Yes, this will be my first child, in a manner of speaking. We had a still birth last year, and that happened in the hospital. I was planning a homebirth before that - but I'm doubly convinced now.
I am reminded about the discussion by two women in a birthing class where one said "wow, you're giving birth at home, that's so brave!" and the other replied "I think you're brave for giving birth in the hospital". That's me. I'm more afraid of the hospital than home. Not just because of my pervious experience.
I think there are options for "pain" relief at home, but I'm a natural or alternative health, well, nut for lack of a better term
(Not implying wemoon isn't
) I don't consider allopathic pain relief the only alternatives or the only description of "relief". My birth attendants are homeopaths and there are homeopathic rememdies available during birth that help w/issues at various stages of labor (not just "pain"), and I think there are a lot of things you can do that will help w/thru labor - for example my yoga and meditation practices I believe will be beneficial to the process. I don't really buy into the "pain is transcendental" theory of birth. I think if you can prepare yourself and it's not painful, more power to ya. But, I'm trying to be open to the process and go with the flow when the time comes. I'm still thinking of taking hypnobirthing.
There are a lot more people who are probably more "woo-woo" than me who think that my idea of "interventions" is too much - perhaps the unassisted homebirthers, as an example. There's a lot of information on that, and a cool unassisted childbirth story in the homebirth forum - if you go to the top of the page, right hand side, there's a search button, look for "unasssited childbirth" - even if you don't go that route, I found those stories imensely helpful because those women were so trusting in their own bodies and since they did the whole thing w/o someone else telling them what to do, where to stand and when to push or not to, it's pretty inspiring.
Also, there's an article on the main mothering site they have linked to - sort of a reprint, that I think is really helpful: http://www.mothering.com/11-0-0/html...ic-birth.shtml
and some general prep info: http://www.mothering.com/11-0-0/html...0/11-2-0.shtml
hope that helps. whew. I can really go on