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Planning a home birth and after some advice, tips etc

(38 Posts)
Accidentallyquirky Thu 28-Feb-13 21:02:18

Hi first time I've ever started a thread so hopefully posting in the right place!

I'm currently expecting dc2 and I know for certain I want a home birth, first dc was a hospital birth and although pregnancy and labour where problem free I just hated been in hospital. Dh is fully supportive as are family so no problems there.

If you've had a home birth what was your experience? Was there any negative points? What would you change if at all anything? how did you avoid mess? I'm thinking cheap shower curtains and lots of towels! Has anyone had a water birth at home?

Finally, has anyone had their other dcs at the birth? My dd (will be 4 ) is adamant she wants to watch and whilst I won't drag her out of bed at 3am I'm inclined to think if she's there and wants to watch her brother coming into the world then I should allow her (if she shows any sign of distress or simply changes her mind she's free to go to her room and watch a DVD)

Sorry for the million questions, looking forward to hearing everyone's stories and advice smile

thing1andthing2 Fri 01-Mar-13 09:06:41

Hi there! I had both my babies at home. When I was in the throes of labour I was so glad I didn't need to go anywhere or sort anything or get used to a new place. By just sort of hunkering down and deep breathing I managed on tens until I felt the urge to push both times, at which point I got in the pool. With ds I had the urge to push at 6 cm so had some gas and air to get me through.
Both babies were born in the pool and I got out to deliver the placenta.
It was good, both times it went all to plan. I felt in control and it was lovely to be at home. I didn't really enjoy it because it was still pretty painful but I think, for me, it was better than alternatives.
The only thing I regret is being stitched at home by a midwife who had a tremor! I should have transferred in, in retrospect, for a proper assessment, because it didn't heal that well and muscles weren't stitched properly. I've had to have a cut and restitch subsequently and I'm still recovering from that so feeling a bit down about it all. It may be nothing to do with the homebirth of course, the same issue could have happened in hosp. With my second I didn't tear at all so that was brilliant.

Accidentallyquirky Fri 01-Mar-13 10:34:52

Thanks for your reply, that's what I was thinking that it would be nice not to rush to the hospital and be in a place where I'm comfortable and in control. Nice also that dh won't have to leave me.

My first labour was really straight forward until I told the newly qualified midwife I needed to push - I was told there is no way after two hours I had gone from 3cm to being ready to push. She never once after the initial examination re examined me. Luckily she went on her dinner and another midwife checked on me and I told her the same. I was ready to push and dd was starting to get distressed with me basically refusing to let my body push. She was delivered 14 mins later. I had gas and air after first midwife kept offering (birth plan stated not to offer unless I asked)

Hoping this time I will have a nice active labour with no pain relief and possibly a water birth if I can decide which pool to go for

ohmentalnessisme Fri 01-Mar-13 12:11:39

I had dc2 at home after a horrible hospital birth with dc1. It was fab, very quick and easy - as second births tend to be but I felt so much more relaxed and in control at home. Mw was wonderful, didn't leave my side at all but let me get on with it without interfering. Dc1 slept through the whole thing and woke up a few hours later to find a new baby sleeping in the moses basket smile

I have such fond memories of my homebirth I wouldn't consider giving birth in hospital again unless there was a real medical reason.

wouldyoupleasemove Fri 01-Mar-13 12:53:24

Home water birth here for Dc2 after a straight forward water birth at a MLU for DC1. Was truly wonderful. My second daughter was caught by me in a pool surrounded by candles and flowers with radio 4 quietly on in the background. I still get emotional thinking about it. No stitches, baby born in one push. Bloody hurt like hell though.

Get a pool with a liner- DH just dumped all the gunk and the liner in one so minimal tidying. Check your boiler - our hot water stopped after about two inches and there was a fair amount of 'call the midwife' style pan boiling until it refilled again.
Yes to shower curtains etc
Oh and instruct husband to give you tea and toast ( and put it in a place you can reach it) before the midwives!!!grin You did the work ( though they were great too).


Accidentallyquirky Fri 01-Mar-13 13:13:04

Glad you both had positive experiences smile

Ohmentalnessisme that's what I'm hoping for a mw who just let's me get on with it, whilst having the reassurance that she's there.

Wouldyoupleasemove... Never even thought of the boiler/ hot water ect, we have a water storage tank and not sure if that would fill much of the pool! ... Ill make sure we have plenty big pans to heat water up if we need to - I knew there was a reason I bought a range cooker with 8 rings despite everyone telling me it was daft!

