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Homebirth - has anyone tried both and preferred their hospital birth?

(43 Posts)
Saundy Sun 25-Aug-13 11:36:45

I'm not looking for horror stories so please don't go there! As I know they exist for both sides of the argument so am looking for something a little more objective.

You often hear of people saying that had a good home birth or they want to try a home birth but not so much people who have had an ok experience with both but would probably go for hospital next time. Do these people exist?

I'm pregnant with my first and the thought of a home birth does appeal to me but absolutely does not to my partner. I'm thinking that maybe I should go for a hospital as its my first and if he's stressed it may defeat the object somewhat & cross over to me. Not overly fancying the hospital though.

Has anyone had a fairly ok home birth and hospital birth that would go for a hospital one next time for any particular reason?

higgle Sun 25-Aug-13 22:36:52

I had my first in a private hospital and my second at home. The difference for me was that in hospital you are looking to your midwife and obstetrician for guidance, I almost felt DS1 wouldn't put in an appearance until the obstetrician was there ( she was at the opera that evening). At home you are in charge and do whatever you like. After the birth there is no comparison, home is best, especailly a big breakfast cooked by DH in your own bed!

PaleHousewifeOfCumbriaCounty Sun 25-Aug-13 22:51:53

I've had hosp home then hosp. Home was fave, booked again for third but he simply didn't arrive! Went overdue, once he had a nudge along with the pessary he was born in an hour. Initially I was upset but I found some nice aspects to hospital. Got lots of time to cuddle and bond with baby, lovely room with ensuite, much easier to handle visitors. I also enjoyed having the 'going home' experience. All the wee girls on our road were waiting for us desperate to see the long overdue baby! They all screamed as they saw the car, it was like beatlemania and such a fun memory!

WetGrass Sun 25-Aug-13 23:05:18

I've had 4 natural hospital births.

I have tendedncy to high bp- which is a risk factor that would counter indicate HB -but I like being in a 'serviced' place tbh.

Each to their own - for me I can easier zone out doctors etc than Mavis next door getting flustered with the noise.

I also bleed and bleed and bleed after birth - and I genuinely don't own sufficient linen for a HB! Every birth of mine has involved at least 3 full bed strips. My post birth shower looked like an abbatoir. I vomitted down the back of the hospital bed. I prefer to be a guest in hospital rather than hostess at home iyswim.

At hospital I consider excreting bodily fluids to be all part of the experience - a bit like screaming on a roller coaster. At home I think it would perturb me.

I also feel safe in hospitals (I know a lot of people feel the opposite).

SaucyJack Sun 25-Aug-13 23:15:19

Done both (tho homebirth was unplanned) and I'd go for a hospital birth everytime.

I'd feel very differently if I lived somewhere else tho. However, we live in a grotty flat in a very overcrowded and not particularly nice area, so tbh I'd get more comfort and privacy in hosp.

Tho the constant whiff of next door's weed smoke could be quite relaxing.... grin

trixymalixy Sun 25-Aug-13 23:25:44

I had a good hospital birth but hated having to stay overnight in the hospital. I also couldn't give birth actually in the pool as the midwives weren't trained.

I then had a home water birth which was good in lots of ways, but we ran out of G&A (which I had been assured would NOT happen), the midwives fell out and my DH had a row with one of them over the G&A situation. DH found it all quite stressful and my parents were bedside themselves with worry.

If I was picking my ideal scenario then I'd have a guaranteed hospital water birth then straight home with no overnight stay in hospital.

K8Middleton Sun 25-Aug-13 23:32:52

Two home births here but my second dc nearly put in an appearance at 27 weeks so spent some time on the labour ward in hospital including continuous monitoring. The care was fantastic but the rooms were nowhere near as comfortable as home and I felt like I had to ask permission for basic things like a drink or popping to the loo.

Being relaxed is important to me so I would choose home again with a birthing pool (contains the mess) but hospital wasn't too bad.

I know 3 other women who have had hospital with first and home with second and they all say home was best without question. But that is where the felt most comfortable.

Has your partner watched any home births? My dh watched a lot on YouTube pre birth!

K8Middleton Sun 25-Aug-13 23:41:14

Actually I've forgotten the most importantly bit - why home birth was better! They said a variety of reasons including more relaxed, one-to-one mw care etc but all mentioned postnatal care.

One thing I always mention when asked, is that you can wait and see and change your mind if you plan a home birth but you can't the other way (ie plan hospital birth and have a planned home birth). The other thing is that busy maternity units like you to stay at home as long as possible so it may be you do most of your labour at home regardless. I personally am not keen on travelling to hospital in advanced labour so that would be a factor for me.

If I had a third I would probably have a home birth unless childcare was an issue because I found having older dc around stressed me out and inhibited labour. Then I would possibly choose to go to hospital on my own!

