I would love to have a HB, but here (in Massachusetts), it's not "legal," so not covered by insurance, and we just can't swing the $3500 or so it costs... But we're in a sucky situation right now and I was hoping to get advice from you gals. Last time around, we had a lovely hospital birth at a small hospital with a midwife. Unfortunately, our insurance doesn't cover that hospital anymore. Sigh. Our current (crappy) insurance covers either a major teaching hospital, which is pretty close to us, but which is NOT natural child-birth friendly or a birth center which, on a good day, is about 1/2 hour away, but with traffic could be an hour (or more).
Now, the advantages of the hospital are that the Ob that I would use is lovely and about as supportive of natural child birth as any OB (and more than most!), but we can't be guaranteed to have him attending our delivery. The hospital is much closer. If we did this, I would plan to get a doula and head to the hospital only at the 11th hour. But then I'm worried about all the post-partum "stuff" (are they going to take the baby away right away, etc?)
The advantages of the birth center are obvious to me: super natural birth friendly, etc. But the downside is that they have a REALLY high transfer rate. They also have a practice of routinely breaking your water at 8 cm to see whether there's meconium. If there is - transfer city. I have to be honest, the idea of being transferred while in transition seems unappealing. Sigh. And also, if anything went wrong, I'm not sure that I would want to be in the hospital that they transfer you to, anyway... The other downside is, of course, the distance. I'm a little afraid that I'll end up giving birth in the car, given the speed of my last labor.
So, girls, what do you think? Close/labor at home until the bitter end/run to hospital to push out baby (and likely run the hell out of there as fast as possible) OR far/high chance of transfer? (The last little thing is that DH is a scientist and feels MUCH more comfortable with the hospital idea, so there's the "convincing" aspect that I'll need with the birth center, also.)
I'd love any advice!