Anyone else doing a home birth or birth center??

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Bekerella's picture
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Anyone else doing a home birth or birth center??

I am currently looking for a midwife and contemplating over whether to have a home birth or do it in a birth center. I am leaning toward home birth though. Both of my boys were in the hospital, induced, stuck in bed, yada yada, and I want to do it all different this time. Biggrin

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I hate the restriction of the hospital with the being stuck in bed and such but I would be so afraid to do a home birth in case a complication should happen to arise. Plus I am a major wuss and I know I couldn't handle the birth without an epidural. I think it's wonderful that you are pursuing your options. I hope you are able to find something that works for you and gives you the freedom you're looking for.

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Oh, I am! We're planning our second homebirth for this baby. Our first was an epidural & forceps baby born in hospital, I wound up with a 4th degree tear, baby was terribly bruised and we pretty much said we are not doing that again.

Second baby was a home waterbirth and it was picture perfect. An absolute dream birth and our only regret is that we didn't do it that way for our first.

This third baby will, barring true medical complications, be born at home as well, likely another waterbirth. We have secured our spot with our awesome midwife again and I am soooo excited about the planning/preparation for the homebirth! It was such a fun experience and I am most excited about sharing the experience with our DD (she will be 5.5 yo at the birth). I hope it'll be an early and influential learning experience for her that will shape the way she views birth for herself someday.

Bekerella, if you are torn between birth center and home, I would say consider the size/space available in your home, picture the logistics of where you would birth, if you'd have room for a birth pool (if you want one), if there are other factors that would distract you too much if you're at home (loud dogs next door, apartment building, stuff like that). And then consider also that a birth center would be lovely and convenient, but you will have the downside of having to travel in a car during labour, and having to get yourself and baby dressed and out the door to go home just a few hours after birth - maybe right when you're finally relaxed and all cozy, snuggling in bed. That was one of the kickers for me - I didn't want to be in a car during labour, or newly postpartum. We got to stay home the whole time, comfortable and in our own cozy environment.

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Good luck to you both! I couldn't imagine not being in a hospital in case something went wrong. Nicholas' shoulder got stuck the first time around and I am so thankful the OB knew what to do and we were able to get him out quickly with no complications.

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"JuneorJulyBaby?" wrote:

Good luck to you both! I couldn't imagine not being in a hospital in case something went wrong. Nicholas' shoulder got stuck the first time around and I am so thankful the OB knew what to do and we were able to get him out quickly with no complications.

Actually there are lots of emergencies that can be safely handled by midwives at home. They bring a crap-load of medical equipment to a birth, including oxygen for both mom and baby, different types of suction for baby, remedies/drugs for PPH, local anesthetic and suture materials (I had 2 sutures done on me in my bedroom), materials needed to administer an IV, etc. There's also 2 midwives present at the time of birth so that (if needed), one can attend to mom and one can attend to baby.

Also, there are lots of emergencies that are LESS likely to occur at a homebirth, than at a hospital. Shoulder dystocia is one of them, IIRC (it's been a while since I read my books!). And shoulder dystocia is something that all midwives should be trained in. There is actually a maneuver to resolve shoulder dystocia that was named after a famous midwife, Ina May Gaskin. It involves having mom move to a hands and knees position. This wouldn't often work in a hospital, since most hospital moms have epidurals and can't move. Midwives know how to read a labouring woman's body, and know what sort of positions to suggest, to resolve "complications".

Just as an example, when I was in labour with my DS, I had been actively labouring for 7ish hours, and my midwife could tell that something was hindering my progress. She asked if she could do a cervical check, I said yes, and sure enough, I was only 3 cm, and baby had his head at an awkward angle. She told me immediately what the problem was, suggested I get out of the pool and do either hands & knees position, or leg lunges with my left leg on the bed and right leg on the floor. I did the lunges for maybe 45 min or so. That was enough to get him to turn his head, get my cervix to dilate, and pretty soon I was complete and pushing. How would that scenario have played out in a hospital where I likely would've had an epidural? Since I wouldn't have been able to move, I would have just laid there for hours, with a badly positioned baby head doing no work on my cervix, would have eventually been labelled "failure to progress" and off to the OR for a c-section.

Sorry for the novel! Brevity is not a strong point of mine. Wink

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I would love to have a home birth but..... DH wouldnt be able to handle it. He nearly passes out every time. And i dont think the one homebirthing midwife in my area is covered under my insurance.

