Hey everyone, long time lurker, first time poster. Some background on me: I am 32+1 days pregnant with my/our first child, a little boy. I read “Pushed” before I even got pregnant and it changed my life. While reading “Pushed”, a birth center seemed like the best of both worlds to me as we live on a bumpy dirt road about 20 mins away from the nearest hospital. So a birth center that is closer to a hospital seemed like it would be ‘safer’ at that time, but the only ones I could find in my area were both 2 hours away from me and that seemed too far. Well there was another one in Alexandria, but with Northern VA traffic being what it is, I figured I’d end up UC’ing in the car on the way up. So, after doing more research and learning how safe home birth really can be we started planning from the beginning that we'd have a home birth with midwives. We found a great one who has a lot of experience and comes very highly recommended. I was really loving the idea of a home birth, and my dh is fully supportive, which I was over the moon about. I was also glad that my parents were surprisingly quite supportive (not that I need their approval, but that was nice).
Throughout the pregnancy we’ve been renovating the house a bit, so it’s always a bit messy. It most likely will not be done by my EDD (Sept 1st). So dh was a little uneasy about having people in our house as it is, but we figured they’d understand. I had really wanted to have a home water birth, but then I started doubting that my jetted bathtub would be deep/big enough or very comfortable during labor. So I started thinking about renting or buying a birthing pool. But then I read that most of those are only 24 inches deep, which doesn't seem very deep to me. Now to throw a monkey wrench in things, my midwives just opened a birth center which is about 1.5-2 hours away from us (with no traffic, but there is never no traffic). Their new birth center has 3 rooms with pretty big tubs and 1 with a gigantic tub to labor in that are all 30+ inches deep, and we would not have to buy a birthing kit (even though I know it would only be like $40) and we would not have to pay to rent/buy a pool or for the supplies (which I do know there are very cheap ways to do this as well). So all told, we could save a little money by going the birth center route instead of home birth, and I am cheap to a fault so this is appealing to me. It’s also less I have to mess with getting ready for the big day, which would be kind of nice.
When we first started considering it I was thinking that I would be happy giving birth in either setting. I can see the pros and cons to both. Birth center pros: less to pay for and get ready, and awesome birth tubs. Cons: but I’d have to labor for a long time in the car, which sounds awful. And it’s just not my home, and we’d have to leave the birth center shortly after birth when I’ll likely be worn out and drive a 4-6 hour old baby home with all the lunatics on the road. Plus we have to figure out what to do with our dog while we are up there. Home pros: it’s my home, my own comfortable space where we can crash as soon as the birth is over, and we can easily handle the dog if we are there the whole time. Cons: but I would have to figure out whether to use my tub or a birth pool and hope that it is deep enough, I’d need to get supplies for a water birth and the birth kit and start getting everything set up, and the house is kind of a mess.
So I’m hoping that those of you who have BTDT can chime in and help me figure out what I want to do. What did you like/dislike about your birth center birth? For anyone who has had an experience with both birth center and home, which did you prefer? Am I making too big a deal about the stuff to get ready for a home birth? I wasn’t as concerned with the distance of either from a hospital in case of a transfer, because the more research I’ve done I feel that a transfer is pretty unlikely. But after reading some of the birth stories lately, maybe that should weigh heavier in my decision? The birth center is only 5 mins away from a hospital versus the 20 mins away that my home is. Oh and just in case this helps: my insurance doesn't cover any of this, so it is all out of pocket. If I would have chosen the kind of insurance that allowed out of network providers I could have gotten some of it covered, but that kind costs way more in the long run, so we are just biting the bullet and paying out of pocket, so there is no major cost difference between home and birth center. Any advice you ladies could give is much appreciated!!! Thanks and sorry so long!