenty of personal reasons for you to have a HB. The transfer rate for second timers is about 12% - i think with a previous instrumental delivery that rises to 15%. However though rates of instrumental delivery are really low from HB - 2.8% EMCS and 2.3% forceps compared with 11% and 8% - it is still a possibility.

if you are higher risk - then you have to weigh for yourself whether your fear of hospital might cancel out any draw backs of being at home. Stalled labour isn't good for anyone.

usually problems are spotted during a Hb in good time for transfer.

have you considered hiring a doula/ Im to see you through in whichever location you give birth in?

weezl74 Mon 08-Oct-12 14:54:26

fair enough, happy to be corrected. They do tighten when we are anxious though, no? Or is the logic wrong there? smile

YoullLaughAboutItOneDay Mon 08-Oct-12 15:01:55

Tafficwarden and Weezl74 - actually a number of high profile birth professionals do believe that the cervix can behave like a sphincter. Ina May Gaskin is one of the highest profile of these. Her books make interesting reading for an alternative viewpoint to the received wisdom on that issue.

weezl74 Mon 08-Oct-12 15:13:17

OP have you read the website? Very evidence-based, informative and packed with fantastic birth stories.

I am happy to confess to being an unashamed homebirth fan, but I wasn't when first considering it, and that site was invaluable. Had my first 2 sons at home, and am due my third here (all going well) anytime now.

weezl74 Mon 08-Oct-12 15:17:12

Homebirth website

18wksplus Tue 09-Oct-12 13:53:11

No Rhianna - that's NOT what it is.

DD's birth was horrible but she did not 'nearly' die: her heartbeat dropped and it was very scary, but she was fine.

Since then my experience of hospitals has been being diagnosed with, and treated for, cancer. I was diagnosed when DD was 8 months old after weeks of tests. I spent her first birthday knowing I was about to have brutal chemo (BEP if you want to look it up - it's what Lance Armstrong had and is known amongst oncologists for being one of the toughest regimes). I then had multiple courses of this chemo, whilst missing out on my baby growing up and hoping that I'd be there to see her next birthday.

So excuse me for not having positive memories of hospitals or scans.

And trust me - I'm extremely assertive. That's why I'm not dead: it took three trips to my GP to have my symptoms taken seriously.

If you can't be bothered saying anything nice, don't bother saying anything at all.

Everyone else - thank you very much for your lovely advice and support. I'm looking into doulas, and will be chatting it all through with my midwife next time I see her.

I'm technically 'high risk' because I had abdominal surgery, but none of the consultants I've spoken with think I actually AM, if that makes sense: it's just one thing which puts you into that category (like being an older mother, or overweight etc). But the surgery didn't touch my uterus so nothing should have changed in that respect.

Will also ask about the counselling: I've just been so thrilled to be PG again after chemo that it's only now the reality of having to actually get the baby out is hitting home....

Thank you.

ValiumQueen Tue 09-Oct-12 13:58:09

Wow OP I bet being pg again is beyond a dream come true. By the way, you were perfectly clear in your reasons in your original post, and I wish people would read properly before posting. I wish you all the very best in your pregnancy and birth... And beyond.

YoullLaughAboutItOneDay Tue 09-Oct-12 15:27:15

You must be over the moon to be pregnant again OP. Please ignore people like Rhianna. There are a sub-set of people who love to tell you that you are being selfish and risking your baby by having a home birth, when in fact the statistics show that isn't the case at all if you are low risk.

If you are technically high risk, but not necessarily in practice, talk things through with your midwifery team. Whatever anyone may say, it is always your decision whether to go for a home birth. They can advise, but that's it.

I hope any counselling goes well, and I can second the recommendation of a doula. Mine was fab!

All the best for the pregnancy, labour and birth.

MoonHare Tue 09-Oct-12 18:03:08

Just wanted to add some supportive words.

After the very difficult time you've had I think it's perfectly understandable that you don't want to medicalise your baby's birth if it isn't necessary.

You seem to be saying that technically it's not your last birth or you in the most holistic sense that has led you to being classed 'high risk' but the surgery you had to treat your cancer?

You know your own mind and body and I agree with you that arriving at hospital when in labour is in itself something likely to raise anxiety levels such that labour slows - that was certainly my experience first time around.

Talk it over with your CMW do your own research weezl74 is right about the homebirthuk website, so good. There might even be a home birth support group near you somewhere.

The thing with home birth is that until you've had one it can seem a bit 'out there', I certainly knew no one who'd ever had a planned one. However since DD2 was born at home I've met several local mothers who have and we're all completely normal women who just share a belief that birth itself is normal and shouldn't be scary. One way to maximise the chances of a normal, calm birth is to do it at home where you feel safe and in control.

I had a wonderful, relaxed and calm home birth with DD2. A memorable experience for all of us - for all the right reasons. Am planning a 2nd home birth for DC3 due in less than 2 weeks.

You might decide that home birth isn't for you after looking in to it, a great book that might help you where ever you give birth is JuJu Sundin's 'Birth Skills', really useful practical ways to cope with labour and birth and lots of positive birth stories too.

Very best wishes with everything.

EdgarAllanPond Tue 09-Oct-12 19:41:42

if there reason to consider you high risk is previous abdominal surgery, then i think you might be at increased risk in event of an emcs, therefore you may well be safer at home due to the reduced rate of EMCS?

something to consider.

massive congratulations on your pregnancy, i hope you get the best possible advice and care during your pregnancy and birth. thanks

EdgarAllanPond Tue 09-Oct-12 19:42:06

there = their

schoolgirl error

18wksplus Wed 10-Oct-12 03:06:15

Thank you all for your advice and wishes smile It does indeed feel like a bit of a dream: can't quite believe that a year ago I was on a cancer ward, and now I'm moaning about pregnancy back ache!

Lots to think about and digest - thank you for your warmth and understanding x

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