Homebirthers: Did something go wrong at your birth? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 25 Old 08-06-2003, 07:00 PM - Thread Starter
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Could you share it with me? I'm interested in hearing real-life experiences about things that "went wrong" at a home delivery and how it was handled by your midwife (or you, or your doctor). I am trying to fully convince DH that we should homebirth rather than birthing center and I think some experiences would help him understand emergency situations better.

Thanks in advance,
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#2 of 25 Old 08-06-2003, 07:50 PM
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At my homebirth 4 1/2 years ago, we had a slight problem that arose at the end of labor. My midwife noticed my baby's heart-tones were dropping and not coming back to normal after the contraction. She then instructed me, quite seriously, to "get that baby out, now!" So, I hung onto my husband and sister, and pushed with all my might. My son was born within a few minutes, and all was fine.

I recently asked my midwife about this (I'm pregnant with my second), and she said that normal hospital procedure in such events is to prep for an emergency C-section. Preps for C-sections take 20-30 minutes, from what I understand. Instead, my baby was born within 2 - 3 minutes. So, from my experience, it was much safer for my son to be born at home.

My midwife also has said that she's had this happen to women before, and has even had a woman go from 4-centimenters to full dilation in a very short time, when the woman was told to "get that baby out." Each time, it's been successful.

Hope that helps!

Best of luck to you - -

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#3 of 25 Old 08-06-2003, 08:01 PM
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4 1/2 years ago the same thing happened to me, only i was in the hospital. my son was born & he is perfectly fine, but i was put under for an emergency c-section.

i have been grateful to the dr. for saving joe's life... now i am wondering, what would have happened if i had been at home? i have a feeling i could have done it.

hindsight's 20/20, but i will never know for sure.

cicerosmum, this was not your question, but i thought i would let you know what might happen in the hospital.
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#4 of 25 Old 08-06-2003, 08:26 PM
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My dd was born at home 4 years ago with 2 CNM's on the scene. When my water broke, the midwives realized that there was major meconium, AND that baby was on her way out. They delivered her head and suctioned her as well as they could (which they woudl not have done in normal circumstances), and had me birth her as quickly as possible. When she didn't start pinking up, they got oxygen on her, had me push out the afterbirth and called the doctor to meet us at the hospital. We drover her to the hospital in our own car with a midwife in the backseat administering oxygen to the baby. Long story short, she was transferred to a larger hospital and underwent surgery- she spent the first week on a heart/lung bypass machine (as well as respirator, etc) and spent three weeks total in the hospital. She was able to recover fully and come home off of all supports and meds. She had a really difficult start, but I believe that it was the homebirth and bonding time that she had which allowed her to recover so fully and quickly. (It may not sound quick, but many babies who go through that are still in the hospital for months) Had she been born at the hospital, we would not have been able to hold her right away (and we couldn't hold her for the first week), and she woudl still have been just as sick- we woudl just both have been handled more. I woudln't change her birth, and I woudl homebirth again in a heartbeat.
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#5 of 25 Old 08-06-2003, 08:38 PM
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I am not sure if you really want to hear my story..., but it is a homebirth complication story...

On April 7th of this year I was at the pushing stage, and like Beth W. my midwife noticed that the baby's heartrate was dropping, she gave me oxygen and told me to push with all that I had. The heartrate continued to flucate rapidly and 911 was called. I was transported to the closest hosp., where 45 mins later I was told that we had lost our precious baby Adia.

I delivered her several hours later, vaginally and all medicated up. She had died because the cord was too tight around her neck, and had to be cut before she was fully born.

The hosp. of course is blaming the homebirth, my DH & I blame the hosp. After talking to a close friend that is an RN on a L&D floor, she said that nothing much would be different, except that I would have had a c-section and that doesn't guarentee Adia would have survived....So ofcourse this is the worst case scenerio, and in all reality homebirth was not the reason, rather just Adia's destiny.

mother to my spirit baby Adia
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#6 of 25 Old 08-07-2003, 12:29 AM
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Wow, Heather. I just want to say how sorry I am for your loss.

I had HB complications, though nothing major as desribes by some posters.

