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I'm having a HB and my dad is an OB/GYN

post #1 of 22
Thread Starter 
Yeah, that pretty much sums it up. My dad and I have a pretty good relationship and everything but I am just terrified to officially break the news to him (even though I think he's figured it out).

My dad is a super smart, extremely well-read guy who has typically been my point person for any information I want to know. Except, within this past year or so (I'm 28), I've really gained this confident grasp on who I am, what I want, and I've realized that I don't trust so many facets of our country, and I've started to just research myself, and I don't really care that much about what other people think about my choices in the end. I don't know if it just came with the territory and huge responsibility of being pregnant or what, but I definitely no longer rely on the opinions of my parents and pretty much do what I think is best now using educated decisions.

And what is best for me is a homebirth. I'm healthy, my pregnancy seems to be healthy, I've never been in a hospital before for anything medically-related, so why would I go now? Obstetrics and birth technology is important, I just don't feel like I'm a candidate that needs to be in a hospital with all of those interventions at my side. And, considering its my dad's career, I don't expect him to really agree with that, but it feels kind of weird to think that my dad is "wrong" or "doesn't know". My parents of course assumed I would go to my dad's OB practice, which I politely declined early on, but it wasn't until recently that I decided to have a HB (I just moved from NYC to the state where my parents live, so there have been a lot of decisions and transitions going on, and this is just one of them). My mom is also not easy- she can be very pushy and has a hard time thinking outside the box in terms of realizing that people have different opinions than she does. She has spent the last month picking apart my baby registry telling me that I should go with this brand instead because "it's better", etc. Ugh.

Well, the day my husband and I moved back to the DC area, we spent the night at my parents, and what was on the nightstand in my old bedroom? An article claiming that homebirths carry 3x the neonatal death rate than hospital births (thanks, dad). My dad told me when I first got pregnant that homebirth was nuts. In that same conversation I also gathered that he believes in episiotomies, in epidurals, etc.

Anyway. I've told my mom I'm having the baby at home and she is doubtful; her case is "but wouldn't you want to be within a hospital if something goes wrong, for your baby's sake?" as if I'm being irresponsible. Then, the other night at a very nice dinner out with my parents, she says "So, did you tell your dad you're having a homebirth", to which I replied, no, and then changed the subject. I was irritated because that was so not the right time and place for that conversation, and let me bring it up on my own, for god's sake.

But I'm finding lately that I don't know when the right time is to have this conversation. Ultimately, it's my husband's and my decision and we will go ahead with it regardless of what my parents say or think. But what concerns me is if I ultimately have to transfer, because then I know it will all be blamed on me and my homebirth and the argument will continue that I should have just gone to my dad's practice.

Sorry for the novel...I guess I had to vent after all.
post #2 of 22
I do not envy you, that will be difficult. I hope he/they are able to respect you as an intelligent adult and not cause you undue stress. Let us know how it goes!
post #3 of 22
I did not tell my Dad until afterwards. When he was PO'd I said I knew he would worry, and I didn't want him to worry about me.

It sounds like your Dad will hound you and throw a ton of negativity your way. Is there any way to not mention it to him at all?
post #4 of 22
I think you have to come at it w/respect for him and his opinions. Listen to what he has to say (or has been saying) and let him know of course you care about what he is saying. I'm sure you do. I'm sure you, in some ways, value his opinion. But then let him know you have thought of all these things, and have decided to have a homebirth b/c of these reasons (and list what you've said). He seems like a decent guy, albeit a biased one, understandably so. You won't be able to convince him that he's wrong, but maybe you can get him to see that you aren't doing something irresponsible, just something different.

I didn't have the same situation, but I didn't have *a conversation* with my family that I was going to have a homebirth. I didn't ever announce it or say this is my plan, listen up. I waited for someone (in my case my Mom) to ask which hospital I was delivering at, and I said, "Well, actually..." and that was that. It's a little different, I know, but sometimes knowing that it's ok not to make a big deal out if it helps.
post #5 of 22
I am also the HBing daughter of and OBGYN - my mother.

