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Bad experience of homebirths?

(56 Posts)
susie100 Fri 08-Jun-07 13:13:12

I am seriously considering a homebirth (am seven and a half months pregnant with my first) after a conversation with a midwife. Had not really thought about it but when I discussed some fears with her she suggested I sounded like the sort of person that may be better and more relaxed at home.

Have done some research and certainly looks as safe as hospital birth if you are low risk and we are 5 minutes for the hospital driving normally.
The websites and stories I have read seem overwhelmingly positive (including all the stories from However, another post on here made me wonder how many people have had poor experiences but not ever mentioned it?
I am not trying to scare anyone but am genuinely interested in any stories, not necessarily where the outcome was not positive but where in hindsight people wished they were in hospital, weren't relaxed, could not cope with pain etc.
Don't wish to be negative but really want to be prepared and get both sides of the story?

domesticgrumpess Fri 08-Jun-07 13:58:28

Message withdrawn

basilbrush Fri 08-Jun-07 16:00:14

susie was that my scary story on the other thread perchance?
if not, would you like to hear my scary story?
(Can I just point out that I am still totally pro-home birth. I just think you have to get your head out of the clouds when you plan it. Which I didn't)

susie100 Fri 08-Jun-07 16:22:16

Yes it was(grin)and actually someone else a few weeks ago posted (either here or on another board) that their worst (and first) birth was at home with independent midwives. 30 hour labour and she was in so much pain she could not communicate it to anyone. She then had a big tear that was undiagnosed and she had terrible problems with it. So despite achieving a homebirth she had her subsequent two at hospital.

Am feeling quite pro-home birth and can see the benefits but as you say, want to know all the facts and hear experiences both good and bad. It seems people only post bad hospital experiences and good homebirth stories?

ShowOfHands Fri 08-Jun-07 16:28:01

If you've read basilbrush's story then you would have seen mine on the same thread. I was blue lighted to hospital after 24hrs as dd was stuck. I still maintain that it was an extremely positive experience though and would do it again with the next one but probably won't be allowed as it will be a VBAC.

I just want to echo the 'be realistic' sentiment. I cannot explain the feeling of disappointment, guilt and anger at having a 'failed' homebirth. I wish I had been better prepared for the eventuality that I may have ended up with a cs instead of maintaining a 'oh that won't happen to me' stance. You are very wise to be doing your research, focus on having a healthy baby and healthy you at the end and plan for the possibility that you may not get the birth you want. True of any labour, homebirth or otherwise.

DaisyMOO Fri 08-Jun-07 18:17:39

No reason why wouldn't be allowed try for a VBAC at home showofhands - remember it is your choice and you can't be denied a homebirth.

perpetuaphoenixfire Fri 08-Jun-07 18:29:25

i planned a homebirth with ds4, when waters went there was meconium everywhere, ambulance sent for, got to hospital, i was examined and mw realised he was breech so i ended up with emergency section. tbh i didnt feel things were going well and i think i would have chosen to transfer to hospital as i just wasnt happy at home. however i think with any of the other 3 i would have been fine.

i dont feel any sense of failure or disappointment. that might be quite unusual as i have seen lots of posts on here from women who feel that way having an unplanned section (whether birth was planned at home or hospital). however i did keep a very open mind about birth in general, all i was sure about was that i didnt want to be induced as i didnt want to be in hospital for that length of time. you can transfer to hospital at any time, so if you are in two minds plan a home birth and tell your midwife how you feel so she can be ready for possible transfer

fillyjonk Fri 08-Jun-07 18:35:40

was also emergency transfered with ds because he had an irregular heartbeat and there was LOTS of blood. I do mean LOTS.

But heres the thing. 1. I was transfered at the first sign of any problems at ALL. I wasn't actually IN labour, really. 2. Becasue i had decided on a hb and had very strong ideas about what i wanted, i was able to get quite a postive experience in the hospital

oh and there weren't actually any problems. ds has an "innocent" heart murmur (v common, i do too) and the copoius blood was just because he was born SO fast (about an hour, start to finish, maybe less)

so def don't regret preparing for a hb. only prob was i didn't pack a bag!