Baby one, was an LM assisted HB. I had borderline high BP for which they had me get out of water and push on my side. I had meconium in the water, not a lot but they were concerned. My DD was born floppy, but her color was good. They suctioned her and suctioned her, and gave her oxygen. She was full of "stuff". Our ped. was called, who was great and did a home visit and said there was nothing the hospital could do that we couldn't. We were just told to count her respirations periodically. I threatened to hemorrage and was given two shots of pitocin. I guess that's it. I basically had lots of mediocre things happen/

Our DS was born at home also but w/o paid assistants. I again threatened to hemorrage. I took shephards purse and motherwort (I think) herbal tinctures and had DD nurse and it finally slowed. I think I just tend to bleed pretty bad. I KNOW that it was more than the two or three cup measure that determines hemorrage. BUT I felt fine and wasn't really worried.

I would just remember that there are also problems that can be caused by birthing at the hospital or BC. At home you usually are more comfortable and have more say in what happens. Good luck w/your journey. I'm sure you'll make the right choice for your family.
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#7 of 25 Old 08-07-2003, 02:00 AM
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Heather, I am so sorry for the loss of your Adia.

Two weeks ago, what began as a homebirth for me, my boyfriend and our son ended up as a c-section in the hospital. We were attended at home by my midwife, our doula and my sister, who is an RN and mother of five. After I had been in what felt like pretty hard labor for nearly 12 hours, my midwife noted late decelerations in the baby's heartbeat - the heart tones dipped way down at the end of each contraction and stayed down. In fact, only with my sister monitoring my pulse at the same time was my midwife able to identify the baby's heart tones because they were so slow as to be nearly in pace with mine. My midwife immediately told us we needed to go to the hospital so we all hopped into the car and made the 30-min. drive there, with me on oxygen in the back seat the whole way.

At the hospital, though the heart tones kept dropping, I was merely monitored further (with all the bells and whistles, eventually including internal EFM too) - for nearly 30 hours more. It was only the next day that the c-section was truly indicated, after the heart tones kept dropping even with only mild contractions and very fresh, very thick meconium showed up in the pressure catheter line. (In the meantime, the OB on call had determined that I was not at all dilated even after the many hours of painful contractions, I was eventually put on pitocin to get things moving, I chose in utter exhaustion to have an epidural so I could rest up some - this would have been my third night without sleep otherwise - and I was hooked up to every monitor or other intervention in the book. I never did dilate on my own and stopped contracting as soon as the pitocin was shut off.)

At this point, my midwife (who has an excellent track record and over 20 years' experience) and my doula (who taught our childbirth classes based on Birthing From Within) both said that they saw no way around the c-section. So I suppose it was fate, somehow - my mw's theory was that this baby could not be born vaginally for some reason or another and that my brain stem 'knew' this and refused to let me dilate/progress. No one could determine what was causing the late decels or the stress that led to the release of meconium.

At any rate, I never lost faith in the initial decision to homebirth and was happiest of all to have my "dream team" with me in the hospital the whole time - 36 hours! - offering advice, explanations and support. I would not change a thing and will try to birth at home next time - the fates willing - too.

(Because of the amount of meconium he had ingested, my baby had problems eating until day 4, when my milk came in. He just showed next to no interest in my colostrum until then, though he did take to the breast right away in the recovery room immediately after I was sewn up. He's fine now. In fact, when he hit the 2-week mark two days ago he was 10 oz. over his birthweight!)
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#8 of 25 Old 08-07-2003, 02:07 AM
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I was pushing and my midwife told me that my son's arm was against his head, so he was stuck, she pulled his arm out and then he came out but the pool had turned red with blood because his cord was broken and he wasn't breathing. We got out of the pool and gave him oxygen for about 20 minutes and then he was nursing and he's perfectly fine.
He was VBAC and we struggled with the decision to have him at home, but decided it was the safest way for us.

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#9 of 25 Old 08-07-2003, 02:23 AM
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Five hours after I had a cervical/uterine prolapse. It felt like I had to have a BM so I went to the restroom. I happened to look down and saw something really weird starting to stick out. My mw (the apprentince...the main mw was on vacation in Mexico..LONG story) had already gone so I had to call her. At first we thought it was a left over piece of placenta or a hematoma. Then as I sat there on the toilet longer, it started swelling and I knew something was not right. I called her again and she came over. It had swollen to almost the size of a baby's head!

