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Tell me your honest homebirth stories

(25 Posts)
Pereie Thu 08-Feb-18 21:07:23

I really would like to go forward and plan for a home birth, but have a slight apprehension.

So far I am 'low risk' with my first pregnancy, so no medical reason not to, but my husband is really against the idea which is putting me off somewhat. We like like 10 minutes away from the hospital too so getting there in a case of emergency wouldn't be a problem.

So, please share your honest home birth experiences (horrors and joys)

Thanks in advance smile

Cumberlover76 Thu 08-Feb-18 21:27:22

Do you have a local homebirth support group? Try Google or Facebook. When I was pregnant with my first DH was a little uncertain about homebirth, I'd always wanted one . We went to a local group and listened to other people's experiences, and he spoke to dad's who'd been through it. He was sold after 1st meeting. I went on to have an amazing home water birth all went perfectly with both me and DH happy and relaxed at home and DD born fine. Totally recommend a group if you can find one. Good luck, I hope you have the birth you want and all is well.

Cumberlover76 Thu 08-Feb-18 21:28:37

Good informative site here

JohnnyMcGrathSaysFuckOff Thu 08-Feb-18 21:51:57

I had one with DC1 - multiple pregnancy this time so decided not to again. Other than that, I'd do it in a heartbeat.

DH was also sceptical so I asked him to meet with the HB MW. She had 17 years' experience and an answer for all our questions. She was way more reassuring than anyone else we had seen. He was sold.

The actual birth was great. It turns out I give birth fast, and actually it would have been dangerous trying to get to hospital. I was able to labour without interference, taking my clothes off when I wanted and going up and down stairs. I just did what my body wanted without needing to worry who was watching. I am convinced this meant DD was born as smoothly as possible. She was bright pink, screaming, apgar of 9 with no head moulding to speak of.

I gave birth at 2.22am and was tucked up in bed with DH and new DD by 5.30, MWs gone and all mess tidied up apart from the fanjo print I made on the cream carpet

For me, it was a safe and calm way to give birth and I think it gave DD a great start in life.

ZaZathecat Thu 08-Feb-18 21:54:27

Both of mine were home births, and I was a 'geriatric' mother! Like you I lived about 10 mins from the hospital. Dh was a bit worried but I had no qualms at all. I was told that usually if you end up going to hospital it's because it's a long birth and the mother wants to get it over quicker.

Both were positive experiences. I felt relaxed (well as relaxed as you can in labour!) and had the undivided attention of 1 or 2 midwives all the time. They encouraged me to give birth on all fours and I didn't need stitches, which I think may be partly because that's a more natural position to do it than lying on your back.

Lots of people seemed aghast to hear I planned a home birth, especially the first time, but for me it was the natural thing to do. I felt more in charge of what was happening to me and it was less medicalised. I did use plenty of gas and air though!

pupchewsleg Thu 08-Feb-18 22:01:11

I tried with DS1. Spent ages in labour at home - nicer than hospital - eventually induced/accelerated in hospital, also 10 min away. I don't regret starting at home. Having to go in, in an ambulance was annoying and felt unnecessary.
DS2 born at home. So easy, and I felt in control. Tucked up in my own bed with a 30 min old baby was lovely.
I went to a home birth group before DS1, which was really useful.

sycamore54321 Thu 08-Feb-18 23:07:56

"So far I am 'low risk' with my first pregnancy, so no medical reason not to,"

But you aren't low risk for home birth. First time mothers in UK face nearly double the risk of death or serious injury to the baby in home birth. By all means, it is absolutely your choice to make but you should not make it based on misinformation.

BayLeaves Thu 08-Feb-18 23:20:31

Had a horrible hospital birth with my first - epidural, forceps, the works. Everything apart from a C-section.

Second time round I wanted a calmer birth and decided to try a home birth. My hospital is 30+ mins away depending on traffic but they do transfer you at the earliest sign of difficulty, generally midwives can tell pretty early on in labour that it might not be a straightforward birth - so if they’re in any doubt they’d transfer you.

If anything, because they come and do their initial checks fairly early on with home births, when things go even slightly wrong, there’s a good chance end up arriving in hospital before you would have done with a planned hospital birth! This reassured me.