manuka Fri 08-Jun-07 19:08:09

I think, when planning for a birth the most important thing is to be really aware of your pain tolerance. How do you cope with other pain e.g period pains? I wish I'd thought more about how I really am with pain. I planned a natural birth, went to NCT and got really into the whole natural thing. What I didn't take into consideration was the fact that I'm a big nancy when it comes to period pain!! I take maximum pain relief and more in fact got done by the doc for 'over dosing'!!
So really think about that side of things. Also how do you feel about hospitals? Do they scare you? Would you feel safer at home?
Hypnobirth cds are incredibly good for any type of birth so I'd crack on with that if I were you. they help you to see that the pain is nothing to fear and how to mentally turn it down like a volume control thing.
Hope whatever happens you have a positive experience xx

maxbear Fri 08-Jun-07 20:11:33

I am rubbish at period pain, and I always wondered how I would cope with childbirth, but I did. I was just so excited that after 9 months I was finally in labour. My sister asked me if pain was my friend when the head was crowning and I still said yes! My ds was born at home 13 weeks ago I did not feel at all worried about not being in hospital, he was quite big and I had to push hard to get him out but I felt quite relaxed about it all. I know lots of people who have had home births and I can honestly say that I don't think any of them have had bad experinces. Even the ones that end up being transferred in seem to be happy that they at least had some of their labours at home.

rantinghousewife Fri 08-Jun-07 20:18:15

I was bluelighted to hospital from my homebirth as dd wouldn't come out and I was absolutely exhausted but, I don't actually think of it as a bad experience (dh probably does). I'm just really grateful that I got most of the way through in the comfort of my own home. I did feel like I'd let myself down by not being able to push her out (she was forceps) but, I can honestly say that feeling went after a while and I don't regret trying for the home birth.
Bear in mind that most home births are fine, don't let it put you off.

Loopymumsy Fri 08-Jun-07 20:24:55

Message withdrawn

LaDiDaDi Fri 08-Jun-07 20:26:48

I suspect that most people who have homebirths do have positive experiences because they have planned it so well, have one to one care etc. Even those who transfer will probably be more likely to have a normal delivery than those who plan a hospital birth.

There will always be people who, if they do have to transfer, will feel disappointed and angry that they did not achieve the birth they wanted. However, imvho, they may well have felt the same if they had planned a hospital birth with no intervention and it had all gone tits up. In other words it's not the not homebirth that makes women distressed but the underlying feeling that birth should be something that a woman should be able to achieve without medical intervention.

In addition there will be the very rare case like basilbrush who really could have suffered enormous consequences if they had been stuck at home and not transferred in time. These are very rare and the risks to your baby of not being delivered quickly enough are not eliminated by birthing in hospital.

Personally I thought that I either wanted a homebirth or an elective section and in the end decided that I wanted an elective section on non-medical grounds, which my consultant agreed to btw. In the end I got an em.section without being in labour, so even my "plan this so that I can remain in full control" theory went tits up!

Hope you make a decision that you are happy with and I would urge you to read about all birth experiences, not just that which you hope for .

DaisyMOO Fri 08-Jun-07 21:14:38

I hope this doesn't put anyone off or upset them, but a close friend of mine had a stillbirth at a homebirth. The causes were completely unrelated to being at home (baby died before labour started but went undetected until birth) and she has always said how relieved she was that it had happened at home as it made it much less traumatic than if loads of people had rushed into the room, grabbed the baby from her and made very invasive attempts to resuscitate her. As it was she was able to be with her baby the whole time, they were never separated and it made a huge difference she says to how she coped and recovered afterwards. She even went on to have a homebirth the next time, which went very well. Lots of people couldn't understand why she would do it again, but I think it's a testament to the positive experience they usually are.

lulumama Fri 08-Jun-07 21:16:03

that is a valid point

sometimes catastrophic things do happen, and they can happen at home or in hospital

TuttiFrutti Sat 09-Jun-07 14:32:16

Just thought I should post to contradict something LaDiDaDi said: "The risks to your baby of not being delivered quickly enough are not eliminated by being in hospital". I actually agree with everything else LaDiDaDi said, but I couldn't let that statement go after what I went through.

I had one of those rare experiences like Basilbrush, where the baby had to be extracted very quickly. I didn't have a homebirth, although had been urged to do so by midwives because I had a "low risk" pregnancy. It turned out I had a previously undiagnosed problem (fibroids which couldn't be seen on the antenatal scans) which meant I could never have given birth naturally but also by the time the doctors realised there was a problem, the baby's hearbeat was going and we only had a few minutes to get him out alive. If I had had a homebirth, he would have died, no question, and I might have done too (massive haemorrhage).

It is an advantage to be next door to an operating theatre. Obviously cases like mine are very rare, but they do happen. I love the idea of a home birth but I think people should go into it aware of all the risks.

CarGirl Sat 09-Jun-07 14:36:44

Tutti I read what LaDiDa wrote as meaning that if you labour in hospital things can and still go wrong, as we all too tragically know but yes if you need an emergency section it will happen much quicker if you are already in the hospital IYSWIM.

Spider Sat 09-Jun-07 14:48:02

I've had four home births. Two straight forward and two difficult and tricky. Not once did I ever wish I was in hospital and I feel they were all much better managed at home.

squiffy Sat 09-Jun-07 15:02:53

I've never had a homebirth and think it must be really fab for 99% of people who do, but like Tutti says, you should take care to make yourself aware of potential problems.

