I am a homebirth midwife with medmal. I am also living in a state where homebirth coverage is mandated and where I am a provider with all insurances.
I like to peek in on this forum to keep myself in tune to what the women are thinking and concerned about. I am also a mother and a grandmother...so I am not in the stage of birthing myself...and I am willing to bet, there are those on this board who either have an agenda of their own, or have an agenda they get paid to promote everywhere online they can. It is no different than the last time in history the women were prevented from knowing the truth about birth and their choices. We live in an age where we have so much knowledge and technology and it is beneficial to all practitioners, the problem is we are not robots, and technology can not save everything and we are all different and so are comfortable in different scenarios.
My focus as a homebirth midwife is influenced by the fact that I had all 4 of my children in hospital because I knew nothing about having a choice...all I knew in 1982 was babies that are born in hospital live... and babies that are born out of hospital can die and it is only on the side of the road where they are resued by firemen and EMTs that they can be born out of a hospital safely. Now I know that babies can have trouble anywhere...babies and women die in and out of hospitals and that when babies are being born on the side of the road they are not planned home births. I also believe the majority of the time all is well and good...and when we mess around with birth, be it unicorns, rainbows, herbs, pitocin, epidurals, or surgery it will change the course...sometimes for the best, and sometimes for the worst.
I told my sons as I raised them (I had all boys) that you want to live your life with no regrets so that when you look back you can smile, and take joy from your life, not regret.
I regret not knowing I had a choice in birth, I regret not knowing I did not have to circumcised my sons, and I regret not breastfeeding all of my children. All of these regrets are born of not knowing and not seeking to know. Regrets I must own up to. I believe because of this women need to be active in their learning all their options.
No one on these formums will be with you when you look back. Your parents won't be there, no one but you, all alone looking back on your life...this is a choice...parental choice is more important than any opinions. You may choose to birth at home alone only with unicorns and rainbows and have a terrible devistating outcome and you may choose to have a c/s with or without medical necessity and have a terrible devistating outcome. 20 years down the road...no Dr. or Midwife with be with you as you look back at your choice.
By not supporting the choice of parents to have their offspring where they are most comfortable we force things that can be worse. Research can be our best friend, showing that this is safe or that is not safe, but research is often tainted or false...here is a video that shows it...and yes, women who can not find homebirth midwives in their area are either doing it with no skilled provider with them, or are traveling great distances to be cared for during their birth. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kJt14QLQnH0&feature=share
I will just add one more thought...before I knew about homebirth, and having a choice, I worked as a Doula in 4 different hospital programs. I attended hundreds of birth as a Doula and an observer. Now as a homebirth and birth center midwife I can speak from experience that hospital birth and home birth are literally two different paradigms. They should not be compared or analyzed as such any more than we compare vomiting to having our stomach pumped, or urinating to having a catheter. Some people can vomit and urinate when necessary on their own, others for whatever reason need assistance...that does not make the ones who can and can't the problem when someone starts throwing out stats on what causes more of this or that...it makes the ones who are comparing the issue.
Hospital stats are needed and should be compared to hospital stats and homebirth and birth center stats should be compared to themselves as well.
From where I stand the spectrum starts with women who are choosing to stay home and give birth in the privacy of their home with the one they made the baby with or with their intimate partner but without any kind of a care provider. At the other end are women who choose to have a c/s for no reason other than it is what suites them and they too have their intimate partner at their side...midwives are just one group of care providers that are there as resources to be hired by these women to assist in good outcomes. There are many options on this spectrum and many kinds of providers that keep the whole spectrum as safe as it can be...but on the whole spectrum there is not place of pure safety...no place.
In my area i have wonderful relationships with the hospitals. We do transport workshops, peer reviews and potlucks to keep in touch with what works best for the women who hire all of us. I am able to order any tests, and imaging. I am also able to transfer care because of things that are not in my scope, but still be an active part of the care picture...if the parents choose. I have gone into other areas...other states, and had absolutely horrible experiences for myself and my clients...and every time I walk away thinking about how foolish hospitals can be to not support women and their choices. All that does is continue the not knowing and the regretful choices, not to mention women feeling unsupported by their local hospitals. One woman in a state 2 states away from me is willing to travel 2 hours through 2 states to mine so she can have an ultrasound to confirm dates. i counted 5 hospitals that are closer to her...how sad is that? How does that encourage good care or continuity of family care when just a choice black balls you from care locally?
I do not feel this is a US and THEM situation the way some homebirth midwives and hospital provides act like it is...I really feel that what i do is for my grand daughters...I have said that since the beginning but now I have 2 of them and feel it in my heart when I say I want them to have a choice...I believe they deserve a choice to birth as they want where they want and with whom they want...
I am sure this will stir up some of the forum members.. especially in regards to the baby being in the middle of the mothers choice,.but thats ok if it encourages just one woman to make a choice that does not cause her regret...no matter what those around her say.
I have my opinions about the baby too but will refrain so as to not cloud my point here.