Did you hire or buy your pool?

Ill add feeding me to the husbands list, I need to give him a list so that he feels useful smile

Indith Fri 01-Mar-13 13:21:50

All 3 of mine have been born at home. It is lovely smile

Number 2 was a waterbirth. We had a combi boiler so no hot water issues.

With number 3 we had a tank so we put the thermostat on the tank really high so the water would be seriously hot and we thought that once topped up with the cold to bring it to the right temp that would probably be ok. We never got to test that out as our hot water is heated by the fire and for various reasons (including a trip to hospital for monitoring as waters had gone but no contractions started) we let the fire out so there was no hot water at all. It all got quite comedy with the MW insisting the room needed ot be warmer and the heating needed to be on and dh going "I know I'm trying!" as he tried to light the fire (usually my job, he is crap at it). Don't think the MW realised lighting the fire was essential, she thought he was just fannying around.

If you hire a static pool you can get ones with filters and heaters so you can jsut leave it full and it will be ready and waiting for you. You have to have space for one though! We just had inflatable ones. You can usually get them easily second hand and then just buy a new liner for them.

wouldyoupleasemove Fri 01-Mar-13 13:30:16

We had only been in our new house a few weeks after a horrific house buying experience ( need to change user name ) so we borrowed a birth pool in a box and bought a new liner. We should have done a trial run with the pool and the boiler in retrospect. I know my dc1 would have love that. But it was fine in the end and gave DH something to do.
Good luck

vespalover Fri 01-Mar-13 13:41:43

I had a home birth for my first and hospital for my second. Would have preferred a second home birth but various factors prevented this. A few things that may help...
We bought a huge tauparlin (sp?) instead of shower curtains as covered whole room under pool.
Pool bought from ebay - it's full of second hand but not used pools. As long as you get a new sterile liner it's fine.
Think about the room the pool goes in - I wanted ours in our cosy living room so I could relax and listen to music etc but there was so much steam coming off the pool my DP was convinced the TV was going to be ruined!
Don't leave the pool filling too late - I stayed in the bath until I was about 7cm dilated and then filling the pool was a bit of a panicked rush.
I transferred to hospital after birth ( 3rd degree tear) and even though I was gutted it was definitely the best thing to do as the repair was such that I've had no further problems and I'm not convinced that the MW doing that at home would have been as effective.
If you want to labour in a pool have a back up plan/space/bed etc to deliver on, I found it difficult to push in the pool as wanted to stand on solid ground!
Make sure the MW have spares of all equipment- mine didn't and I therefore had no drugs at all which was a bit of a nightmare!

madamginger Fri 01-Mar-13 13:55:47

I had 2 home births though neither were water births.
Birth one was amazing, 2 hours from start to baby. Just gas and air and tens. I had a small tear but the MW sorted that with 3 stitches.
Birth two was great but ds2 had the cord round his neck and needed some help to breathe. The midwife was fab, she kept me calm and I didn't even notice her call the ambulance. As it happened ds2 didn't need to be transfered but I'm still glad I was at home.

WingDefence Fri 01-Mar-13 14:11:03

OP, I could have written your post and your first birth experience too! I had exactly the same issue about a handover of staff and the MWs not believing I was ready to push after one hour of being there (I was 7cms when I arrived at hospital though). It was a straightforward birth that ended up not so straightforward simply because of the 'care' I received.

So I'm 35 weeks tomorrow, with a 4yo DS and I'm planning a HB this time round. In fact, the MW dropped the big box of stuff off half hour ago grin

I did a lot of research on here, on the website and spoke to friends but what ultimately made me feel happy to decide to go for a HB was when the MW came round two weeks ago for an hour and went through absolutely everything from what I'd need to get and what she'd bring to all the many and various reasons I'd probably get transferred to hospital if needed: they have to inform you of all these things but because I'd done my research nothing came as a real shock. She was great and cleared up questions that DH and I had. It's just good to know how they deal with things in your particular part of the UK. e.g. with staff shortages etc.

She recommended Asda cheap plastic dust sheets to cover the floor as opposed to shower curtains but I reckon anything big and plastic would work. There are about 10 inco pads (the blanket-sized things they put under you in hospital when delivering) in the box too which I've been told are good for putting down if you need extra coverage.

I'm not planning on a water birth but have a close friend who had both her DCs at home in water and said it was great. You may find a local HB group has them to hire out much more cheaply than a private company.

Good luck!

