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Home birth - yes or no?

(17 Posts)
Bagpuss30 Fri 01-Apr-05 11:18:10

Wondering if some wise mn'ers could give me some advice.

Baby 3 due at the beginning of July. When I was booked in by the midwife at Christmas, she mentioned to me the possibility of trying a home birth this time. My previous two labours have both been very straightforward and were 5 hrs 45 mins and 4 hrs respectively although I did end up with 2nd degree tears both times - the first was worse, nearly 3rd degree and needed a doctor to sort it out.

We have a midwife team here and I am being looked after by them. When I go into labour I have to go into the hospital and then wait for one of the team to turn up (unless it is night time when I will have one of the hospital midwives). The last time I did this the midwife (and dh who had been sent home about an hour earlier) made it with about 45 minutes to spare which was cutting it rather fine for my liking. Also, the midwives at the hospital left me in the delivery suite alone because they were too busy and left the curtains and door propped open to my room so they could listen out from their desk. This really scared me, especially with dh not being there either.

On the flip side of this though, my first child had a serious heart defect at birth which went completely undetected by the medical staff at hospital and also in the community until he was 4 weeks old. We have had heart scans and spoken to a consultant with both dd and this current baby and all seems to be well. One thing that I did like about the hospital last time is that the community midwife who attended me got the sho on duty to take dd to the scbu for a sats test to check that all was well after her birth. This would obviously not be available at a home birth, but our consultant who performed the fetal echo on this baby said that we should really expect no surprises this time. My consultant at our local hospital has discharged me from his clinic (until I go overdue) and is happy also. dh is feeling relaxed regarding possible risks due to any heart defect this time and I suppose I am too. We are both worried that I will not make it to hospital in time as I didn't realise that I was in labour last time and progressed quickly.

I wonder (if you've got this far) if anyone else has been through similar and if so what did you do/how did it go? dh is put off by the idea that it might get messy (typical ) so could someone tell me about the practicalities so that I can reassure him. I am really tempted to try a home birth as this will be my last baby and the fact that I won't have to deal with the hospital procedures/visiting times etc would be great, I'm just a little frightened of the unknown.


pinkmama Fri 01-Apr-05 11:22:20

Hi Bagpuss, I am hoping to try a homebirth this time (my 3rd too). I too am a little nervous about teh unknown, however there are loads of positive threads on here about it which really calmed me and made me feel very positive. Have a look in the archive bit. Good luck!

fastasleep Fri 01-Apr-05 11:23:37

these girls know everything! I'm 18 and doing it if I can, my son had kidney problems and needed hospitalisation but I'm gonna go for it!

PsychoFlame Fri 01-Apr-05 11:23:40

I haven't been through any of it, but my main thought is that you should go with your gut - not what any midwives or advice is telling you. You need to be happy and relaxed to birth your baby, and if you are worrying about not having the facilities for heart checks etc, then you won't be.... BUT... your first one was missed at hospital anyway, then it wouldn't have mattered if you were at home or not.

You sound like you feel you should be in a hospital.

Does any of that make any sense? Home births I hear are wonderful (planning on one for the next baby), but only if you are 100% happy with the idea.


zubb Fri 01-Apr-05 11:37:32

Bagpuss30 I'm going for a planned homebirth with my third in September.
The first I had in hospital and he needed to go into NICU for a night as they thought he might have a heart problem. He also had an infection and was on antibiotics for 5 days so we had an extended stay. He was a very quick first labour - 2 hours.
With the second we discussed home births due to the speed of labour, but dh was against it - mainly due to the mess - and I had had a good experience in hospital so didn't mind going there again.... however ds2 had different ideas and was delivered on the bathroom floor by dh while he was on the phone to the ambulance crew who were talking him through it all!! The ambulance arrived 5 minutes after ds2, and the midwife 5 minutes after them. From the first contraction to delivery was 1hr45 (but I only had about 5 contractions, and 2 pushes in that time) and we were about to go to the hospital.
For this one I have been advised that a planned home birth is the most sensible route, and dh is in full agreement as he wants some help this time
I think the worry about mess is very usual - but almost everyone who has had a home birth says that it is not as bad as you think, and that the midwifes clean it all up. An unplanned one however is messy, and my Mum (who was there about 15 minutes after the birth) cleaned up most of it as dh was still in shock and would probably have left it to me!

