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Is it common to fear homebirth for my first since i haven't experienced birth yet?

post #1 of 14
Thread Starter 

I'm 22 weeks pregnant and really going back and forth on homebirth and hospital birth with a midwife. I totally believe in all of the reasons to homebirth and have read many many stories of positive experiences. My only fear is that since I've never birthed before, I won't know the feeling of something not going right. I'm afraid my midwife will want to help give me the birth I want and might not call for a transfer soon enough. 


How do you decide to trust your midwife with your life and the baby's? I know you have to trust a doctor if I go that route, or my midwife who works at the hospital, but I guess I'm really doubting myself to know if I CAN handle labor or if I might start doubting myself and then doubting my midwife. 


Can you help me through this decision? Did any of you go through this? I also have an opportunity to go to a birth center and have that birth experience with a hospital just 2 blocks away. Should I just go that route since I do have fear?

post #2 of 14

I think the trust in your midwife comes as you get to know her better. At this point, you may have only had a couple of appointments.  Ask her all the questions you can think of at your appointments. Ask how she plans to handle various complications.  I think that knowing you have a midwife that has a line between "right" and "wrong" will help.  It never looks good for a midwife to bring in a "train wreck" so I think most would transfer before it got to that point.


As far as labor, please sign up for some childbirth classes which will give you some skills to fall back on in labor. Many of the classes have techniques to use to get your though.  Do your own research on other techniques. Make a list for your birthing partner to use and practice some of them.


Homebirth really is something you need to be educated about before the birth. You do need to understand the risks that are both at home and at the hospital.  There is a different set for each.  And honestly at the hospital, I saw my hospital based midwife for about a minute once an hour and then for the actual birth. She left the interns to do the stitching.    For my last homebirth, my midwives arrived in early labor and checked to make sure I was eating properly and that dh was attentive. They went to get lunch and brough dh lunch.  They really took care of things and when there was a minor complication, they handled it before I knew anything was wrong.

post #3 of 14

My first wasn't born in a hospital either.  There were two things that made me feel really confident.  The first was that I had a really good connection with my midwife and she was very, very experienced.  My midwife also had a good relationship with a local family doctor to do shadow care, and I liked her so much, my son and I still see her for routine care.  The second was the Bradley class we took as a couple.  It taught us the mechanics of birth in every stage so we knew why things happen, when, and what all the variations of normal were, and we were taught several different coping techniques.  It was taught by the operator of the freestanding birth center and she was also a longtime doula, so she'd really seen everything too.


I guess there were three things - I really believed in the fact that we've been doing this childbirth thing for a really, really long time.  When I coupled that with the trust I had in my midwife who was the perfect combination of hands off except when hands were warranted, it really gave me the outcome I was hoping for.


Good luck to you!

post #4 of 14

Women will give birth best where they feel most safe.


Pay attention to that voice that is speaking to you.


Don't talk yourself into feeling safe in a situation where you do not.


As a provider, I trust mothers' intuition. I do not try to persuade them to give birth at home or with a midwife or in any way that I might believe is superior ---- because I believe that women need to honor their own intuition.


That voice that is speaking to you has very important information. Listen to that.

post #5 of 14
Originally Posted by krst234 View Post

Women will give birth best where they feel most safe.


Pay attention to that voice that is speaking to you.


Don't talk yourself into feeling safe in a situation where you do not.


As a provider, I trust mothers' intuition. I do not try to persuade them to give birth at home or with a midwife or in any way that I might believe is superior ---- because I believe that women need to honor their own intuition.


That voice that is speaking to you has very important information. Listen to that.

I agree with this so much! When I found out I was pregnant with my first, I immediately knew I'd want a home birth because I am terrified of hospitals and doctors. At the time, 2 of the homebirth midwives in our area had just moved, leaving only one who was scheduled to be on vacation when I was due so that wouldn't work either. I found the "most natural birth friendly" CNM practice that delivered at our county's most natural birth friendly hospital that has tubs for the mom to labor in and calls itself a birth center. The whole pregnancy I was miserable and scared of the hospital/birth center and contemplated a UC or driving over 3 hours to a free standing birth center. Around 30 weeks we found a midwife that had just relocated to the area and immediately switched to her which would mean a homebirth. I was so relieved. I went on to have DS2 at home as well, and if everything goes right DD1 will be born at home as well.


