Homebirth for first LO? - Mothering Forums
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Homebirth > Homebirth for first LO?
TallToriV's Avatar TallToriV 01:04 PM 08-08-2012

Hi! I just wanted to ask for experiences/stories from anyone who had their first baby at home? (Intentionally, I mean!)


I'm such a homebody it verges on being a socialized hermit, and I'd really love for my first to be delivered at home in February. However, DH and I have no children, and of course have no clue what it will be like, no matter how many videos we watch! My MIL had all three of her boys at home, and highly recommends it, but no one on my side has ever done it. Their experiences in hospital where traumatic enough that you'd think SOMEONE would have, but no.


We had pretty much agreed to, anyway, but then we mentioned it during a prenatal visit, and my CNM was VERY strongly against it. Her opinion is that she's seen so many wacky things happen with births, better safe than sorry. But she's very pro-birthing center, and I've heard that most experienced homebirth midwives will bring most of the same equipment to a home birth that would be available at a BC. And I'm not high risk, not by a long shot. So now I'm wondering if my CNM just wouldn't want to do a home birth personally - which is fine, as we're moving and need to find a new CNM in CA, anyway.


There's a lovely BC that takes my insurance near where we're moving. I just....would really rather be home!

Dia's Avatar Dia 01:20 PM 08-08-2012



I'm interested in hearing from others moms who had their first at home as well.


I am due with my first in February too! I am having a homebirth. I can't imagine doing it any other way, but you're right it seems like most first timers opt for a more medically managed birth, and then subsequently find HB'ing. 

TallToriV's Avatar TallToriV 01:23 PM 08-08-2012

Hi, Dia! Are you in the Feb 2013 DDC? It's the whole reason I finally gave up and joined MDC, lol. Lovely women! AND someone just started a first-time moms thread that looks promising.

Dia's Avatar Dia 01:24 PM 08-08-2012

Yep, I just joined. :) And that was me that started the first time-moms thread!

dogmom327's Avatar dogmom327 02:29 PM 08-08-2012

All of my babies have been born at home including my first :) I think society loves to scare first time mom which drives many to choose a more medical model the first time. Personally I can't imagine doing anything other than a home birth and didn't find my first to be any different than the others.

TallToriV's Avatar TallToriV 03:16 PM 08-08-2012

Dia, too funny! See how observant I am? ;-)


DogMom, thank you. That's very encouraging. Do you mind if I ask how you found your midwife? I really wish I could have my MIL's, but she's long since retired.

josie423's Avatar josie423 03:37 PM 08-08-2012

I had all of mine at home as well. My first birth was beautiful with no complications (they all were actually). Whacky things can happen with any birth, but that is no reason to be fearful. I hope you end up happy and at peace with whatever decision you make!

Dia's Avatar Dia 05:08 PM 08-08-2012

Hey TallTori, about looking for a midwife - one thing you could do is post in "finding your tribe" section of MDC. Find your geographical area and post that you're looking for a HB Midwife there. I did this and recieved lots of good leads for midwives to interview locally. I found someone who I am very, very happy with.


Also, just because I am curious, why was the CNM you talked to strongly against a homebirth? Was it simply based on the fact that it's your first pregnancy?

TallToriV's Avatar TallToriV 06:07 PM 08-08-2012

Thanks, Josie! So nice to hear the path's been paved already.


Dia, I don't think it was personal at all. My CNM's very down-to-earth, pretty traditional, and also thinks natural childbirth is just unnecessarily painful and I should plan for an epidural. When I bring up natural, she just smirks and says I'll change my mind in the middle. She's been my gyno for years, and I ADORE HER, we just have different views on childbirth for me. Which, as I said, is unsettling, because I do think a lot of what she says normally. It's hard to get that we just have different views on this, and that mine's still valid.


Honestly, the fact that the move is forcing me to find another practitioner is probably a good thing. I do want a birth attendant with similar ideas to mine.

Carson's Avatar Carson 06:10 PM 08-08-2012
Yes!My thoughts on having my first at home was that I didn't want to wait and have a bad experience in a hospital first. That just doesn't make sense.

