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post #41 of 58
I think the safety of a hospital birth also depends on where you live....

For example, all the ABS stories are filmed in the USA, and MOST of those labours involve Mom lying in bed, with IV and oxytocin, an epidural, and pushing in a supine position. It's rare to see someone doing so much as walking or sitting on a birthing ball during labour!

By contrast, "Birth Stories" is filmed in Toronto. In those episodes, it's RARE to see someone lying in bed while in labour! They are usually moving around, on the birthing ball, walking, in a tub, etc. There are also quite a few home births, and I would guess that the majority have been with midwives....

In my playgroups, and my local online forum, we talk a lot about our births! I have not talked to one SINGLE mother who felt unhappy about her birth! Even the moms who had c-sections, knew for certain that their surgery was necessary. I know many would argue that breech presentation isn't an indication for a c-section, but for a lot of people, it's the best option.

I am one of VERY few moms I have met who were induced. I dealt with 4 OB's during my labour, and every one of them respected my wishes, and they waited a LONG time, to avoid a c-section. Ultimately, we (and I say "we", because I feel like it was a TEAM effort) avoided a c-section, even when I was still 3 cm after more than 50 hours of labour. I have NEVER seen a labour go that long and still end in vaginal birth on an American show....

I certainly don't think that a hospital is the IDEAL place to have a baby, especially because of the risk of nosocomial infections, but I don't think women should have to be afraid of the hospital, either! I think you have to KNOW your HCP first, and feel comfortable with them! If you have a midwife, which I personally think everyone SHOULD, then really, the risks shouldn't be any higher.

I do understand about stress, though....I'm not at all stressed out by hospitals, and because it was my first baby, and he was post dates, I would have been MUCH more stressed at home. In the future, I will know what I'm doing, so I think my stress level would be exactly the same at home or at the hospital.

I really think it's sad, and WRONG, that women have to fear hospitals...they should be a SAFE and inviting place!! I hope that as a L&D nurse, I can help my patients have a wonderful, enjoyable, and NATURAL birth as much as possible. To me, THAT is the job of any HCP who works in L&D!
post #42 of 58
When we first researched the homebirth option I was pregnant with DD1. I never entertained the idea for more than a few seconds because A) we lived in military housing and I was sure that it must be against housing regulation. Although, in retrospect, what were they going to do? and B) I naively thought I could fight the system. I bought into the warm fuzzy feelings my OB sent my way and later felt ambushed when his warm fuzzy personality became brisk and authoritative. I was literally LIED to in order for me to accept an induction.

But we won't go there.

I understand the mentality of "how could I live with myself if I chose a homebirth and something went wrong?" What I don't understand is why mothers aren't asking themselves "how could I live with myself if I chose a hospital birth and something went wrong?"

For a long time I blamed my doctors and the hospital for my heavily managed and medicated hospital vaginal delivery. (Complete with induction, narcotics, epi, episiotome, pubic shaving & cathater.) It's taken me a while to come around full circle and admit my own culpability. *I* have as much responsibility in my hospital birth as I have in my homebirth. In each situation it is ME who is in charge of protecting my child and my child's birth. The decision I make impacts my birth experience.

When you check in at the hospital you don't get to check out your own responsibility. Like a PP said. Birth is risky.
post #43 of 58
However, if someone IS educated about the birth process, and does NOT have interventions, then I don't see how hospital birth is more risky than a home birth. Nobody is going to tie you down in the hospital, and MAKE you have IV's, oxytocin, epidural, etc. Doing something "AMA" isn't a sin....doctors aren't Gods!
IMO you are seriously kidding yourself if you really believe that. I think this is a MAJOR problem with hospital birth (that people think that they are somehow above the risks if they inform themselves, hire a doula, vow to stand up for themselves, refuse intervention, etc). But that just isn't the case. Sure, it might lower your risks a tad but how much? I don't believe by much at all. I did everything perfectly with my last hospital birth. I educated myself as much as humanly possible (researched chidlbirth daily). I changed HCPs THREE times including in my third trimester because once again the care provider showed their true colors. I still ended up having to go AMA because I refused a COMPLETELY unnecessary induction (with cytotec no less). Got the dead baby scare and when I tried to refute their claims I got medical books with graphs in my face showing me that if I didn't get induced my baby was as likely to die as a baby born at 21 weeks (complete BS btw). Still I stood up for myself and signed the paper saying I had been informed but refused the induction. Went into labor on my own, labored at home having strong contractions 3-5 minutes apart for over 48 hours before FINALLY going to the hospital with my doula. Arrived at 6cm. OB on call happens to be the one I like, the one who said she would never pressure me to be induced and the only female OB. I had no problems with the staff when I declined the iv, they never even tried to get me to do a heplock. They let me decline the constant fetal monitoring. I stayed out of the bed. I was never once offered drugs/epidural. The staff left me alone. I refused AROM. Pushed on my own without coaching and not on my back. I squatted and then turned over onto my knees. I'm doing everything right...it is all good right? I've lowered my risks, right? It all boils down to hospital protocol and the way things are done in the hospital. Hopsitals aren't there to let women handle their own births. They are there to medically manage birth, no matter how much the "let" you do on your own. Then, my water breaks as I am pushing and there is meconium. Automatically means my pushing is going to be interrupted. Find even ONE hospital on this planet who won't interrupt pushing if there is mec. I doubt you can. And then what is this? Ah, a double nuchal cord. Oh, it is too tight...it has to be cut or the baby won't come out. What are you going to say at that moment? Then baby's life support is gone and he isn't breathing. He needs resuscitation, he is intubated. He starts life fighting and is surrounded by doctors instead of his own mother. His first apgar is a 4. More harm is done to him later on that day but I'll end this book for now.

