By now, you've probably given birth to your kid, and I sure hope all went well!
On this subject in general though, I'd say one should go with the option that makes them feel more relaxed and at ease NOW.
If one has started to worry about the safety of giving birth at home now, why spend the rest of the pregnancy worrying about how safe it is and thus spoiling the peace of mind you should have?
I checked out several hospitals in my vicinity, like other people check out midwives, and I found a really nice one, with a competent and friendly team composed of nurses (pediatric and gyn), midwives, OB's and pediatricians. (I live in Germany, so I'm not quite sure about the staffing in US hospitals).
In case of emergency, the OR was just down the corridor and they had an NICU too (we didn't need either as it turned out).
Concerning cesareans: As a med student I've been to a couple of them and they usually don't take long at all. I gave birth vaginally, but while we were nursing our newborns (the hospital had an extra, quiet little place for that, near the nursing station, so the nurses could come and help us with/ give us advice on breast-feeding if necessary), I chatted with a few ladies that had given birth via cesarean and they were in no worse condition than I was. Only difference: their ache was situated around the pelvis, mine was between my legs. I winced a little when I sat down, they winced a little when they laughed at jokes.
Birth is inherently dangerous, for the mom and the kid (a friend's wife would have bled to death if she hadn't given birth at the hospital...tear in the uterus) and so I felt most comfortable and relaxed giving birth at the hospital, knowing that there were trained professionals around me that had the expertise and equipment to deal with any kind of complication that could arise.
If the baby is in SERIOUS mortal danger (like your friends' baby apparently was) the docs can do a crash cesarean (the rarest form of cesarean) which, from the decision to get the endangered kid out to acutally holding it and taking life-supporting measures if necessary, takes about 15 minutes, with about 5 minutes for the actual procedure.
Most people don't live near enough to the hospital to get that kind of fast treatment...in case of emergency, from calling the paramedics to getting the hospital alone will take at least 15 minutes...more, most of the time.
I know everyone deals with the scary bits of pregnancy and giving birth differently....for me, that meant a hospital with all the bells and whistles of modern medicine, which made me feel safe. Other moms have different things that make them feel safe. And any mom should go with the option that makes her feel safe about the whole experience!