3 years ago I posted a thread on first birth home birth and got some good responses. I am really surprised at that MW's attitude, she def has some personal bias going on there, eh? Our friends in CAjust had a positive first birth homebirth so I am sure there are MW's out there.
dogmom327's Avatar dogmom327 06:19 PM 08-08-2012

The best way to find a MW is to ask others for recommendations. The Finding Your Tribe section of this site is generally really useful. Also your local La Leche League might be able to direct you. Worse case, there's always a Google search but be sure to get references, etc.

TallToriV's Avatar TallToriV 06:22 PM 08-08-2012

Finding Your Tribe, check. LLL is on my list for folks to call out there as soon as I get more info on where we'll be.

joyfilledmama's Avatar joyfilledmama 03:36 PM 08-09-2012

I had my first birth at home.  I just "knew" that I wanted to be at home and it is where I would feel most comfortable.  Like others mentioned, funky things can go wrong at any birth.  As long as you feel confident with the skills of your midwife, remain low risk, take care of yourself, and have a good back up plan I think any midwife would support you in having your first baby at home!  By the way, I strongly recommend Hypnobabies, great program to get rid of any fear/doubting and to learn how to relax those birthing muscles!

Wishing you the best!!

Oliver'sMom's Avatar Oliver'sMom 05:03 PM 08-09-2012

Hello!  Congrats on your first baby!


I had my first baby at home and he was actually born in February :)  I chose home birth because I saw my mom go through tons of horrible complications from her epidural while having my little sister.  She still is living with those injuries 20 years later.  I knew that if labored in a hospital, I would be pressured to receive an epidural and I would probably cave. 


Anyway, my first birth was long (24 hours), but pretty awesome!  That's another great thing about home birth...you aren't put on any schedule.  I've had friends who were labeled as "failure to progress" after 8 hours of labor, and were told they needed a c-section.  First babies usually take quite a bit of time, but not always.


I found my midwife by asking a CNM how I could have a home birth.  My midwife used to be a CNM herself, but in my state only lay midwives can attend home births so she let her certification expire and started her own practice.


While my labor progressed normally and went smoothly, I did hemorrhage after the birth.  Luckily, my midwife was very skilled and stopped the bleeding quickly.


I say that if you feel like you would be the most comfortable and safe at home, then go for it!  With a skilled midwife present, and a strong plan B in case something goes awry, you are just as safe, if not safer than if you chose a hospital or birthing center.

thegoodearth's Avatar thegoodearth 07:19 PM 08-09-2012

Congratulations on your first baby! That's a really exciting time.


I had homebirths with both of my children. My most recent one was just in June and before that March 2010. Both births went really well. To prepare myself for my first time I took the Birthing from Within classes - which I really liked. I think preparation is great -- do a lot of reading, watching birth videos, talking with your midwife -- that all helps. But honestly, once it comes time to give birth (for me at least) all of it flew out the window and I just ran on instinct. By that I mean - I stepped out of my thinking "logic" brain and stepped into a very primal place that is really difficult to describe. Giving birth was an amazing experience! I chose to give birth at home the first time because there were no freestanding birth centers in my area at the time and I didn't want to give birth in a hospital. The second time I chose to birth at home was because I couldn't imagine doing it anywhere else. I loved the comfort of being in my own environment and the care I received from my midwives. I feel really fortunate to have the great experiences I had. 

goldenwillow's Avatar goldenwillow 09:30 AM 08-10-2012
Originally Posted by thegoodearth View Post
I think preparation is great -- do a lot of reading, watching birth videos, talking with your midwife -- that all helps. But honestly, once it comes time to give birth (for me at least) all of it flew out the window and I just ran on instinct. By that I mean - I stepped out of my thinking "logic" brain and stepped into a very primal place that is really difficult to describe.