LongTailedTit Tue 27-Aug-13 02:24:19

I had planned a HB and ended up in hospital as DS came early. Pg with 2nd now, and will most likely go for hospital again. This is largely because we're a 20-25 min drive to hospital, even tho the midwife told me it's 15 mins on blue lights, I think it's a bit too far for me to be comfortable with now I've been thru it.

I had one to one care from my midwife once I was in established labour anyway, and we were both kept in for another four days too.

I might book in for HB anyway and then change my mind on the day tho! Like someone upthread said, not easy to do it the other way around.

Saundy Tue 27-Aug-13 11:15:46

Thanks everyone your stories have really helped and given me a lot of food for thought. I think it will help to let DP see them too and see what he thinks.

One positive about my hospital is that there would be no postnatal ward for me. Everyone gets a private ensuite for their birth, then some time to rest in it and then home (all being well). I guess I really need to go to the hospital tour and see how I feel about it then compared to home (it always clashes with work).

I'm quite tempted to say I want a home birth but with one eye on a quick transfer to hospital if I'm not feeling it when the time comes.

I do have some concerns over the clean up too - that would certainly be another relationship boundary crossed for poor DP!

TheContrastOfWhiteOnWhite Tue 27-Aug-13 12:15:16

I think you probably need to check out the position on post natal wards TBH. My hospital sounds exactly the same as yours. Private en-suite room for labour and recovery. They made a big deal of being able to go home on a 6 hour discharge straight from the delivery suite if all was straightforward. The reality wasn't quite the same. High levels of instrumental deliveries, so onto post natal. If you had an epidural you probably needed longer to recover, so onto post natal. Any worries about you or the baby, obviously onto post natal. Of the massive group of women I knew having their first around that time, only one went straight home without going onto the ward.

Not saying that will happen, but I wouldn't assume you don't need to factor it in IYSWIM.

HotCrossPun Tue 27-Aug-13 13:14:50

Thanks for starting this thread OP. I'm 12+1 and went to my booking in appointment ready to say that I wanted a home birth. My mum gave birth to my little brother and sister at home, and I remember it being such a special time.

When I went to my booking in my midwife said that she wouldn't recommend I had a HB, not because of the risks (as stats have shown there aren't any extra risks) but because I didn't know how I would cope with pain.

I have quite a high pain threshold and the idea of an epidural is my absolute worst nightmare. I also hate the thought of spending my first night as a new mum away from my DP and on a ward with 10 other way.

I let her sway me and I said I'd go with a hospital birth. After reading the links that others have posted on this thread I can't see any reason not to have a HB. So I'm going to tell my midwife at my next appointment and start looking at what type of birthing pool I want to hire grin

K8Middleton Tue 27-Aug-13 15:24:51

The pain thing is a funny one. There is some anecdotal evidence that women say they find the pain less at home but of course it is impossible to compare because no two births are the same. There's also the self-selection element and the low risk element to be factored in.

You can have pain relief with a home birth - TENS, gas and air, pool. Also pethedine or morphine but you may need to get a prescription from the doctor for that. You can also transfer in if you feel that you are not coping with the pain.

All that said, if I was going to be having really bad uterine cramps like period pains x 100 and doing a massive shit (which is pretty much how babies are born) would I rather be doing that in the hospital or in the privacy of my home? I prefer home because I like to be left alone when I'm feeling unwell or doing a shit but equally if I was having a 3 day labour I want to be doing that with all the drugs available.

And you haven't lived until the father of your child has scooped out the blood, shit and membraney stuff detritus from the bottom of the birthing pool. Or get a liner, a water pump and just don't look!

MacCrackles Tue 27-Aug-13 16:54:03

I have experienced both. DC1 was planned HB but failure to progress meant that I went into the hospital. They were all brilliant and so much more caring than I'd expected given my experience with the team in antenatal. Active labour 19 hours.

DC2 and planned HB. Just as well really as DC arrived 20 minutes after 1st MW and about 20 minutes before 2nd one! Active labour under 60 minutes!

I'd plan for HB with a third because the care is very focused and you see the same team. If I had to go to hospital it wouldn't be the end of the world.

upsydaisy33 Tue 27-Aug-13 19:39:44

I had a hb which transferred and think it was a good choice for me, will do the same again 2nd time (in a few weeks now). (Hb that is, we will see about a transfer!)

Most of these posts talk as if you decide absolutely in advance where you will give birth but if you live reasonably near to a hospital you can think of it as labouring at home, with one to one constant midwife care, for as long as you feel comfortable. And then you can go to hospital in an ambulance with gas and air on tap, much more comfortable than a small car!!!