She had me lay down (something I should have done WAY earlier but I was in too much pain). She called the main mw on her cell phone...neither had ever seen this happen. At first the main mw said to push it back in..but my mw kept saying "No, S. you don't understand..this is REALLY swollen!..." So, we called to transport. Thankfully my Mom was here so she stayed with the baby.

The ER staff was a little snotty at first. They kept asking my mw (who they gave a hard time about letting back w/ me) who the back-up OB was. She kept telling them they don't have one. The RN acted really put off about it all. But..that same RN ended up being SO sweet and helpful. The ER dr had only seen a prolapse happen 2x in his career..and it was in elderly women...so he called an OB. They put some saline on it to keep it moist and covered it w/ gauze. They also inclined me which helped w/ the swelling (I could feel it going down). All this time I had a HORRIBLE back ache!! Gotta love morphine!!!! LOL

The OB was pissed b/c the ER dr woke him up...he wanted the ER dr to just push it back up inside me. But the Er dr INSISTED that he come in and look at it. So we waited for a few HOURS for the *insert expletive here* OB to get there. While waiting a couple of the RN's came in and were saying things about surgery and not knowing what the OB would need to do. It was pretty scary!! Especially when you don't have health ins!!!!!!!!

He came in, took a look at my "parts"..and declared it was "normal" and no big deal. The RN looked concerned and asked him several times, sterile gloves in her hand, "Are you SURE you don't want to take a look?" He told her "No" a few times then finally agreed. Without feeling a thing, he pushed everything back up in me!

He told me that when I stood up, it would just fall back out and told me to just push it back up. He was SOOOOOOO arrogant about it all. He also said in a rude tone, "What do you think is going to happen when you use the restroom? It's just going to come out again. So just push it back up. Eventually everything will stay in place." And that was it.

The ER dr came in afterwards to see me (he was a very sweet Dr!). He told me then how the OB was mad at him for waking him up and making him come in. But he said "I've don't have experience with that and I wasn't about to touch it and do something wrong!" I thanked profusly him for having the wisdom to not treat it and call for another opinion.

When I stood up to leave..NOTHING came out!!! I did have issues using the restroom. This really gross but when I had my first PP BM, I had to hold my finger inside to hold my cervix in. Everything is pretty normal now (according to my OB who did a PAP last month). I can tell that my cervix is lower and comes down some when I'm sitting/walking (know this from trying to use a DivaCup).

I do wish I had taken more clothes with me. LOL For some reason it didn't cross my mind. I left home w/ just my PJ top on. LOL The RN gave me the huge blanket (the kind they put in the warmers) to take with me.

So...problems during HB don't always have to be during the birth or be something with the baby!!
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#10 of 25 Old 08-07-2003, 11:59 AM - Thread Starter
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Heather, I was in tears reading your post. Thank you for sharing it with me. We need to be prepared for every kind of emergency.

These are wonderful stories, and I really appreciate you all sharing them with me. I will be showing them to DH to have him understand some of the things that can happen.

Thanks again!
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#11 of 25 Old 08-08-2003, 03:32 PM
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During my labor, my water never broke. During the final pushes, my mw asked if she could break the bag to prevent getting a big splash in the face . No problem at that point. When she did, she discovered pea soup meconium. The head was born a couple of pushes after that and with only the head born, she thoroughly suctioned. After she was born, I held her and mw suctioned more. My sweet baby was stained green/brown. Her fingernails/toenails were brown for days. But, she was healthy! I'm sure that in a hospital, she would have been taken to the NICU for observation and I wouldn't have been able to have her with me. I'm so thankful to my mw knowing how to handle the situation, b/c I was pretty worried when I saw just how thick and green the liquid was.

Paige, mama to three girls, (10), (8) and (3)
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#12 of 25 Old 08-08-2003, 07:05 PM
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Heather -- my heart goes out to you and Aida your spirit babe.

I think another side of this thread is the question of what would have happened differently in the hospital. My birth was treated quite normally by my midwife, but I am certian I would have ended up with forceps and episiotomy and probably a C-section.

When I was fully dialated i couldn't push out my son. I pushed for an hour or two and nothing happened. My contractions even stopped coming as regularly. My midwife checked the baby and asked what I wanted to do -- Keep pushing or take a nap?

I chose to take a nap. When I woke up after sort of sleeping for 4 hours, I was no longer fully dialated. I was back at 7-8.

