Hi Autumn Air
I had my on on the NHS last year, I'm in Bracknell, Berkshire which also has a shockingly low homebirth rate. I found my midwife to be not particularly encouraging of homebirth in the beginning, but I think it was more that she was making sure that it was what I really wanted. I don't think she realised how strongly I felt about it and how much research I did. I did get the whole 'If we are understaffed you'll just have to go to hospital' line. I handled it by just agreeing at the time, and intending to NOT just go to hospital. We would have called, said I would come in at the last minute and called again when I was pushing to say I couldn't come.
I know a lady in my area who had an unplanned homebirth, almost a UC because baby came too fast. They sent a midwife out and an ambulance crew. She was taken care of by the midwife at home, didn't get transferred to hospital. I believe that in the NICE guidlines it states that the NHS is obligated to bring in outside midwives (i.e. independants) when there aren't enough staff to go around. It's a long while since I read the guidance though - I may be misremembering.
I'm not pregnant, but we are planning to TTC early next year, and I am feeling more and more that I will be going for the 'Oops' plan, that is, get all of the normal midwife care, book homebirth again (booking is such a stupid term for it!), and wait until the very last minute to call the midwife or get hubby to call when I am pushing.
My reasons for this are: 1) I am likely to get the same midwife again, and I didn't particularly like her.
2) One of the 'conditions' of me having a homebirth was doppler, blood pressure and temperature monitoring every fifteen minutes and I found it really distracting. I put the distraction down to why the labour took so long (4am Wednesday to 8pm Thursday, regular timeable contractions the whole time. 2 hours pushing)
3) I ended up being transferred to hospital because of the length of the labour (which as I said above - I put down to the prescence of the midwives distracting me). To be honest, when they suggested to me the transfer I was starting to get nervous about what was happening (he was posterior and my water's hadn't broken). My water's broke when I got out of the ambulance at the hospital and I went straight into pushing. So if I had hung it out for a little longer at home I would have been fine. I do think the midwives made the right call in the circumstances, but I may have felt differently had I been pushed into an instrumental birth/ceasarean.
4) I totally understand your dread of hospital, my birth was fine (thank god!) but afterwards wasn't so great. The midwife that came with me from home left minutes after baby was born, and the on duty staff at the hospital forgot I was there. For four hours. Which would have been nice had I had food, clean sheets etc, but I didn't. Not particularly pleasant. And they 'lost' my notes the next day and I had to basically fight to be discharged. I was ready to just take the tags off of baby and walk out, I seriously don't think they would have known.
Anyway, sorry for writing such an essay! Basically my advice to you is: unless you think your GP is homebirth friendly or you have a good relationship with them, don't even bother telling them about it. Just call up your surgery and ask for an appointment with the community midwife. Tell them about your past experiences, and why you NEED a homebirth, if they aren't friendly to the idea, then write to the community supervisor and ask to be transferred to a group who is homebirth friendly.
Stay healthy, look after yourself and be confident. Pick your battles. I had to go and have an appointment with a consultant anethetist to confirm if I would be able to have an epidural (Just in case) because I told the midwife I had mild scoliosis as a teenager. In my upper back. The anethetist basically laughed, and said I was fine. Read your notes CAREFULLY. The midwife wrote down I had a family history of hypertension, when I told her hypotension (and I specifically said 'low blood pressure'). The anethetist was the one who picked it up.
UC is legal, but IMO you are much less likely to have hassles registering baby if you treat it as an 'Oops'. I had 'Unassisted Childbirth' on my bookshelf right next to where the midwives were sitting and we even talked about the 'Outlaw Births' prgoram (Channel 4 doco about UC that aired days before I gave birth).
Don't stress too much
if you want to talk, feel free to message me. I'm on here nearly every day, but I lurk a whole lot more than I write!