Question for all HB mommas? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 19 Old 11-14-2007, 02:27 PM - Thread Starter
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I am extremely interested in HB, but won't be doing it this time. I'm going to be in a hospital with a midwife. But, what I really want to know is how you decided HB was right for you? Good book recommendations, previous experiences, etc. I think it would be a WONDERFUL experience to have a HB, but at the same time I think I would be scared too. (You know, brought up with doctors fixing things, bla bla bla, not sure how to overcome the *feeling* of a need for them - even if they don't do anything when I see them...). So, any advice, knowledge, experiences would be great - I think I just need to gain more knowledge and maybe I'll start to be more confident in myself?! Thanks!
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#2 of 19 Old 11-14-2007, 02:31 PM
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Kind of hard to explain, I'm sure it is different for everyone.

The first time I even heard of homebirth was from A Baby Story, crazy enough! I was a freshman in college and saw it and knew right then that that was for me. I started reading online and learning and I just knew I'd do it. I got married the next year and we finished college and moved and ended up on clomid to conceive, so I had a lot of time to keep reading, and everything reinforced the fact that pregnancy is not an illness, that it's a perfectly normal event and that my body was made for it and I would do it. I found a homebirth midwife in my town, loved her, and went on to have a great homebirth (which actually would have likely been a c-section for FTP in a hospital)

So that's it for me - just something I was really drawn to and I never looked back. I am really uncomfortable about the idea of a hospital birth. And my mom is an RN and I grew up with the medical model and stuff.

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#3 of 19 Old 11-14-2007, 02:46 PM
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I had a wonderful homebirth with my dd and am planning a second. I always knew I was going to hb but it became a "will not hospital birth no matter what" after researching and going to a bradley class. Every person I talked to who had birthed in a hospital had a horror story of unneeded doctor interventions, being treated like an idiot, not being able to have the birth they had wanted and planned. And every person I talked to that had a homebirth, especially the ones who had a previous hospital birth, gushed on and on about how much better/easier/faster it was. My sister just had a military hospital birth, about 4 months after my homebirth. She was forced to induce by stripping membranes because they were threatening c-sec because she was 2 days late! So when she went into labor her body wasn't ready so she labored for 18 hours until completely exhausted. When it came time to push she was doing ok and handling it well until the doctor got there, the babe wasn't coming out and he didn't want to wait so he jammed both his huge hands in there and yanked the babe out. My sis tore horribly and she said it was the most pain she had ever had in her life. He completely ignored her every request and started to cut the cord before she grabbed the baby away from him, so he huffed and puffed and left. Unfortunetely, about every story I hear is this bad or worse.... So I am vehementely anti-hospital. Homebirthing is wonderful, labor was so powerful for me there is no way I could have gotten into the car and made the hour ride to the hospital. I got to relax in my own home and do things my way, nobody sticking their hands into me every 30 minutes, nobody to make me get out of the tub when my water broke. It was quiet and peaceful, I wanted to be left alone and I was. I just relaxed and let things happen. With a hospital birth and a midwife, no doctor, you will hopefully get the birth you want. But you will still be in a foreign invironment, which is a big deal for me. Well, I have said enough
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#4 of 19 Old 11-14-2007, 02:50 PM
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I was a real dummy when I first got pregnant. I thought everyone had to go the hospital and get a needle stuck in their back to have babies. I was so relieved to discover midwives. I found Gentle Birthing Choices at Whole Foods and was hooked. My fear of hospitals far outweighed any fear I might have about birthing.

With my first, I didn't do a homebirthi - that's for crazy people, right?? So I had my first in a birth center. I could see the hospital from the porch which felt like security to me. Then, about 2 minutes after ds was born - perfectly, safely, I thought "Oh man. I want to go home." So that was it. I only do it at home now.

Information is a key factor. There are plenty of books. Read Spirtual Midwifery, Ina Mae's Guide..., Gentle Birth Choices, Childbirth Without Fear, there are so many books out there. Ooh, Henci Goer's book is a good one.

The fact is, if I have a complication at home chances are the midwife is going to detect it long before it actually becomes a problem. We'll have plenty of time to call the hospital, tell them we're coming, and then go. Sure, there are emergency situations but, from talking to midwives, those true emergency situations are rare.

Birth is not as dangerous as the medical community makes it sound. You do need info and confidence. But if you feel safer with gadgets around you as a safety net while you birth - you're going to have a hard time relaxing at home. I want privacy, I want to have a prior relationship with every person who's coming in and looks at my yoni, I want to know that everyone understands my expectations and respects them. I don't need distractions, I don't need anyone telling me what to do, I don't need to feel like I have to ask permission to drink, eat, walk, move.

