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Anyone had a home birth for their first?

(51 Posts)
HotToddyDog Sun 28-Apr-13 17:18:58

What was it like, would you recommend it?

I'm currently 18 weeks with DC1, always presumed I would have a hospital birth but my midwife mentioned a home birth at the booking appointment at 12 weeks and seemed really keen, so have been thinking about it on and off since then!

I like the thought of it as guaranteed water birth if I hire a pool (my hospital only has one birthing pool), obviously been nice to be in my own surroundings, one to one care plus I don't fancy staying in for days after would rather be at home.

I'm just over 5 mins from the hospital but still scared if things go wrong, plus being my first not sure how I'm going to cope with the pain, is it a big deal to be transferred in half-way through if I need something stronger? And how about helping with bf after, do the midwives come back to help you later on or the next day?

I didn't mention it to my midwife at the 16 week appointment so next time I see her is at 28weeks, I presume this is still enough time if I do want to go for it??

Any advice or experiences greatly received!!

Sevillemarmalade Sun 09-Jun-13 19:18:40

Two planned Homebirths, no pool or pain relief. Did hypnobirthing cd during pregnancies. First labour 5hrs, second 8hrs and no problems of any kind. Best decision about anything I have ever made in my life (and probably always will be). Do plenty of research and if you think it's for you, go for it! Good luck OP

nannyl Wed 05-Jun-13 20:31:50

I did

bit of luck i did as my hypnobirthing meant i didnt even know myself i was in proper labour until transition, 12 mins before she popped out (un pushed) onto the sofa
(hospital 45+ mins away.... midwife 1 had just popped in 5 mins before as she wanted to see for herself i wasnt anywhere close, midwife 2 didnt arrive until after the birth)

It was a truley amazing experiance..... i had her at 2237, ate chocolate brioche and fruit juice, afterward (no plastic hospital toast), DD had a lovely breastfeed on the sofa and by 1am all 3 of us were asleep in our own comfy beds, me having had an hours bath, with a midwife in my lovely (clean) bathroom.

Hoping all goes well this time.... im nearly 38 weeks now, so waiting for number 2 to join us some day soon.... at home (obviously?).... and hopefully IN rather than next to my pool!

catwithflowers Mon 03-Jun-13 18:51:33

I did, 17 years ago, and it was lovely smile

webminx Mon 03-Jun-13 18:49:46

Had planned HB with DC1. Was a very long labour and transferred in quite late. Had been stuck at 8cm for hours and MW were getting twitchy at length of time since waters had broken. Like lovesmile though, the trip in the ambulance shifted things along and DC1 was born within an hour of arriving at hospital. Really glad stayed at home for so long as in hospital, would have been classed as failure to progress, would have felt pressured to agree to "speeding things up" and would undoubtedly have gone for more drastic pain relief as I found the hospital environment quite stressful. As it was, we requested a rapid discharge and were home a couple of hours later so never saw the postnatal ward etc. Would highly recommend staying at home as long as you can/planning a HB but would echo others on having a very open mind to a transfer and remembering that you can change your mind at ANY stage as things unfold on the day. Good luck!

spiderlight Mon 03-Jun-13 15:37:25

I did and it was fantastic! I didn't get my water birth though, as our home water tank wasn't big enough to fill the pool to the required depth and temperature to keep the pressure at the right level, so I had to push on dry land. We could probably have got round this if we'd had a trial run and had contingency plans in place, but DS was nearly three weeks early and arrived the day after the birth pool did! I still had several lovely hours in it though, with DH madly boiling pans to keep it topped up. Other than that the whole thing was lovely, I felt very safe and relaxed and my midwives were brilliantly supportive throughout.

HelloBear Tue 28-May-13 19:24:02

I have had 2 hbs, so 1st DD was a hb.

The reasons? Because of the high level of support and monitoring you get. So much more than in hospital (well that's my understanding as I've never had a hospital birth).

Also I can't imagine only having one room to labour in. I used all of my house, up and down the stairs, numerous baths, kitchen, sofa, bed, etc, etc. Now I will admit when I was in transition with my 2nd I was asking to go to hospital for an epidural. Shortly started to push after that to get it over.

Good luck!!!!

Snowflakepie Tue 28-May-13 17:36:58

With planning and an open mind it can be a great thing. Despite my mw encouraging me, I couldn't get beyond the 45 min drive to hospital and not knowing how I would cope with pain, as I had never really experienced pain before. So I went with the hospital as I was more concerned about being stuck in an ambulance for so long in an emergency situation, with my DH having to travel separately and drive himself in what might be a deeply stressful time for him too. A shorter transfer might well have changed my mind. As it turned out, all was fine, and I cope with pain well. This pg, I will still be going to the hospital but this time to the birth centre which is mw led. The pain doesn't worry me, the transfer time still does. Also I really don't find water very soothing, hate baths etc, so the birth pool issue really doesn't affect me. It seems to be the biggest concern for the mums I know who have had home births.

