Labor at home then hospital for birth - Mothering Forums

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Old 10-08-2008, 05:24 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Hi,

I want to arrive as late as possible at the hospital to avoid being talked into anything I don't want (makes me sound like a real wimp, and well, I guess I am a bit... and Im afraid I'll do anything I'm told/suggested when in intense labor pain). I really don't want pitocin, epidural or to be hooked up to a fetal monitor as that was sooo uncomfortable during my first labor and birth.

Anyway, I would ideally like to labor at home with just me and DH and then go to hospital for the birth (the hospital is only a 10 minute drive away).

Did any of you do this? how did you know it was time to go to the hospital? and how did you know it was too soon? Any advice/tips would be great!!

(Im now 36 weeks pregnant)

Thank you

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Old 10-08-2008, 05:39 PM
 
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Too funny, I was going to bring this up to you on the other thread!

This was my plan as well. I hired a doula & she said most of her clients want to do this (arrive at the hospital as close to 2nd stage as possible) & she's good at getting them there as late as possible. Unfortunately, I don't know how she does it!

But as I wrote on the other thread, if you end up completing 1st stage and feeling the urge to push before you've left home, just stay laying on your left side in the car while resisting the urge to push so you can make it into the hospital before baby is born!
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Old 10-08-2008, 06:24 PM
 
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This is a common strategy in the VBAC community to avoid repeat cesareans. Jennifer Block repeatedly refers to it in her book "Pushed".

Try googling "show up pushing" or check out VBAC forums for their advice. From what I understand, some women actually labor in the parking lot if you can believe that!!!
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Old 10-08-2008, 06:30 PM
 
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I waited at home as long as possible with all 3 of my babies before going to the hospital. I birthed all 3 naturally, with no pain medication except a topical for the episiotomy.

Everybody says this but it's really true. You'll know. You'll know when it's time to go to the hospital, even with your first.

Timing of contractions is helpful but is not a surefire method, as with my 3rd baby my contractions were 5 minutes apart from the get-go and remained that way like clockwork for 11 hours until delivery. Basically, when the contractions get to the point that you have to stop what you're doing and breathe through them while leaning on someone (or something), that is when you need to start moving toward the car and going to the birthing center.

While you are experiencing contractions, try doing different things: walking, taking a bath or shower, bouncing on a birthing ball. If the contractions stop or slow down, it's not time to go yet. When they are consistent, starting to feel painful, and you cannot talk through them, then it is time to go. :
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Old 10-08-2008, 06:39 PM
 
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You'll know. You'll know when it's time to go to the hospital, even with your first.
I had NO CLUE! Although, I will admit this could be because I made a deliberate effort not to think about it. I was totally counting on my doula to be the one to say, "OK, now is the time to leave for the hospital!" I planned to ignore it altogether!

But even in hindsight, when we knew the doula was on her way, I was kneeling on my bed & in SERIOUS pain. I was lucid & thinking perfectly clearly. (LOL, I was even lucid enough to chit-chat politely with the receptionist between cntrx when we arrived.) But it just never occured to me that it was transition! Everyone makes labor pain out to be this amazing, awful thing. So when the pain got really bad, I NEVER ONCE thought, "Oh, maybe this is the peak! This is the worst it will get! This is transition, I'm almost done!" Nope! Just never crossed my mind.

LOL, we took Bradley training, so DH also knew transition was the most painful, but he too never thought that was it! We were both shocked when I felt the urge to push. Of course, I think we also never would have thought it would take less than 5 hours from the very first contraction I EVER felt (Never had BH), until I was all the way done 1st stage. So, again, that could have contributed to our ignorance.
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Old 10-08-2008, 06:45 PM
 
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I did this with DS. I was at the hospital 20 minutes before he was born. I was fighting the urge to push in the hallway while the nurses decided what to do with me. They didn't want to waste a room on me since I was supposed to go to the birth center that wasn't adequately staffed at the time.
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Old 10-08-2008, 07:28 PM - Thread Starter
 
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thank you for all the advice and shared experience.

That would be so great to arrive just in time to get to the room and start pushing! I'm hoping I'll just 'know' when it's time... shame your body doesn't have a 'it's time' signal to give you lol

Thanks for mentioning laying down in the car if need be... gotta make a note to take out my son's car seat in case I need to full back seat in a rush!

