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Home Birth, what are your thoughts?(21 Posts)
I am pregnant with my second child and just found out my local maternity unit is to close before my due date and that I will have to go to a hospital 20 miles away!
The hospital itself is fine - it's quite new and performs well etc but having previously been an outpatient there for a knee injury I know that it is impossible to get near the place at rush hour, nor can you park there at any hour of the day! I've always said the most painful part of labour the first time round was the 7 minute car journey to the hospital and really cannot imagine what it would be like to have 25-60min journey in the throes of labour and I'm also worried that this once could potentially come very quickly as the last one was only 7 hours from start to finish!
So my very long-winded question is, in my position would you consider a home birth and what are your experiences?
Have you seen the new HB thread on the Childbirth board? Obviously doesn't respond to your situation specifically, but lots of comments, all very very encouraging about HB.
I LOVED my homebirth and it was only full of positives. Having said that, when I researched (I did a LOT as dh was really not sure to start with - he's now a fan!), one big thing that influenced me was the fact that I if needed, I could have been blue lighted to my hospital in 10 mins (obviously longer from calling out but gives you an idea that I'm no far away). I'm not sure how I'd feel if it would take a long time to get there in an emergency situation so I'd probably want to research that a bit more. There is good website all about home births but I can't remember the address (was 4 and half years ago!). I'm hoping to do the same again if I can get out of consultant care!
Good luck with your decision.
If you don't want to do the journey when you're in the throes of a 'normal' labour, surely you want to do it even less should there be an emergency...??
Personally, I wouldn't if I would have the journey you'd have.
I considered a homebirth for #2 (decided against it in the end since I'm in the US and couldn't get insurance to cover it) but one thing which was a big plus was that I live about 500m from the hospital: I could be there practically before they'd prepped a theatre! For me, knowing whether I could get to hospital very very quickly should I need to would be a huge factor in my decision...
Hi I wrote a message, raving about how great homebirth can be, on the other thread so I hope I don't seem like a preacher type but do check out www.homebirth.org.uk there is a lot of helpful info and great stories.
I hope this helps
If you're low risk - plus it's a second baby, so you know what to expect, then I'd seriously consider it. I know several women who've had home births without any problems and preferred it to the hospital experience.
Do it! I've already posted on the thread in childbirth so I won't repeat myself except to say that having had one hospital birth and one homebirth I would choose homebirth every time
I wouldn't as the distance from the hospital if there was an emergancy would put me off
There are a lot of great reasons to birth at home. It helps to chat to other mums who've done it. I had my second baby at home and it was one of the best experiences of my life.
There's a great facebook group called Homebirthers and Hopefuls, and also a website titled the same! Have a look!
I was high risk, planned a hb for DS, hospital is 20miles away.
I transferred in as he wasn't descending but I'd plan another homebirth in a heartbeat (despite me still being considered high risk)
Thanks all for your replies, I didn't see the thread about homebirths until after I'd posted this but having read through many of the posts I'm definitely leaning more towards it and I found homebirth.org.uk very encouraging.
My only concern is - and this may sound strange - that I haven't read any negative stories about homebirth and in the interest of making an informed decision I'd like to know a bit more about what happens when things go wrong! I know that what can go wrong at home can just as easily go wrong in hospital but I don't seem to be able to find any unbiased info about it(by unbiased I mean not published by pro-homebirth groups).
I went to a home birth group before actually giving birth at home, and heard there ladies sharing their stories about labour at home not progressing and then being transported to hospital by ambulance. So my guess is that there is not many ''unsucessful home birth'' stories as the birth would end up in hospital anyway... just guessing though!
My homebirth wasn't textbook. I'm still not 100% sure what happened but I think it had a lot to do with the main midwife who attended having back problems & having worked all day before being called out to me at 11pm. We'd met her at a homebirth group beforehand & she'd left early explaining that she was struggling to sit on the chairs because her back was bad.
She wasn't happy with me for several reasons:
I 'refused' an internal exam - I'd specifically put on my birth plan that I didn't want any internal exam until I felt the urge to push but still she insisted on having a feel long before that point & got a bit huffy when I had to ask her to stop. The only position I was comfortable in was lying on my side & rocking - she wanted me on my back & still & I couldn't handle that.
She claimed to see a faint trace of meconium in the waters - she showed DH the mat under a yellowish light & he couldn't see anything. Ok, so he's not a trained professional but already by this point we had the impression she just didn't want to be there.
The baby's heart rate was dropping - during contractions... It does that...! I couldn't tell where one contraction ended & the next began by this point & she conveniently didn't mention the time that it came back up to well within the acceptable range when trying to convince us to transfer. She was also stroppy that I needed to be on all fours by then & struggled to turn over to have the heart beat listened to. Thankfully she had a student with her who climbed on the bed with me & stuck it underneath.
From about this point onwards she spent the entire time in the other room talking to her supervisor on the phone. That's when she wasn't telling us "this baby may not come out alive" to try & convince us to transfer in.
