I am 24 weeks pregnant with my second child. My first was born at a birth center and I had a great experience. So far I have continued to midwives there and figured I would give birth there again. However, I can't shake the idea that homebirth would just be more comfortable - no car ride (ugh, that was teh worst part last time!), showering in my own bathroom after the birth, getting to snuggle in my own bed afterwards, not feeling like we have to leave soon, no car ride home... Here is where I struggle, and I am looking for some insight:
1) My son will only be 22 months when #2 is born and he is a sensitive/cautious child. He wants to be held and nursed a lot, is tentative in new situations, has never been away for the night with somebody else, and, though he is in daycare, has not been with a babysitter much. I'm just not sure what to do with him. We likely will have grandparents visiting from out of town (this will be my point #2), to take care of him. But I was quite vocal when I labored and birthed him and I am afraid of scaring him if he stays in the house or the birth happens at night.
2) We don't have any family close-by, but family is planning to come around my due date to look after my son. (They will be staying with us.) I love my in-laws, but I just don't know how I would feel about having them near-by or in the house while I am in labor, especially my father-in-law. He's a wonderful man, but very much like the 1950's husband and dad. My concern is that I will feel inhibited. They also aren't in the best of health, so while they can look after my son, asking them to go out on a big daytrip with him might be too much for them.
Given those two things, would you still plan a homebirth? Any thoughts on how to overcome these obstacles? I appreciate your insight!
Honestly, I wouldn't. Mainly because you were happy with your birth center and the son/in-law issue. I don't know how you would solve that problem and I don't think it would be worth the benefits gained.
How long is the ride in the car?
If you do give birth at the birth center, you might speak to the midwives there about feeling rushed to leave after the birth -- how much time can they give you? How long do you think you might like to stay?
, mama to Amelie (May 2010), early loss (October 2011), and James (September 2012)
Thanks for the replies. To answer the few questions, the car ride is probably around 15-20 minutes (longer if there is traffic), so not long. But if felt like FOREVER when I was in labor last time. Maybe that's because I was in transition, though. As for leaving, they actually are pretty good. I think we stayed 4 or 5 hours after the birth of my son, which was enough time. It's still not the same as knowing you can just relax and snuggle in your own bed without having to go anywhere...
The other part of the equation that I didn't mention is that my in-laws will be here for the 2 weeks before my due date; my mother the two weeks after. So the baby may not even come when they are here!
Anyway, it's a lot to think about. I'm just very torn. But I haven't even heard back from the midwives I contacted about having a homebirth so maybe that's a sign...
I would not have an HB if I had house guests I was uncomfortable birthing around... and actually that would include just about EVERYONE except my sister.
If you can't get your Mom & ILs to change plans and only come AFTER baby has arrived, then that alone would be reason for me to go to the BC. I definitely couldn't birth with my Mom & MIL in the house (We're not even telling our families that we're planning HB.)
However, if you could get them to only come after birth, (after all, as you said, they may stay 2 weeks each & still not even meet baby! So just waiting is the best way to do it.) AND if you can find somewhere for your son to go, then I'd definitely say HB. As you said, you gain the comfort of home, no car-ride. There's also a bit more freedom here in Maryland (local BC won't let you birth there past 42W, but no such restrictions with HB MWs.)
Is there any way one of the daycare workers could be on call to watch him - since he already knows them?
On the other hand... HB tends to be more expensive (not as good insurance coverage in most cases), you have to gather your own supplies, set up a tub (whereas don't most BCs have jacuzzi tubs?), here it's more of a hassle to deal with the dept of health to get a birth certificate, etc. So since you liked this BC before & 15-20 min isn't such a bad ride, maybe it is best to stay there. There's only one FSBC in the whole greater Baltimore area & it's 50 min drive from me!!! That's with zero traffic - could easily be like 1 hr 20 or more at rush hour.
I loved my homebirth, and would highly recommend it if you can square everybody away.
My girls were / are very attached too, but they LOVED their first night in a hotel. It was like a sleep-over! That could be a good option for your ILs and son. Or, if the birth happens during the day, that might not even be necessary. I'd have contingencies lined up and then play it by ear.
Good luck, however you end up doing it!
It sounds like either way could work out really well.
I had similar obstacles, including an extended family uncomfortable with home birth and a sensitive DD. But I managed to come up with a solution.
After some extensive networking (starting with families that I'd met at my birth center), I found a teenager (with a cooperative and supportive mom!) whose three younger siblings were born at home. DH and I hired her to provide on-site childcare during the birth for DD, who was 2 at the time.
It worked out beautifully. The sitter was already used to home birth, so nothing phased her. I was close enough for DD to feel secure, but the weather was nice, so the sitter also took her outside to play with bubbles, sidewalk chalk etc. when the stress of the birth got more intense. I had also done something really out of character for me by raiding a toy store so that the sitter could pull out new toys during the birth.
Because of DD's sensitivities, DH and I waited until her little brother came out and then immediately called her in from outside to meet him.
We didn't even bother calling DH's family until after the birth. They didn't even know we had a home birth until after the birth, naughty me! They weren't mad, though. They would have FREAK OUT had they known ahead of time, but they weren't upset when we told them in retrospect. How could they be with a cute new grandbaby? I think DH did say something offhandedly later: "You're kidding! I'm sorry, I thought Laura (me) mentioned we were doing a home birth. Oops."
