Do I try for a homebirth again?(14 Posts)
I am 20 weeks pregnant with dc2.
I had planned to have a homebirth with ds1 and was doing really well (very relaxed, a few puffs of gas & air) until the midwives decided to break my waters at 8cm. There was meconium present (very little) and it was decided i was to be transferred to the nearest hospital - an hours drive away on a good day. This is when I lost all control, I couldn't cope being strapped to my back and having to deal with travel sickness whilst in labour. I had little support during the journey as the midwife was travel sick too and had her head stuck out of the window the whole time, bless her!
The hospital staff were not as I expected them to be, when I arrived there was a feeling of 'oh no not another one' as they were rushed off their feet. I was told to 'shut up' repeatedly. There was a complete lack of communication, I ended up having a ventouse delivery that I wasn't informed was happening until after my son had been delivered. I literally had no idea what was happening until it had happened.
So do I risk having a homebirth again? The hospital experience was so upsetting that I don't think I could voluntarily go there for the birth. But my worry is that if something did go wrong at home again, the hour transfer by ambulance just seems too much. It feels like whichever option I choose I'm just going to worry
Personally, I'd go for a homebirth again.
I transferred in with DS, I was very clear about not being strapped in/down.
I had to transfer from a planned home birth with dd1 due to meconium. In our case the hospital was much closer and we went in our own car, so not as bad. I did meant one unpleasant midwife on the labour ward, but it doesn't sound as bad as your experience.
I went on to have a further three successful home births (in pool at home) and they were so much better that the first time.
Good luck whatever you decide
Thanks for your replies!
flisspaps I didn't realise there was an option? I can remember
screaming saying that I needed to change position a few times but neither the paramedic or midwife gave any indication that this was possible and just got me to lie back down flat again.
I was considering having a home waterbirth, bumpybecky. This would be my ideal labour, it's just the transfer factor that's making me feel uneasy about it all.
I think I'm worrying too much, I've just read an old thread where somebody's transfer time was a minimum of 4 hours by air!!
YOu don't with your first.
With my second and third it was in my birth plan that no-one was ever to touch me, and to remember that I was the one giving birth, not them.
What that gets you, ime, is experienced and more senior midwives, apart from anything else, who are surprisingly accomodating and interested in your birth choices.
Looking back, starlight, I'm annoyed with myself for not being more assertive. I think I just thought that they knew best and because everything felt so out of my control I didn't question them. I know that this time round things will be very different no matter how things turn out!
You can't be assertive, if it wasn't in your mental plan beforehand, and why would it be?
It's only after you have had the experience you have had that you realise you would NEED to be, and so you make plans, like wording your birth plan, hiring a doula perhaps, prepping your dp etc etc.
Agree with Starlight
DS was my second baby. I planned a homebirth against medical advice (due to PPH, tearing, MROP first time) and had been in contact with the Supervisors of Midwives. I have no doubt I was considered a PITA. I had two v. experienced MWs who had read my birth plan, and who told the paramedics that I wouldn't be strapped in!
With DD I just did as I was told.
I really feel for you and I am not sure what I would do if I were you. A couple of thoughts I had:
+ Re the ambulance journey of an hour. I think most paramedic crews would want their patients to be strapped in, but maybe you could have a say over which position you were strapped in e.g. sitting? After all if you were not strapped in and the ambulance had to stop suddenly (or worse) then you could get hurt yourself or could harm the paramedic or midwife. For example do you remember the "wear your seat belt campaign" advert on TV a few years ago where the teenage boy wasn't wearing a seat belt in the back seat, his mother stopped the car suddenly and he smashed into her seat, it was really awful.
+Maybe you could talk through the notes from your last labour and work out what happened, maybe you would get an apology, or a feeling of empathy than the senior midwife or doctor you talk it through with hears how bad it was for you. It may also be your baby had got really distressed and that explained why he was tugged out so rapidly with the ventouse?
I have had 2 instrumental deliveries (first forceps, second ventouse) as both my babies got distressed in labour. With my first it was calm, not too much of an emergency, I had an epidural and everyone explained everything well. With my second I was a bit high with gas and air, my DD's heart rate had really crashed down, there was some panic as the registrar was busy and they had to call someone else who ran from A&E, there was much less explanation, but luckily I got the chance to read through my notes the next day and it made it clear to me why the ventouse was done so rapidly with little involvement of me (but I did agree to it I recall!)