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#5 of 19 Old 11-14-2007, 02:53 PM
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I had a horribly long, full of intervention, hospital birth with my 1st. I ended up with a vaginal delivery, but barely. At the time, I attributed my success to the epidural I received (to prep me for a c-section) which allowed me time to sleep/relax and finally fully dilate. So, for more than a year after my 1st was born, I was convinced I was going to walk into the hospital at 4cm with #2 and get an epidural immediately. I mean, it worked so well the first time, right?

I honestly don't remember what happened, but somewhere between my dd being 14 months and 18 months, my thoughts completely changed. I read a book on homebirth (don't remember what got me to check it out from the library) and this book completely turned me 180 degrees in my thinking. FYI, the book was called "Homebirth" by Alice Gilgoff. I also really like "A Good Birth, A Safe Birth".

I did a lot of research in order to "sell" homebirth to my dh who was currently a grad student. We weren't even pregnant with #2 yet! Had an entire 3-ring binder on the subject!

I guess the rest, they say, is history. Dh is still not 100% comfortable with it and certainly wouldn't object if I all of a sudden said I wanted a hospital birth, but after 3 successful homebirths, he's more into it. He seems to think a birthing center would be a great compromise. To me, a birthing center's just a glorifed hospital. The #1 reason I like to birth at home is being able to sleep in my own bed that first night!

By the way, dh is an M.D.Ph.D. (medical doctor with too many years of graduate school), so it was even more difficult convincing him!!!
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#6 of 19 Old 11-14-2007, 03:14 PM
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A really neat book I liked was Ina May's Guide to Childbirth by Ina May Gaskin.

I only decided to do a homebirth after a really sucky hospital experience with my oldest. As I got crunchier in my ways, how I decided to birth was affected that way, too.

I just posted a bunch of reasons *why* my first (hospital) birth sucked on another thread, so I won't repeat it here. It wasn't pretty, and neither was the total of $25K in bills. If you really can have an intervention free birth at a hospital, more power to you - it wouldn't happen around here. I know one thing that did give me confidence in having a homebirth was that I'd already done it all by myself before (spontaneous labor, pushed the kid out without drugs, managed to nurse him weeks later despite the "help" I got at the hospital, etc.). I really wish I'd done a midwife attended home or center birth the first time around, it would've saved us a lot of grief.

My midwife does have the occasional hospital transfer, I think she had 2 the year I had my youngest. Out of 55 or so clients/births that year. She hasn't had a maternal or fetal death (well, besides miscarriage, there was one 34 week stillborn that even an OB couldn't have done anything about) in all her years of experience (17 years now I think?). But I've also got a more if-it-happens-it-happens attitude towards miscarriage (and stillbirth). Doesn't mean I have to like it at all, but that I can deal with it, you know?

Oh, and my house is like 6 miles from the hospital. My midwife's birth center (aka a renovated Victorian) is only a mile and a half from my house, so the birth center is only 5 miles from the hospital - although the fire station is closer to her than me. But still. In a just-in-case scenario, I feel okay with that. Whereas if we lived 3 hours from any civilization, I might feel a bit nervous. But my great grandma managed to have 9-10 or so kids at home in the early 1900's, so I know it's in my blood to some degree (she only lost one newborn that we know of - it only lived either 2 days or 2 hours, Grandma the story-teller died years ago). Plus my across-the-street neighbor was thrilled I had my youngest at home - he was born in a barn in the next county south of us.

Wife to an amazing hubby, mother hen to four chicken3.gif 
(If you're curious, 2003, 2006, 2008, 2010, and yes, it's a busy house)
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#7 of 19 Old 11-14-2007, 03:45 PM
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Okay- here is my little story. I went to an OB office with 5 different doctors (any of whom could end up delivering your baby) and had a hospital birth with my DS. I waited labor out at home until I was at a 6 and thought I would have a pretty quick labor once I got to the hospital but since DS was posterior I stalled in transition for 4 hours and pushed for 2 1/2 hours.

All in all, I actually had pretty good luck with my hospital (which is a rare occurance in my city), but it was all the little things that bothered me. Heading into labor I was more worried about the hospital staff and my doctor not following my 4 page birth plan than I was about labor itself. I knew how I wanted my labor and being in the hospital I felt like I had no real control over that. One of the nurses kept telling me that the baby's heart rate was dropping while I pushed (which I found out later was not true) and that same nurse threatened to take my son to the NICU if his temperature didn't rise after birth (even though he got a 10 on the apgar and I had turned off the heat in the room during labor!). I ended up with a 2nd degree episiotomy due to DS being posterior and the doctor used the threat of suction pretty forcefully, but luckily (much to the credit of my 2 doulas) I had no pain medication or even an IV. There were other little issues after birth too- like how I delivered in the middle of the night and they had no food to give me since the cafeteria was closed or how I couldn't get any rest because I had nurses popping into my room every 5 minutes!