I did hypnobirthing CDs, aromatherapy oils, relaxing music, positive affirmations on the wall etc - all that ‘hippie’ stuff that’s so popular on Home Birth chat groups online! I am not normally a hippie type and really don’t buy into “alternative” medicine stuff but I do think these things can help in early labour as a distraction and to keep you in a calm mindset. The best pain relief for me was the pool which I bought new and sold on again at a loss of only £50 - which is less than hiring one!

My labour was still fairly long and painful but I’d say it was calmer and I was more in control. At hospital I had to wait over 2 hours for an epidural after asking for one as the anaesthetist was busy. I’m pretty sure during the home birth I wasn’t in intense pain for any longer than that so if you measured pain intensity and duration I don’t think the hospital birth was better despite it ending in an epidural. DH preferred the HB too as he felt less useless, because he had more jobs to do at home like filling the pool, keeping it warm with fresh buckets of water, fetching things me or the midwives asked for etc.

I’d definitely choose another home birth if I ever have another baby.

BayLeaves Thu 08-Feb-18 23:27:26

sycamore54321 I think I disagree with this comment. Doubling a risk that is already very low does not constitute a medical reason not to do something, surely? Lots of things carry increased risks - being on the contraceptive pill increases the risk of breast cancer but that’s not a medical reason not to take it as the risk is statistically low and there are lots of benefits. If OP is low risk then the benefits of home birth may outweigh the small risks.

wewentoutonsunday Thu 08-Feb-18 23:40:00

I had a hb planned for DD1 which didn't work out, as she was induced.

DD2 was born at home, in a pool, which was lovely. But I was blue lighted to hospital and had to stay overnight. Also they didn't bring much gas and air with them, so I don't really feel I got the whole home experience tbh. You just don't know how it might work out. DD was fine - just I lost a lot of blood, so more inconvenient than scary.

AdultHumanFemale Fri 09-Feb-18 00:15:34

The Best!
DD2, me 38, heatwave, 10 days overdue.
It was really lovely. I had been bricking it following a traumatic first birth (which started as a home birth, but ended in an orderly transfer to hospital on account of raised temperature), too scared to birth in hospital, but really scared of birthing at home as well. Like you, we also live 10 mins from a large hospital, and having experienced a transfer during labour before, I knew it would be OK.
As it happened, the student midwife who had booked me and done my case load had said categorically that should I plump for a HB, she would make sure to come, whatever time of night or day, despite technically having finished her placement a few weeks before my due date. Her devotion to, and encouragement of, me gave me the courage to go for it, and she came through; she was first on the scene, and as soon as her 'mentor' arrived, she was absolutely amazing and ensured that DD2's birth was every bit as gentle and magical (albeit very quick at just under 2 hours) as I could have imagined. I had swotted up on hypnobirthing in the weeks beforehand, not ideal perhaps, but so helpful. My student midwife made me feel like a goddess, supremely intuitive and earthy, and remained completely connected to me throughout (while DP was hobnobbing with the two other community midwives by the kettle), letting me marvel at every sensation and affirming my observations as labour progressed. When I shat on her trousers she game me a little hug. There wasn't time for neither birth pool or pain relief, but neither mattered. Highlights were getting stitched up on my own sofa, drinking a cup of tea and eating biscuits with three jolly midwives laughing and joking, talking about what a lovely time we'd all had, while DD snuggled with DP. He had been quite traumatised by DD1's birth and was just heaving these big sighs of relief as the midwives fussed over him. Then taken to the bathroom by the midwives who held my hand and ran jugs of warm water over me as they waited patiently for me to do both a wee and a poo, then ran me a bath. They stayed until I'd finished, then walked me upstairs and put me and DD to bed (own lovely bed in quiet own room) with a cup of tea and a tray of biscuits to be getting on with.
It really was super nice. However, had anything seemed wrong, we would have been in the car on the way to hospital in the blink of an eye.
Wishing you good luck, and big congratulations!

Waddlelikeapenguin Fri 09-Feb-18 00:28:04

DC 2 home water birth MW sat & waited & i used hypnobabies through several hours of labour, baby born back to back in pool. Never had to push my body did all the work. DC freaked MW by being very quiet (has made up for it every day since wink) but i knew all was well looking at the wee breathing baby on my chest. Physiological third stage of HUGE placenta.