I transferred after 15 hours, when everything got slowed down at 9cm dilated. I went by ambulance (no blue lights), my requested epidural was awaiting me, I was given synotocin and baby born 6 hours later with forceps help. Many people have suggested to me this is a 'failed' home birth but I have never agreed. I was in control the whole way, i really appreciated the constant midwife support so that they could see when things slowed down and I ran out of energy. I requested the epidural when it was the best option for me.

So you might want to think about how you keep most options open. For me, that is staying at home while things are good, transferring if I need extra help. But talk to the mw, in my area you can transfer whenever you decide, no problem.

sleepcrisis Tue 27-Aug-13 21:37:47

I ha my first at home and while it was an amazing birth experience, I am still undecided whether to choose the same for Dc2 (am only 9wks)

Labouring at home was perfect, it was a long one from girs regular contractions til birth (34hrs) but I was in control, I ha full rein of my home, I was comfortable and I managed te pain well with breathing exercises and some g&a once I was about 8cm. I had a wobble at transition and demanded to e taken to hospital for an epidural, me laughed and said get in the pool and push, one look at you am I know you are 10cm and ready to go. I got my water birth, DS was born after 30 mins of pushing (breathing baby out went straight out of the window as I went all primal!)

So the cons:
My midwives, while very lovely, we're just too tired for the job. They were part of a team of 6 dedicated Homebirth midwives and in an area where home births are being pushed and the numbers are rising fast. The had come from a 12 hr labour at another woman's house, had 6hrs off at the hospital writing up notes and resting, then they were with me from 3-11pm. I didn't need their active involvement throughout labour so you could say they or a lot of rest on the sofa while I pottered upstairs. They performed perfectly during the actual birth. There was a bit of tired huffing and puffing during my stitches and then as soon as I was clean and baby was checked over, they were out of the door. I don't blame them, but as a 1st time mum I was petrified. DS had tongue tie and didn't feed for 3 days and we ended up being admitted to hospital when he went all floppy. As it turns out he was fine and nothing to panic about but I did feel a bit like I needed people around me while I learnt how to Bf for those first few hours at least. HOWEVER I know how hideous the post natal ward was so I probably wouldn't have received the right attention there anyway. My current local hosp (not uk) is know for it's excellent post natal care, bf support and lots of my friends have begged to be allowed to stay another night! So that may be a deciding factor.

I do think though that I will end up having another Homebirth as I don't think labouring in a hospital can compare to your own home. And 2nd time around I feel not confident feeding and I think where I am now I will get more attentive home visits in the aftermath.

I actually have quite a major bugbear about my Homebirth midwives. Apologies if this is the wrong place for it. They made no secret of the fact that they were trying to raise numbers locally and I think they skewed somethings to make the homebirth option look better. Eg. My notes clearly stated that DS had fed well before they left me. Massive fail. They also refused to admit that I had infected stitches despite me asking for them to be checked at each of my mw home visits. They went untreated until my gp check by which point I was severely unwell with infection and ended up with lots of problems as a result. Call me cynical but I'm convinced they wanted their home birth clients to appear to have had the perfect experience.

But, like I said, my labour and birth were text book and for that I would do it again.

littlemonkeychops Tue 27-Aug-13 21:46:10

Dd1 was a straightforward birth at MLU. Dd2 was a HB and was amazing. If we have a Dc3 i will definitely be going for a HB :-)

PurplePoppySeed Wed 28-Aug-13 08:13:04

I'm almost 38 weeks with DC1, planning a HB too. I looked into the NHS HB team in my area but there are only 3 of them which made me worry that I might have an experience like yours sleep, or simply not get it. As a result I've gone for an independent midwife who has been brilliant all the way through.

I know isn't really an affordable option for everyone and the insurance rules are changing soon so it's less easy for independent midwives to practice, however, if possible for you OP, then worth investigating. Mine has made my DH feel so involved with the pregnancy, he'll be in charge in the house on the day, will be putting up the pool etc and be 100 x more involved than at a hospital. If anything doesn't seem right, MW has assured me that as she will be with me all the time, she will spot if something isn't right well before any disaster and call an ambulance at that point. She's occasionally called ambulances out and very occasionally ended up in hospital with her patient, but I've checked out loads of her references and met her mums and feel very confident.

Good luck with your choice, I genuinely think that the right place to be is where you feel safe - for some, that's the hospital and for others that's home, you're DH might feel better having you in hospital, but if you're not feeling safe there then is it right for you?

lovelylentils Wed 28-Aug-13 08:24:24

Sorry to hijack but I have a quick question.

My DC1 was born by emcs but I did labour and got to 10cm.
DC2 was born by VBAC at a different hospital. Great birth, no problems apart from tearing which meant I had to stay in for 2 nights. But it only took 2 1/2 hours for dc2 to be born.
Now preg with dc3 and wondering if I should dash to hosp asap as if its even quicker than dc2 I might not make it their in time or stay at home (where I would definitely feel more relaxed) but risk an accidental home birth?

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