I havent had a bad experience in any of my births in the hospital. The closest birth center is about an hour away. I dont think i want to travel an hour in labor.

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i like the idea of a home birth... but id be more likely to try a birthing center. giving birth ended up hurting a heck of a lot more than i had anticipated. I changed my mind at the last second.... i had a 12 hour labor. i did 10 hours medicine free and got an epidural for the last two hours. i have ZERO regrets! i vomited after every contraction. it was rough. i lost control mentally, the pain was encredible.

my hospital uses midwives and has tubs avaliable. it was really great. i would never deliver with a physician unless i had serious medical issues. my first birth was wonderful. i plan to deliver in the hospital again with the midwives and my birthing ball Smile

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Traveled a little under 2 hrs to go to my birth center with DS1, and I really enjoyed the freedom of being able to do stuff my way. Originally went there because it was the only place that offered a waterbirth, but their toilet ended up being pretty darn comfy to labor on, too. Biggrin DS ended up wanting to come out with his hands up, so they didn't let me actually birth in the tub--- we tried a ball and two different chairs--- but just being able to change rooms and positions and do whatever I gosh darn well pleased really helped make it an overall positive experience for me.

Now I just have to decide if I want to go with my first mw, who has since branched out onto her own away from the birth center where the had her apprenticeship--- but is a little farther away and of unknown $$ these days-- or go back to the same birth center and get hooked up with a new student mw who needs the experience, which was fun to give. Not quite sure what mw/bc etiquette is. Biggrin

== edit ==

Traveling during labor wasn't so bad. Not something I'd want to drive solo, of course. The worst part was the first five minutes of in-town driving... it never really registered that the roads were in such lousy shape. Once we hit the highway, it was much better, heh.

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I agree with many other moms on here that, while I think a home birth or a birthing center would be wonderful, I just couldn't handle not being at a hospital (and I don't think DH could handle it either lol!). I've had all three of my babies at the hospital and that's my plan for #4! And I don't know about other women's experiences, but my hospital lets me walk around if I want, up and down the halls as long as I want. I hold out until I can't stand the pain anymore for the epidural, and by then I'm so tired I gladly welcome the hospital bed! Walking while in labor is difficult! Anyway, although I know it's not an option for me, I do enjoy everyone's stories about their experiences and think it could be wonderful for you!

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I am leaning toward having a homebirth this time. I have had my last two in the hospital, and although they were not bad experiences, there are a lot of "little things" I don't like about birthing in the hospital, that really add up. It's not just about "the experience" either, I believe that some of what is standard practice in the hospital (and very hard to fight when you're in labor or have just given birth) can be harmful to the birth process and to babies themselves. The more I think about it, the more I feel like homebirth is what I want.

I have already done it without pain meds once, so I'm not worried about that. If anyone here likes the idea of having a natural birth, but doesn't think they can handle the pain, I HIGHLY recommend the Hypnobabies program (www.hypnobabies.com)

I think I would love a birth center birth, but the nearest birth center is about 2 hours away, which is too far for me. If I were deciding between a homebirth and a birth center birth, one factor I think would consider would be whether the birth center or homebirth would have a faster transfer time. Sometimes birth centers are built very close to hospitals, which would allow for a quick transport, but not always. However, the chance that you would have to transfer is very low, and time-sensitive transfers are even rarer, so it wouldn't be the only thing I'd consider. Good luck with your decision, Rebekah!

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Thanks for all the input! I am totally one that has always been petrified of the pain and didn't think there is any way I could tolerate it. I have been reading and researching though and it is incredible how much SAFER it is to give birth at home than in a hospital. There are so many statistics to prove it and by multiple sources all over the world. I was kind of stuck on the idea of a birth center birth at first but now am thinking that a home birth sounds more and more appealing. Not having to travel in labor. I have my whole house to labor in or walk my neighborhood, etc. I will be so much more relaxed being on my own comfortable environment. Feeling safe, and relaxed means less adrenaline and less pain and faster, smoother labor. Even just for the fact that I won't have someone different coming in the room every so often being able to stick their fingers up there. Sounds good to me. I am actually becoming very excited to experience it all and feeling empowered because my body was made to do it. I figure, even 100 years ago I would have had no choice of an epidural so obviously I must be able to do it. Biggrin

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Good luck!

