Just got pretty much shouted at for asking about a home birth.... :((12 Posts)
Long Post Disclaimer!!!
To give you some back ground I'm 21 this is my first baby and there is a heart condition that runs in my family - so in all fairness I'm not the most natural candidate for a homebirth. For complicated reasons they can't say defnitely yay or nay if I have this heart condition but I've never had an 'episode' (which basically involves dropping down dead) and it sometimes flares up in other people in late pregnancy/labour/early post partum, there's nothing they can do about this except monitor with ecgs.
There's a few reasons I've started to want a homebirth, firstly I ended up on labour ward last week when a water infection irritated my uterus and I HATED it, they were all ok the midwives I just fiercely wanted to be at home felt miserable, also my partner has a phobia of hospitals that I'd really under estimated, when we were there he sat in the corner a kind of off greenish colour and could barely talk to me - he is an amazing loving partner who desperately wants to be part of the birth experience and I would hate to have anyone else as a birth partner but really need more support than that! and finally we live 5 minutes from the hospital so wouldn't be a huge palaver to go if I had to...
So that's why I want a home birth and this is what the doc said - that first time mums never managed it without help and that I was being selfish to the midwife who would be looking after me because there might be complications and selfish to other healthy mothers who want it because if me or my baby died then the newspapers would print it and the homebirth team would be stopped or it would put other people off. felt like crying! That any midwife would be seriously pissed off to have to deliver my baby after reading my notes..
I left really wanting to cry! Is he right, am I being a prat?
no, you're not beign a prat.
okay, your heart condition (that you might have) is an indicator of whether you should be considered to have a home birth, but if you hated being in the hospital, you're more likely to have an anxiety attack anyway, which might be worse than any condition you might have.
how far along are you?
are they monitoring you to see if you have any problems?
and the way the doctor spoke to you was completely wrong - it's not right for him to basically have a go at you, and quite frankly,. i would probably complain about his conduct and insist on seeing someone else.
the midwife will be more disposed to tell you your options and talk it through with you.
I had my 1st at home so I'm very pro however it does sound like there is a potential risk in your particular situation which could be serious. Is there a birthing unit near you? These are very good halfway houses between home and hospital options.
I think the doctor could have spoken less harshly. But - in your circumstances I would have serious reservations about homebirth (and I have had 2 homebirths myself). You do not sound low risk.
some of the things said are not true. shouting at you is completely wrong - no way to behave to a patient.
so..'first time mums never manage without help' = crap. 60% of first time home birthers complete their delivery at home. the other 40% transfer to hospital, usually for pain relief.
you do not need to consider potential press coverage! that is a ridiculous point to make - you need only consider yourself and your baby.
so yes, he was being a prat.
now: for your specific circumstances - is there testing available anywhere which could tell you whether you have this heart condition or not?
how likely is it? what are the actual chances of it affecting your birth?
Now it may be right that if you are in danger of an episode then hospital would appear to be the right place - had you considered getting a doula to go with you and act as your birth partner and look out for you? Are there any other interventions that need to be avoided because of the potential that you have this heart condition?
I'm with Sparkletastic, go to a birth centre not a hospital if you possibly can. The only one I've been to (in Dover) seemed far less like a hospital than I would have imagined- it didn't smell funny and the room they put my sister in was more like a bedroom than anything else... a bedroom with lino on the floor maybe but I would imagine your other half would have far less trouble there than in hospital.
I don't think you're wrong for being upset either. Doctors aren't right because they're doctors and I've come across the sort who don't listen to you because you're not a doctor before too. This is YOUR health and YOUR baby so it's up to you to weigh the risks and make decisions- they may prefer you to listen to their advice but in the end if you want to have your baby alone on a hillside, surely that's your choice and there will be very little they can do about it. Obviously the hillside experience could have it's drawbacks but if you've never shown signs of this heart condition go for what you want, and don't be afraid of arguing for what you need.
I can't judge how real the possibility of you having heart problems during labour are, so can't really advise. However, the way you were spoken to was completely disrespectful and just out of order. Can you speak to your midwifery team and ask them for their input. If they are not happy to do a home birth, they will tell you. I was booked for a homebirth with DD1, which unfortunately didn't happen as I failed to go into labour, and was initially told my my GP that my surgery "don't do home births". The midwife laughed and said HE didn't, but that they would. You could also speak to an independent midwife (expensive, but I know someone who used one and she was very keen), and see what she thinks.
I also sympathise with the hospital phobia, as I have quite a severe one too. I found hynotherapy helped a lot (I didn't expect it to work, but was desperate) - 5 or 6 sessions in, I was like a different person when in hospital. If you do need to go to hospital to give birth, then it sounds from your OP that your DH needs to work on his phobia, in order to have a realistic chance at supporting you during the birth.
With DD2, we had a Doula (she was training, and charged us costs only, so we paid under £50 in total for several antenatal visits, 2 postnatal visits, and attending the birth). She knew our wishes for the birth, was able to help things keep "on track" and remove the burden from DH of being the only support I had.
Good luck with whatever you decide to do.
Oh, and by the way, my friend is Dutch, and she says that over there home birth is the norm, with only medical necessity leading to hospital birth. She knows people who have met with strong medical disapproval for NOT wanting a home birth!
ask you MW about induction, epidural or pethidine, or c/s - with respect to this condition that you might have. HB would decrease the chances of any of the above happening (though not exclude totally, as you could end up transferring in anyway)
unfortunately in childbirth, there is no such thing as a cast iron safe option - you just have to get the best picture of what the risks are and make your own choice.
No way of checking re the heart condition except getting a gene match with my cousin who defnitely has it which they can't organise in time AND the heart consultant said even if I had the gene I might not have the syndrome and if I don't I might have it on a different gene - which made it seem ultimately pointless anyway!! If hospitals where I need to be then I'll accept that and try and sort out a compromise (birthing centres are a very good idea thanks I will look into any in the North Yorkshire area) I just wish I'd felt less like I was being reprimanded and told it wasn't an option at all!
What a prat of a doctor! The 'reasons' he shouted at you are untrue, even if they were factors to take into consideration they are nothing to do with you, and he has absolutely no excuse for raising his voice to you.
Yes, your heart condition is a very valid issue - the only one he has not raised.
Are there really no tests for your condition? If it's genetic then it may be possible to test for it.
Your partner needs to deal with his phobia. Hypnosis is very good for treating phobias. It may seem expensive, but rarely needs more than a couple if sessions. As well as supporting you in labour, wherever you labour, how will he support you if you have to be bluelighted to hospital? Having children can be a season ticket to A&E - how will he stand up for his dc when they need him?
Talk to your Community Midwifery team. They are the people who will look after you if you have a HB, and their opinions and attitudes can help you.
Just to say - I'm 21 and had a very succesful home birth with my first baby two weeks ago so i didn't need any 'extra help'.
Doctors are generally very out of date about homebirths - chat to your community midwife about it - i'm sure they'll be much more helpful.
The midwives who attended my birth said they liked doing home births more than hospital births as they got to concentrate on one labouring woman at a time, rather than having to rush around seeing to two or more women at a time - so saying that its unfair on the midwives is rubbish too.
The only concern is about your heart condition - try to find more about the risks involved with that.
But remember, of course, only you can decide weather or not you can have a home birth!
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