Worried About Home or Natural Birth - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 14 Old 12-14-2003, 04:26 AM - Thread Starter
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So, of course, here I am wandering the birthing boards waaay past my bedtime

I'm curious, to those who have homebirthed with their first... how'd you find the confidence? & enough confidence to talk your bf or dh into it as well?? I've always been a strong girl, so I really believe in this, but bf has some issues & feels that we'd NEED a hospital or doc during delivery, even after reading the things I send him. We live about ten minutes from a major hospital, but he feels like if something were to go wrong, we'll have the best chance AT the hospital... I feel like nothing will go wrong. I feel that strongly, but if I'm wrong, would I ever find peace if any problems could've been avoided? I know that answer is NO already, so... how'd you all justify or come to peace with the "what if's?"

How'd you do it - for your first one???
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#2 of 14 Old 12-14-2003, 04:49 AM
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Okay... the saga of my homebirth decision.

My Dh was in the Marine Corps when our daughter was born. That meant Navy medical center for the birth. Every time I went to the clinic I felt disrespected, unknown, yucky. And I knew that the teaching hospital where they expected me to give birth would be 10 times worse. I did NOT want to deal with reaching between my knees to say "hi, nicetameetcha, I guess you're here to deliver my baby" to some fresh "doctor" barely shaving. (forgive me agism... I ain't proud of it, but it's part of my story)

So I started thinking about different ways to go. And talking about it where I worked. Lucky for me a friend of mine from college had a babe while I was PG. She and her husband carried on about Bradley classes like nothing else. So I looked for a Bradley teacher. I told her I wanted to opt out of the Navy med system. She said "I know agreat midwife!" and gave me the number. I assumed a hospital or birthcenter MW. Nope. But we had a good talk. She sounded like just who I wanted to work with. She acted like it was (heaven help us!) normal to have a baby. She talked about how simple it was to identify risk factors, daneger signs, etc and transport in plenty of time. I was sold.

But, the husband!

Here, in all honesty, I got lucky. My DH hates doctors. Far more than I ever knew. And Navy docs? Way more. He was a tiny bit hesitant, but agreed to meet her. Her quiet confidence and her calm manner helped a lot. She had a clear and simple answer to all of our questions. Direct answers. She never waffled, even when she had to give us answers she knew we wouldn't be happy with. In the end I think it was her honesty that won us both over. That and my research (aided by Bradley) that showed over and over again that not only is homebirth safe... it is much SAFER for uncomplicated pregnancies than anything most hospitals are prepared to offer.

I wish you the best.
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#3 of 14 Old 12-14-2003, 01:46 PM
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Just my story:

My dd and ds were born in a hospital with a CNM. . .which to some is as big a stretch as a homebirth. My best friend from childhood is a labor and delivery nurse, a hypnobirthing instructor and a lactation consultant, and had 2 kids of her own (born in a hospital w/a mw) already. Basically, she fed me all the research and info, and we went from there. Dh is very open minded and read everything, and talked to my friend and got all his questions answered. he also met with and like the mws.

So that was the precursor to our homebirth for #3. Oh darn, I just realized you were asking for input from people who homebirths with their FIRST baby. sorry. . .well, I guess I'll finish by giving you a few links about homebirth (that I got from other helpful women here).



I'm sure you'll get a lot of ideas here!


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#4 of 14 Old 12-14-2003, 03:38 PM
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You know, sometimes the biggest testimonies can come from the FATHERS of homebirthed babies.

Also, what is tragic is the couples who come to me with subsequent babies after having a horrible, traumatic hospital birth. You don't need to have that crisis to shift the thinking about birth.

Famous French Obstetrician Michel Odent says:

If a woman has a beautiful, sexual experience with her first birth then perhaps she can go to the hospital with her second or third. She will never let them do anything to her because she knows her body works from that first birth."
I happen to agree. I see many women who are NOT having their first baby, but having subsequent babies that have so much to heal from based on that first hospital birth experience. It takes so much longer to reverse the damage that the first birth instilled in them.

I serve lots of first-time couples at home. It takes a great deal of courage to step out into the unknown, but at home you will always be gently supported or lifted to fly.