At no point in either one of my labors have I ever wanted to transfer to a hospital or wished I was at a birth center because to me both of those options are more terrifying than any pain I'm experiencing. I definitely had thoughts of "I don't want to do this, I can't do this for much longer, this is horrible," but never "I wish I was at a hospital, I don't trust my body, I don't trust my midwife" etc. That's just my own experience.


Most of my friends who wavered between a home/hospital/birth center birth went with a birth center or hospital for the first one, because that's what they were more comfortable with, then home for subsequent deliveries once they knew what to expect.

post #6 of 14

My first was a homebirth, and I plan this one to be a homebirth, too. I didn't have a lot of fear about birth prior to the beginning of labor, but I think most people do regardless of where they are birthing. It's very human to fear the unknown. Also, how you approach birth might mirror your approach to the rest of life. Do you have a lot of anxiety about things in general? Is it particularly hard for you to let go and trust in the natural order of things? Some people have a harder time with that than others.


I agree with other posters who say you should do what rings true to you after you have fully reviewed the options available. Also, you might have to do a little soul searching to sort through trends, the "aura" of homebirth or hospital birth, versus what you want and feel best doing. Also think about the voices of people and influences from your past and present--how do they affect your anxieties? This time around, I'm enjoying the workbook An Easier Birth. Maybe something like that might help you. I'm also enjoying the book Mindful Birthing and using its techniques, which largely focus on working with fear and our expectations.

Another thing that helped me feel safe was that my midwife was extremely experienced and had a glowing reputation for her ability to be calm and to rationally and skilfully handle emergencies. I knew she would keep me safe, physically, and that was my biggest concern. (I did have a pretty bad hemorrhage and she handled it amazingly, with no transfer.)


Hope something I said helps!

post #7 of 14

I had my first in the hospital, but I remember thinking to myself how nice it might be to just be home. I hadn't even researched homebirth and had no clue about it, but it was a funny thought. After my hospital experience, I wished I had looked more into it. I'm sure I would have had a better experience at home if I would have done more research and found a good midwife. 


I think you should consider all your options, do lots of research, etc. Homebirth is statistically safer than hospital birth in uncomplicated pregnancies because OB's tend to be more about interventions. It's also nice because midwives are there to support you through the process, while OB's show up when you push and tend to rush your appointments and your decisions, if they even let you make your own decisions. Mine didn't always even though there was no complications with my pregnancy or labor.


A free-standing birth center birth can be a good option as well. I think I would feel comfortable with it, but even though it was an option for me this time, I stuck with homebirth. Something about being in your own comfortable environment and then also you have a higher potential of risking out of care at a birth center than with a homebirth midwife for something more minor, which would annoy me after spending all that money and time. Also, I don't like the idea of having to drive around to get there and to get back home. But, anyway, just do lots of thinking, research etc. and do what you think you will feel most comfortable with.

Edited by dayiscoming2006 - 4/8/13 at 8:02am
post #8 of 14
I had my first and only child at home. I never considered a hospital at all because I thought there were so many things to fear about a hospital. I never had any doubts about home birth because I knew all along that a hospital birth is too dangerous with all the medical interventions and business profit motives.
post #9 of 14
Just do your research and go with your gut. I chose MWs with glowing recs, they answered my questions right and seemed wonderful. I ended up transferring bc they were neglectful and had horrible bedside manner. I went on to have a beautiful hospital birth. This pregnancy I will probably go with a hospital midwife practice bc my gut hasn't found a good hb mw. I knew during my last pregnancy I was with the wrong provider but I wanted that home birth so bad. I labored for two and a half days, hard labor and failed to progress bc my mw didn't track urine output and my bladder became distended. Interview a lot of care providers at all venues.
post #10 of 14