Our one and only LO was born at home purposely.  We took Bradley classes to prepare and were surrounded by like minded folks that believed in homebirth.  It was an amazing experience.  I personally did not watch birthing videos so that I could envision my own birth and not those of others.  Had a lot of folks telling their opinions on why we should go to a hospital, birthing center, etc... but towards the middle of my pregnancy we decided to stop talking about where we planned to have our baby to folks that simply didn't understand.  We chose homebirth for many reasons but the most important for us was having my own space to birth without time lines and having no interventions.  We set up 3 places in our home for me, our bed, birthing tub and our downstairs futon.  Ended up birthing in the tub. 


Congratulations on your pregnancy!

gmctree's Avatar gmctree 10:55 AM 08-10-2012

I would try to find a CNM who can attend your homebirth. There is a lot of variation in standards and skill among CPMs and other midwives.


I had my children at home with CPMs - and there were a lot of gaps in my care. I was really glad I had a home birth - but when I think back on it, I really can't recommend CPMs - because it is too hard to find out what their personal philosophies are, what they consider 'high-risk' and what risks they'll take with you and your baby, or what kind of training they have... and if they're really qualified to be practicing midwifery.


The benchmark for me when I think back on my births is "Would I recommend either of my CPMs to my sister if she were having a baby?"


And the answer is no.


It makes me pretty sad to say this - but homebirth midwifery desperately needs a wake-up call. Women wanting homebirth deserve to have that option - and they deserve to be attended by safe, competent, skilled, midwives who practice with evidence-based practice standards.


That said - I don't believe that being a first-time mom in itself precludes birth at home. But you need to find a competent provider. And that can be very challenging. Some of the scary stories out there are just stories. And some are real. Pay attention to all of them.

nilatti's Avatar nilatti 01:11 PM 08-10-2012

My son was born at home, and it was wonderful. I had an unexpectedly fast labor (3.5 hours) and my city hospital just moved pretty far from my home...if we had tried to go there, our son probably would have been born in the parking lot of the Starbucks!


I grew up in a community where all the children were born at home or in birth centers, so it felt like the right thing to me. My mom was a homebirth photographer when I was little, and so I actually saw a number of safe, healthy home births (including a baby born in the caul and a breech) before I was 10. 


I would highly recommend homebirthing for any low-risk mama, including a first timer. We're planning to have our second at home as well, with the same CPM as the first. I agree with a PP that your attendant's experience and philosophy are of paramount importance, but I don't agree that a CNM is necessarily better than a CPM. You just have to interview carefully and ask a lot of questions. My CPM has been present at over a thousand births and has delivered around 200 babies on her own. She is really well-informed and smart. When we were interviewing people, the one CPM that I would have been afraid to go with was one who made it clear that she had total disregard for the medical establishment--bordering on loathing. My husband said, as we were leaving there, "That woman would let you die before she'd transfer you to the hospital," and I think he was right. When we met the CPM we ended up going with, we asked her about transferring, and she had a number of stories about transfers, including mentioning specific OBs with whom she has a good relationship. She even put us in touch with a family who had experienced a recent transfer with her. That made us feel good. We ended up staying at home, but having discussed what circumstances would lead to a transfer, and what that would be like, made us feel much safer and more prepared.

fruitfulmomma's Avatar fruitfulmomma 01:32 PM 08-10-2012

Our first was born at home, as well as #4 and #5. (#2 and #3 were transports/transfer of care and #6 was a planned hospital birth.) It was great and I had a long labor but it was pretty mellow until the last few hours when I started getting really intense. We shared a home with my father and brother, the latter who swore he was leaving when I was in labor, but them being downstairs they didn't even know anything was going on until after he arrived. We had three midwives in our tiny little room and my husband caught the baby. Barely. He came shooting out and almost slipped right through his hands. Happy to not have to go anywhere after labor really got going. Riding in the car with contractions is horrible. I've had really good hospital births, but I really love being in my home and not on someone else schedule or whatever.