DS was born less than 8 hours after the first regular twinges started & was perfectly happy & healthy. I did transfer in afterward because I had a small pph & a bad second degree tear that the mw refused to sort at home. Once we were in the hospital she made a big thing of telling the Dr she was handing me over to that I hadn't drunk enough. Didn't think to mention this during the labour though...! If anyone had asked me to guess the time DS was born I'd have said about midnight, not 4am so it's not overly surprising that I didn't think to drink more in that time!
So, there you go - not every homebirth is easy going! I'm currently planning a homebirth with #2 & the only things that will be different about the next time are that DH will force-feed me fluids & she won't be let through the door. If it turns out that she's the only option I'll either transfer into hospital or insist that she waits in the other room until the head is nearly out!
I don't doubt that if I had been in hosp then the pressure for interventions & drugs would've been higher. As it was I didn't have any drugs - I just didn't feel the need for them & I had an overwhelming sense that DS was going to be fine & I just had to let my body do what it was designed to. All in all, I'd have had a much nicer labour if everyone had just left me in the room by myself & let me get on with it!
I've had three home births and they have all been brilliant.
Regarding problems and having to be transferred, my midwife always told me that things don't usually just crop up suddenley, they are trained to foresee if there is something wrong, and of course they will bring resuscitation equipment if the baby needs assistance after delivery.
Of course, there are people who have had tricky homebirths- just because you're at home doesn't make it a walk in the park, but in general, you're more relaxed, you labour in your own surroundings and labour requires less interventions.
Haven't seen the other thread but I'm also considering a hb for dc2. Ds1's birth ended up as a transfer to hospital after I didn't progress and a very nasty induction. Am keen to avoid that again if at all possible and our local hospital has a shocking reputation.
I hate to say it, but of all my friends who've tried home birthing, not one has avoided a hospital transfer at some stage (the lucky ones were for tears / placenta problems afterwards) so I'm keeping a very open mind. I'm blonde and pale skinned and so quite prone to tearing. Do all midwives refuse to stitch you up at home? If so, why? I had a 2nd degree tear last time and the midwife did it (sans anaesthetic) as I breast fed ds straight after birth, why would you need to be in a hospital for that?
MWs won't stitch a third degree tear, some will do a second. A third degree needs doing in theatre with decent anaesthesia.
My homebirth didn't go smoothly, we transferred in and he was eventually born in theatre, with forceps.
On the homebirth.org.uk site are lots of birth stories and they're not all straightforward, but it's worth remembering that they'll suggest you transfer in at the first sign of a problem, it's unlikely to go from OK to catastrophic within seconds.
Initially she wasn't sure if it was a 3rd degree. They usually do 2nd degrees at home but not third. The reasons that she gave were that it was a 'bad' 2nd degree, she needed better lighting & she just wasn't 'confident' about doing it at home. I'm not sure if my transfer was really necessary but I felt I'd done my bit by that point so let them drag me off!
The other people I know who've tried homebirths, one of them had a perfect homebirth & was tucked up in her own bed 40 minutes after giving birth & the other had to go in after about 2 days of labour & it was only when she got there that anyone noticed the baby was trying to come out face first! Ouch! I also have another friend who had an unplanned homebirth because her labour was so short that they didn't have time to get her in! The first I heard about her baby being born was from the midwife who delivered him - it just so happened that she came to do our home-check the following day & mentioned that she'd had to do an urgent homebirth the night before! As soon as she mentioned roughly where she'd gone I knew who it was! The best thing about that though was that she had wanted a homebirth but her DH wasn't keen so she decided against it! Apparently he was wonderful!
My DH is a doctor, and would not consider homebirths for our DC's, because of the many emergency situations he has seen / dealt with whilst working in obstetrics. It's a difficult one, and I know there are many women who have had wonderful experiences of home birth, but i'm not sure I would take the risk in case something went wrong.
I don't want to put a downer on the idea though! Just discuss all the risks etc with medical staff first.
Best of luck with whatever you decide. x
quickdowntonson But then what about all the non-emergency, normal, absolutely fine births that he doesn't see - working in obstetrics as a doctor will automatically skew his judgement, as he only really sees the emergency situations.
I think a doctor would know there are lots of non emergancy births, they don't have to see them. The thing is they know how quickly things can charge into an emergancy.
I was on the labour ward a couple of weeks ago and the mw said they are supposed to mention hb in situations where there are no risk factors but she doesn't unless the patient brings it up because they do have situations where emergancys occur with no warning.
I'm 39 weeks pregnant with my first and have signed up for a home birth. I've just been through the what ifs with my midwife. There might be a need to be transferred in second stage if baby not coming but other than that might need to be transferred if lots of bleeding after baby comes or if placenta doesn't come away.
She is very chilled and supportive, we have talked through preferences and we feel relaxed about being at home but also short transfer to the hospital. Will have gas and air, had to decide whether to have pethidine now as need prescription for it so said no being optimistic and if I want more than gas and air will go to hospital. My midwife said she will do stitches at home under local anaesthetic.
We're also hypnobirthing so happy we have things to do in labour, also have borrowed a birthing pool as being floaty light and mobile in water seems a great idea to me!!! Will have a look at that hb thread though! The very best of luck!!!
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