Also tried the Hypnobabies last time as well. Apart from the fact that I was driven crazy listening to the speaker, who needed to run her phrasing through a few good editors, it was nice to hear the positives and the affirmations. Since it was my first time and I was clueless what to expect, it also helped to read all the birth experiences I could get my hands on to make me comfy with the different births that people experienced-- what did I want to avoid, what did I want to try, what different ways things might happen.

Ultimately, doing my homework ahead of time gave me the confidence I needed to have a positive experience. Good luck with your decisions!

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"Bekerella" wrote:

Thanks for all the input! I am totally one that has always been petrified of the pain and didn't think there is any way I could tolerate it. I have been reading and researching though and it is incredible how much SAFER it is to give birth at home than in a hospital. There are so many statistics to prove it and by multiple sources all over the world. I was kind of stuck on the idea of a birth center birth at first but now am thinking that a home birth sounds more and more appealing. Not having to travel in labor. I have my whole house to labor in or walk my neighborhood, etc. I will be so much more relaxed being on my own comfortable environment. Feeling safe, and relaxed means less adrenaline and less pain and faster, smoother labor. Even just for the fact that I won't have someone different coming in the room every so often being able to stick their fingers up there. Sounds good to me. I am actually becoming very excited to experience it all and feeling empowered because my body was made to do it. I figure, even 100 years ago I would have had no choice of an epidural so obviously I must be able to do it. Biggrin

I wouldn't say that it's any safer to give birth at home than it is in the hospital (just for figures sake!). Yes women have been giving birth at home since the dawn of time, but you have to remember the mortality rate of babies and mothers in those times were incredibly high before western medicine came along. You never know if something might not go as planned. I would do a lot of research on both ends before committing to one particular way. As far as the nurses at the hospital, I had all three of my babies at the same hospital, and the same nurses are on shift and assigned to me for their entire 12 hr. shift (this could be different elsewhere though?). They made me feel extremely comfortable the entire labor and delivery, and even came by my room the next day (I had been moved to another floor for recovery) to see the baby! I agree that my own home would be a more relaxing environment, but I just like having the peace of mind knowing that if I did require an emergency C-section or anything of that nature, I wouldn't have to worry about traveling to the nearest hospital and hoping to get there in time. I think both are wonderful ideas, and both worth considering! Biggrin

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Don't want to turn this into a big debate, but I want to point out a few things. Hospitals vary a lot in their policies practices, so not all hospital experiences are going to be the same. It can be as different as a waterbirth with a nurse-midwife in one hospital to being told you have to have an IV and continuous monitoring, and you CAN'T get out of bed because you will mess up the monitor tracing and have different nurses and residents doing vaginal exams on you and people offering you an epidural every fifteen minutes at another hospital. Most are somewhere in between.

Being in the hospital doesn't necessarily mean you will always get emergency care faster. Some hospitals are not staffed to provide 24/7 surgical coverage. In the event of an emergency c-section, sometimes the people you need to do the surgery are not at the hosptial (including an OB, since most only show up when you are pushing to catch the baby), so if you are on your way to the hospital at the same time as those people, and you call ahead to tell them to start getting things ready, you may not actually have a delay in getting the c-section. Larger hospitals are more likely to have a surgical team on site, but larger hospitals tend to also not be very supportive of natural chidbirth because they handle a large volume and tend to approach birth in an assembly line way. In some hospitals, women don't even have a nurse in their room the whole time--sometimes fetal monitors are used as a substitute for one-to-one care, and when you aren't with a woman, you sometimes actually miss signs of a problem--in a homebirth, your midwife is watching closely for signs of a problem and will intervene or transfer when necessary, often catching problems and transfering before the problem would have been caught in the hospital.

Whether homebirth is safer than hospital birth or not depends on a few things. In British Columbia, where the midwives who attend births at home are very well trained and have hospital privilages, the statistics for perinatal death *are* actually slightly better for homebirth than hospital birth, though the difference is not statistically significant (see this study http://www.cmaj.ca/cgi/content/abstract/cmaj.081869v1). Studies in the Netherlands also so excellent outcomes for homebirth. Unfortuantely we don't have the same supportive system everywhere in the U.S. that they have in BC (and some other Candaian providences as well) or the Netherlands, so you can't make a direct comparison, but in general, if you are bithing with a skilled provider and can get to a hospital quickly, you are likely to have a good outcome. Everywhere you go, homebirth is going to have lower rates of interventions, some of which can be painful, damaging, or traumatic for mother or baby, and some people think there is more to safety than whether you and your baby come out alive.