I'm skeptical as to what to expect pain wise as well. When my water broke with #1 I was about 4-5 cm's dialated (and had been on pitocin for 3 hours) and I just remember the pain was so unbearably intense and it didn't even feel like contractions, just one long never ending contraction. I totally panicked and got an epidural.

I wonder if it will be the same pain? the same intensity with no let up between contractions? was that because of the pitocin or will it be the same this time without? I'm so full of questions that I'll only be able to answer after the birth, but wish I had an idea about before hand. I'm determined to be as prepared as I can be!

off to google 'show up pushing'

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Old 10-08-2008, 07:56 PM
 
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It was the pitocin that caused the looong contraction and extreme pain Pit is not like real contraction at all. your body can work through real contraction and give you endorphins for the pain but cannot help with pit. It causes unnatural contractions that do not contract your uterus evenly and much harder. Avoid the pit and your labor should be much better. good luck

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Old 10-08-2008, 11:23 PM
 
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I'm betting it was the pitocin that didn't give you a break.

I'm another one that didn't realize it was transition. We waited to go to the hospital the first time around and showed up at 9 cm. The second time I had to be induced but even then, it didn't seem like transition. I was asking to get in the tub or have those saline injections when it was actually time to push!

I would recommend being in the same page w/your care providers. Our MWs the first time around always had people show up as late as possible. They also met you immediately so even though it was a big teaching hospital, we never saw anyone else, no L&D triage, etc. Second births can be faster. We were supposed to be at the birth center the second time around and we weren't going to show up pushing because we knew they weren't going to do unnecessary interventions or even admit us until 4-5cm.
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Old 10-08-2008, 11:28 PM
 
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I have done this with my deliveries. I think it's the best way to labor (btw I will not go to the hosp anymore for deliveries but that's another thread) I think the way you know it's time to go to the hosp is when you feel like it is. I stayed at home till the contx were 3 min apart and I was really having to concentrate on them to get through them.

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Old 10-08-2008, 11:38 PM
 
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I want to do this too. My doctor seems like she wants me to too b/c she told me that the contractions need to be pretty painful, less than 5 minutes apart and that I need to be having them for 2 hours. This is an hour longer than everything I've read so I'm hoping if I follow that advice I get there pretty close to pushing. I'd like to walk in and be ready to push or least past 7cm.

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Old 10-09-2008, 03:49 PM
 
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Did any of you do this? how did you know it was time to go to the hospital? and how did you know it was too soon?
I did this with my last two. Honestly, we just were kind of random with our second baby because it did not hurt at all like labor is "supposed" to, and I actually could sit upright in the car all the way to the hospital. I still arrived at 7+ cm. The third birth hurt like crazy, and after a few hours of regular, painful back labor, I called my mom, and then started needing to vocalize and even vomit. Dh panicked at that point and we were just going to take the kids with us, but my mom arrived just in time to stay home with them. I was 8+ cm when we walked in, that time. Even though they were worried about ds3 being breech, I don't think he would have given them a chance to cut me. :
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Old 10-09-2008, 04:00 PM
 
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I have done this with my deliveries. I think it's the best way to labor (btw I will not go to the hosp anymore for deliveries but that's another thread) I think the way you know it's time to go to the hosp is when you feel like it is. I stayed at home till the contx were 3 min apart and I was really having to concentrate on them to get through them.
I did that too with my first--in fact, the contractions were about 2 minutes apart and I really had to concentrate through them--and expected to be told I was around 6-8 cm, if not about ready to push. I was just shy of 3 cm--not even enough to be admitted (which, I guess is good). As soon as I got admitted, I started begging for pain relief--there was no way on earth I was going to be able to handle it for the next 8-10 hours minimum they said I had. But, once things started moving, it went quick. Had we gone home like they told us to, she would have likely been an emergency homebirth. There was really no change in my contractions from the time they started hot and heavy at 2-3 cm until I had to push.
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Old 10-09-2008, 04:18 PM
 
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It was the pitocin that caused the looong contraction and extreme pain Pit is not like real contraction at all.
:
I think I read that pit makes the uterus contract all in at once in a big squeeze, as opposed to coming in a wave of muscular contraction from the top of the uterus down. So they're more painful.

If your water is broken, that cushion of water is gone, so it's also more painful. Bradley training teaches that you want to get enough protein & that helps keep the bag in tact. (Not sure if there is science behind this recommendation.) But getting sufficient protein is good advice anyway! You can use www.fitday.com to keep track of your nutrient intake.

