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Just had my home birth appointment and need some advice - am panicking

(25 Posts)
waitingtobloom Wed 27-Aug-08 13:52:16

Have managed to get to 39 weeks without anything going wrong (touch wood!) and home birth has been all arranged. Midwife - who is very supportive of the idea - has just been around to drop off some stuff for it.

However...apparently the team are annoyed she booked me for home birth due to staff shortages (lots off sick). She pointed out it was my choice and had had a quick active labour last time so was the best idea (1.5 hours established first baby). Anyway its still all fine but if I ring and they dont have two midwives on then chances are I will have to go to hospital. Now panicking about possible speed of things, finding someone to look after ds etc.

Also the midwives dont carry gas and air! Apparently the first midwife will not bring any but the second one (who comes later) will go to the hospital to pick it up but if things are progressing quickly she wont. Am now terrified at the thought im going to have to do this without any - i dont think i can cope with that.

Has anyone else been warned about shortages? Is it just a standard line that is given just in case? I do not want to go back to the hospital and besides what will happen if labour is really that quick again and by the time I realise its too late - hospital 30 minutes away. Ambulance and paramedic birth?

I have a birth pool and tens - am I going to be able to cope with them alone? Remember clinging to the gas and air for dear life last time - cant imagine doing it without...

Argh! Dont quite know whether to laugh or cry over this...

maretta Wed 27-Aug-08 13:57:48

I can't help but do sympathise.
I had very fast labours and so was terrified of any suggestion of going to hospital.
I was told prior to the births that there may not be an available midwife but fortunately someone was available for both of my home births.

Remember that you can get an ambulance if you feel things are progressing to fast.

Can you speak to your midwife again and see if she can reassure you - eg give you more information on how cover is given to home births.

stretchmarkqueen Wed 27-Aug-08 14:01:17

errr, the MW not carrying gas and air thing is crap!! (IME!) And my bf has had 2 home births where she had MEGA fast labours and both times only 1 MW arrived on time. She is prepared for it to happen again with this baby!

homebirths are brill!!!

Luck. x

stretchmarkqueen Wed 27-Aug-08 14:03:21

You usually don't get the 2nd MW until you are very close to giving birth. So the gas and air would be pretty pointless by that time iyswim? Thats what I meant about crap!! Sorry!!

maretta Wed 27-Aug-08 14:03:30

They have to supply two midwives, whether they arrive in time or not is another matter.

AlbertaWildRose Wed 27-Aug-08 14:04:23

I got through DS's birth with just a TENS machine and then the birthing pool, so it is possible. I found that the water really, really helped for pain relief. But if you want gas and air it seems like the midwife should definitely have it available for you. Good luck!

SugaryBits Wed 27-Aug-08 14:04:56

I was planning a homebirth for my second birth. Unfortunately labour started on Easter Sunday so only one midwife was on duty. I ended up having to go in to hospital to have him. The community midwife came to the hospital and delivered DS2. It was not the birth I wanted but all worked out in the end! I had DS at 6.30 and was home by 7.15 so didn't have to spend too long in hospital.

I hope you do get your homebirth but don't panic, if it's not possble and it comes to it you could call an ambulance and take ds with you!

mears Wed 27-Aug-08 14:06:31

Phone the hospital and ask to speak to the supervisor of midwives.

THis is totally unacceptable.

In our area the gas and air is delivered to the house when the on call period starts. The midwife brings the connector for use.

Which part of the country are you in?

GreenEggsAndSpam Wed 27-Aug-08 14:11:52

I have had 2 hb's. Both times the 2nd midwife arrived after the baby. In fact the first midwives only arrived 15 mins befoe the babies grin.

I didn't need G&A with either, despite using it for my first (hospital) birth.

I was also warned about MW shortages. I copied some info from the AIMS site and wrote to th SoM advising them I was going to have a HB and they should be aware of this. I also got my MW to advise me what to do should a baby arrive before a MW. I was prepared to stay and call for an ambulance if told no MW available.

Hopefully it won't come to that for you!

Many women are warned about lack of staff, but generally Comm midwives love to come and do HB's so odds are you will be fine.

Good luck smile

ajm200 Wed 27-Aug-08 14:13:23

I booked a home delivery with my first and they brought the gas and air when they brought all the other stuff at 37 weeks. Didn't get to use it though as I ended up in hospital with complications.

Getting messed about over the homebirth this time round too. Was supposed to be booked at 34 weeks and they have pushed it back to 37 weeks but I'm not going to give in easily.

You need to talk to the supervisor of midwives at the hospital and question the lack of gas and air and anything else that is concerning you.

Check out They have a whole page on getting what you want from reluctant midwifery teams over homebirth.

waitingtobloom Wed 27-Aug-08 14:13:58

Am in west wales. I can kind of accept the shortage of midwives - they have had problems - and will keep my fingers crossed. Supervisor of midwives is being roped into home visits they are so stretched. Its the lack of gas and air that has completely thrown me - friends in different areas but locally had it delivered or the first midwife brought loads with them. Im not sure I can do it without it - I dont see the second midwife getting there in time.

ajm200 Wed 27-Aug-08 14:18:42

I should add that getting a homebirth arranged last time wasn't easy. The midwifery team were all close to retirement and very anti-homebirth. I got all the usual stuff about not having had a baby before and so they couldn't anticipate complications, etc. I politely stood my ground and got it arranged. They were even willing to deliver my baby at home up until midnight the night before my planned induction if labour started despite very high BP.

In the end it was a good thing that I was in hospital as my BP became dangerously high and I had to be given lots of drugs to bring it down fast as it was endangering me and my baby

feb Wed 27-Aug-08 14:56:00

re the potential lack of gas and air.

