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Consultant doing level best to scare DH out of home birth - am I being stubborn and unreasonable?

(89 Posts)
Piffy Sun 23-Sep-07 12:23:25

Hi there, I've been planning a home birth with second baby having had first in hospital with induction, epidural, ventouse, theatre - the works basically!

Midwife has been very supportive but since blood pressure went up whilst in labour last time (due to my stress about induction and the fact I did not agree I needed one I reckon!) she said I should see the consultant even though normally community led care here.

Went last week and consultant did her best to put both me and DH totally off the idea - 'risk of pulmonary oedema, cerebral haemmorage (sorry cant spell), you could bleed out in four minutes, baby can't be monitored, you will only have one midwife and no one else to ask...etc etc...'

DH was scared to death and is now really very worried about my plans. I feel bad for him, strongly feel that this is the right thing to do, my instinct is all for HB BUT am I fair to put him through something he is really uncomfortable about. After all, he'll be the one feeling as if he has to be in control during labour and making decisions for both of us if I can't manage it?

Also in the very rare case that something does go wrong, will I ever stop blaming myself for not following the experts' advice?

Baby is due in 7 weeks and I really am in a terrible state sad

Lilliput Sun 23-Sep-07 12:26:24

Have you thought about getting a doula to take away some of his responsibility during the labour and give him dome support too. I thought homebirths had to be attended by 2 midwives. Stick to your guns and make sure he does some reading on the positive aspects if homebirth.

NormaStanleyFletcher Sun 23-Sep-07 12:30:22

I, too, thought that all HBs have 2 midwives.

A doula would also be a fab idea smile

edam Sun 23-Sep-07 12:33:18

Suggest you get dh more information from a less biased source. Consultants, by the very nature of their job, tend to see only the more complicated cases. So they over-estimate the dangers. NCT or AIMs websites may have some info you could print off and give to dh.

NoNameToday Sun 23-Sep-07 12:34:36

Hi Piffy,

have there been any problems with this pregnancy?

maisym Sun 23-Sep-07 12:35:39

if you have to go to hospital could you write a birth plan that sets out what you want. A doula could be helpful in supporting this.

missbumpy Sun 23-Sep-07 12:36:51

You're the one who's having the baby so I reckon you should do what's right for you

Maybe get him to read some books/websites on home birthing and natural birth and see if he finds it reassuring.

Good luck with the birth!

NoNameToday Sun 23-Sep-07 12:48:59

I am very much in favour of birth being as 'natural' as possible, but and it's a big but, it is sometimes necessary to look at the larger picture than 'it's my right'

Be very sure that what you want does not conflict with what is right.

To have a fine healthy mum and baby is everyone's aim, and an obstetrician is only involved in your care when there, are or have been problems with your current or previous pregnancies or labours.

WideWebWitch Sun 23-Sep-07 12:50:03

planned homebirth statistically as safe as hosp, search on hb and my name

jennifersofia Sun 23-Sep-07 13:26:54

If your pregnancy has been fine and to the book, and you aren't too far from a hospital, I would stick to your guns. Consultants generally err on the side of interventionist IME, as that is what they have been trained to do. (not disputing that they are doing what they feel is best for baby).
I have had 2 hb's, they have been problem free and the best thing I have ever done.

lulumama Sun 23-Sep-07 13:34:20

your first birth may well have gone the way it did due to you being induced, and immobile due to epi... epi can make instrumental delivery more likely as the pelvic floor is relaxed which can stop the baby;s head rotating correctly for birth

also, being still for a long time can slow things right down

the homebirth site is very useful

your consultant is right to point out risks BUT not in such a stark and frightening way that it is difficult to to make an informed decision.

baby can be monitored intermittently, you will have 2 midwives at the birth, and if your pregnancy has been normal, then a planned homebirth is safe.

a doula would be good to support you and DH !

BTW, my friend just had her 2nd baby at home, in water, had PPH first time, had one again this time, but transferred straight to hospital, and all was well.. so even if something goes wrong, it is not neccesarily a catastrophe.

WideWebWitch Sun 23-Sep-07 13:38:45

H, more time now.

I had first and second babies at home.
First time consultant said

"your baby's very very small, you can't have a hb"
and
"up to you but if the baby dies.."

and similarly unhelpful crap. Midwives however fully supported my hb and gleefully called him the minute I'd delivered to say "hey, it's a 7lb 1oz baby, all fine"

You have a LOT more attention at home, 2 midwives, one for you, one for the baby, 1:1 care, it's fab. I don't think I've seen anyone on here regret it and people have started threads asking if anyone regrets it. Will see if I can find some.

RIELOVESBACARDI Sun 23-Sep-07 13:39:09

they always try and put you off how far away are you from hospital

WideWebWitch Sun 23-Sep-07 13:44:19

here

WideWebWitch Sun 23-Sep-07 13:45:23

and here, has anyone regretted one? IIRC no one had.

Chirpygirl Sun 23-Sep-07 13:45:36

I wanted a home birth this time as I am going for a VBAC and the same thing happened to me, DH has been terrified out of it by family history of other home births, the consultant and the midwife all being against it.

I have decided to go into hospital as I would be calmer there with him relaxed than I would be at home with him stressed out and panicking.
I think you should show him the info others have mentioned and ask him honestly if he can support you for a homebirth.
DH said he couldn't promise that so that was decision made as far as I was concerned.