& finally, on top of the pit making labor more painful, it then takes away your natural ability to cope with that pain! Nasty, huh?

Pit doesn't cross the blood-brain barrier, so it doesn't lead to the release of endorphins like natural labor. Endorphins are natures "opiates" - providing both pain relief & a feeling of euphoria.

You should be fine without the pit!
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Old 10-10-2008, 05:41 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I've read to about how pit makes for un-natural contractions and you don't release the pain-handling hormones with it either. It looks like I was experiencing pit contractions as they describe them.. it was a horrible experience.

Last night I talked alot with DH about it - and I showed him all your posts on here.. he was impressed! and we've decided that we will (if all goes to plan) labor here at home untill the contractions are about 3 minutes apart. I'm hoping like mad to arrive at the hospital at at least 6 or 7 cms if not more!

2lilsweetfoxes - how horrible to arrive at only 3 cms!! I'd have been really gutted!! I'm glad it worked out tho.. a happy ending

I've been thinking of getting a birthing ball too to help at home. None of the stores near me have them, but I think I saw some really big bouncy balls at the toy store (you know, the ones with the handle on top that we used as kids!) so I'm going to go and check those out.

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Old 10-10-2008, 11:14 AM
 
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I've been thinking of getting a birthing ball too to help at home. None of the stores near me have them, but I think I saw some really big bouncy balls at the toy store (you know, the ones with the handle on top that we used as kids!) so I'm going to go and check those out.
The ball I used was actually called a "yoga ball" and I got it at Target, in their exercise section.
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Old 10-10-2008, 11:23 AM
 
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Pit contractions are the pits.

Women have no time to find their flow and often end up panicking. Panicking creates more stress which creates more pain.

I found in my births that labor would start and stops, intensify and slow down even up to transition. Some women seem to fall into the "once I start it doesn't stop" categories and others have more of a flexible birthing experience.

I am pretty sure if I got into a car my labor would WAY slow down....unless I was already pushy.
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Old 10-10-2008, 11:36 AM
 
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I've been thinking of getting a birthing ball too to help at home. None of the stores near me have them,
Hehe.. I"m a certified fitness instructor & we use those balls in exercise class all the time. So I don't call them "birthing balls," I call them "stability balls."
Yup, target has them near exercise equipment. I would guess Walmart would too. Definitely a sporting goods store will have them.

I'm 5'4" & technically should be using a 55cm size ball, but I have long legs & find the 65cm ball to be more comfortable. The training I took taught that you want your hips to be about level with or slightly below your knees when you sit on it.

As you inflate the ball, a softer, squishier ball will be easier to balance on. So you can keep that in mind. They're LOTS of fun & Super comfy to sit on.
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Old 10-10-2008, 11:47 AM
 
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I did this with both my babies so far and plan to do it again with my 3rd. My first I was there a bit longer, but still 8 cm and w/in 10 min of pushing by the time they checked me. With my 2nd I was pushy as soon as I got into the room.

Some of it I think is our own mental control over the situation. I know for me, I hold off till I'm there, then let it all out and complete really quickly. I was 35 minutes from check-in to delivery at the last one. Enough time to get a room and undress, then get down to pushing. I'm hoping to beat that time with this one, but we'll see!
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Old 10-10-2008, 02:19 PM
 
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Check "Natural Childbirth the Bradley Way" out of the hospital and have DH read it. Besides suggesting the external signs (cx 4-5 minutes apart, lasting 1 minute each, for a full hour, painful enough that you are unable to speak or do anything during the contraction) the book also does a great job describing "emotional signposts" - for example, seriousness, self-doubt etc. - that suggest a transition into a more active labor and getting into second stage/transition. It spends a lot more time on "when to go to the hospital" than any other book I've read.

(With the help of this book, my husband and my doulas I arrived at the hospital fully dilated both times and was holding my baby less than 60-90 min later. Awesome.)

One other tip - if you are pursuing this strategy, DONT WAIT to pack up. When you are getting close to transition, that is not the time to: locate the camera, add granola bars to your hospital bag, take the car seat out of the backseat, lay towels down underneath you, find something to throw up into. Spend early labor getting every single thing in place so that when you say "It's time!" you really are 10 min from the hospital. (Vs. me the first time - decided we should really go, then spent 1 hour+ on "getting ready to go" between 2-min contractions, and THEN drove to the hospital - so I was pushing in the car LOL!)
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Old 10-11-2008, 12:29 AM
 
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My Ob recommended laboring at home for several hours (if you can) before coming to the birthing center. I was at home for 15 hours, and I went in when I was 5 minutes apart from my contractions.
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Old 10-11-2008, 12:36 AM
 
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I think it is a great idea to labor at home and go fairly late in the game.

