Oy...I hate to be a downer, but I just want to add my experience. My frst labor was FAST. DD was born within 4 hours of my first eeeny weeny "maybe this is something" tiny little cramp. She would have been born sooner had I not been trying with every ounce of energy and prayer NOT to birth her in the car during the hour it took to get to the hospital. I just went IMMEDIATELY from "I'm not sure if these are regular strong ctx" to transition.
How does this relate to homebirth.....well, I hemorrhaged. A lot. I had retained part of my crazy double-lobed placenta (at it turns out) but from what I've ben told, that doesn't explain the hemorrhage immediately following the birth (it explains the second one 2 days later, but I digress). While there is no way to be sure why I hemorrhaged right after the birth, the fast labor may certainly have played a role. Again, from what I understand, this is more common with fast first labors than fast subsequent labors, but I'm just passing along info.
Anyway-I am the first person to believe that your body is capable of birthing naturally, and that 99% of the time, things do not go wrong. I still had a drug-free waterbirth with a midwife in a hospital birthing center (freestanding birth centers are illegal in my state) BUT in my case, something DID go wrong that can't really be attributed to a hospital or intervention (I was only at the hospital for 45 min. before she was born), and the (first) hemorrhage was immediate (the hospital MAY have had something to do with the second hemorrhage, but again I digress).
For this pregnancy we are again planning a midwife-assisted drug-free waterbirth at a different hospital a mere 15 min from home. We have met with the midwives, toured the hospital, spoken with nurses, and explained our fears (all prior to becoming PG). Our instructions are to call the hospital to tell them to fill the (portable) tub and head over with my FIRST ctx. We have discussed care for DD should she need to be watched there for a while while we wait for somene to come get her. My DH will begin to work from home about a week before I am due, and I will have a family member here on the nights he has grad school classes. I will get a heploc (sp) as soon as I get to the hospital so that I won't have to be hooked to an IV, but they will have immediate access in the event that they need it.
I'm not trying to scare anybody, and 99% of the time birthing naturally with little/no intervention yields beautiful healthy results for the mom and baby. I'm just the rare case in which that didn't happen. I could have died, and I would have died under different circumstances, and without the 3 blood transfusions I received. (I'm not being dramatic-I've discussed my blood counts with many medical professionals, and that's just the fact). As much as I loved the idea of homebirth PRIOR to having DD (and I secretly hoped for a homebirth for #2, after DH saw how smoothly things would go) given my experience, I would not intentionally have one. I owe it to my kids not to take any risks with my health that I wouldn't take with theirs. I AM looking forward to a smooth natural beautiful birth with #2, but I am also planning a HUGE safety net just in case.