I completely understand you feeling that you needed it last time so will need it this time.

i used a birth pool with DS and found the pain relief so effective i managed without any g&a or anything else. my main fear this time is that there will be some reason why i can't use a pool and have to give birth on dry land. i find this concept terrifying!

CarGirl Wed 27-Aug-08 15:02:27

I think it is standard about if there is not enough midwives available you have to go.

If you have a much faster labour than last time your safest option may just be to phone for an ambulance as well as the midwives! How far do you live from the hospital?

PinkyDinkyDooToo Wed 27-Aug-08 15:06:15

I am in the Scottish Borders and the mw dropped off the gas and air with the birth bag at 38 weeks. Also had fast labours, so reason for having an HB with DS2. ALso because my MW knew my first labour was fast, both mw came out at the same time

Hope everything goes okay for you.

heroicsavage Wed 27-Aug-08 15:40:26

My midwives had the gas and air kept in the boot of their cars. I was lucky in that the second midwife only lived down the road from me but she had the gas and air so I went through most of it without and I really dont think it helped that much.
I had a home water birth to and would recommend it to anyone. I was very overweight and it was my first baby but they still thought it was ok to have the home water birth. I think it would have been a lot more uncomfortable and painful without the birthing pool.
I think you just have to follow the medical advice at the time, you have to do what is safest for you and your baby as I am sure you know.

StarlightMcKenzie Wed 27-Aug-08 15:52:43

Message withdrawn

CarGirl Wed 27-Aug-08 16:22:29

From what I remember I could def have gas & air at home, can't remember who would bring it though - presumably the first midwife, sadly I always went mega overdue and couldn't have a HB. I live in Surrey under the care of St Peters which doesn't have the best maternity record tbh.

heroicsavage Wed 27-Aug-08 16:53:25

I was in hadleigh in suffolk if it is any help. I think it possibly depends where you are in the country and the staff shortages in the area.
I had pethadin (not sure of spelling) as back up which had to be prescribed by the doctor and the midwife brought it around a couple days before I was due. I didn't use it but kind of helped to know it was there although I would have had to get out of the water if I had used it.

lulumama Wed 27-Aug-08 17:00:11

contact and they can help you

being short staffed is not an adequate reason for you to be denied your HB

AIMS are collating data on this so do contact them

ajm200 Wed 27-Aug-08 17:02:17

I'm in Berkshire and they brought several big cylinders to my house after my booking appt. I hope they do the same this time!!!

Tangle Wed 27-Aug-08 17:46:27

I wound up with IMs (long story) for my homebirth.

I was glad to know they were bringing G&A with them, but when it came to it it didn't even cross my mind to ask. I used TENS for the 1st stage, was in a pool for transition and then delivered with nothing at all. DD was 9lb 12 and my 1st.

I had used the natal hypnotherapy CDs, which I think helped me stayed calm and relaxed.

Fingers crossed it goes OK for you and you get the home birth you want - angry they're springing this on you so late

marjean Wed 27-Aug-08 19:18:41

Can't help with the issue about shortages but can offer my experience about the gas and air issue.

First time round I did use gas and air at home, primarily for the second stage. Of course, it all went well and so I assumed I'd try to replicate pain relief options for second birth. However, dd2 came too quickly and I gave birth with no pain relief at all, the 1 mw who managed to get there didn't bring anything.

It was fine. To be honest, it all happened so quickly - labour was slowish to establish but escalated quickly once I had got going - that messing around with pain relief would have got me out of the 'zone'. I realise it's a bit of a scary proposition, but for me, having no drug/tens pain relief was really OK. It certainly wouldn't affect my decision regarding where to give birth. HTH

waitingtobloom Wed 27-Aug-08 19:44:19

Thank you for all your replies. Have had a long chat with lovely doula and she has really said what everyone has said here.

It makes me feel very cynical but I think they are trying to persuade me out of it despite reassuring me its a fab idea. Why wait until 39 weeks to tell me there are shortages? Why on earth cant the first midwife go to the hospital on her way to me to get it - its 5 minutes away and between me and her.

She also went through the bag of stuff showing me episoitomy scissors and the hook to break waters - felt like she was almost trying to scare me.

I do feel like they have waited until I am too exhausted to fight - and possibly too late to fight as am due in 8 days and DS was 6 days early.

I think they are also trying it on in that they think I wont fight or get nasty. Which to be honest I wouldnt but my doula is encouraging me to be firm - which I know I should.

Am coming to terms with the gas and air issue. I have my tens and a birth pool. I hate hospitals and was really panicking last time so perhaps that is why i needed the gas and air so much. I have at least made the decision that if I am not "allowed" the gas and air I would prefer to at least try at home without rather than automatically surrender and go to hospital.

Just feel very worn down by it all - have managed to get this far without all the problems I had last time (blood pressure, growth, antibodies, placenta) so am "allowed" a home birth but they may not be able to offer it.


Tangle Wed 27-Aug-08 20:54:21

wtb - I feel your frustration.

Will you have anyone to hand when you go into labour? How fast will your doula be able to get to you? Perceived wisdom in the homebirth community seems to be that if someone can do a cracked-record of "yes, she's in labour. No, we won't come to hospital. You can send an ambulance, but it can sit outside and we're not getting in - we expect a midwife not paramedics..." then a midwife will arrive. But it can take quite a few repeats and so its much better if someone else can do it for you.

If you haven't been there already, Angela Horn's Homebirth site is very good on these issues, and the homebirthUK yahoo group has a lot of women that have been in your position and come through it with a homebirth at the end.

Thinking of you.

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