The only downfall ... I found, was the car ride is incredibly painful if you are well advanced, and the walk from the parking garage a bit long.

I made it to the hospital with 15 minutes to spare with my third (and was home 2 hours later). With my fourth, I was worried about the car ride (it hurt more than just labor ... every bump, yikes!) I made it at 1:30am, waited until my husband arrived 45 minutes later (I went with the midwife from home) to have my waters broken and babe was born at 3am. WE left at 5:30am after a delayed release because of break for the discharge nurse.

I think arriving last minute is great - and leaving really quick is even better.
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Old 10-11-2008, 12:49 AM
 
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I just wanted to share my experience too.

I didn't do this on purpose, but DS was born about 15 minutes after getting to the hospital doors. My contractions started 2 minutes apart and continued that way all night. Just before transition in the early morning I had a lull in contractions and at that point I seriously had no idea DS was about to be born. I thought maybe it was prodormal labor (it was 3 wks early so is that an excuse? lol). Then transition hit, and then I knew, but it was BAM! Not kidding, three contractions from that lull until I was pushing in my bathroom. We were ten minutes from the hospital (maybe about 20 counting getting ready time - I was pretty slow moving still having pretty major contractions) and the car was the LAST place I wanted to be at that point. If there is a next time I think I will plan to stay home.

Everyone is different, and I think every labor is also different. But I also agree that you should have a much better time without the pit. From what I've heard.

Good luck, OP!

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Old 10-11-2008, 01:35 AM
 
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I did this too. I had contractions from 11:30 the night before, then all day long while I went about my errands, work, lunch, estimate on auto body work, chiro appt, Target, then out to dinner with family and to my parents' for dessert. I had been needing to stop and breathe through them since the early afternoon, but at dinner they started getting closer together. Someone took my picture after we ate dessert, and my belly looks totally tan in the photo--even though I hadn't had it out in the sun in forever! It was reddish from working so hard! So we realized it was going to be soon but I wanted to lay down and relax, practice my techniques for a little while before heading to the hospital. As soon as I tried to sit down on the couch, I heard/felt a pop! and water broke all over the place. Cleaning/changing was difficult as the cntx were getting stronger/closer together, so I knew it was TIME TO GO! Car ride was a bit difficult, but I listened to my CD and tried to relax. All the hubbub at L&D was the really ridiculous part, all the stooopid questions they ask you. I did have a chance to lie down and rest while nurse reviewed my birth plan before I started feeling pushing cntx. I told them DD was coming but no one was listening LOL! I arrived to hospital at 7 cm and had DD within about 45 minutes.

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Old 10-11-2008, 02:22 AM
 
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I too had a Pit first labor - 2 hours from first contraction I ever felt to baby being out - and the contrax with Pit are just awful. No break, very intense from the get-go, no lead up in intensity...

I've read that pit and natural contrax are very, very different for most women. Some will insist they were the same for them, but I think that's the exception, not the norm.

We also live about 10 minutes from the hospital, and I plan to labor at home as long as possible. I just pray I am not ALONE for transition and/or pushing stages to start - our only childcare for 2 yo DD is MIL who is 30-45 minutes away - each way - depending on traffic. I am really afraid I am going to be all alone in the middle of the night crying through labor. Alone. For some reason, that idea of being alone in labor just scares the piss out of me.
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Old 10-11-2008, 08:22 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks for the tip about using an execise ball.. I'm going to go and have a look in our local sports shops. I'm in Belgium, so unfortunately no Target or Walmart here

It's good to hear so many positive stories about laboring at home as long as possible and how you all coped with it. And that's a good point about having everything totally ready to head out the door for when it's time to leave!! I'm starting to get my bag packed now with the essentials... then DH can come and get anything else at home afterwards.

I'm going to see if the english book shop has a book on the bradley method... I've had a look at their site and it is very interesting. I also enjoyed looking at the spinning babies site. Time to get DH educated

We've got to plan our car ride a bit as we live in an appartment with no set parking space.. so it's pot luck where the car will be parked. DH will have to go and get it whilst I wait in the hall and then we'll zip off to the hospital! Hadn't thought about it but there alot of speed bumps in between here and the hospital lol.. ouch! I'm hoping it's not too bad a car ride!

