I'm moving from an area where the two are next to each other to one where they're a good 10-15 miles apart. So what do you reckon? Birthing-centre (which will be 5 mins from home, in Wallingford) or hospital, in Oxford?
How nice is the hospital? I tried for a home birth with ds1 but ended up in birthing centre then was transferred to hospital. The transfer was awful, but so was the hospital so wouldn't have planned on going there anyway. It's been refurbed now and has a midwife-led unit so am planning to go there this time. Went back to birth centre after birth as postnatal care in big hospitals is often not great (was terrible!), and birth centre was lovely, will do that again this time - would go to birth centre for birth if i had more confidence in myself.
Several women I know went to the birth centre with their first and were fine btw
I've heard great things about the Wallingford. Do it. The atmosphere is much more condusive for an "easier" labour.
Having done full labour in hosp then been sent for a EMCS, I can reliably say that they take FOREVER to get you/the theatre ready for a "routine" emergency section. It was well over an hour in my case (daughter wouldn't drip below spines as frontal presentation). Yeah the transfer isn't fun at any stage of labour but I would choose travelling over laying in a delivery suite with no-one saying what was going on waiting for a theatre anytime. At least with travelling you feel like you're getting closer to a goal and theyre all scrubbed up at the door waiting for you.
Aha well they can keep you waiting at the other end if you do have to transfer - they have a 'target' of 45mins from when you arrive to when they are supposed to get you in to theatre but were way over with me, so I did both transfer and the waiting around with no-one saying what was going on too. We ended up having a complaint upheld abut the whole thing however, so this may have been an anomaly.
In general though I would say birth centre loads better for overall experience, and if the hospital has a good reputation go there maybe?