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Home birth - real stories or opinions?

(51 Posts)
Nickname1980 Tue 02-Aug-16 21:18:48

My previous birth experiences have been a bit crappy. Nothing major, just drugged up to my eyeballs, bed births, induced.

This time, I really want a home birth. My family (lots of doctors) are VERY against it. The opinion is it's not far off child abuse confused. I feel guilty that I am considering it... I just don't know what to do.

My midwives agree that my pregnancy this time is low-risk and I can try for a home birth if I want to. And I don't live far from the hospital.

Anyone want to share their home birth experiences? Good or bad? I just don't know what to do. I want to be at home so badly, it feels right, and I really didn't like the hospital experience, or the postnatal ward at all.

Ok, so not my home birth story but a friend of mine.

She got told that MW for home births is a very underused service (in our area anyway) so she was told to book a home birth and then if she didn't feel comfortable then she could go to the hospital.

Anyway, back to it. She did a hypnobirth course and actually practiced what they preached for between 30-60mins each day depending on the time she had for it. She went into late into the evening. Called MW just to let her know it had progressed. She said that the pain throughout was fine as she had got into the zone. Baby came 12hrs later without any pain relief.
Her story made me consider trying a VB if I have any more kids and my birth story is/was pretty horrendous

fairgroundsnack Tue 02-Aug-16 22:00:29

I had a home birth with DC2. It was brilliant and planning the same for DC3 in a couple of months time. i hired a birth pool, and had 2 midwives plus a student giving me 3:1 care - much better than I got in hospital first time! We live near hospital so could transfer quickly if necessary.

OneEpisode Tue 02-Aug-16 22:01:35

home birth did feel like a vip service. A midwife with a name that I spoke to on the phone, who popped round, left, came back, called another midwife (one for mum one for baby got the actual birth).
But your first birth was induced, drugged up. That's not a hospital vs home birth thing?

Nickname1980 Tue 02-Aug-16 22:27:54

Thank you for your replies! It's good to hear positive stories!

OneEpisode, my previous birth being drugged up and induced was one thing, but actually, being in the postnatal ward without my DH and uncomfortable and listening to other crying babies etc, I didn't like one bit. I didn't like being on the labour ward, uncomfortable, either, I barely felt part of my own labour.

I know I could end up with an induced hospital birth again, but if everything goes well and it looks like I'm going to have a natural birth, I would just rather be at home. Just a bit worried about the risks - my family has been freaking me out!

Misty9 Tue 02-Aug-16 22:34:53

Birth of ds: planned hb but ended up.induced and immobile (spd) in hospital. Pushed for 3 hours and ended up anaemic. Felt awful for weeks. Traumatic experience in postnatal ward and kept in for 2 days as ds wouldn't feed. Horrendous and all without dh, my rock, being able to stay over.

Birth of dd: planned and achieved home birth in the pool. Wonderful. Started labouring at 7am, wandered around contracting for few hours, pottering (and swearing!) while dh filled pool. Realised almost too late that was progressing and jumped in the pool (hardly!) Laboured for another 45 minutes, pushed a few times and out she popped at 2.30pm! Fed straight away and tucked up in my own bed by 6pm. Perfect. Highly recommend.

Toria2014 Tue 02-Aug-16 22:36:15

I had my first (and only) baby at home. I was 40 as well, so according to the medical profession, totally past it hmm Had to fight my corner with one of the midwives to get her on side, my consultant, on the other hand wasn't bothered in the slightest!

It was the best experience of my life. I had a fast, very intense labour, and had my baby in a birthing pool in my dining room. The midwives were very hands off, I felt totally relaxed and in control. Waters broke in the morning, I was sat on the sofa with my baby by mid afternoon. It was great. I hate hospitals, they make me very anxious, so being at home felt very safe and relaxed for me.

canihaveacoffeeplease Wed 03-Aug-16 09:35:37

I had my first at home, and am now planning my second home birth in January 2017!

I am from a medical family too, and was al for not telling them (!). Husband felt this was pretty much Lying to them, so I said he could tel them if he wanted, but I very firmly said that all I needed was support, and if they didn't have anything nice to say, I wasn't interested in hearing it. I had read enough to not need to hear scaremongering stories. I did a vast amount of research, and was very well informed about facts, figures and risks, far more so than my orthopaedic consultant father who last studied obstetrics as a medical student, so had vastly out of date opinions! I fully recommend being very informed so you can show them you are not making a rash decision. is a great website, as is the aims website, and Ina May's book is fab.