Here is some amazing reading for both you and your partner: http://www.homebirth.org.uk/firstbaby.htm

Above all, I would recommend both of you meeting with several homebirth midwives in your area. Talk to them, ask questions, clear up misconceptions or address fears.
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#5 of 14 Old 12-14-2003, 03:59 PM
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We live 30 minutes from the nearest hospital, which was dh's biggest concern. But after doing some reading, and listening to me, he decided to have faith in the process, and let go of his fears. I think relinquishing fear is very important, as is remembering that birthing is one of the most natural events that has taken place for centuries.
I agree with talking to a mid wife. Mine was so at ease with the process that it always left dh feeling confident about our decision.
I am so glad that i had a home birth. But as someone else mentioned, you could always have a hospital birth with a midwife attending.

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#6 of 14 Old 12-14-2003, 04:13 PM
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As a first time mamma, it wasn't a question of confidence at all, I just knew it was the way things should be and would be! There was only one midwife that did homebirths in our area (Cairns, Australia) and she had stopped due to insurance companies denying coverage for her. She met with me anyway and asked if I was sure I wouldn't be better off in the hospital, this being my first.

LOL!!! Because this was INDEED my first, I was determined to be nowhere near a hospital or a birthing centre! NO WAY! I wasn't about to have anyone try and "deliver" my baby or fuck up my first birth! I didn't care that people thought I was crazy, I KNEW I was right and that I knew how to give birth.

I told the midwife so and that I'd just birth myself is she couldn't attend. I said birth was my responsibility alone, not hers, not dh's, not the hospital and i would be happy to have her at the birth if she wanted to be there. I said her not having insurance was not an issue because I wasn't looking to blame anyone but myself so she didnt have to worry about me suing her.
I won her over! We still swap emails occasionally!

As for anyone who gives birth in hospital, whew, I admire THEIR confidence and courage and sympathesise when things don't turn out good. Me, I'm just a spineless coward!

DH... oh that was easy. I just bulldozed him down and built up his confidence by being forceful, confident, informed, showing him that my information was FACT as well as innate ability. We did go on a tour of the hospital early on to shut up everyone. My mum came with us. DH was horrified with the normal routines and the whole place. I think then, it was when he was 100 percent "yeah! Homebirth!" My mum saw me in that hospital setting and saw all my reactions even though I tried to hide them! She said afterwards "I don't see you in there" and I said good! Because I won't be!

Suggestions - maybe show your dh what hospitals are like, their routine practices, their routine INTERVENTION and how it causes all the problems in labour and birth.... etc. Get a good midwife and have her explain to him how she handles problems.... like cord around neck, etc and how they are not really problems just a normal hitch in birth that can be handled easily.

Its your first time! Don't let anybody fuck it up for you! Make sure you get your way, the mamma knows BEST and don't let anybody tell you otherwise!
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#7 of 14 Old 12-14-2003, 07:09 PM
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Quickening wrote: "As for anyone who gives birth in hospital, whew, I admire THEIR confidence and courage and sympathesise when things don't turn out good."

Yup. Arthead, has your husband read Henci Goer's "The Thinking Woman's Guide to a Better Birth"? Hospitals have NICUs, yes. But managed birth is often the cause of complications that put babies in there.

Arthead wrote: "I feel that strongly, but if I'm wrong, would I ever find peace if any problems could've been avoided? I know that answer is NO already, so... how'd you all justify or come to peace with the "what if's?" "

Could you and your husband ever find peace if problems occured because of being in the hospital? There is no absolutely safe choice where you'll be able to say "I can guarantee myself total future peace." Nothing is guaranteed. Every choice in each person's specific situation carries its own special risks. For some people, the hospital is absolutely the safest place to be. For others, it is absolutely the most dangerous place to be. Both because doctors are trained to cut abdomens and vaginas and administer drugs, but very few of them know anything about facilitating normal birth. (The aforementioned Michel Odent being a rare and wonderful exception.)

So, for me, the decision to give birth at home was based on the knowledge that given my specific situation I was more likely to give birth normally and safely outside of the hospital environment than in it, and that I would be more likely to face serious complications in the hospital than outside of it. My overwhelming priority is the health of my baby. I just had no reason to believe that obstetrical management of labor (with its pitocin and narcotics and AROM and bright lights and vaginal exams and valsalva pushing and cord cutting and suctioning etc., etc., etc.,) had anything to contribute to that and would in fact endanger it.