I am so glad that I was at home without artificial time constraints held over my head. Jude was born peacefully and gracefully at home just a few hours later. And, the nap did me really good!

Most "complications" that arise at home can be handled at home with ease. Whereas in the hospital, it seems like many complications are caused by the routine procedures. I think birth is best when it's not messed with!

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#13 of 25 Old 08-16-2003, 11:07 AM
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Originally posted by Sparklin
When I was fully dialated i couldn't push out my son. I pushed for an hour or two and nothing happened. My contractions even stopped coming as regularly. My midwife checked the baby and asked what I wanted to do -- Keep pushing or take a nap?

I chose to take a nap.
Hey, me too! I had my ds at a birthing center and when I was fully dilated, the mw said to go ahead and start pushing but I just couldn't...my back was aching and felt like it would crack in two if I tried to push. Then the cx stopped and I got SO tired. My mw told me to sleep if I felt I needed to, so I took a nap for two hours. When I woke up, the back pain was gone (baby must've turned or something) and it no longer hurt to push. In a hospital I would've been labelled as 'failure to progress' and given a c-section.

My mom always said I could sleep anywhere, any time...guess she was right! LOL!

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#14 of 25 Old 08-16-2003, 10:50 PM
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I am soo sorry heather. words can't even express...

I labored for over 30 hours without being able to eat or sleep. It was a lovely labor but by the time i pushed my son out at the 37th our i was soo exauseted and icouldn't pee for about the last hour or two. My mw moved me from the pool to the bed to deliver the placenta. when she got me up to pee I fainted. She ended up catheterizing me to pee and getting me food to get my blood shugar up. when my color refused to improve she put me on iv fluids and ultimatly had to Massage some blood clots out of my uters because about 20 minutes (could have been an hour i guess, i don't know) I really started gushing a fair amount of blood. the massage stopped it though.
it was a lovely labor even with the faint
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#15 of 25 Old 08-17-2003, 12:52 PM
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We didn't have a complicated delivery at all, but DS was born with a severe cleft lip and palate. Because I had no ultrasounds in pregnancy (and maybe even if I had it wouldn't have made a difference), the cleft was undiagnosed prior to birth. He was also 15 days late, whcich, with a traidtional OB would probably not have been permitted. If we had been in a hospital, I have no doubts that he would have been taken away from us immediately for "observation". As it was, he could breathe just fine, but could not suck so I started pumping milk when he was a day old (I had continued to try to nurse the entire first day, but he didn't get much). I've been pumping ever since (though at the moment I'm transitioning down to only once a day) and he just turned 1 yesterday.

In a different environment, our perfectly benign defect might have been treated as a major problem. We're lucky that instead of spending the first hours (or days) wondering what was going on with our son in a NICU, we were able to get to know him and learn how to deal with our special circumstances.

anna kiss partner to jon radical mama to aleks (8/02) and bastian (5/05)
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#16 of 25 Old 08-17-2003, 06:37 PM
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For my first DD birth I was attend by a CPM. I went into labor 14 days late(no biggie since I really didn't know when I concieved). After getting to 9 I stayed there for several hours. I had an anterior lip that wouldn't dialate. Finally I was complete and started to push. And push. And push. I pushed in every concievable position and still wasn't able to get her out. Then we all saw what was wrong--- her ear was presenting out of my vagina. She was posterior(which we knew) and her head was flexed in a military presentation and ascylitic(?). She was basically stuck. We pushed for another hour or so(all in all I pushed for 10 hours ) then made the call to transport. I went to the hospital where they turned her with a vacum and assisted her delivery that way. She ended up with a broken collarbone and I ended up with 3 episiotomies that resulted in third degree tears. I know for a fact that if I had labored at the hospital I would have ended up with a C-section. I am so happy I was at home. My second DD was born at a birth center with a midwife with only 17minutes of pushing! YAY!! I would have tried a homebirth again but that was not an option where I live. I would definitely do a homebirth anyday over a hosptial birth.

I love my girlsMadaline(9), Mary-Grace(7), Georgia(3), & Evelyn(1)
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#17 of 25 Old 11-26-2003, 02:24 AM
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Well, before my first was born I was sure I could birth at home, naturally, in a water tub. I had a MW, and she told me I didn't need a doula. I believed that, "every woman can have the spritually enlightened birth at home," etc.