I think it's absolutely normal to be afraid before birth, whether it is a homebirth or not. I ultimately decided against a home birth with my first, partly because of insurance, but ultimately I made the decision based on fear and now I regret it. However, I do believe there is a big difference between regular "fear-of-the-unknown" and the feeling that something isn't right. I wasn't prepared at all when early labor started, because it was agonizing and I was told early labor shouldn't hurt much. We went to the hospital (too early, I was only 3 cm but they admitted me anyway for being over 41 weeks) and that didn't make me feel any safer, I was terrified of how much worse the pain would get and it started to make me panic. Then at the time I really could have used supportive caregivers to make me feel more confident and empowered, they basically made it much worse because I had to argue with them over every little detail (no I don't want an IV, and I don't need it! no I do not want constant monitoring!) and that did not help my emotional state at all and I gave in and got the epidural. 


My main advice would be to discuss this in detail with your midwife. I get the idea that some individuals can be very unlikely to recommend a transfer, even if there are signs it is necessary, but the vast majority are responsible and would rather be safe than sorry. Ask your midwife what percentage of women she transfers, and what she factors she takes into consideration. Make sure that she seems competent and knowledgeable, and maybe have a doula who is also comfortable with normal birth and who would recognize any warning signs and help be your advocate. Also keep in mind your chances of complications are very low if you have a low risk pregnancy. 


I would have chosen a birth center the first time around if I had the choice, but for my second child I would absolutely chose home over a birth center. A birth center is better than a hospital, but I would personally feel more comfortable and empowered in my own home with no one trying to stick me with with needles or tell me I can't eat and drink. 


Do whatever makes you feel most comfortable and strong. You will need strength and confidence, and people around you who make you feel safe and empowered. I did not get that feeling at all at the hospital (they told me they supported unmedicated childbirth, and that ended up being a bunch of BS). You could also plan to labor at home as long as possible, be prepared to have a home birth if that feels right, but also be pre-registered at the hospital in case you decide to change your mind at the last minute (which are you absolutely entitled to do!)

post #11 of 14
Thread Starter 

Wow, you all have really given me some great advise. My husband and I talked and talked, I read a lot, and prayed. We set up interviews with a few midwives but found the ONE after the first interview. She said soooooo many things were comforting, assuring, and just right. So I canceled all of the other appointments and canceled my OB sppointments. I feel so at peace with this, and excited for the birth! Like, I feel giddy about it. After that last appointment with the OB I was filled with tension. Now, I feel like I can't wait for the birth! 


AThanks again for your advise, particularly to trust my insuition. It's funny because that is exactly the advise I usually give to others; why didn't I know to do that myself? Haha. 

post #12 of 14

Glad you got it figured out and are at peace with your decision. :) 

post #13 of 14

Congrats on your pregnancy! It is really special to have your first baby. I am sure that a good childbirth class, reading books, talking with the midwives, and connecting on this and other forums will be helpful to settle some of your fears. You can do it! You are stronger than you may think. And midwives are trained to know how to respond to a problem, if one were to occur. 

post #14 of 14

As a mom it's normal to worry a bit.I think there can be "what ifs" even if you are having a hospital birth. If a midwife has proper training they should be able to handle most anything that comes up. I have had 3 homebirths and was nervous about each one..I have also worried about my 3 hospital births though. I can tell you for me the homebirths were the best. Hospitals are great for high risk and even emergency situations but i feel its safer for a HEALTHY preg. mama to give birth at home. My baby is born into his home with our germs. I dont have to expose him to other things or other people. Plus i feel i can better deal with the pain in my own place. Read as much as you can about birth even if u already have been reading or have a background with natural birth. That was a huge help for me. Ina May Gaskin has some great books  articles. Aviva Romm does too. Rahima balwin and Jeannine Parvati are also amazing :) I didn't read all the comments so hopefully I'm not repeating things other people have said..  <3 to you mama and good luck!! have faith in your body !

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