In our case, she had a lot of lead time as I had talked about HBing for years before we actually had my son (now 3 years old). She was understandably concerned for our safety and made her share of, um, unnecessary input. She wanted very much to be a part of our baby's birth, and I wanted her there as my mother. It was a very difficult decision, but she was there for a very long labor (four days) and a wonderful home birth. I think the experience was transformative for us all. I think she had to really step outside herself and experience our birth on our terms, and she knew that if she overstepped her place, that she could not be with us. She was great through a really odd few days of prodromal labor where we visited the MWs and the acupuncturist, went swimming at a health club, and finally had my son in the middle of our living room in the middle of the night.
We are currently planning a second home birth in the late fall, and I think that it has been crucial for the health of our relationship for me to stand my ground on what I believe is the best choice for our family and also to let her know that I know there is a need for good OB's - just not at normal births.
I don't think I'm supposed to directly link to my blog here, but I would gladly share the link to my birth story with anyone who is interested. Please PM me if you want the link.
post #6 of 22
Do you plan to have a MW and/or seek prenatal care from an OB? I wonder if he might be more supportiave if he knew you would be getting concurrent care.
post #7 of 22
If he brings up the study again, well, it was really flawed. You can find a lot of responses online, but basically the lumped together the homebirths that were not planned with those that were. When those were factored out the outcomes were basically the same.
post #8 of 22
Thread Starter 
Thanks everyone. Yeah, my dad is a good guy who has a lot of pride and works extremely hard, so even if he did deep-down think there were benefits to home-birth, I guess he wouldn't admit them aloud, because then it would contradict with his whole career history and everything he has worked for. And I get that.

But my decision is in no way personal. One of the main reasons I didn't want to go to his practice in the first place, back when I was thinking I would deliver in a birthing center, was that I wanted to have an independent experience and not be "the doctor's daughter". I've been that so many times, but now I just want to be me, independent from anyone else, so that I can experience my first birth the way I want to.

And of course, I didn't want to do it in a hospital no matter who it was with. Yes, I do care in a small way what he thinks I guess, even though I say I don't, but it has more to do with me not wanting to make him feel that I am looking down on his profession or feel that I don't trust what he does. There's a big distinction between what he does for women who need the interventions and women who don't, and I hope to remain one that doesn't.

Anyway, yeah Im trying not to make a big deal about it. I think I will have to mention it to him at some point vs. just not telling him, because when I first found out I was pregnant I was very anxious and admittedly a bit freaked out abuot the choices I had to make (I got pregnant just after 1 try, hadn't been trying otherwise, and hadn't put much thought into this stuff other than watching The Business of Being Born and knowing I didn't want a hospital birth). So I was very vocal to him about how to choose the proper prenatal caregiver, and he basically filled my head with all of these thoughts about how dangerous it is and how I really need to choose wisely, etc. (the same conversation where he told me homebirth was crazy).

Like I said, I've changed a lot since then, and I think the fact that my pregnancy has been really healthy so far and I've basically just been taking care of myself and doing nothing else that is miraculous has built my confidence in my body and its purpose for birth. Now I'm not very vocal with him about it since my perspectives have changed and I'm seeking info more independently. But I guess it may end up being a convo where we just share our opinions and ultimately agree to disagree but still (hopefully) can support one another's views. Yikes...it still makes me nervous.
post #9 of 22
"hey dad? If something weird, technically difficult, strange, freakish, unexpected, etc., happens, I want you to be there. Would you be my backup for the really hard things that would need your talents, if god forbid any of that goes down?" He's still your daddy. He needs to know you'd trust him in the thing he's been doing for however long, even though you don't need a heart surgeon to take your blood pressure, ya?
post #10 of 22