It also helped for me to learn that when the rare natural complication occurs, it is not an emergency, and a competent midwife will have the training to take care of it. The true emergency, even more rare, is not going to be dealt with quicker just because you are in a hospital. Most people are suprised to learn that prep for surgery for an emergency cesarean takes an average of 1/2 hour! So in that case, transport becomes an inconvenience but not a liability. It would surprise even more people to know that many hospitals are not set up to deal with certain emergencies in a timely manner. (This sources for this info is all in Goer's book that I mentioned above.) So the idea of a higher degree of safety in a hospital is something of an illusion.
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#8 of 14 Old 12-14-2003, 11:11 PM
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I didn't homebirth until my 5th baby. I read my husband snippets from Henci Goer's book (mentioned above - awesome book!), he met the midwife and she put him at ease with her competency and knowledge, Mothering had a great article a few months back about the safety of homebirth, and by the time we took our Bradley class he was as vocal an advocate as me! I have no regrets and with any luck all future deliveries will be at home as well.
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#9 of 14 Old 12-15-2003, 12:17 AM
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Maybe if your dh could meet some midwives and ask questions, that would put him at ease. Is he willing to read books? Maybe he could get in touch with some other homebirth dads.
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#10 of 14 Old 12-15-2003, 08:01 PM
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I felt that having a baby was the most natural thing in the world. i feel lucky because dh did not feel any different- he knew babies were born natually for thousands of years. yes there is always the possibility of a problem arising, in fact with my second child i was transported to a hospital- both ds and i are 100 percent fine!!!in a homebirth you need to have a knowledgable assistant with you, someone you literally trust with your life. with both births i had midwives with me who knew what to do. my first birth was a picture perfect homebirth, with the second, the midwives knew it was "time to go". you have to trust your body and your attendants, also i felt that hospitals were for sick persons (or others needing some kind of help, as i did with #2) and my house, my home was truly where joyous events (such as a birth) would occur. ask yourself how you feel deep down inside and hopefully convey to your bf that a knowledgable midwife is capable of handling an emergency should one arise. remember how close help is to you should the unexpected occur. good luck with your decision- i pray a hb will work for you, it is an amazing experience.
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#11 of 14 Old 12-16-2003, 01:33 PM
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Arthead, my first birth was a hospital birth (Quickening I wish I did what you did... DH was totally opposed and I just accepted it! I really wanted a home birth!)

I was unafraid of "what-ifs" but DH (like many men) feel better at the hospital "just in case." Well.... that's why you go to prenatals.... if something comes up, then you'll know you belong in a hospital. I happen to think that often, births are going just fine, but then the medical interventions cause some problems and then it looks like "whew, thank goodness we were in the hospital." Not.

Anyway.... the labor was great (painfree thanks to HypnoBirthing) it was towards pushing that I hated. I consented to Pitocin (nobody mentioned natural nipple stimulation to get contractions going again). The Pit did not overwhelm me (we kept the dose low) and I was still deeply relaxing on my own, so I felt no pain.

But I HATED that my son was getting hits of it. I was on it for 2 hours. (I wasn't progressing and it was either that or a C-sec.)

I tore badly (eventhough the OB was massaging with oil) I have a scar on my anus. I do not regret NOT opting for the episiotomy, I do regret going with the OB, being a hospital, where I was NOT allowed to eat for 18 hours (DH enforcing this rule, because he didn't know any better) eventhough I was starving and asking for FOOD!!! Long story, but I am convinced that if I had a homebirth with a midwife, it would not have been that bad. (I was very bitter with both my OB and DH for a long time over that. I felt mutilated.)

Hospital procedures - I really wasn't prepared for what would happen AFTER my son (perfectly healthy) was born. He was quickly taken away (not even breastfed immediately after birth. I did not see him for HOURS, even though I was wide awake, happy and energized. (The well-meaning nurses probably are used to dealing with women who used Epidurals and were too sleepy to care for their babies after birth. They were probably trying to "let me rest.") lt so damnned lonely in my hospital room. My DH went home. I wanted to hold/bond with my son. I feel we missed out on some important window for both of us.

My son had a High Needs Personality, which means that he generally LOVED being held. I heard him wailing in the maternity ward over 2 days. As soon as I held him, he stopped crying. But they kept taking him back and I don't know WHY I didn't insist on keeping him with me 24/7. I felt a LOT of guilt for many months over how much he cried and suffered (and didn't breastfeed as much as he could have) had he been with me.

I felt like I was sitting at a hotel consierge desk all day in my hospital room. I had a women next to me with visitors (a curtain) and people coming in and out all day asking things of me. Hardly restful.

Now my story isn't "as bad" as others. I guess it could have been worse. But my hospital birth left much to be desired.