Betsy - I hope you're not alone either for labor.. that would scare me too. Do you have any friends that live nearby who could come over and be with you? hope it all works out for you!!

thanks for sharing your experiences.. it's really interesting to see what everyone gets up to during labor and how you keep yourself occupied up to the last minute!

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Old 10-11-2008, 02:04 PM
 
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It's so variable, isn't it? I guess that's why no one can tell you a definitive time to go to the hospital, because there are so many exceptions to every "rule".
I labored at home until my contractions were 3 minutes apart, lasting one minute, for two hours. Got to the hospital at 8 cm. It was SO nice being at home for that time. I do have to say that the contractions were all over the map for most of that day -- sometimes 6 mins, sometimes 2 apart. It's not like they started at 7 and went progressively to 3 minutes, you know? But like other ppl, I just knew when it was time.
DH had loaded the car well beforehand, so when I decided to go we could just go.
While I was standing at our front door waiting for him to get keys or something, my water broke. Sort of like confirmation of my decision

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Old 10-11-2008, 03:06 PM
 
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Ok I gotta ask. Why not just give birth at home so you don't even have to worry about the car ride or getting there too early or late?

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Old 10-12-2008, 10:57 PM
 
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Labor was so much easier than I expected (only 4 1/2 hours at that point) that I was ready to push at home as we got into the car. The drive to the hospital took 30 minutes. And then I was told NOT to push for another 30 minutes because the hospital staff needed to do this and that.

So I spent an entire hour holding our DD inside, which was a lot more challenging than the labor itself. They couldn't find her heartrate. I just wanted to push already, damnit! So they pricked her with an internal probe, which ended up not working either.

I don't remember them ever getting a reading, but my hospital records show that the heartrate was of concern. At this point, I was still standing and leaning on the bed, but they told me I had to lie down and push. I was pushing effectively but not "fast enough" for the midwife, so she proceeded to give me (as she called it) an Ina May Gaskin episiotomy. I was insulted by this remark.

DD was born after 30 minutes of pushing. She had a dent in her skull for weeks after birth from me holding her inside for that hour.

She was EXTREMELY colicky and spit up a lot for months. Dunno if this was related to her birth experience or not, as I know many attribute colic to digestive issues. But I thought I'd include it here.

While laboring at home for as long as possible is probably the best advice for most women, I wish I had enough faith in myself to birth at home.

There are many other things about our hospital experience that I wish were different, but that's a whole 'nother topic.

I'm staying home next time...
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Old 10-13-2008, 12:10 AM
 
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Originally Posted by meganmarie View Post
Check "Natural Childbirth the Bradley Way" out of the hospital and have DH read it. Besides suggesting the external signs (cx 4-5 minutes apart, lasting 1 minute each, for a full hour, painful enough that you are unable to speak or do anything during the contraction) the book also does a great job describing "emotional signposts" - for example, seriousness, self-doubt etc. - that suggest a transition into a more active labor and getting into second stage/transition. It spends a lot more time on "when to go to the hospital" than any other book I've read.

(With the help of this book, my husband and my doulas I arrived at the hospital fully dilated both times and was holding my baby less than 60-90 min later. Awesome.)

One other tip - if you are pursuing this strategy, DONT WAIT to pack up. When you are getting close to transition, that is not the time to: locate the camera, add granola bars to your hospital bag, take the car seat out of the backseat, lay towels down underneath you, find something to throw up into. Spend early labor getting every single thing in place so that when you say "It's time!" you really are 10 min from the hospital. (Vs. me the first time - decided we should really go, then spent 1 hour+ on "getting ready to go" between 2-min contractions, and THEN drove to the hospital - so I was pushing in the car LOL!)
I actually used the opposite strategy. I had a very complete list in the suitcase, but I didn't pack. Now, I had plenty of back-up because my parents were downstairs and I had my doula and my husband. But, I wanted to slow down the rush to the hospital so that we really didn't get there too soon. When I said, "let's go" we still had to pack - worked great and I arrived at 9cm.

I stole this idea from someone whose husband went to wash the car when she was feeling ready to head to the hospital (!). I think her mom went and got take-out or something too. She arrived ready to push, LOL.
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