Edited by mommathea - 5/11/11 at 4:39pm
post #11 of 22
i think if they can't support you or not say negative things i would distance myself. when i had my homebirth i did not want any negative vibes around me, at all. and the registry thing... maybe your mom needs to back off a little? my parents (mom) were worried about my UC but they did not project their fears onto me and try to convince me to go against my gut. they respect my choices as i am an adult and we have healthy boundaries.
post #12 of 22
My dad is a physician, and he was surprisingly supportive of my homebirth decision. We did have a long talk about it. He wanted to know my reasons for choosing homebirth -- I think one big thing was he wanted to make sure I wasn't just doing it for financial reasons. And he wanted to know what qualifications my midwife had, what we would do in the event of various emergencies -- all really reasonable questions that I had asked myself.
If your dad is intelligent and evidence-based, maybe you can talk to him and tell him you believe that home is a reasonable place to give birth following a low risk pregnancy. You can tell him that you want to avoid the cascade of interventions. You can tell him that you don't feel comfortable with a 33 percent c-section rate. And you can tell him that you love him, but ultimately this is your decision, you're doing what you believe to be best for you and YOUR baby, and he needs to respect it. You're the parent now.
Would it help if you shared some high-quality information with him, maybe something like this?
post #13 of 22
These have all been really great replies. I had a thought, too, that you might work into your conversation if you think it applies. Perhaps you could let your dad know that it's not *him* and his philosophies or expertise, but the medical complex and how so many decisions are made either because it's easier for the hospitals (pushing on your back, continuous fetal monitoring, etc.) or because doctors fear (often rightfully so) litigation so they jump to the most extreme solutions (c-section) for problems that could be handled in other ways.

Whatever happens, I hope he respects your decision. Good luck with your birth!
post #14 of 22
I definitely definitely agree with asking your dad to be your backup - or you could even phrase it in that you know that this is their first grandchild (if it is) and how you want him to truly be able to be Grandpa and not Doc. Maybe invite him to come right after you have the baby, when you are in the birth rush of good hormones or even for the birth if that is what you want. Basically, I would try to include him as much as possible as your DAD, know what I mean?
post #15 of 22
I have to strongly disagree with inviting your father into this medically in any way. I would not give him that "power" in this situation. I would simply do what I could to alliviate his fears, answer his questions, and then close the discussion with them. If they continue to pester, guilt, or interfere in a negative way, I would have to distance myself for the remainder of the pregnancy. I would not invite either of them to the birth unless there were some big changes in them by then. Best wishes OP.
post #16 of 22
Just a quick thought... Your mom has probably already discussed it with him. And even if it was quickly brushed aside at dinner he will still know... Why not just have the conversation. The longer *YOU* don't bring it up, then the worse the conversation will be.

And it sounds like you are getting no prenatal care. Which in itself isn't a problem if you are planning to UC and UP and are looking after yourself but it seems like you are just coasting along in the pregnancy and have no care provider or plans for a care provider.

I can see how this WOULD concern your father AND the medical community if you showed up with a problem that you need help for and have no record (even if they are your own) of anything.

My parents were the only family we really told and my dad (not an OB but very smart and my "go to") was very concerned and I had midwives and that "medical" voice saying that I was low risk and ok to homebirth. While homebirth is as safe as hospital birth this is usually only the case with a low risk pregnancy. Without a record of care (by yourself, a midwife or OB) then I can completely see your parents side.

I definately think it is great that you know YOURSELF better and what you want but you need to figure out if you are able to UC and what you would do with each of the complications that might arise after birth. I would get on finding a midwife soon as little to no maternity care might just risk you out of a homebirth if you would like someone there.
post #17 of 22
Originally Posted by sarahn4639 View Post
I have to strongly disagree with inviting your father into this medically in any way. I would not give him that "power" in this situation.
I completely agree. Especially since from what you said your dad doesn't sound like the kind of an OB you would want to see even if you needed an OB (with all the episiotomy and other stuff). And honestly, I would worry that being his daughter he would feel more free to do things that he thinks are best and not consider your input as an adult, intelligent woman if it came down to it.