Yeah, you better believe I am kicking myself for not having a homebirth. Don't be fooled like I was.
post #44 of 58
Years ago, before we even started ttc, I decided I wanted a homebirth and even contacted a mw via email. My dh said no because he believed it was too risky. It took us over 4 years to get pregnant. I gave birth to my dd in a birth center because I thought it would be a good compromise. It was 45 minutes away from home and across the street from a hospital with a level 3 nicu. Next time, since I have had the experience and regained my self-confidence, I will give birth at home. I say re-gained because infertility made me believe my body was a complete failure when it came to pregnancy; when I was young and "naive," before the torturous years of IF, I had researched homebirth and decided it was the right way to go. My dh is on board with homebirth now that he has seen me labor and birth. Hopefully someday in the FAR future there will be another pregnancy for me.
post #45 of 58
Erin, first of all, my sympathies for your difficult and stressful birth, both for you and your ds!

But, I have to wonder....what would have been done differently at a homebirth?? They wouldn't have interrupted pushing, right? (FWIW, there was a LOT of meconium during my son's birth, as well....the first sign was probably about 12 hours before he was born, so it didn't appear during pushing, but my pushing stage wasn't interrupted at all...they just quickly suctioned him as soon as his head was out...his body came out with the next contraction).

But, if the cord was too tight, what would a midwife have done at home? I really don't know, so I'm curious....is there a way for them to get the baby out without cutting the cord prematurely??

Also, I believe I said before that I think it is MUCH better to have a midwife....I really think that part of the reason why hospital births are less safe than homebirths is because OB's attend most hospital births, and midwives attend homebirths!! I would never, ever have an OB if I had the option of a midwife!

Given the choice between an OB in a hospital, and a midwife at home, I would certainly choose the midwife @ home!
post #46 of 58
By contrast, "Birth Stories" is filmed in Toronto. In those episodes, it's RARE to see someone lying in bed while in labour! They are usually moving around, on the birthing ball, walking, in a tub, etc. There are also quite a few home births, and I would guess that the majority have been with midwives....
I'm curious, I don't think I have ever seen this show. Is it on in the US?
post #47 of 58
Well, we haven't had a homebirth yet, but I'm planning one for baby #2. Before I had DS, I thought the same way you do. I knew a few people planning homebirths and I thought they were just so brave. Even though my mom had a homebirth for her last baby and absolutely raves abou how awesome it was, I still was freaked out about the idea, especially for a first baby, when you don't know what to expect or how you'll handle the pain, ect.

But then I had DS. And I won't go into details. But I walked out of the hospital with the intention of NEVER giving birth in a hospital again. I ended up with an uncomplicated vaginal birth, but there were just so many things that I wished didn't happen. And they don't treat you nice. And you are uncomfortable. And you get lots of pressure to do things you don't want to do. And they try to slip things in your IV without telling you. And I had to keep on the nurses making sure they knew damn well that DS wasn't to be circ'ed. And every time they brought him back to me, I checked his diaper with a knot in my stomach, expecting there to be a bloody stump. Even after I told everyone no circ, one nurse still expected him to be circ'ed and said we couldn't be discharged untl he was. WTF?

Overall, it was an awful experience. So that's how I get my courage. If something goes wrong, we'll be 10 minutes from the hopsital. I'm really not concerned in that respect.
post #48 of 58
I think we are yet to understand the full implications of being outside one's own environment and how they relate to mothers in labour.

Most women that I have known have ended up with a "stuck" baby in the hospital and therefore a c-section. None of these women have had drugs, inductions, or monitoring.

I think we have to ask ourselves why so many women end up with stalled labour that then "requires" an intervention like pitocin after being in the hospital to birth.

I would never have the courage to birth in a hospital. My local one has a 50% section rate. Either way you slice it (no pun intended!) if you walk through those doors you are becoming part of that statistic.
post #49 of 58
It's true, the climate in Canada is SO TOTALLY different when it comes to birthing. The stories I've heard from women in the U.S. makes me shudder.