DC3 as above but MWs didnt come out when DH called them so i got the birth with just DH that i always wanted. Fabulous MW (except the panicked MW on the phone to DH who was annoying when i knew baby was about to be born!) Arrived after baby & then we waited patiently for more normal sized placenta!

I bitterly regret listening to DH's fears about homebirth with DC1 my instinct that i would birth best at home in water, in near dark & undisturbed were correct.
YMMV obviously

sycamore54321 Fri 09-Feb-18 02:55:40

@BayLeaves What are the benefits that you suggest the OP balances against the risk that her brand new tiny baby is twice as likely to die or be seriously injured?

Also can you please explain how a midwife would identify at the start of labour (in plenty of time to transfer) things like shoulder dystocia, placental abruption, post-partum haemmorage, amniotic fluid embolism)? It is a complete lie and a dangerous one at that, to suggest that all complications are foreseeable and signal themselves in plenty of time. Home birth carries very real and distinct risks. If people want to choose these, they are free to, but it is irresponsible and dangerous to hide the very stark increase in risk. In what other circumstance would you tell somebody that taking an action that doubles the risk of death or serious harm of their baby is a good idea?

calmandbright Fri 09-Feb-18 03:10:33

Ahhh it was lush! Ate when I wanted, took a long bath in the earlier stages, had my music and my things, and just got on with it with minimal intervention. Best part was calling for a dominos and munching away with a film on, babe in arms, less than half an hour after the midwives had left! Was the best birth!!

ZaZathecat Fri 09-Feb-18 08:11:37

sycamore I don't know where your figures come from, but perhaps they include births which took place at home unexpectedly, rather than planned?

There's less risk of infection at home.

BrownTurkey Fri 09-Feb-18 08:21:03

Hired a pool that we set up a few days before (dd1 enjoyed swimming in it). Lovely midwife arrived once my contractions got closer. Gas and air was great. She then called another midwife over. I gave birth leaning forwards onto the edge of the pool, just the only position I could bear at the time. Dd was born so calm and happy, and I had a rush of endorphins, was happy as anything. Got out of pool to deliver placenta, which didn’t go so well. Some of it was retained, so they called an ambulance, we put dd2 into the baby car seat (only an hour old!) and she came with me in the ambulance, dh followed in car (dd1 was staying overnight with my friend). She was born at 4 am, I had an operation at 7am just as lots of tired surgical team members were changing shifts, literally handing over to each other during my op. They were great. I went a bit pale and needed a blood transfusion, but was discharged within 24 hours. It was very hard trying to feed and change dd2 with tubes going into my arm with the blood transfusion, but I was more experienced as she was my second so I coped. Poor DH had to clean and empty the pool, which had more blood in than you would think. That’s warts and all, but I would have done it again in a heartbeat - except that a friend of mine sadly experienced the loss of a baby who was undiagnosed breech (she was in hospital though), so this would worry me, but they are really careful to check you a lot if you have a home birth.

mikesh909 Fri 09-Feb-18 08:46:21

I can't quote you any statistics but the pp is right about infection. An acquaintance of mine recently lost a baby at a few weeks old. His son died of the cold sore virus, which was picked up in hospital at the time of birth. So hospital births are certainly not without risks.

I am pregnant with dc2 and planning a home birth if I remain low risk. From my reading so far, I've understood that in my particular situation the risk of a 'poor outcome' is the same for a home birth or in a midwife led unit, both of which are recommended above a hospital for low risk cases. I'm happy to be corrected by @sycamore54321 if they have any evidence to back up their claims.

Pereie Fri 09-Feb-18 09:12:37


Can you point me in the direction of the report that backs up the statistics you stated please? I want to read as much as I can about it.

Thanks for all the advice. I am seeing the midwife next week so will ask to have a chat with the home birth team smile

Ohforfoxsakereturns Fri 09-Feb-18 09:22:14

3 our of 4 of mine were homebirths and each one perfect (increased risk with DC4 as was 42 weeks but we were prepared).

At home you have the consistent care of two qualified MWs. The care I received was better than my hospital birth.

My hospital birth was wonderful but because I didn’t adhere to protocol. So rather than an intervention after two hours of pushing, I and the baby were monitored. He was born healthy and I didn’t have to be cut or tear.

I would have had DC1 at home gladly but my mother put me off by scaring me.

Birthing is scary and things do go wrong. But the majority go well. Good luck.