AmandaT's Avatar AmandaT 01:41 PM 08-10-2012

I wanted to share my input from the other side:


I really really wanted to have a home birth but we lived in a very noisy apartment building and I didn't feel like we had enough space to do a home birth (we also didn't have a tub!). I decided to birth in the hospital instead and really really regret it. I was treated horribly, unable to eat or move for 2 days, pushed into an epidural and eventually into a c-section. Because of all of the interventions (breaking my water without telling me, starting pitocin, and having an epidural within 1.5 hours) my DD passed meconium and aspirated it (I strongly believe it was because of the interventions, because my waters were clear when broken). She was fine and healthy, but she had to be placed in the NICU, she wasn't able to breastfeed until 15 hours after birth and ended up staying in the NICU for 6 days as the drs/nurses kept creating problems. 


I would say if you want a home birth, absolutely go for it! Even though I'm a good advocate for myself I was still put through hell and and future home births now carry a *slightly* increased risk because of the c-section.


Trust in your body!

begoniamama's Avatar begoniamama 01:49 PM 08-10-2012

i posted this exact same thread topic last year! i was pregnant and planning my first homebirth and curious about mama's first time experiences. i have a 7 month old son now who is the best thing ever, born at home after what i call 'a full work day' 9am to 5pm. :) It was an amazing experience and i am sooooo glad we did it at home. we had a lot of support on one side of my family, but on the other we had some people who were worried for us. they never said much about it, but they are scientists who believe strongly in western medicine and did want us to 'risk it'. i wonder how they will feel when we have more babies at home!


one thing that comes to mind in my situation regarding birthing at home with your first, when you have no clue how you birth or what birth is even like. midwives are everything. being comfortable with them enough to be totally honest at all times. midway through my birth we realized that DS was posterior (which was a fear i was carrying since i was born posterior and he was sitting that way in utero throughout most of my pregnancy, even after lots of spinning babies!) and since i had talked with my midwife about this fear, when she told me at that moment in labor i wasn't worried. i knew it would be okay, because she made me feel like it would. during labor, using ice on my sacrum, positioning and homeopathics, he turned himself around. it was an intense hour but i worked hard and felt so good when she said he was anterior and getting ready to come. i dilated the last 5 cm after that very quickly and delivered him standing at the edge of my bed. now - in my opinion  - i think that had i been in a hospital, there is a good chance that i wouldn't have progressed to 10 cm in time and may have been labeled failure to progress. he was not sitting over my cervix when he was posterior so i was not dilating very efficiently. i don't imagine an OB having the skills to put me in certain positions to turn him around. if i did dilate in time, i would have delivered him sunny side up, which can result in tearing, and more pain.


long story short: i am so glad i birthed at home and feel confident that if my next pregnancy is low risk, i will be doing the same. happy birthing to you!

rad's Avatar rad 11:20 PM 08-11-2012

My first (and the next 5) were all born at home. We're planning our 7th homebirth for November. I think your first birth can dictate alot of how your next pregnancies/births go or how easy/hard it is to get the birth you want for subsequent pregnancies. So I made sure that I was in a good position to have little to no interventions for my first. Homebirth seemed like the best way to accomplish that. My labor went really quick with my first. My attendants walked in just in time to catch the baby. It was an amazing experience.

TallToriV's Avatar TallToriV 06:14 PM 08-12-2012

Wow! I just got back from an early family baby shower out of state - you guys are awesome! I really needed to hear this, as the shower was thrown by my family - I love them and they love me, but no one is pro-homebirth and my oldest sister felt compelled to remind me that if she had tried home birth my nephew would be dead. Not precisely reassuring, but no worries. (I also don't agree with her, but arguing would be pretty dumb.)


I love hearing all of these stories. I found out from my mother-in-law that the MW who delivered DH at home is still practicing. She's in AZ, and we'll be in CA, but I'm hoping she can help with referrals and pointers. DH and I have talked about what we want, emphasizing things like good reputations with local hospital OBs, a high experience level, and flexibility with regard to Western medicine. I'd like to find someone who has the same sort of definition of emergency I do - if my body's still sorting things out and moving forward, I want to avoid a transfer in case of something like a breech, but if I really do need help, I don't want to be the one asking to be taken to the hospital.