Sorry about the lenght of this post - just meant to say that if the midwifes are happy for you to try a homebirth, and the previous labours have been OK then I'd go for it. As for tearing, I tore quite badly with ds1, and with ds2 although he was 9lb9oz it was a slight tear that didn't need any stitches.

Bagpuss30 Fri 01-Apr-05 13:10:03

Thanks for the posts .

fastasleep, will look at that link - thanks!

Psychoflame, yes I suppose I feel as if I should be in hospital because the other two were hospital births and I'd sort of ruled out the home birth option, but every time I think about home births I kind of think why not? dh was the one that brought it up and I didn't think he would be up for that sort of thing at all really.

zubb, your post is very helpful, how are you going to go about looking after your other two when you go into labour? My initial thought is that mil would have to come and take my two over to hers but I haven't sounded her out about this and I'm sure if she said no then that would be it really, I would have to go to hospital as I wouldn't want them hearing or seeing me in pain - also makes it difficult if we suddenly have to dash to hospital for any reason.

pm - hello, hope you are OK, will check out the archives then!

I would be interested to hear any other positive stories still if anyone else can contribute .

jenkel Fri 01-Apr-05 13:22:29

Two of my friends have just had home births, it was their 2nd child and both thought that it was really good. One friends 1st labour went really well, the other friend had a bad experience the 1st time and her son had breathing difficulties immediatley after birth, even so she decided to go for a home birth.

Apparently the midwives clean everything up afterwards, they suggested that my friends used old bedding/towels etc that could just be binned. They lay plastic sheets on the floor and the bed, ensure the room is clean and you and leave you tucked up in bed all nice and clean. One of my friends is soooo house proud.

In a way I wish I had a home birth for my 2nd, but had her in hospital, she did have breathing difficulties and was whisked away, but the argument is that if you have a baby at home its so less stressful for everybody involoved, so if I had her at home we may not have had that problem.

zubb Fri 01-Apr-05 13:27:32

If it's during the day then the other two will stay with their childminder until my Mum gets there. If during the night, as with the other 2 births, then I'll call my Mum at the same time I call the midwife. She is just under 2 hours away, hasn't made it in time for the other 2, but shouldn't be long after!
I would hope at night they would sleep through, but if not then my childminder has said to call her at whatever time and she will come and sit with them. Alternatively dh would make sure that they are OK either watching a video or playing - they will be 22 months and just under 4, so should be easily distracted.
When ds2 was born ds1 was awake as he had come into our bed. He was with me for the few contractions that I had, but tbh as I have mainly 'silent' labours to some extent it was really just me grimacing a bit. We were about to put him in the car last time when I went back to the bathroom and had the baby, and he went to his bedroom. He was only 22 months at the time but can remember the 'green men' coming to see if the baby was OK! Really it was dh screaming rather than me as he had to do the delivery bit!

How old are your 2?

Bagpuss30 Fri 01-Apr-05 13:47:28

They will be nearly 5 and nearly 3. Not sure mine would be that well behaved tbh - dd is very clingy. LOL at your dh screaming - think mine might have been the same in that situation.

jenkel - your friends births sound good to me too. I think I may ask the lead midwife in my team for a bit more information now.