ShowOfHands Fri 09-Feb-18 10:17:58

I planned a home water birth with my first and that is what happened until after 3 hours fully dilated and pushing in every conceivable position, I transferred in an ambulance. I had an attempted ventouse, attempted manual rotation and crash cs with a pph and DD sustained a birth injury.

Tried again with my second but transferred earlier and had another emcs.

My only advice is not to do what lots of people do and make the hospital the enemy. The comparisons can end up quite damaging because necessary hospital birth is not the poor cousin of the homebirth. Often, it's life saving. Because I'd swallowed and clung to the rhetoric that home was better, calmer, perfect and hospitals were noisy and second best, when I had to transfer, I felt I'd failed and it caused a lot of heartache.

I don't regret trying but learned the hard way that you don't get a choice really and embracing reality is better than pinning hopes on an ideal.

My second emcs was positive, joyful, uplifting and wonderful btw because I embraced the hand dealt to me.

Pereie Fri 09-Feb-18 10:40:51

@showofhands, great point - thank you.

Thisonetimething Fri 09-Feb-18 12:49:33

Check out the birth place study here to be fully informed of risks and benefits;

This is there the "double the risk" statement from @sycamore54321 refers to. So risk at hoke for first time mother is 9.3 adverse events per 1000 births vs 5.3 for hospital births. Also 45% chance you'll be transferred to hospital.

From the stufy;
*For women having a first baby, a planned home birth increases the risk for the baby

For nulliparous women, there were 9.3 adverse perinatal outcome events per 1000 planned home births compared with 5.3 per 1000 births for births planned in obstetric units, and this finding was statistically significant.

For women having a first baby, there is a fairly high probability of transferring to an obstetric unit during labour or immediately after the birth

For nulliparous women, the peri-partum transfer rate was 45% for planned home births, 36% for planned FMU births and 40% for planned AMU births*

sycamore54321 Fri 09-Feb-18 12:58:00

Figures come from the Birthplace Study and NICE guidelines.

That study examined the differences in outcomes for women planning a home birth with women planning a hospital birth. It was, in my view, rather a biased study that intended to find home births cheaper and to find justifications for that.

I can't do links on my phone but do a google for it, and for some of the commentary on it. It enrages me that midwives and home birth advocates gloss over this and that people are making choices without being properly informed.

I am so terribly sorry for the person who lost a baby to cold sore virus. That is horrifying and heartbreaking. It should never happen. However, I will say that there is no evidence to suggest that hospital-acquired infections are a more significant risk to the baby than home birth. Or indeed that babies born in hospitals are more at risk of infections - cold sore virus circulated widely in the community also. I don't know of any data on neonatal deaths of healthy term babies from specifically-hospital-acquired infections like MRSA.

Situp Fri 09-Feb-18 13:06:18

I planned HB with my first. Laboured at home with my community midwives who had cared for me throughout my pregnancy and knew me and DH well. For me it was about being in my own home afterwards, not about the experience itself.

Transferred after a 30 hour labour and an hour of pushing because nothing was happening. Was prepped for c section but DS was born with foreceps.

At no stage was there any sign of fetal distress and even with the transfer my midwife came with me. I would have loved to try again but DD was footlong breech and DD3 was emcs 2 weeks ago.

I am glad I tried it and although I am sad never to have had a "normal" birth, labouring at home was still very relaxed and positive.

Would add that hospital experiences were very good until the baby was born. Then they didn't seem to have any time for me and it was when i got home it was MW who again gave me great care.

Don't know if that helps?

timeistight Fri 09-Feb-18 13:25:20

DD1 born at home@ 38 weeks. Sweep at the GP's on Thursday afternoon, contractions started in my evening class at about 6.30. Finished the class, came home, ate and went to bed. Woke at about 6.00am, had a bath, called the hospital, the midwife came out, bringing a student who had never seen a home birth with her, things hotted up during the morning and I delivered a 3kg LG at 1.15pm.

Issues in the second pregnancy meant a hospital birth. Went in at 4.00pm, having been contracting since 5.00am. Was admitted and told I had hours to go. Sent to the television room at 5:30, was on my hands and knees on the floor by 5.45 and a 3.5kg LG born at 6.10pm. The post natal ward was awful, dirty, hot and noisy, and I was offered no food until breakfast the following morning. If there had been a DC3, I would have definitely gone for HB again.

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