CailinDana Fri 01-Mar-13 18:32:05

I had a homebirth on tuesday smile

My birth story is in the birth announcements section called birth of my baby girl (can't link). To sum up even though it was hard the birth was amazing and i would totally recommend hb.

bigkidsdidit Fri 01-Mar-13 18:39:27

Congratulations Cailin!

I'm booked for a hb currently (only 25 weeks) but can't work out whether to bother with a pool or not, which I suspect is a big faff. If anyone had a home non-water birth what did you do. where did you give birth, on what?

CailinDana Fri 01-Mar-13 18:45:57

Thanks big kids. I don't like water when in labour so i just gave birth in the sitting room. Covered the couch and floor with big tarps. I knelt and leaned on the couch and walked around. DD was born on the couch.

ohrubbish Fri 01-Mar-13 18:57:40

Hi I had Dc1in the hospital and Dc2 at home. I loved my homebirth. I decided a waterbirth sounded like a lot of hassle and expense so just used a birthing ball. It worked for me and I wss surprised how little mess there was. We put down those cheap shower curtains and asked friends for any old towels they didn't want anymore. It is useful to have a bucket on hand but you really don't need much. Be prepared that you might not get any drugs though. My labour progressed quickly and there wasn't the staff to bring any gas and air. G and A doesn't agree with me so I wasn't bothered but it could have felt like a big deal. Homebirths are fab - just focus on getting into your own bath and bed afterwards. Heaven!

AnathemaDevice Fri 01-Mar-13 19:13:17

I had a homebirth 4 weeks ago today, after 2 hospital births. Even though it was my longest and most painful labour of the 3 (due to DS2 having his hand on his chin) I felt safe and relaxed. Having the undivided attention of 3 midwives (2 plus a student) was great.

I had shower curtains, the pads that the midwife brought with her, plus loads of towels to deal with the mess. Everything was cleaned up by the midwives, the living room was back to normal within 90 minutes of DS2 arriving.

I didn't have my other DCs there, which I'm glad about, as I would have been too worried about them, rather than concentrating on the job in hand. If I'd gone into labour at night they would have stayed in bed, but as it was during the day they went to my parents. They arrived back home (with takeaway fish and chips) when DS2 was 2 hours old.

Actually, that was the best bit- I wasn't fussed about where I was during labour, but being in my own home, and sleeping in my own bed that night, was wonderful compared to a noisy, overheated post natal Ward.

Good luck!

emsyj Fri 01-Mar-13 19:13:17

I'm another living room/walking around/kneeling and leaning on the couch birther smile. I had DD2 at home 3 weeks ago and it was amazing, such a lovely and positive experience. I had a crash section with DD1 and a long hospital stay so to have a straightforward delivery at home whilst DD1 was tucked up in bed was fantastic.

The health visitor came to see me a few days after DD2 was born and asked me how the birth was. I said, 'Great!' with a big smile and she had no idea how to respond to that. She looked confused and cocked her head to one side and said, 'So, as good as it could be then' with a sympathetic smile. hmm I said, 'No, it was great' but I think she just thought I was either very strange or had forgotten that it was actually horrific!

My local midwifery service will loan you a birth pool and liner for a home birth (no cost) but you have to buy your own hose and some shower curtains to sit it on - have you asked if there is a similar service near you? I had borrowed a pool but didn't ever bother filling it - I like to be mobile in labour so it just wasn't what I fancied at the time, but it was nice to have it in case. I had gas and air at home for the last hour of the first stage. My midwife just left me to it, I had no vaginal examinations at all and gave birth very peacefully in a dark room with my hypnobirthing CD playing in the background. smile

In terms of mess, I didn't initially plan a home birth but was doing fine at home and so decided not to transfer for delivery. So for us, there was probably more mess than usual. We used a lot of towels, but my DMum boil washed the lot of them that day (bless her) and they all came up fine. She even managed to rescue one very sorry looking example that was totally soaked and covered in clots etc. We did have to bin the rug from the front room, but if we had been better prepared we could have easily prevented that (and we weren't bothered anyway, it was a cheapo Ikea one). Some shower curtains, incontinence pads and towels could have protected it if we'd been better prepared.