I'm pg now and VERY EXCITED about having a homebirth. DH is still a little nervous, but we're meeting the midwives tonight and I know slowly his comfort with this will grow. I know everything will be fine.

DH now knows that I will NEVER go to the hospital to give birth again, unless I have to. He's dealing with it just fine.

Like many women have stated, I do believe childbirth is a NORMAL, natural event.


I'm reading Ina May's Guide to Childbirth right now. It's VERY good. THe first half of the book are just Homebirth stories. Maybe reading other women's experiences would help you.

Gentle Birth Choices: A Guide to Making Informed Decisions about Birthing Centers, Birth Attendants, Water Birth, Home Birth, Hopsital Birth - is another great book. I think you'll find it very helpful.

10 - boy
5.5 - girl
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#12 of 14 Old 12-17-2003, 12:52 PM
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It's worth considering that the best place for you to give birth is where you feel safest. If you have deep reservations about a home birth, it might not be the best choice for you. If you are confident about it and feel that it is the safest choice for you, that's a good place to be coming from.

The book Giving Birth by Catherine - sombody - is a great non-jargony account of how she came to decide on and have a successful home birth. She did research for the book that involved interviewing many, many midwives and attending many births, both at home and in the hospital. She talks a lot about how shift midwives often have decisions made for them by the attending physician, without the patient's knowledge - which totally creeped me out.

It can be difficult to face the fact that birth is a natural process and one which does not have a guarantee of a perfect outcome. This is true at home AND in the hospital. Babies and mamas sometimes experience crises and sometimes die at home and in hospitals. Sometimes people see hospital deliveries as guarantees against this, which they aren't.

Good luck making this decision!

Can't give up actin' tough, it's all that I'm made of. Can't scrape together quite enough to ride the bus to the outskirts of the fact that I need love. ~ Neko Case

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#13 of 14 Old 12-17-2003, 07:53 PM
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Originally posted by Penelope
It's worth considering that the best place for you to give birth is where you feel safest. If you have deep reservations about a home birth, it might not be the best choice for you. If you are confident about it and feel that it is the safest choice for you, that's a good place to be coming from.
Ya know... she's right.

So... if you do decide to go the hospital route... find an OB (talk to local midwives/natural childbirth educators/Doulas for referrals) that perhaps is a midwife back-up... a Doc that * really * does believe the body can do this on it's on and will only push intervention IF NEED BE. (That was the OB I hired... but things didn't work out 100%... perhaps if I had a Doula it would had been OK. She certainly would have prioritized putting the baby on my chest to BF after birth.)

You should also consider hiring a Doula to support and your DH you in the hospital. (Nurses don't do that... they are busy checking on your other stats, reporting back to the doctors, and checking other patients.)

10 - boy
5.5 - girl
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#14 of 14 Old 12-19-2003, 05:24 PM
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When I first got pregnant with Roland, we decided to use a midwife. We were planning a hospital birth at first. I just didn't want one of the hospital OBs because whomever is on call when you deliver is who you get, regardless of whether you know the person or not. The midwives had hospital priviledges, so we went with them.

We took Childbirth Education classes, and Kevin (DH) came to every prenatal appointment, so he got to know the midwives as well as I did. We started talking about possibly having a homebirth for our second baby, if my first labour went okay.

Then, we went on the hospital tour. There were alot of less than stellar points, but the highlight was when I asked: "Will I be supported in my decision to have an un-medicated birth?" and the nurses respose was "Yeah, but people who come in here with THAT attitude are ALWAYS the first ones begging for the epidural" After that, I got *really* stressed about the birth.

I planned on packing a Sharpie marker in my hospital bag, so I could write notes all over myself, and the baby after it was born. I was worried they might mix him up with another baby, feed him supplements, circumsize him... I'd COMPLETELY lost faith in the hospital.

It was actually my husband who suggested that we have Roland at home. I think I was about 32 or 34 weeks pregnant. He already had confidence in the midwives at that point, and had learned at Childbirth Education how important it is for the mom to be comfortable. We talked to the midwives & they were excited about it! They all started putting in requests that I go into labour before X date, or after Y date, because they all wanted to be the one on call!!!

I wasn't worried about ANYTHING after we decided to have Roland at home. I just knew it would be okay. I trusted my midwives, and I trusted my body. Think your what if's through... ask your midwife all the what if's... they're alot less scary when you KNOW the answers.
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