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

(145 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

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

pettyprudence Sat 19-Jan-13 23:26:25

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.

AmericasTorturedBrow Sat 19-Jan-13 23:59:32

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 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

pigsinmud 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!

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