During the birth I hit hard back labor immediately (found out later - posterior baby- owww), untenable pain...no MW for 14 hours. She finally showed up and w/out checking me told me to start pushing as it would help w/pain. It didn't, and I pushed for seven (yup, seven) hours! She told me the baby was "stuck" and had me get out of the tub, lay on my bed, and she put my legs up over my head to un-stick the baby. More owww..water broke, dark with meconium. Maybe two hours later, my daughter was finally born, and real pushing urges made her shoot out, land on the bottom of the tub (!), and had meconuim sucked out of her. Placenta would not deliver, finally after two hours got a shot of pitocin in the thigh and it came out. I ended up with a fourth degree tear, which had to be sewn by doc at the hospital (after waiting at home for five hours til I was nice and swollen!). My pelvis was dislocated, and I couldn't walk for a week after the birth, got a fever of 104 and mastitis...hmm, what else? I think that was about it. It took me about a year to feel "normal" after that, and by then was five mos. pg with #2.

I had #2 in a hospital, also w/ a tub of water, but requested a doula, a Bradley coach, a friend, and an epidural. Had a great, healing experience, baby nursed right away.

Wouldn't do another home birth if you paid me a million dollars.

P.S. I think the whole hospital experience depends on you, and the particular hospital. DD#2 also had decels, and I "had to get the baby out right away" because I refused the scalp monitor...got her out in ten minutes! But, I also refused all shots, heelstick, bath, everything, and we left AMA five hours after her birth. I had a Rn/MW deliver, and it was wonderful. I had my son there (in the same room!) three years later.

In retrospect, I guess I got a bad MW, but still, wish I'd been at the hospital the first time too.....I doubt there would have been such a dramatic tear (at my HB the MW wasn't even right there to help the bb out), and probably would not have separated my pelvis by pushing for seven hours.

I know I'm in the extreme minority for having had that home water birth that everyone wants, but it didn't work for me. Just my experience....

Good luck!

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#18 of 25 Old 11-26-2003, 02:33 AM
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Stacia, what your midwife did to you was horrific. I hope that you realize that who she is as a midwife is NOT representative of how midwives practice.

I'm glad your 2nd birth was better, but sad that this woman's reckless direction tainted your feeling on homebirth.
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#19 of 25 Old 11-26-2003, 06:34 PM
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hey, pama (Can I call you that?)

You're right, it is sad...she was highly recommended to me by other mothers I knew, and I grew to trust her during our prenatal visits...she also helped at a friend's birth after my disastrous experience (though I begged my friend not to use her) Luckily, friend had a textbook, complication-free three hour labor and birth in a tub, so she loved her!

I do know (now) that she was not representative of all MWs, and I harbor some personal feelings about that.

Also in retrospect (ain't hindsight a miracle?), I feel like I could have probably birthed my son at home - the third one...his labor was one hour and five minutes, and though painful of course, seemed more like that "normal" birth feeling, like "I can do this!" This is why I'm so adamant that women understand that every woman's labor, even with the same woman, is different, and if 'you' could handle the pain, it doesn't mean that someone else can, or even that their physiology is similar, or baby's position, etc., etc. My first labor, even aside from the terrible MW, was not at all like my third...it was a spiritually crushing, endless, bottomless hole of tortuous pain...I was broken by the experience. Choosing an epidural the second time was a healing choice, (For me!) and it healed that first experience.

None of my three birth experiences were even comparable to each other....I couldn't begin to presume what it feels like for someone else, and tell her what the "best" experience for her is going to be (and if she doesn't make the same choice as I would, that she is to be "blamed.")

Anyway, blah, blah, blah.....

Thanks for your insights!

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#20 of 25 Old 11-28-2003, 01:39 PM
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I am amazed to hear that no one recommended a pessary for you. Have you heard of those? If you ever have that experience again, look into it. They are small devices inserted into the vagina to support the uterus so it doesnt prolapse.

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#21 of 25 Old 11-28-2003, 07:13 PM
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Heather - I am so incredibly amazed at your perspective and peace about Adia's destiny. You must be such an amazing person to be able to reach that place so soon. Blessings to you and your spirit baby.

Your experience sounds so horrible = I am so sorry your midwife did not treat you with the proper care and respect, but so glad you were able to find your own healing.