After a nightmare first pg created some internal problems, I had a fabulous planned CS which was really great...right up until DD stopped breathing 5 mins after birth. She spent a week in SCBU and was absolutely fine but I cannot imagine what would have happened if we'd had to wait 10 mins for an ambulance to arrive.

Home births should most definately be a right for everyone, and on balance I reckon the 99% or so really positive experiences do of course outweigh the minute percentage of births where not being next to theatre/special care DOES become an issue. I know that outcomes for low-risk are statistically better for home births than for hospital ones, but personally I would rather risk the possibility of ventouse or whatever in hospital, than the risk of something going wrong at home for which I would never stop blaming myself. Sorry for laying it out bluntly, but I know you asked for good and bad views.

Good luck with whatever you decide. I think that many birth classes oversimplify potential issues and pretend that everything is always fabulous and that definately isn't always the case. Likewise I think that many people (myself no doubt included) have a dangerous tendancy to over-rely on hospitals when a home birth would be much more logical. Only you can decide what is best for you. There are usually options of midwife-led units, or transferring after birth to such units that might be a good half-way house as a first birth option.

WestCountryLass Sat 09-Jun-07 19:57:43

I had my first in hospital as he was 6 weeks early and from the moment I stepped in the hospital it was not my body/baby and I found the whole experience really stressful. My DSs labour was long and delivery was difficult as he had his hand up and I managed on gas and air so I decided if I had a full term baby I would try for a homebirth.

I have had 2! Neither was straightforward as such, DD took ages to push out as she got stuck and the midwives were talking about a hospital tranfer but I had a couple of swigs of Lucozade and got down to business. With DS2, my waters did not break til transition and again there was talk of a transfer but I knew what I had to do and pushed with all my might and he flew out a minute later

I always said I would have a homebirth, baby permitting, but imo you should only go for one if you are really happy and confident with that decision and are aware of what will happen if there are any contraindications to having baby at home.

Good luck!!!

buzzybee Sun 10-Jun-07 04:19:11

I had a homebirth with no complications and def never regretted it. Like you had not even considered it until a mw suggested it. What swayed me was that I could change my mind at any time during labour and in the meantime the mw would come to my house rather than meeting me at the hospital. I guess it does depend on your tolerance for risk, however small that may be. Infant mortality rates have dramatically decreased over the last 50 years and continue to do so. This has coincided with the enormous rise in rates of C-sections. I don't know whether the 2 are related but I don't know anyone who would argue that hospital births are a bad thing for baby mortality. What that fails to account for is the millions of babies born in hospital who could have been born at home and could have experienced a much more relaxed entry into the world. I know of many many mothers who have had bad experiences of the hospital system, have discharged themselves within hours of the birth and look back on the birth experience very negatively even though nothing very "bad" from a medical perspective happened.

LaDiDaDi Sun 10-Jun-07 08:47:53

Just back to this thread. Meant what CarGirl says.

Basically that you might have a low risk pregnancy and run into problems in labour that could end in tragedy for mum and baby and that being in hospital won't necessarily eliminate them for lots of reasons.

In theory being in hospital means that you would get a c.section quicker, have seen some scarily quick ones, but clearly that depends on the problem being picked up which might be more likely to happen with one to one care at home that on a busy labour ward.

susie100 Tue 12-Jun-07 17:02:25

Thanks for all your replies, good to hear the other side of the story and that most people feel their experience was positive despite the problems. I will defintiely be realistic about it all. On the pain front I have no idea if I am a wuss or not, have luckily never been tested and have lead a pain-free life!
Several posters have mentioned that you are more likely to spot a problem if you have a midwife with you all the time at home, than perhaps being left alone to labour in hospital. The one to one care is really swaying me to be honest!
Also, have read that it takes 30 minutes to prepare an operating theatre for a c-section. Is that for a 'crash' section as well? If so would not make any difference I suppose if you were at home or in hospital when the problem was spotted.

Now I just need to convinve DP (who thinks I am nuts and the midwife is craxy for suggesting such a thing....sigh)

Lio Tue 12-Jun-07 17:06:15

Have you considered hiring a doula? I was too stupid to do this first time round, but did for second birth (home birth) and knowing she would be there, knew the sort of birth I ideally wanted, and would 'fight my corner' if I got transferred to hospital, gave me great peace of mind.

TuttiFrutti Tue 12-Jun-07 18:39:24

Susie, it can take them 30 minutes to prepare an operating theatre but they can do it a lot quicker if they have to. I had a problem spotted and was being operated on within just a few minutes. My baby wouldn't have survived the 30 minute journey to hospital.

BUT I was very unlucky, 60% of first time mothers don't need to transfer and of those that do most are not in immediate danger.

Obviously a lot depends on how close to the hospital you live.

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