I won't lie, home birth ( or just birth in general!) was really, really hard, but I was under no illusions labour would be easy! I was doing fine until they told me they were calling an ambulance after my waters finally went after an hour of pushing and there was meconium in themBut I had 2 amazing midwives who were so supportive and I trusted so much. They were checking the baby's heart rate between every contraction and would have sent me to hospital if they were concerned at any moment. They got the baby out safely 20 minutes later (less time than the hospital transfer would have taken), and one of the midwives, who was my actual midwife the whole way through my pregnancy, was so involved and dedicated she stayed 5 hours after her shift had ended, and said she was certain I would have had the baby in the ambulance on the side of the motorway ( she was prob right) had I gone in it when it arrived. At a homebirth you have 2 midwives constantly with you, so they pick up on any problems immediately, and are always ahead of the game RE transfers etc , hence calling the ambulance when they did, so it was ready if we needed it, rather than having to wait for one if they called it if/when the baby did get distressed (she never did). They did an episiotomy to get the baby out ASAP, and stitched me perfectly at home, on my own bed. While it wasn't the perfect birth experience I imagined, and yes I did get scared (who wouldn't!) it was the best it could've been given the circumstances and I am so pleased I had a home birth. It was everything I wanted in terms of a safe, nurturing, private environment, I was extremely well looked after and would highly recommend it. I would just say please be aware that difficulties do arise, and be prepared to go with the flow - I was against episiotomy, but at the time just wanted the baby delivered safely and quickly, and really trusted the midwives to know and do what was best. Please pm me if you want any more info, and good luck and stick to your guns, this is YOUR pregnancy and birth, not your family's!

Hrafnkel Wed 03-Aug-16 09:42:16

Second pg I had a home birth.

It went v smoothly, had a pool in the front room. Minimal pain relief, tho since I had pethedin with dd1 they gave me a prescription to have it at home, which I didn't use.

But...the placenta wouldn't come out properly and I lost a lot of blood. Ha to go to hospital to be stitched. They didn't admit me at first as I was adamant I wanted to go home. But I was iron deficient and just couldn't walk properly. So I spent the first night and most of the next day waiting to go home. Which is what I had wanted to avoid.

Hospital was only 10mins drive. That affected my assessment of risk.

Nickname1980 Fri 05-Aug-16 15:34:12

Sounds like your family's opinions were similar to mine, canihaveacoffeeplease! It has crossed my mind to not tell them, but I think they'd feel pretty hurt after if I didn't! Thank you so much for sharing your story. It's good to know that you're still happy you had a home birth!

hrankle, are you also still happy you ended up having a home birth, even though you transferred? I am also only a very short hop from the hospital (which makes me feel better about it).

April241 Fri 05-Aug-16 15:49:51

Currently pregnant with first kids so no previous experience but just wondered do you have a midwife led unit near you? The unit i'd originally planned on delivering at was really lovely. Big massive room with bed, couches, docking station for music, various equipment like the ball and a big pool. At my hospital there are no obstetricians or paeds so I'd have had 2 midwives throughout. Pain relief options were gas and air, pethidine, TENs machine if needed. No epidurals offered which I really didn't want and they preferred to not use the bed and opted for the other equipment so it all sounded perfect. Plan is usually keep mum, babies and partner in for 6 hours after birth in a single room and if all is well you toddle off home. My friend had her 3 kids there and raved about it.

I'm now considered high risk so can't use the unit but maybe an option for you if home birth isn't and you have a similar unit? Would be in a hospital so your DH might feel calmer but would be a more relaxed "homely" type feel albeit not in your own home.

Good luck with whatever you do!

April241 Fri 05-Aug-16 15:51:07

Oh sorry, re-read your posts and seen its your family and not specifically your DH who has concerns blush

Nickname1980 Fri 05-Aug-16 15:55:34

I have thought loads about the birthing centre, April, it's definitely what I'll try for if I don't do home birth. It sounds irrational, but I'm almost afraid that if I have a hospital birth it'll all get out of my control again confused. Though I know it doesn't work like that!

DH is supportive, but a little apprehensive, about home birth. It's both our families who are vehemently against! (Lots of doctors who trained in the 60s and then in the late 90s.)

ToastyFingers Fri 05-Aug-16 15:59:34

I haven't got much time as I'm juggling the results if my two home births and they're all cranky and full of cold.

I had both dds at home and I second what a previous poster said about it being a VIP experience.

Dd2 was born during shift-change so there were 4 midwives and 2 students there to look after me during delivery.

I had a shed load of gas and air which was great fun and all I needed although the midwives here do carry pethadine as standard for all home births.

