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Rural Homebirth?

post #1 of 13
Thread Starter 

Is there anyone here who has done a rural homebirth? My husband works in agriculture and if all goes well (and I get pregnant in December when I visit him. We're currently living in different states for our respective jobs) I'll be with him in Montana when I give birth. I'd really prefer to have a homebirth but the ranch where we live is very remote and it makes me nervous. We're 20 minutes to a clinic with a helipad and an little bit over an hour to a hospital (Great Falls). My mother died during childbirth (and was thankfully revived) but she was very close to not making it. The baby, my sister, was born with a lot of brain damage -- it was placenta abrevia. I'd prefer to avoid a hospital but I don't want to take extraordinary risks. I'm nervous about being so far from a hospital in case something goes wrong.


I'd love to be somewhere like the Bozeman Birth Center but we're nowhere near Bozeman and there are really no options other than home or hospital for us.


Has anyone had experience with having a homebirth in a really rural area where a quick hospital transfer isn't an option? I'd love to hear what other people have done in this situation. Thanks everyone!



(PS I have also considered going to stay with my Aunt in San Francisco for my last month of pregnancy because I'm so nervous about giving birth in a rural area. However, this would mean my husband couldn't be there and I know this would make him really sad...)

post #2 of 13

I don't have experience with your situation but I wanted to say Hi! from Great Falls.  Would there be a possibility of renting a hotel room or something in town for the birth if you're not comfortable being so far away from the hospital?

post #3 of 13

Oh and also there is a birth center in Great Falls as well.  Not sure if you knew that or not.

post #4 of 13
Thread Starter 

Oh there is? I had no idea! That's good news, I'll look it up. Have you been there?

post #5 of 13

A few thoughts... Birth, IMO, is safest where the MOM feels safest.  If you have issues stemming from your associations with your mom, and you don't resolve them, that could (not will, but could) interfere with your labor.  Some women feel most comfortable in their own bedrooms.  Others feel safest in a high-tech hospital with a gazillion OB's on call.  There is no one way to do it, and we are lucky to have options (most of us, anyway).  If you are worried, consciously or subconsciously, birth may not go as smoothly, it might be more painful, you might dilate slower, all that sort of thing.  Your body needs to be in a place you feel safe for it to do its job the best it can.  You can't "get your mind out of the way" if you're thinking about what could go wrong.  If you do homebirth, I'd be sure to make peace with your choice first.  (And FWIW I've had a homebirth myself and am planning another one, so I'm definitely not paranoid about it.)


The other thing is, while there ARE some emergencies that are really sudden, typically if you're in a birth situation, if things start to go downhill, you typically have a while before they become emergent.  They don't typicallly appear out of nowhere.  Some do.  Like, say your water breaks and the cord slips out.  Bam, that's a problem, and you need help, like, yesterday.  But in theory that can happen at any point, even if you're not in labor at the time, and at that point you just have to call 911 or whatever.  But things like that happen very rarely.  There's usually a lot of signs that there's something going wrong before a transfer needs to happen, and in that case, 20 minutes may or may not make a huge difference.  I'd be more worried about a 20 minute drive that turns into three hours in a Montana snowstorm.  If that's not an issue, 20 minutes, ehhhh, it doesn't seem THAT long unless you have a history of precip births (like I do, heh).


If I were you, I would make sure that you get all the prenatal tests you feel comfortable with to get confirmed as a low risk.  Make sure you pick a midwife (if you can?) who has resusciation equipment.  Make sure you have a back-up plan.  Make sure that in your heart it's where you want to birth - not just because it sounds like it's a cool thing to do.  Childbirth can go wrong whether you're at home, in the hospital, wherever.  There will be some risks with it.  But just make sure you are where you feel best. 


Hope that helps some?

post #6 of 13

A birth center sounds great in your situation!  Hope it works out!

post #7 of 13

I will be having a homebirth in a rural area this winter, an hour+ from the nearest hospital that has birthing capabilities. (the nearest "hospital" is more of a clinic, and is 30 minutes away- can't do surgery on weekends, doesn't have ob staff on duty, so unless it is a need for stabilization they are pretty much useless). I am comfortable doing a homebirth in this situation, but not everyone is. In birth, there aren't any guarantees no matter where you birth, but fear and apprehension may inhibit your ability to have a successful homebirth. Start doing research and soul searching to see if it is something you really are comfortable with.

post #8 of 13

I'm planning on a homebirth this winter in a rural area, we are moving very soon. But there is a hospital maybe 20-25 minutes away if the roads are clear of snow (small one I'd never plan to birth at if I anticipated a need for it, but would do in an emergency). I would look at hotels or birth centers within half an hour of a hospital in your case, just in case of rare sudden problems and especially because of the worries that might stay with you. Personally my main obstacle is finding a midwife that actually serves the area. So far I've had no luck. That might be your first thing to do, track down a midwife around there, if you aren't planning for a UC which it sounds like you wouldn't.

post #9 of 13
Originally Posted by LilyLiberty View Post

Oh there is? I had no idea! That's good news, I'll look it up. Have you been there?


I haven't birthed there but I've visited and met the CNM who runs it several times.  It's very small but certainly better than the hospital IMO.  Elaine is nice, but more medically minded than I personally feel comfortable with (but then I like totally hands-off labors & births).  A friend of mine birthed there after two hospital births and one homebirth and was satisfied with the experience.  The homebirth midwives here aren't the greatest (mine's actually coming from LIbby 5 hours away for the 2nd time) so since you're not entirely comfortable birthing so far from a hospital the birth center might be your best bet.  Feel free to PM me if you want more info.

post #10 of 13
Thread Starter 

I just wish we had more options. I would really like to try a home birth but being over an hour away from a hospital with ob staff makes me nervous. The clinic that's nearby doesn't really have the capability to handle a birth emergency, they just have the helipad. My husband and I have talked about it and we're pretty much on the same page. We'll have to hide it from my parents though as the one time I mentioned home birth my mother totally lost her mind on me. It sounds like the birth center in Great Falls is going to be our best bet, though if I'm not comfortable there I'll more seriously consider going to San Francisco for my last month-ish of pregnancy. My aunt, who I am really close with, is a Doula, so I'd want her to be with me anyway. I'm really not comfortable starting out in a hospital, though I'd be okay with a transfer if a midwife I trusted said it was necessary. I guess I'm getting a little ahead of myself since I'm not pregnant yet but in our situation it seems like we really need to try and think things through far in advance because just rolling with it doesn't seem like it's going to be a good solution...

post #11 of 13

I don't know where your DH's ranch workplace is but my midwife mentioned today that she was thinking about opening up a birth center in Shelby.  So maybe that would be a closer option if she does that?  Of course you would still be 75-ish minutes from the hospital in Great Falls.

post #12 of 13
Thread Starter 

Aw, that's so nice of you to mention :) Unfortunately no, he's east of there, south of Havre and north of Great Falls. I'm living in New York City at the moment (lucky me!) for my job, so it isn't a problem we have to deal with right this second, but hopefully  -- fingers crossed!-- we'll have to think about it really soon. I think that at the moment it sounds like the birth center in Great Falls is our best bet. It's a little bit over an hour away for us to get there but it looks like it's that or move back to a big city alone when I'm 8 months pregnant! 

post #13 of 13

i had 3 homebirths, with only medivac access to a hospital with access to an OB. i also know other women in my area who had homebirths who did not even live in town, so they would have had to drive close to an hour to get to town, and then be medivacced (is this a word?) out if necessary. not ideal, it is definitely harder to make decisions with limited choices.

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