I hope you have a lovely birth. smile

Jojobump1986 Fri 01-Mar-13 21:23:02

You might like to read Mayim Bailik's book - she had a homebirth with her older child watching but I think her older child was younger than 4. It's on my to-read list. I'm planning homebirth #2 in June & although I'm not really planning on having DS in the room I'm not necessarily banning him if he happens to be around! Ideally my labour will be like last time & the contractions will start at about 8pm when DS goes to bed & DS2 will be born in the early hours of the morning so DS1 never needs to know about any of the more graphic details! He'll only be 20 months max though so I doubt it'll scar him for life at this age if he does happen to be in the room! wink

learnermummy Tue 05-Mar-13 11:14:02

I had a home waterbirth with DS2 and it was great. Recommend you get a pool with a liner though - ours didn't and I think DH was nearly sick emptying it! Hoping for another one this time and will definitely get a pool with a liner!
We had lots of ikea shower curtains as plastic sheets. I also put a duvet underneath the pool to give good knee cushioning as our pool was in a room with a hard floor.
I also had a duvet covered with a waterproof cover, then a cotton cover draped over the sofa, in case I didn't want to birth in the pool.
In terms of filling the pool, we kept a few inches of cold water in the pool so that when the time came we could just top up with hot water, and upped the temp on the boiler thermostat too.
I also kept everything we might need in a small suitcase downstairs so that (a) DH knew where to look for stuff and (b) everything was ready in the event of needing a transfer.
It was so lovely to go up to my own bed afterwards, and for DH to bring me a bacon sandwich and a cup of tea smile.

elliejjtiny Tue 05-Mar-13 13:28:57

I had a home waterbirth with DS1. Get together everything you will need beforehand and put baby's things separate from yours. DS1 came out of the pool before me and was wrapped in my big towel, leaving me with the tiny hooded baby towel! I'd been in and out of the pool a lot for the last couple of days so no other clean towels, oops.

PaulaPixie Tue 05-Mar-13 13:40:02

I had a homebirth for my 3rd and will definitely have one for my 4th, it was amazing! The midwives are so relaxed and never once inetrfered in my constant position changing etc and when I told them I wanted to push after 30 minutes (and by now on my second canister of gas and air!) she didn't question me just quietly examined me, went into the kitchen to get MW no2 who was making a cuppa and calmly said 'she wants to push' at which point they moved so quietly and professionally getting everything in place (I was on all 4s leaning on sofa inhaling G & A as if it was going out of fashion by now) and George was born 10 minutes later. They cleaned up whilst I was cuddling George then gave him to hubby whilst they took me up for a shower. Then we all sat and had the cup of tea that was rudely interrupted and they both thanked us for making their day. They said they much prefer homebirths and get so mush more satisfaction as its far more personal. My other two were whisked off to their Gran's for the labour, a little graphic I thought but many people think differently (and mine are boys and wanted no part in the 'messy bit').

PaulaPixie Tue 05-Mar-13 13:42:21

Oops sorry got carried away - as for advice, I had shower curtains, towels etc ready but the midwives brought everything. They told us the most important thing was the chocolate biscuits for their cuppa!

hobnob57 Thu 07-Mar-13 16:47:35

I had an accidental home birth and we used every last one of our towels. On hindsight, we had a pack of incontinence bed pads upstairs which would have done the same job with less washing to do afterwards, but it was all a bit quick! A shower curtain and towels should be all you need. And identify your softest one for the new arrival! I found the worst damage was done sitting up after the birth as I soaked through the towels onto the carpet so just be careful where you sit. Enjoy, it's a really special experience.

Mmmchampagne Thu 07-Mar-13 16:57:55

Accidental home birth here too, also used all our towels. My labour was very fast so I experienced a bit of shock afterwards, would recommend having a bowl handy and also some toast and a sugary warm drink.

Even though I had been against home birth there was something lovely about being there and not in the sterile environment of the hospital. We were transferred afterward but home again that afternoon so aside from the excitement of the birth it was a relatively relaxing experience.

Chucara Thu 07-Mar-13 17:10:07

I had an amazing home birth with ds2, after a horrible, highly intervened hospital birth with dd1. My experience was fantastic, I will never regret allowing myself and my husband to go through such an amazing, life changing, fully and wonderfully charged experience in life. You don't get to do it very often, so go for it!


My eldest (3 and a half by then) slept in her room for the whole thing. When she woke up at 7 in the morning mummy and new baby where cuddling in bed. She had the most amazingly easy transition from being one to two. If you dicide to have tour eldest there, have someone on call other than birth partner in case it gets too intense and you want some privacy while labouring.

Pool was key for me. Old towels and sieve too. Ask the midwifes, they usually provide list of things.

I'm truly envious you'll have a beautiful, empowering home birth, enjoy!

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