Good luck whatever you do. Remember 1 hour away is a long time if your wee one needs "advanced" resuscitation, unless they could send a helicopter of something. But on the other hand it is most likely to be a lovely home birth
I think I should have prepared myself more though, starlight. I knew that there was a chance that I might have to be transferred, but I never gave it a moments thought. I think I should have thought more about the 'what ifs' - but I definitely agree with you that everything is easier to do in hindsight and with experience.
I would plan a homebirth again but do a bit of thinking about what might help me in a hospital transfer. I transferred in with dd1 because of meconium, I had be strapped in but I was seated (possibly in a wheelchair?). Had a good hospital experience in terms of care but had a forceps.
Dd2 was a quick lovely homebirth. Good luck.
Those were my thoughts regarding being strapped in, sky. I think in my case it was in my best interests that they kept me lying down as the rural roads have very sharp corners, etc but it was very uncomfortable and made my sickness a lot worse! I was quite active during the labour at home so I think just being strapped in, regardless of what position, made me panic.
I've never seen my notes from the last labour. I discharged myself ASAP from the hospital as I was treated badly after the birth. I wrote a complaint letter a few weeks after the birth after having a brief chat with a few of the community midwives but I couldn't bring myself to send it as I was informed that I would have to go back to the hospital and receive an apology from the midwives - and at that point I just wanted to try and forget about the whole experience. I now know that this was the wrong way to handle the situation!
Regarding the ventouse delivery - I don't think my son was in any distress, I was exhausted by the point of delivery after pushing for a long time and my body 'shut down' so I think a decision was made that they needed to get my son out, I thought I would have been involved in that decision though!
I had a homebirth with my first. The mw wanted me to transfer in because she thought she could see some meconium in the fluid
under a yellowish dim light. I could give you a long list of the reasons she gave us that she claimed made it essential to transfer. We stayed put & DS was absolutely fine. I'd been encouraged by a friend to read up on potential problems during labour so I knew the risks & also the potential complications of interventions. I wrote most of the more likely scenarios in a booklet so I could refer to it during labour if necessary & asked DH to read it so he was familiar with it all too. No way would I have had the courage to stand up to the midwife who didn't want to be there because she had a bad back & had already worked a full day if I hadn't done that reading! DH was actually the one to do the standing-up to her bit - I've never been so proud of him! He's the most un-confrontational person I've ever met! I told him I needed him to make the decision when she was really putting the pressure on & he very politely told her to back off! He said afterward that he could see that I wouldn't cope with being moved & he was worried it would interrupt the natural flow of labour & put us both in more danger. I don't doubt that he was right & I'd have ended up with interventions if we'd transferred!
We did eventually let the midwife call an ambulance & DS was born with the ambulance men waiting on the landing! He was fine but I had a mild pph & was really dehydrated
because the mw was too busy telling me my baby would die to bother suggesting I drank anything so I was transferred in afterward. I'm currently planning my 2nd homebirth & will happily be a complete PITA if I have another midwife who seems more interested in getting home than supporting me. I'd quite like it if my midwife would just leave me to it & suggest helpful things like drinking & position changes though! Would be nice to feel like we were working together, rather than the whole experience being them vs us!
The one thing I now recommend to all pregnant women is that they do their own research into the complications & common interventions so they're as prepared as possible beforehand. I found Ina May Gaskins Guide to Childbirth really good for giving me confidence in my body's abilities & as a different view to the standard NHS guidance. She seems a bit 'woo' in places but it's definitely helpful to get a second opinion. Arm yourself with knowledge & be prepared to stand up for yourself!
I can second Ina May's Guide to Childbirth
I challenge anybody not to feel like they can give birth after reading that! . I am also reading Home Birth by Nicky Wesson atm and finding it really helpful.
I haven't had a HB yet but have encountered some challenges as this is DC3 and I've had an instrumental delivery with 3rd degree tear, following a routine induction with DC1. DC2 was born by elcs. These experiences have made me more certain that I want to labour/birth at home and I am armed with lots of research evidence so feel like I've made an informed decision. In both previous pregnancies I was overly compliant, but its only with hindsight that I see it now - I didn't feel compliant at the time, I just thought they knew best.
I really hope you get the birth you want.
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