Slacker Sun 23-Sep-07 13:47:26

NoNameToday - it may be the case in your area that obs are only involved when there are problems, but many mothers planning homebirths are referred to a consultant to get 'permission' for a hb, even when they're low risk. IME midwives are very quick to refer to doctors for spurious reasons, if I was using the NHS this time I was told I would 'have' to have the ok from a doctor for my homebirth. Luckily I know this isn't true, and I'm now having an IM anyway, but lots of women do go to these shroudwaving consultant appointments where they are coerced into abandoning homebirth plans.

Piffy - is it fair for your husband to veto your birth plans based on his fears? There's lots of info on the www.homebirth.org.uk site which should put his mind at rest about the safety issues. And you are very likely to have two midwives there for the birth (not necessarily for the whole labour) so if there were problems they'd be spotted quickly, unlike in hospital where you may have one midwife going between several women.

WideWebWitch Sun 23-Sep-07 13:50:14

aims very helpful too.

WideWebWitch Sun 23-Sep-07 13:55:17

Also Piffy, your consultant doesn't seem to have been at all specific, i.e hasn't said "you have x therefore the risks are y" it sounds much more like scaremongering to me.

'risk of pulmonary oedema, HMM, WHY? YOU COULD HAVE THIS ANYWHERE, BEING AT HOME SHOULDN'T MAKE IT MORE LIKELY

cerebral haemmorage (sorry cant spell), DITTO

you could bleed out in four minutes MWs CAN USUALLY SPOT A PROBLEM AND WILL ADVISE YOU TO TRANSFER

baby can't be monitored, YES IT CAN

you will only have one midwife and no one else to ask...etc etc...' NO YOU WILL HAVE TWO, VERY VERY UNLIKELY IN HOSPITAL FROM WHAT I GATHER

NoNameToday Sun 23-Sep-07 15:02:24

Slacker, there have been problems with Piffy's previous pregnacy, I don't know whether there are complications with the current pregnancy.

I still believe that all the necessary questions should be asked and answered to the fullest before a home birth decision is made.

Yes homebirths can be wonderful and safe.

Yes hospital deliveries can be safe also.

Hopefully all things will be well, I merely advise caution in decision making where there are known factors which may affect the outcome.

Of course, women can refuse advice, even refuse care, but unfortunately they sometimes have to live, or not as the case may be, with the consequences of their decision.

I am not against homebirths and I am wholly opposed to unecessary intervention. if a woman believes that she has made the correct choice for herself then she will embark upon labour in a positive frame of mind.

The obstetricians and the midwifes also have 'rights' within their obligation to give the best care, this includes telling someone what may happem in the worst case scenario so that they are aware.

Mintpurple Sun 23-Sep-07 15:39:55

Piffy - If you did not have PET last time and no BP or medical problems this time, then its pretty unlikely that you will have any problems with BP this time, as you will be much more relaxed at home.

And, of course, if your BP does become unstable, your midwives will certainly suggest a transfer.

The consultant sounds like she is clutching at straws with her arguement of cerebral haemorrhage, pulm. oedema etc. What a pile of crap! Why would you have any more risk of these things than the next person.hmm

Your biggest challenge is rebuilding both your and your husbands confidence. Believe in yourself - your body is made to do this.

As some of the other posters have said, have a look at the homebirthing sites, and if you know anyone who has had a successful HB, it would be worthwhile getting together and have your DH listen to them talk about it in a positive way.

Whatever you decide, good luck.

Slacker Sun 23-Sep-07 15:58:05

There is a world of difference between a sensible balanced discussion of risks, and the kind of "you and your baby might DIE!!" scaremongering that it sounds like Piffy and her DH were subjected to. If only doctors were as forthcoming about the risks of the interventions they favour, and hospital births in general.

I was told by the midwife at my booking visit that I may well bleed to death at home, based on absolutely nothing, hence my decision to opt out of that kind of (s)care and employ a midwife whose advice I can trust, should there be any reason to reconsider my homebirth plans.

Best of luck Piffy, go with your instincts. 7 weeks is plenty of time for your DH to explore his fears and hopefully reach the conclusion that this doctor was not giving a balanced view. Join the homebirthuk yahoo group if you want some more support.

tortoiseSHELL Sun 23-Sep-07 16:03:33

Definitely not a balanced point of view.

Only one midwife - no, a mw comes to assess you, once you are in active labour (i.e. more than 4cm or so,) she won't leave you. Once birth is not far off, a second midwife comes - so one midwife for you, one for the baby. They are very experienced, and at the first sign of any trouble would phone for a transfer.

I know someone who IN HOSPITAL was left with no midwife, until the head was out. shock

Can't monitor baby - again rubbish. THey will monitor periodically with a hand held sonicaid. Statistically this is as safe or safer than continuous monitoring. In fact being strapped to a bed for monitoring can adversely affect the birth.

Are you a high risk patient? If so, then I would go with the hospital option. If not, then trust that a homebirth is statistically as safe as a hospital one, and being in a hospital is no guarantee of a good outcome.

nooka Sun 23-Sep-07 16:06:52

Was your blood pressure going up during labour the only problem last time? It's not clear whether the consultant was talking about possible but unlikely risks, or risks that were actually related to you in your consultation. My sister had a home birth with a slightly reluctant dh (also following a far from ideal first hospital birth) and had a doula. It really worked well for the whole family, as her dh relaxed, and she felt in safe hands (obviously she also had good midwives!). Might it be an idea for you?

NKF Sun 23-Sep-07 16:09:53

I would make a decision based on medical advice and research not on instinct. That may not involve automatically believing what the consultant says but it would certainly involve asking more questions and being open to hearing answers that may clash with wishes and instincts.

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