For example, for my next birth I asked what the PROTOCOL was for VBACs at the hospital I am delivering at, so that I could know what I was going to have to deny vehemently (LOL!) and I was pleasantly surprised to find out that all they require is a hep lock (which I would have wanted anyway) and intermittent monitoring (which I would have wanted anyway). Almost all other medical procedures are entirely optional.

I do believe there are more options for homebirth in the U.S. though (well, some states anyway - the ones that allow homebirth). When I called the midwives in my area, none of them would even touch a VBAC homebirth and they weren't allowed to do VBACs in the hospital that they have rights to work at. It's a bummer, but I found an awesome OB who is totally on the same page as me, so yay!
post #50 of 58
The HBAC things depends on the midwives. Where I live in Ontario, midwives do attend vbacs at home. My midwife had a hbac in fact.

Anyways, I don't agree that things are so much better in Canada. The C/S rate is still ridiculously high, and some hospitals have ridiculous policies. Hospitals in two cities I know have very restrictive policies re: midwives- it is an automatic transfer of care if oxytocin is used, if the woman has an epidural, etc, but it is not a tranfer of care in other cities.

ETA: I know close to a dozen women who have had unnecessary c/s and when I was pregnant with my furst, the ob/gyn ass'n approving elective c/s.
post #51 of 58
I don't have a source that changed my mind, but after my first birth which was a homebirth, I was having thoughts that it couldn't possibly go as perfectly the second time around, that I wouldn't be so "lucky"; reading Ina May's Guide to Childbirth really helped me find my courage again. And my second birth was really quick and easy (although painful). And my third was a piece of cake, quite an enjoyable morning actually!
post #52 of 58
Yeah, I'm near Ottawa (Carleton Place to be exact) and the midwives here won't do VBACs. I know it's not like that everywhere in Ontario though... I just got unlucky If I drove and we had a second car, I'd consider going out of town, but alas...
post #53 of 58
Yeah, I hate how it varies so wildly from place to place within the province.
post #54 of 58
I'm in Canada. When I contacted the licensed midwives about a VBA2C, they said they take VBACs, but not with multiple cesareans.

My "option" for a VBAC was a "trial" of labour, with an IV and constant monitoring or a scheduled repeat cesarean. I was going to VBAC, allowed myself to be bullied into a repeat cesarean when dd turned breech at 39 weeks...and was not told that they wouldn't "allow" a VBAC attempt after multiple cesareans. I was then bullied into section number three after fighting for over 41 weeks.

Canada ain't so hot, either.
post #55 of 58
Originally Posted by jackieslilpie View Post
I have read nearly every post, and I have to ask, where do so many people come up with the courage to homebirth??? ...

I guess I am just wondering if anyone out there has a source that changed your way of thinking or an experience or anything.
I haven't had my homebirth yet but am planning one. For me the catalyst was my csection. I didn't want to go through such an emotionally painful experience ever again, so I began to research. It is what I should have done when I was pregnant with my first child, but didn't because I thought I had it all figured out. I realize now I was being naive-I had this belief that just because I wanted a natural unmedicated labor, I was going to get it. There have been many wonderful resources; I really love Henci Goer's "The Thinking Woman's Guide to a Better Birth" (I think that's the title); Ina May's Gude to Childbirth", "Birthing from Within", "Spiritual Midwifery" by Ina May Gaskin.
post #56 of 58
Thread Starter 

Thanks so much!

Wow, Thank you to all of you for your responses! I am amazed at how strongly some of you reacted to my question, but your (clearly) well researched and articulated responses made me seriously think about looking more closely into my options and I have scheduled a consultation with a midwife to find out more. Thank you to all of you!!! At least now, whatever path I take will have been thoroughly researched and thought through rather than taken out of fear of the unknown.
post #57 of 58
OP, I'm going to echo what these other women have said.

A couple days before my dd was born I was more scared of going to the hospital than I was of giving birth or having any complications. Thankfully I had a unmedicated birth, but the birth goddess must have smiled on me that day.

For our second pregnancy we took no chances and hired a homebirth midwife. We interviewed four before we found the one that we liked. Sadly, our second pregnancy ended in miscarriage. I hemmoraged during my m/c and had to be taken to the hospital via ambulance. I ended up with an emergency d&c and a blood transfusion. It was really scary and a true emergency. Once I got out of post-op and into my room I did not receive stellar treatment. I wanted to go home and got no rest whatsoever. There are some great nurses in this world. Some of them were at my dd's birth, but they were not present after my m/c. Hospital policy was idiotic too. They got my iv in my arm in less than ten seconds and refused to take the darn thing out until the doctor got there the next day at noon.

I still want a home birth. We're planning a third pregnancy now. Hospitals are great places to go if there's a true emergency, but once the emergency is over they're miserable places to be. I'm not going there if its not an emergency.
post #58 of 58
My DH and I think the people who go to the hospital to have their babies are the people who are courageous! Said after 3 HB's!
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