As much as we try to avoid it, sometimes you have to transfer to the hospital, for either yours or your baby's safety. I wouldn't want the added dimension of worrying about your OB-backup-dad too.
post #18 of 22
Oh do I feel for you, just on the DC front. I HB'ed in DC 2 years ago, and the process of pregnancy - going from my OB/GYN practice, to looking for a birth center, to being risked out for my twins, to finding a CPM was memorable. This area is so strange - well educated, but at the same time hospitals are so medically minded when it comes to birth. One hospital I toured required me to "qualify to be ambulatory" and that was before they heard about twins. I wouldn't birth at any local hospital unless there was a clear medical need.

But on the other hand, there is a good "crunchy" community and many fine MWs.

I see where your dad's coming from. He's got a career of one kind of birth, and now you want another. And granted, he sees a lot, some of which might scare us too.

But you've got science (and IMO, circumstances locally) on your side. Hopefully you can agree to disagree, and ideally not discuss it.

post #19 of 22
Thread Starter 
Thank you for all of your thoughtful responses.

Just to clarify for brymommy, I am definitely getting prenatal care. Have been since I was 8 weeks along. When I initially wrote this post, I had just interviewed a HB MW because my husband and I had moved to DC from NYC 3weeks prior and I needed to transfer to a different MW in this area. So I didn't exactly have a MW under my belt in the DC area yet, but had been seeing one in NYC up until that point. There has definitely been no thought of UCing...this is my first baby, first pregnancy, etc. and I would be way too nervous for that!

I definitely do think that my dad and I just need to have the conversation...the problem is, because my husband and I just moved to the area and my parents are ECSTATIC, every time we see them it is to "do something"...go out to dinner, spend the day out somewhere, etc...so we haven't really been in a situation where we are all just hanging around and I can say "btw, I'm planning a homebirth". Which is why I've been holding off. When all 4 of us are spending a day out somewhere or having dinner in a restaurant or walking downtown, it's not exactly the time, you know? I'd love to just be with them at their house with nothing planned and then I could bring it up and not have to worry so much about his response vs. bringing it up in public and ruining the day/evening. You all are right, I should approach it with him and the sooner the better since I'm sure he already has an idea. Im just waiting for the right timing so that I can be sensitive to the fact that he probably won't agree and I don't want to bring down the mood of our "outings" for not only him, but everyone present. Especially because my mom, as much as I love her, can be totally annoying and loves to chime in with her own opinions, and then I can just see myself getting irritated...so yeah, I think it is better to bring it up when I'm at one of our homes!

And I definitely won't be using my dad for back-up care, largely because he is too far away (25ish miles south of us) and the hospital I would be going to in case I transfer is 2 miles away and is a neutral territory (no one from my dad's practice works there). I prefer it that way. But in addition, throughout this experience, I want my father to be my dad and our baby's grandfather and not our/my doctor. I think the whole point of my post is that I am hoping to find a way to get him LESS medically involved in his standpoints when it comes to my birth.

My dad has not acted strangely and has not brought anything up about my birth unless I mention something, and he generally seems really happy. So I've relaxed a bit about it, mainly because I know that I'm content with the situation and I just need to let him know that. Next time I see them when I'm at their house and the situation seems right, I'll bring it up and let you all know how it goes...
post #20 of 22
I guess in that conversation, I would try to focus on the customized experience you can get with a homebirth. I am sure your father has more than once felt annoyed by regulations and procedures that restrict him at work. He can probably understand a desire to not be subjected to that one-size-fits-all-based-on-statistics-and-fear-of-liability thing.

I would also say that you want your birth attendants entirely focused on you. Not L&D nurses who have to split their time between patients and also do paperwork in the mean time.

I think for me a big concern about having my parent as my OB would be that their desire to protect me from pain would make them more prone to choose intervention. Out of emotional reasons, not because it is necessarily the best thing overall. In fact, I have heard that same thing over and over about husbands -- that they have a problem seeing their wife in pain and wish they could DO something, so if the doc suggests an intervention they say "maybe you should" instead of supporting the wife while she resists the interventions. My point is, it is important to be careful that the decision-makers during your birth are immune to this.
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