Basically, I want someone smart, kind, and experienced, because I agree with a PP. Prep and research and study are all very good and important, but when it comes right down to it, every birth is different and we'll have to move with what we get in the moment.


This is all SO encouraging. I really appreciate your sharing your stories. Keep 'em coming if there's more!!

thursday2's Avatar thursday2 12:10 AM 08-13-2012

I had my first with a HB 2 years ago, and am about to have my 2nd HB any day now!  The only thing that would give me pause about a HB for the 1st pregnancy is the distance of the hospital - in our case, we have a top hospital 3 mins away, so it was a non-issue, but since you don't know how your body will respond to birth, I myself would have been very nervous about having a HB in a rural area...but I probably still would have done it.  winky.gif


I agree with the others that I chose HB for my first because I didn't want to have a bad hospital experience, an avoidable C-section, etc. - it just didn't make sense.  My OB (before I switched to my MW) suggested I do a hospital birth for the first and then I could always do HB later if all went well...but as I told her, I didn't want to have to fight with nurses about epidurals and monitoring and all the rest when I was scared and confused...it seems it would be easier to have a hospital birth second after being able to experience how your body handles birth rather than the other way around...but now I'm rambling.


DH and I didn't even think we were going to have kids, we're both the youngest in our families, and neither of us had ever SEEN a baby less than 6 months until I gave birth to him in my bed...and then 2 hrs later the MWs left us alone with him!  That was the weirdest part.  smile.gif  We both looked at each other and started laughing - "What do we do now?  Does someone have to stay up and keep watch or something?"  But we not only survived, waking up the next morning to complete silence in the house except the rise and fall of his breathing is probably the greatest memory of my life.

nilatti's Avatar nilatti 05:49 AM 08-13-2012
Originally Posted by thursday2 View Post

DH and I didn't even think we were going to have kids, we're both the youngest in our families, and neither of us had ever SEEN a baby less than 6 months until I gave birth to him in my bed...and then 2 hrs later the MWs left us alone with him!  That was the weirdest part.  smile.gif  We both looked at each other and started laughing - "What do we do now?  Does someone have to stay up and keep watch or something?"  But we not only survived, waking up the next morning to complete silence in the house except the rise and fall of his breathing is probably the greatest memory of my life.


LOL, we had that exact experience: "Wait, you're leaving the baby WITH US?"

TallToriV's Avatar TallToriV 09:58 AM 08-13-2012
Originally Posted by thursday2 View Post  But we not only survived, waking up the next morning to complete silence in the house except the rise and fall of his breathing is probably the greatest memory of my life.


This. That's why I'm pushing for HB so much, even though it's new for my family.


Nilatti, I just noticed your DS's middle name - love it!!! Does he live up to it? ^_^

nilatti's Avatar nilatti 01:06 PM 08-13-2012
Originally Posted by TallToriV View Post


Nilatti, I just noticed your DS's middle name - love it!!! Does he live up to it? ^_^


Oh goodness, yes. YES YES. My DH said he wanted our kid to have a trickster character name (he was pretty fixated on "Loki" as a first name). I said that was okay, but it better be a trickster who gets his comeuppance now and then. And so now we have a kid who is as ornery as they come. I told him that we should name Baby #2 "Good Sleeper."

TallToriV's Avatar TallToriV 05:26 PM 08-13-2012


travelmumma's Avatar travelmumma 06:45 PM 08-13-2012


I havent read through the whole post, but just wanted to chime in and let you know that I am due with my first babe this December and yep! we are planning a homebirth!

I think that one reason first time mummas may feel less inclined to birth at home is that lots of homebirth stories start with "I had my first in hospital, and it was horrible so we decided to homebirth this time with number two". (Not true of all i know :) )

But for me I dont feel that I need to have a "bad" experience to inspire me to look for alternatives :)

I cant wait to give birth this Chrismas!!!

TallToriV's Avatar TallToriV 07:58 AM 08-14-2012

Thank you! I wondered if the general feeling is any different in Oz (doesn't sound like it from your post, though).

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