Both times I got to have a nice shower and a cuppa afterwards and the movies (although not all 6) stayed for about an hour and a half afterward, to fill out paperwork and make sure we were all well.

ToastyFingers Fri 05-Aug-16 16:00:22

Midwives, not movies.

ChunkyMonkey4321 Fri 05-Aug-16 16:07:31

I can't believe someone has said its like child abuse??!! What have women been doing to their children for thousands of years?!

first birth was also long, laid in bed and drugged up so I said with my second I would be a lot more active. I stayed at home for most of the birth then went to hospital and I was 8cm on arrival. Pretty much pushed baby out straight away. Then had a bath, Roast dinner and was home a few hours later. Definitely wouldn't rule out a home birth and labouring at home is a lot better as you're more comfortable but I liked not having to clean up the mess!!

Womenareliketeabags Fri 05-Aug-16 16:09:05


FiveFullFathoms Fri 05-Aug-16 16:11:48

Your family may be against it, but what do your own midwives say? They are best placed to advise you. The fact that your family has strong opinions is neither here nor there really. You don't need to discuss your plans with them.

I had a homebirth with DD2. I don't want to scare you but you've asked for honest opinions. It wasn't great, really. I liked being at home and felt comfortable from that point of view - especially in early to mid labour. But the midwife had run out of gas and air canisters (no opiates available for home births in our area) and by the time replacements arrived I'd given birth! So I managed without any pain relief at all which was pretty horrible. Horrendous actually. I could have transferred to hospital but the very last thing I wanted to do when I was in that much pain was go in an ambulance. I'd never even considered that lack of pain relief might be something I'd have to worry about.

The midwife then attempted to stitch me up without anaesthetic. She didn't do this correctly and I ended up with scar tissue that later needed surgery to correct. While this was happening my baby developed neonatal hypothermia so we had to go to hospital to warm her up. We're both ok now but I don't think I would have a homebirth again.

29redshoes Fri 05-Aug-16 17:15:16

five sounds like your midwife was having a bit of an off day?!

FiveFullFathoms Fri 05-Aug-16 18:01:14

five sounds like your midwife was having a bit of an off day?!

I think that's a fair assessment, yes! Which is another thing to think about with home births. If you don't like the midwife assigned to you in hospital, you can request to be dealt him with by somebody else. The shift supervisor is used to this and will accommodate you if at all possible. You can't do this easily in a home birth. You get who is on call and available and that's it.

I am pro home birth generally and know people who've had absolutely lovely ones. But it's really impossible to tell in advance what your experience will be like.

Nickname1980 Fri 05-Aug-16 21:15:42

Oh crikey, fullfive, that sounds like a horrible experience!

My midwives are all for it as I had two healthy babies, but I'll have to change my birth plan and switch to the home birth team. Although they keep asking me why I don't just try for the birth centre instead. I just really don't want to end up on that postnatal ward again... Argh it's so tricky.

I know, chunkymonkey, pretty extreme reaction, right? (The home birth being like child abuse line) but that family member had seen one gone terribly wrong. They wouldn't elaborate much, but I think it was pretty traumatic.

Also, because this is my third baby, I'm kind of thinking it may come pretty fast and I might not have time to get to the hospital anyway?!?!

FiveFullFathoms Fri 05-Aug-16 21:21:44

Nickname, if you do opt for the hospital, could you ask to be discharged directly from the delivery ward? This was an option at the hospital where I gave birth to DS.

RNBrie Fri 05-Aug-16 21:24:26

dc1 at the birthing centre, dc2 at home, dc3 planned at home but had to be induced in a hurry in the labour ward.

Dc2 was the best one, it was amazing doing it at home. She was the largest of all of them by far but definitely the easiest to get out. If you're low risk and the midwives support your decision then I'd highly recommend it!!

lljkk Fri 05-Aug-16 21:29:28

I've had 3 homebirths. I had a blood pressure dip after one of them so went into hospital, but I was fine once i had a load of fluids. Other births at home went very well.

ime, GPs are often supportive of homebirths but hospital consultants are not supportive, esp. those who are only ever called to the difficult births; they don't have experiences of low complications births.

Peregrina Sat 06-Aug-16 10:19:12

I do wonder if the birth that your relative had seen go horribly wrong was a home birth? If it wasn't, then it's not entirely relevant, because the hospital environment can contribute to some births going wrong.

I have had one of each, but a long time ago. There was no comparison in the standard of care I got with each - the home birth won hands down every time. If there is any doubt they will recommend that you give birth in hospital, so you lose nothing by booking a home birth at this stage.

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