I'd like some advice/your thoughts. This is going to be a really long post - thanks in advance for reading it all....
Anyway, I'm having a really hard time deciding on what to do this time around, regarding labour/birth location. With DD I had a hospital birth and it was AWFUL. I was bullied into interventions that were totally unnecessary, but because I hadn't educated myself, I was easily persuaded that MY BABY WOULD DIE if I didn't go along with it all (pitocin, IV antibiotics, epidural, etc etc). Initial bf'ing was awful and we never got nursing down (gave into pressure on day 2 and started with formula), our first few days were spent in the hospital, where I had a breakdown, DD wouldn't stop crying, it was just awful. I ended up with a HORRIBLE flu virus, which combined with my anaemia from haemorrhaging during the birth just about killed me. It really was an absolutely awful time.
Just as an aside, labour, once it was established, was 4 hours from first 'useful' contraction (once I started dilating) to her birth. She came at 36 weeks (or rather, my water broke but nothing happened, so they induced, and it took a day and a half to establish real contractions).
With DS I was determined that I would NEVER go through that again and had a beautiful homebirth. It was absolutely text-book what you want to see - easy labour, short active phase, easy pushing phase, no tears, immediate skin-to-skin. He nursed right away, we had a lovely time of it all and it was very stress free. His labour and birth from start to finish was an hour and a half. He came at 41 weeks, 3 days.
Here's my dilemma. The midwife I have this time around was the same one who attended me in hospital. My other midwife stopped practicing. The midwife I have was my only choice in town for a homebirth at all so I chose her. She's a nice woman and means well, but she's very 'active management'. We disagree fundamentally about what birth is. My concern is that if I have a homebirth, I'm going to end up a transfer anyway because I honestly don't think she's comfortable with homebirth. Add onto that, I have 2 young kids (DD is 3, DS is 2) and a puppy (along with 2 older dogs) at home, which do not make home a stress-free or easy environment in which to labour without distraction. And while it would be nice to just have the babe and be in my own bed, I suspect that bed will be full of kids, dogs, family, etc. Our house is small (we moved since DS was born) and there's no real 'getting away' from everyone and everything.
The hospital would be a different hospital from last time, but with most of the same staff - they opened a new facility in our area, but most of the staff is the same as last time. However, they know me now as a doula, they respect me as a colleague, and I know I won't be pressured (or AS pressured, anyway). I suspect if I request it, I'll be left alone to do my own thing. My only issue is the rule of no eating or drinking in labour - something I can do at home but not in this hospital (it's a rule they won't bend for me, and although I could just ignore them, I don't want to hurt my relationship with the maternity staff there, so I wouldn't)... however, my labours are so short that it's never been an issue anyway. I've never had the desire or need for food, so it's probably a moot point, but something that's been bugging me none the less.
Which brings me to another point. My labours were 4 hours and 1.5 hours. There's a good chance this one will be similar.... so, will I even make it to the hospital or feel like transporting while in intense labour? If I go into labour overnight, I'm not sure how I'd even GET there, since DH doesn't drive. During the day I can ask my grandfather to drive me (he lives just behind us, across a courtyard, with my parents), but over night I'm not sure that the phone would wake him.
And lastly, I know that if I homebirth, I'm going to be SUPER concerned with making sure my house is presentable and orderly from the time I hit term until she comes out... I'm hoping to continue working for the next few weeks anyway (or rather, I have a contract and HAVE to continue working), and by the time I get home I'm not interested in cleaning... I just want to sleep. But with all the kids and dogs in this house, it gets out of control very quickly, and I don't want to be wading over junk while trying to labour.
So... your thoughts? I am seriously very confused by this whole thing and have no idea what to do.... and I need to make a decision soon, because I have nothing prepared at all (homebirth wise, or hospital-bag wise). And I've only got 2 more weeks before I hit 'term'.
Should I just prepare for both and see what happens in the moment? I don't really have a whole lot of extra cash, so the idea of spending a couple hundred dollars on homebirth supplies that I won't end up needing really doesn't appeal to me, but similarly, I'd rather be prepared if I DO end up birthing at home.... UGH, I don't know.