As for my experience - I had dd (now two) at home. I dilated fairly quickly from 3-6, but then ended up with a swollen cervical lip. My MW had me on hands and knees in the pool for at least an hour holding back my cervix so I could continue dilating, because the lip was not going away on its own. I had HORRIBLE back pain at that time (that was far, far worse than any contractions) and had my DH and two MW apprentices doing massge and counter pressure all the time (what a picture - one MW with her hand up my nether regions and three rubbing my back)!

Pushed for two hours, and dd was born beautifully. I had been unable to pee for hours and hours - and hemmoraged twice after the birth. First time I got pitocin and herbs, second time more pitocin, methergine, really hard massage (OUCH) and a catheter. Finally after my bladder was emptied I stopped bleeding.

What is more important than what happened is how it was handled. I was never worried or paniced. The MW's were calm, professional and obviously knew what they were doing. I was informed througout, and my dh and dd laid on the bed next to me the entire time. I knew it was serious, but knew I was in good hands. If the bleeding had not stopped when it did, my MW let me know we would have transported - which would have been disapointing, but okay, as I trusted her judgement. Instead of looking at my complications as reason to fear birth (and homebirth in particular) I see it as a perfect example of the system working just as it should - and (God willing) I will birth all my future babies at home, in peace, as well.

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#22 of 25 Old 11-30-2003, 05:35 AM
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I am so sorry for your loss.

When I was 10 my mother had the same thing happen to her in the hospital with my youngest brother, Jevin.

Mama to a teen and tween
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#23 of 25 Old 12-02-2003, 03:19 AM
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Hi mamas.

I birthed my daughter 3 years ago at a birthing center... and after that experience, I said, "Next time, homebirth!" I have since found out that midwives have the same equipment in their bags for homebirths as they do at birth centers. We chose a birth center the 1st time because I wanted to be with midwives, and I didn't want to be in a hospital--and being in a birth center made my husband and I have peace-of-mind, thinking it couldn't get any better than a birth center. My prenatal visits were great, but I ended up with the midwife that I didn't like and didn't have a relationship with, and she ended up making a bunch of rules about who could be in the room and who couldn't (she kept my mother and sister out of the room because she said there were "too many people already" even though it was only me, my husband and my best friend who was assisting). There was meconium and she was posterior (the midwife and my husband turned her at my perineum!), but she was suctioned and was fine--Alert and ready to breastfeed!

And then only 3 hours after Fiona was born, I had to get up and get in the car and go home! That sucked.

So, this time (I'm pregnant! Yay!) I am definitely opting for a homebirth.

The most recent issue of Mothering has a bunch of info about homebirth vs. hospital, etc., and US rates of maternal deaths and infant deaths... we don't rate very well! The countries that have the lowest death rates are the ones that provide free healthcare to its citizens, midwifery care, including nutrition, and encourage natural childbirth as the norm.

Good luck with your decision! All in all, you have to be wherever you feel most comfortable. If you envision yourself being more relaxed at home, do it. If it's a birth center, do it. If it's a hospital, do it. And think about the billions of women who have birthed their children before us--we are powerful! We rock!!!

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#24 of 25 Old 12-04-2003, 07:17 PM
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Nothing went wrong with my hb (except we never got the tub filled ) but my nephew was born in a birthing center with a LM. He was a compound presentation (his hand was by his head), but the MW didn't do an episiotomy, which I think would probably happen w/ an OB. And his cord was wrapped around his neck 3x. My sister's MW had to cut it after his head was born b/c it was too tight to slip off. But he came out perfectly healthy and started breathing right away.

Also, my best friend's mom had all five of her babies at home, one was born with her cord around herneck and she was 4 weeks 'overdue', and one with shoulder dystocia (?). She said she was never worried with either of them b/c she had confidence in her MW's knowledge of birthing.

All though I definetly hope I don't have any complications in future births, I feel better knowing that I'll be in the comfort of my own home if something does happen. And, by being at home a normal variation of labor or birth is treated just like that, normal, not a medical emergency.

Good luck with your birthing choice and happy birthing where ever you birth.

Trish~mama to Kaelie 5/03, Amelia 12/13, and someone new coming 11/15, surro mama to Aidan 2/08 & Ellyss 6/09, 
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#25 of 25 Old 12-05-2003, 04:53 AM
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Wow, Jeanette! Your birth sounds a lot like mine!
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