So not really answering your question but if all goes well with your pg, you aren't too far from the hospital if needed and you want to give it a go, why not try?! I have only heard positive stories from those who were successful. All the transfer stories local to me were horrendous, but that's due to the distance here sad

Ivytheterrible Tue 28-May-13 11:13:46

I had a successful planned homebirth for my first and am currently 18wks and planning one again for my second. I am also very close to my hospital - less than 5 minutes by car/ambulance.

My mum was very supportive as had had 3 homebirths herself, the MIL thought I was insane but have never known anyone to have a homebirth before. DH said he would go with whatever I wanted.

I was 5 hrs from first twinge to babe in arms and gave birth in the blow up pool we had set up on our lounge floor. Had 2 tiny stitches also done at home.

I had 2 midwives for the birth but the second one only came for the last 30 mins or so of labour. My baby did need reviving which was the scariest bit but they were well equiped to deal with this. We had been advised to set up a firm table for emergency care and ventilation in case and this was used.

Neither of us had to go to hospital and within an hr I was showered and on the sofa eating a m and s lasagne.

I would recommend it!

brettgirl2 Fri 17-May-13 19:14:56

No evidence but I assumed that there is one midwife for the mother and one for the baby? The mother potentially could bleed and the baby need reviving? I found having 2 reassuring. OP I 'only' had a hb for dc2 and I would have ended up transferring in my first labour if I'd planned a hb. But if it's what you want go for it. I think I was lucky that the only negativity was my dinosaur dad. Good luck my hb was fab smile

organiccarrotcake Thu 16-May-13 11:14:41


You have made the MW team aware of your decision and it is up to them to work out how to get MWs to you. This link discusses it and AIMS have a very strongly worded letter to send if you start getting the "there may not be a midwife available" excuse (very common).

Incidentally there's no evidence to show that 2 midwives give a better outcome than 1, so the NHS would probably be able to do a lot more HBs by sending just 1 experienced HB midwife. Independent midwives almost always work alone and have excellent outcomes. However, having 2 to yourself is rather lovely and far better than sharing one midwife with several other labouring women in hospital.

Holly1977 Thu 16-May-13 10:55:23

That's exactly it mega. Even if I end up giving birth in hospital, being able to spend as much of the labour as I can at home in a nice pool of water seems much better than being in hospital for hours, or days as has been the case for some of my friends. Yeah, I should probably learn to keep my mouth shut too! That's a much more sensible policy.

megarobotdiscoparty Wed 15-May-13 12:45:17

squidkid it's 45% first time mums transfer I think? We're planning a HB for our first, and very much looking at it as a way to do as much as we can in an environment where we feel comfortable. Friends who have started at home and transferred said they loved the time they had in their own space, and starting off in that mind-set really helped them stay in control throughout. All are planning HBs again next time.

It's such a personal choice. I have also been wary of telling many people because I know not everyone feels the same as I do. In talking generally with people about HBs whilst pregnant I have been surprised how much scary misinformation is thrown around by people who haven't actually taken the time to check readily available research. It would be easy to be put off your stride - but don't be. It's your choice, and if you know your reasons and have educated yourself properly there's absolutely no reason you should be made to feel bad about it.

- lovesmile I feel so sorry for that commenter, what an eejit! sounds like you did brilliantly to me!

Holly1977 Wed 15-May-13 11:59:05

Thanks so much guys, it's really good to hear some positivity for a change. Another friend told me yesterday I was being very brave and she admired my positive attitude and that I sounded just like her before she had her first. Backhanded compliment if ever I've heard one! In other words, I'm naive and once I've had one I'll know better (she's had 2, both difficult hospital births). She also said that first births are always complicated (bollocks!) and maybe it'd be better to wait for my second. She also said that just because they say they'll be two midwives available doesn't mean there actually will be and I may end up going into hospital anyway purely because they can't get a mw to my home. And that I should think about paying for a private mw or doula if I'm determined. Which was all very encouraging and not at all negative(!!!). How does it work with the mws though? What happens if your mw isn't available or you go into labour at 3am on a Saturday night or something? What about if her shift finishes when you're still in labour?

squidkid Wed 15-May-13 07:14:41

lovesmile and laugh I can't believe someone said you failed at homebirth. What an absolute twat. Sounds like you delivered like an action hero...

Your second birth sounds so lovely!

I think about 50% of first time mums planning a home birth transfer into hospital - usually for nonemergency reasons like wanting more pain relief or failure to progress - so it's worth keeping that in mind and not getting too fixed on it (easier said than done sometimes).

lovesmileandlaugh Wed 15-May-13 07:09:28

Both mine were planned home births!

DD1 was a 36 hour labour and we transferred to hospital 20 minutes before she was born. I think getting out to the ambulance shifted her along and I was pushing as we sped to hospital. In all honesty, it was quite traumatic for DH, he found it very scary at the end. An Internet forum I posted on at the time said 'so you failed at home birth' which was such a sad comment. Just be prepared to go with what feels right at the time!