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Well said Brittany. Biggrin

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We have some smart ladies on this board Smile I love hearing all the different opinions.

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I'll be at the hospital for sure with as much drugs as they can shove into me! Biggrin
I'm a pain wimp and have been told I probably won't be able to get an epidural because of scar tissue from a spinal surgery.

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"triplespiral" wrote:

I'll be at the hospital for sure with as much drugs as they can shove into me! Biggrin
I'm a pain wimp and have been told I probably won't be able to get an epidural because of scar tissue from a spinal surgery.

Oh my. That stinks. have they mentioned what other options you have besides IV pain meds??

I think i am pretty wimpy too but i have birthed med free 2 of 4 times. Once by choice. Biggrin doing lots of preparation(classes/practicing) helped me a lot.

What will they do should you need a csection?

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I don't know the other options yet, but will chat with an anesthesiologist family member about it. My sister also mentioned how well breathing practice got her through the first 24 hours of labor (she had an epidural for the last 16 hours). What are these classes? Is that something through the hospital? Do I just look around on my own for classes?

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My advice is to take a class independent from a hospital, because hospital classes usually don't focus very much on coping techniques--they are usually more of a "orientation to hosptial policies" class than really a birth preparation class, though there are exceptions. See what your hospital offers, but don't look only there. Most independent childbirth educators are certified by organizations--some organizations prepare teachers to teach a specific method, while others give the teachers more freedom to design their own course. A few well-known organizations teachers may be certified by include Lamaze, the Bradely Method, Hypnobabies, HypnoBirthing, Birthing From Within, Brio Birth (all of these organizations have websites, some of which have directories that list their certified instructors). Taking a class will give you the best preparation in techniques to cope without drugs (or with less drugs). If there isn't a class in your area, I have used the homestudy course from Hypnobabies, and I was really happy with it.

Another thing I really recommend, for everyone, but especially for those who need or want to minimize the use of pain meds, is hire a doula. Doulas are great for helping with natural pain relief techniques and providing the emotional support women need, which is often lacking in the current medical system. A great website for finding a doula in your area is www.doulamatch.net.

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**Lurker from Oct 2011**
Hiya I had my first DD in a hospital in the US, induced on my back in bed all day IV's, suction cup to get her out etc....etc...
6 years later I was back home in the UK and did not want to do that again. So opted for a homebirth. It was truly amazing. Helped that my labour was 1 hour 45mins from first contraction to delivery. Midwives literally pulled up outside my house 30mins before I had my second DD. My eldest DD was upstairs asleep, was just me and my DH for most of it. Had her at 9:47pm and by midnight we were alone and asleep in our own beds. I would not have changed a thing. I appreciate home births are not very popular or accepted in the US but here they are getting more and more popular every year. The county I live in has a rate higher than the National average.
Obviously if I had any problems during my pregnancy then I would not have gone ahead. I also had the option that I could change my mind at any minute even when in labour and go to the hospital. Also another big consideration for me was how quickly an ambulance could get to my house and how quickly they could get me to the hospital. I live round the corner from the ambulance station, and they could get me to the hospital in under 5mins.
Good luck if you go ahead with it. I am pregnant with my third due Oct 1st and am planning on having this one at home too. Heck maybe there will be enough time to get my birthing pool blown up and filled this time lol

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i took a class at the hospital for my first baby. They did cover alot of hospital procedure which is helpful but they also taught Lamaze techniques. My first baby i got through the first 8.5 cm on those techniques then asked for the epiural but alas it was too late. Lol

My last baby i used a book called "pregnancy childbirth and the newborn by simkin and some others. It focused mostly on childbirth. It was written by chilbirth educators/midwives. I found the techniques very similar to lamaze. you can get in on kindle or just check it out at the library.

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Lots of good info! I love stories like your Dylemma because they are so encouraging to me! The reason I said it was safer is because when looking at a normal healthy pregnancies without complications, the statistics show it is safer. I think because of the fact that there are definitely less interventions which lead to complications, and less chance of infection. I think that a hospital is for sick people and pregnancy is not a sickness, so I don't want to expose myself or baby to things there if not necessary.