Anyway, if you don't want to rule out HB completely, those options worked for us and may be worth considering for yourself. HTH!
ETA: The sitter may have a harder job if your labor happens at night, but you might try some of my tactics (e.g. new toys) to help distract your DS. It looks like you're due during warm weather, though, so let's hope you transition and push during daylight hours!
“It is simply no longer possible to believe much of the clinical research that is published, or to rely on the judgment of trusted physicians or authoritative medical guidelines.” - Marcia Angell, M.D., former NEJM Editor Private Parts are Private Property!
Hmmm, my son was 22 months when I had DD at home. My water broke after he was in bed and I had DD about one hour before he woke up. There were 2 midwives, DH, and my mom and dad all in the house (and midwives/parents showed up b/w 1-2am) DS slept through it all. At the time, DS hadn't really been away from me and DH for any length of time, he visited with my parents all the time, but I wasn't comfortable sending him there for the night. So my dad came along with my mom, just in case he needed tending to. I think going into labor overnight was perfect, DS went to bed and when he woke up, baby was here. I do hope he is awake for the next baby though. :)
As far as people in the house, there is no way I'd want my in-laws around. If they were planning on coming and staying with us before the baby was born, I would just let them know they'd have to move to a hotel once I went into labor. I was obviously comfortable with my parents around though and we have a small ranch, so I'm sure my dad heard everything. My mom was in the room with me though.
Being at home, using my own tub, bed, couch, was so wonderful. My first birth was in a hospital, so I don't have birth center experience, but being home the whole time was the best - I recommend it!
Mama to three
What would you do with your son if you gave birth at a center? I think you could do the same thing at home. I don't think being around for the birth would harm or scar your son. I actually think for my daughter, being separated from me would be harder than seeing me labor. You could prepare him for the sounds you might make and explain that they are maybe loud and they help bring the baby out.
As far as the in-laws though, no, I would not be comfortable with any in-laws around during my labor/delivery, and that would be true in a birth center or at home. I personally would prefer them to come a few weeks after the birth, so I can focus on being a new mother again rather than a hostess.
If you want a hv, I'd tell the relatives not to come until after and find a sitter who can take you son out of the house. Practice with the sitter weekly at the end of the pg, and put some white noise on in his room if you labor at night.
I had my first at a FSBC and my second at home.
Why I liked the birth center: large jacuzzi tub, clean up done for you, nice and warm, no laundry, our nurse took pictures
What wasn't the best: labor was somewhat managed, certain protocols had to be followed, had to drive there and home
Why I like home birth: we were free to labor exactly how we wanted, no protocols needed to be followed, no driving, showered in my own bathroom, ate food from my fridge, slept in my own bed
What wasn't the best: we ended up doing most of the clean up ourselves as our mw was called to another birth, it was 19 degrees outside and our house was cold, we couldn't keep the birth pool warm enough, no one took pictures, I had some unwanted guests in my house that bothered me
My 3 year old dd was asleep upstairs during the birth. I had asked my mother to fly out and stay with us to take care of her, so she was also upstairs waiting to see if my daughter would wake up. She never did. And I was LOUD! So there is a very good chance that your son would just sleep through the whole thing. Another idea is to hire a doula as childcare- I had a friend that did that. She got together with the doula several times prior to the birth so that her dd and the doula could play together and get used to each other. As a doula, she was used to odd hours, so that worked out great.
Now, I ended up also having my sister and her dh sleeping downstairs, which was not at all good. It had not been planned for them to be present, but they were traveling and needed a place to spend the night THAT night. And of course that is the night I go into labor. Of course. So I can attest to the fact that having people in your house that you do not want at your birth is NOT good. I definitely thought about them between contractions and was upset that they were hearing me laboring. It was extremely awkward after the birth and the next morning and I was furious at how their attitudes affected my birth. This is something very serious to consider. But as pp's have said, ask them to come after the birth, not before your due date. You aren't going to want house guests as you prepare for the birth and you and they are going to want to be there when the baby has been born.
I think that your obstacles can be overcome and what is most important here is to decide what kind of birth you truly want. Was there anything about the birth center that you didn't like besides the drive? Most birth centers allow a 12-24 hour total visit, so check into that before putting it on the "con" list. If you were fine with how they handled your labor then the birth center still sounds like a great option. If you want more freedom in your birth or a home birth is simply calling to you, then you have to do it. You only birth a few times in your life- make it everything you want it to be. Good luck!
Mama to Avalon 1/07 , Austin 1/10 in between and Avery 12/11
I also would never homebirth if I had house guests! Or even my children present! That takes away the best part of homebirth, the total freedom and privacy.
What if, the night that you go into labor, your guests take your child to a hotel for the night? Not sure if that would work.
For me, homebirth was the best thing ever. My girls went to a "sleepover" at a friends house, and only DH and midwife & assistant were present. Both homebirths were awesome, the best expereince. My first was born in a hospital and it was a gentle birth, but could never compare to my homebirths. Being in your own bed, with your baby, is so great. It is wonderful for the baby, too!