However, it didn't put me off, and DD2 was born at home after a 4 hour labour. Put DD1 to bed, had a takeaway, was rumbling a bit so had a soak in the bath. Got out about 10pm and labour really kicked in. DH watched Match of the Day over the top of my head. Midwife came at 11pm, born at 12.30am. The big sister slept through and met her in the morning. It was lovely!

Just don't get too fixed on how it should be, you won't really know what you want until it happens!

squidkid Wed 15-May-13 07:00:50

I'm a (hospital) doctor who had a home birth for my first back in September, if that redresses the balance of doctors making knee-jerk comments at all! The Place of Birth study does not back up their claims at all.

I had a long labour which I think would have been classed as failure to progress in hospital. I really think it would have been longer in hospital, I did remain mostly quite relaxed at home. It was tough, not going to lie, but in the end I had baby with no complications, no drugs, no tears, no stitches - I had fantastic midwives and felt absolutely safe throughout, very good postnatal support, my own bed, my own shower, a huge bowl of real food, and it might just be coincidence but I have had an easy time of breastfeeding (no pain, no weight gain problems) and a pretty settled baby.

Dorisday13 Wed 15-May-13 06:57:32

Also kept the due date very vague!

Dorisday13 Wed 15-May-13 06:51:34

Holly1977 that was why we kept pie choice a secret and told them afterwards! my mum was panicking I hadn't packed a hospital bag yet grin

NotALemon Tue 14-May-13 15:54:32

I'm 13 weeks and planning a homebirth for my first. These stories have been lovely to read, you see a lot of homebirth stories from people who have had a baby previously, but it's nice to see so many people on their first who've had good experiences! My other half is still a bit nervous about it, a colleague at his work told him that a 'consultant paediatrician' he knows said he'd never have a home or water birth as the risk of babies being born 'damaged' is 90%!! I told him in no uncertain terms this paediatrician is obviously from the University of Knobbers. I'll show him this thread as a bit of reassurance!

organiccarrotcake Tue 14-May-13 15:15:40

You don't have to "satisfy" any "criteria" other than you want a home birth. Your baby, your body, your choice. Equally your choice to change your mind at any time (including in labour) and transfer. Your choice, your right and no one can change that.

Holly1977 Tue 14-May-13 12:04:51

I'm finding people's knee jerk negativity really annoying. No-one on here, I mean friends and family. It's like everyone just says no it's a terrible idea having done absolutely no research or given it any thought. My doctor friend pointed out you have to satisfy a lot of criteria along the way and things can change as you go along so even if it's what I want, it may not happen. I'm trying not to set my heart on it...

EdgarAllanPond Mon 13-May-13 12:32:42

I had a HB for my first, very glad i did - it was relatively fast, intensely painful, but very low-stress.

I had a highly skilled MW with me the whole time (she was made team leader after)

My sister also had a HB for her first - her labour was much slower with a stuck back-to-back baby. two midwives in attendance. She transferred into hospital and from that point on was completely ignored - a MW sat in the room doing paperwork whilst she was strapped to a monitor. the monitor wasn't working but the MW still did not check FHB. terrible. Baby delivered by forceps in the end, postnatal support for BF also crap - visiting policy made it hard for me to attend and help her too. (though i did anyway, and 'milked' her to get supply started)

She would have a HB again but this time with an Independent who would stay with her in the event of transfer, and provide much better BF support than the NHS provided.

Dorisday13 Mon 13-May-13 09:51:58

From a safety point of view I had 3 midwives all to myself the whole time, I don't know anyone who had this is hospital, Also if I'd have needed a c section it would have been picked up straight away (because I had 3 midwives with me) a ambulance transfer and a theatre waiting for me, I was told around 12mins, I think I'd wait a lot longer than that if I was in hospital! I don't think they check on women every 12 mins when you're in hospital!

sydlexic Mon 13-May-13 08:32:59

Two out of three of my babies would not have survived if I had a home birth.

If you need an emergency C S, you may not get to the hospital quick enough.

I would not risk a home birth ever.

Holly1977 Sun 12-May-13 10:23:25

I've pretty much decided to have a home water birth, it'll be my first. I'm only 8 weeks gone so it's a LONG way off yet but it was great to read all your thoughts and experiences. My doctor friend (anaesthetist in obs and gynae) was predictably not keen. She said she never would but could see why I'm keen. She thinks I'm "brave". But she also said as I'm very down to earth and pragmatic and have done yoga for 10 years so know about controlling breathing etc, it's probably a good choice for me. DP isn't keen either but suspect that's just the same instinctive reaction I had at first. I said "no way" to the midwife but the more thought I've given it, it seems like a total no brainer really. As I say, LONG way off yet but just thought I'd get in on this thread! thanks

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