I'm glad this thread is back as I've been meaning to post to it for the last couple of weeks. I an 7 weeks pregnant with my third child, and am trying to find a provider I can trust and am finding myself struggling with a lot of anxiety as a result of my negative homebirth experience.
I planned a homebirth with my first baby. I had PROM with mec and so we transferred immediately. My homebirth CNM had hospital privileges, so she was able to still attend my at the hospital. It was actually a really lovely, relatively quick unmedicated labor and delivery. However, my daughter did aspirate severely and did require extensive resuscitation and needed to be intubated for about 24 hours after birth. I am really grateful I was at the hospital. And as much as it was frightening and traumatic that my daughter was born so compromised, I have positive feelings surrounding her birth and her care in the hospital.
Almost 10 years later, I had my second baby. I wanted to go for a homebirth again. I interviewed a couple of HB CNMs. I researched online for reviews, I talked to previous clients, etc.. basically, I did my research and felt good the midwife I chose. It seemed that she had the most experience, her views fit well with mine and every client of hers I spoke to seemed happy and satisfied with her care.
Of course, after my bad experience, negative stories came out of the wood works. Which is really what is so upsetting in so many ways and why I think this type of discussion is important.
Anyhow, overall I felt like my prenatal care was good. I was sometimes discouraged that I feel like she consistently forgot rather important things about me, like asking me how my job was going for months after I was laid off. She could be a bit flakey about appointments and returning calls at times as well.
At about 35 weeks in my pregnancy, the midwife shared with me that she had some very serious personal issues taking place. She assured me left and right that she was committed to me and to my birth and that she would be there no matter what, but would probably be passing off the remainder of my prenatal care to her students (who I did have really good relationships with). I asked her a number of times if I should perhaps try to find another provider, but she was very vehement that she would be there for me.
I saw her for one more prenatal after that, which was my home visit. She told me at that point that she was going out of town the following week for a few days, but would literally only be about 90 minutes away and would come back if I went in to labor and that her backup was on full alert too.
And of course, the following week at 38 weeks and a couple of days I went in to labor the day after she left town. I could bore everyone with the long, awful drawn out details of my nearly 30 hour labor but I'll summarize. She didn't come back until 24 hours after I alerted her I was in labor. Her backup was MIA. I wound up with 4 DIFFERENT MIDWIVES coming in and out of my house, with their various assistants, basically pitching in here and there when they could. I was subject to different protocols, that where NOT a part of my care plan with my original midwife. I REALLY disliked two of the midwives. Basically, it was a total chaotic circus and I would have gotten better continuity of care if I had been in the hospital. I didn't feel cared for, I felt babysat. No one was really committed to me or my birth, they were just waiting for my midwife to get her ass in gear and show up.
When she finally did, she was negative and uncaring and impatient. I felt like I had grossly inconvenienced her and she wanted to be anywhere but my birth. She started pushing for a transfer the moment she walked in the door, telling me some pit and an epidural was probably the best choice for me because my labor was dragging on so slowly (WTH?). I had no fever, blood pressure was fine, baby was fine, my temperature was fine, my fluid was clear, and aside from being royally pissed off (which had much to do with my labor continuously stalling out) I was not complaining of pain or exhaustion, was eating and drinking well, etc. There was no reason for me to transfer other than I think she just wanted me to not be her problem anymore.
Eventually DS was born. He nursed for a while, was alert, good color, good reflexes, etc... When I handed him back to the midwife for the newborn exam, she said his breathing "was a little quick" but borderline and that his nostrils were flaring a bit. She said we should take him to the hospital. Of course we weren't going to argue with our provider telling us to take our brand new baby to the hospital so we started to get ready. I asked her if she thought he was in immediate danger, like if we should call an ambulance. She said no, that he was likely okay, she just wanted to err on the side of caution. I asked if it would be at all reasonable to monitor at home until the morning and she said it would be, but that she thought we were to exhausted to properly monitor him. And, oh, by the way, she had to go. She left. Left us with a totally mortified student (who was amazing but should not have been left in those circumstances). So, my husband, the student and I take ds to the hospital at 3:00 in the morning. We get there and he is 100% fine. All of his stats are fine and remained fine the entire stay. He was diagnosed with TTN, which isn't usually serious and typically resolves in a few hours. So if my midwife would have STAYED and monitored him for 2 or 3 hours, like most (ALL) midwives are supposed to do, we would have been spared a totally unnecessary 36 hour hospital stay. Walking in the door with a newborn with reported respiratory distress bought us an automatic 48 hour admission, but we begged and pleaded to be let go at 36 hours when it was so clear he was wonderfully and perfectly healthy (48 hours is how long it takes to get back cultures for infection).
Also, she left our place trashed. My husband left the baby and me at the hospital to get some of our things and to get out daughter, who was with friends, and he wound up spending 4 or 5 hours just getting the place somewhat reasonable. She had cooked food in our kitchen and not cleaned up. She left a bowl full of blood that the placenta had been caught in in the sink. There were bloody gloves and towels and chux pads everwhere. It just insult to injury that she didn't at least take 30 minutes to clean up a bit. EVERYONE I know who has had HBs said their MWs cleaned up after the birth.
The HUGE kicker was that she didn't even call us until 30 hours later. And then she totally abandoned me postpartum. She came once, after many, many calls and pages from me at 10 days PP and told me she'd be back in 24 hours and she never came and never called. I had a number of postpartum issues but it honestly felt degrading begging her to come check on me.
It was really a painful experience. I had to seek postpartum care from a new provider, which was just weird. I cried every time I thought about his birth for months.
I eventually wrote her a letter detailing everything that went wrong, letting her know that while I had a great deal of sympathy for the crisis she was experiencing in her personal life, that she had acted extremely unprofessionally and caused us a great deal of upset and disappointment. She responded with one line that she was sorry I felt disappointed (which is so not an apology), that she'd call me sometime soon and that she's love to see some pics of my DS. It was really mind boggling. Never heard from her since.
So, now, here I am trying to figure out how on earth I will be able to put trust in any provider, homebirth or not, after such an awful breach of trust and care.
Anyway, its getting late. I'll be back to post more thoughts on this later.