bathmummy Fri 01-Apr-05 14:00:26

Homebirth is a great option and agree about not being so messy. Even though mine got transferred at the last minute (literally - was 10 cms and pushing for ages) still would do it again.
We got a couple of plastic DIY sheets from B&Q, a very cheap duvet from Asda and a couple of old pillows my mum was throwing out anyway (had been told that your knees can hurt if on the floor for any length of time and am all for comfort!) We also got a pack of those disposable changing mats for absorbing any mess. The plan was that after the birth everything goes into a couple of bin bags leaving no mess whatsoever. I also made up our bed beforehand with lovely fresh bedding and then put several plastic sheets over the top followed by an old sheet so that I could lie down and rest without making the bed a mess. Disposable is the key without a doubt.
From what I have heard from friends, if you go for a home birth the only really messy bit can be if you opt for a waterbirth and so have the pool to skim, drain and clean afterwards - can be a bit grim to do. TBH though, I reckon it is the least that our DHs can do considering our part in the proceedings
I am naturally quite shy and don’t like stress and fuss. Homebirth was wonderful after a first hospital labour and birth. Being in your own home with only a few people around is so much more relaxing, less like being in a factory line and much more like being in control. The feeling of dignity preserved a little bit more with no doors wide open while half naked was wonderful. As a result, i was calmer and less stressed and am convinced that this had a massive positive affect on my pain levels. managed with only gas and air and never felt out of control. Even with a dramatic hospital transfer as baby was stuck and pressing on my sciatic nerve I would have done it all the same again every time.

zubb Fri 01-Apr-05 14:07:14

agree with bathmummy - make it all disposable. My midwife had told me to have bin bags, towels and plastic sheets around in case of an emergency homebirth with ds2 - Oh how I wish I'd listened to her! At the time I thought she was being over dramatic. Even though I had ds2 in the bathroom I transferred to my bed to deliver the placenta as my bathroom is very small - treated ourselves to a new duvet that day as there was no way I was taking it to the dry cleaners
It was lovely to be tucked up in my own bed with ds2 so quickly, even though it meant that ds1 was jumping on the bed as well. In fact I think it was easier for him as I hadn't gone away for a day or two into hospital, and then appeared back with a new baby.

boobie Fri 01-Apr-05 14:16:03

I opted for home birth for the birth of my fourth in Dec and it was a fantastic experience after having my first three in hospital many years ago. The midwife brought everything for the floor and there was no more mess than in hospital, the midwives even tidied everything up afterwards. I liked being able to move around as I pleased and gave birth leaning against my gym ball with no pain relief by choice. If your midwife says ok go for it. You can change your mind at any time.

Titania Fri 01-Apr-05 14:26:50

I had my 3rd at home. I hate hospitals. Everyone (including DH) was trying to convince me not to as my previous ones werent straighforward but I said I wanted to give it a go but packed bags for hospital incase.

ds1 was born after 26 hour labour, ventouse, episiostomy and a total blood loss on my part of over a litre, stuck on catheter, drips and blood plasma after going unconscious after the birth. poorly for weeks

dd was born after a 38 hour labour, 3 weeks and one day early

ds2 was born at home after a 4 and a half hour labour!! was totally fab. waters broke at 9 am, midwife arrived at 9.30, was 4cm dilated. DH arrived home at 11.30am. ds2 was born at 1.36pm. By 3pm everything was cleaned up (by the midwives) and we were all cuddled up together!! It was excellent. If I ever have another baby then I am opting for a homebirth again. Even DH was thrilled that he got to spend more time with the baby after he was born, unlike the pther times, he was just sent home and I was left without him, which we both hated.

As long as the pregnancy is ok then I would really reccommend it.

Titania Fri 01-Apr-05 14:29:09

I bought a couple of cheap shower curtains and a load of the pampers bed mats and a cheap sheet to put over them. TBH there was hardly any mess anyway. The midwives were fab and cleared everything up and sorted the bed out afterwards for me.

Rhubarb Fri 01-Apr-05 14:33:39

S'alright but it hurts. The worst thing I found was when the midwives had gone and I realised that if I needed anything in the night, there was no-one there, apart from dh of course but he doesn't count: "Am I supposed to be bleeding this much?" - "dunno"

Otherwise it's fine and not as bad as you probably imagine it to be.

tab Fri 01-Apr-05 19:38:41

Thanks for starting this thread again. I am due 3rd week in may and want to go for a homebirth. I think anyone who's not done it before is bound to need reassurance so its good to read all those positive postings, even from some of you who had to be rushed into hosp at the last minute - which I suppose is most peoples' biggest concern. I think I will get DH to do the trip to homebase or Band Q and even if I change my mind - they'll be no excuse for him not to do some decorating!! i do still feel a bit unsure and am going to speak to my midwife again. are you feeling happier about it bagpuss30?

aviatrix Fri 15-Apr-05 05:47:30

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