Even after all of that though, I never thought I would have a homebirth. I just figured that was the way it was and I would have to deal with it. I didn't want to have to clean up all the mess of a homebirth and the whole idea made me so nervous- what if something happened? Then a friend of mine had a homebirth with her second baby. Her first labor had been long and grueling and her daughter had ended up in the NICU. Her second labor however was a mere 9 hours and was peaceful and wonderful. She didn't even push- her midwife encouraged her to let her body push the baby out on it's own and she only had to give one short push to deliver the shoulders!

After hearing her story and seeing how wonderful her birth experience was (and the fact that the midwife handled all of the clean up) I decided to look more into homebirth. My research showed me that in many cases homebirth is more safe than hospital birth- the baby is only exposed to germs they are already used to and they don't run the risk of being subjected to unneccessary medication that can even be harmful. The saftey and security that the mother feels in her own environment allows birth to progress more quickly and healing time from a completely natural labor is much more quick.

In the light of all of my research and hearing the wonderful experiences of many other homebirthing women a peace came over me and I knew that homebirth was the right choice for this labor. I am so looking forward to not having to get in a car in the throws of labor and being able to listen to what my body is telling me to do without feeling self consious because I am in a room filled with people I don't know! I am glad that I won't have to battle medical-minded nurses so that I don't have to have an unneeded IV or insist that I don't need drugs. I can't wait to have a delicious meal waiting in my crock pot and a warm bed to snuggle in with my family without the interuptions of nurses for silly temperature checks and shift changes. I picture candle light, soft music and a birthing team of people I know and trust. It sounds silly but our decision to have a homebirth this time has actually made me excited for labor!

My encouragement for you is to dig deep and decide if a hopsital birht is really what you want this time. You are so early in your pregnancy still- it is definitely not too late to change your mind! And most of all- especially if you decide to have a hopsital birth- remember that doctors don't know everything, and sadly most of the time their decisions are based more on their opinions than their research based medical training. This is your labor and your baby- take charge of it, where ever you are! And (once again, especially if you are in a hospital) get a doula!! I hope this helps!
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#8 of 19 Old 11-14-2007, 03:49 PM
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Most of my friends had homebirth's and I attended my BF's a few years earlier, so I already considered it the norm in my life. I had a HB right from my first and it was great, we never really seriously considered the hospital. I hate Dr. not that they scare me but I knew it would make me uneasy if I htought I was going to have to deal with any Dr's BS while I was in labour, KWIM? So it was never really a questions for us, just the natural way to go. I did a lot of reading in my first preganancy but had already made up my mind.
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#9 of 19 Old 11-14-2007, 03:50 PM
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I have a wonderful network of friends who have had home births. They are so supportive.
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#10 of 19 Old 11-14-2007, 05:21 PM
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'Thinking Woman's Guide to Better Birth' by Henci Goer played a huge role in why I decided to try to have a HB with DS. That and I have had terrible experiences with doctors and hospitals.

I had to do a hospital transfer with DS and it was a horrible experience. If I saw the ped who treated my son on the street I would run him over.

I am staying home this time. Hell or high water I will not set foot into a hospital unless there is EXTREME need.

Homebirthing, homeschooling AP, gardening maniac running a working farm. No circ, no vax, no cable TV. EC'd and CD'd, tandem BF'd.  Cheese and soap making goat and child herder.
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#11 of 19 Old 11-14-2007, 06:18 PM
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So I guess I might be a special case but my journey through homebirth has been a life long one. My mother gave birth to all of her children including me the oldest at home. I was ALWAYS around midwives and just new I wanted to be one even in high school
I met my DH and let him kniow even before marriage and as it turned out his mother gave birth to his youngest brother at home after a terriable birth with my DH. So not only did I have support from my family, but I had first hand experiance and support from my DH family.
Therefore I have never had to convince anyone that I was
not insane:. Rather, we were all on the same page. I do suggest finding other hubbies to talk with yours to answer very male or partner specific questions regarding homebirth. There are so many great books out there some are: Henci Goer The Thinking Woman's Guide, Ina May Gaskin's Guide to Childbirth, Mothering Magazine Peggy O'Mara Having A Baby Naturally, Birthing From Within, Gentle Birth Choices by Barbara Harper , The Bradley Book has an older homebirth book that is great. But the best book I just really love, love, love is by Kim Wildner Mother's Intention:How Belief Shapes Birth. This book is so amazing because it discusses how we come to form opinions on birth and why our perspective is such. I certainly was shaped to believe that a woman's body was designed perfect for birth and less intervention is more and the more comfortable you are in your space to birth the better it will be: other's beleive birth is dangerous all the time and needs much intervention to SAVE the mother and baby.
I wish you many blessings on your journey. Talk talk talk. Research and research. Your birth should a dream come true

Mama of 4 all born at home : Mothering
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#12 of 19 Old 11-14-2007, 11:22 PM
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A friend of mine had a horrible hosp. birth experience, and then I read Misconceptions by Naomi Wolf and Ina May's Guide to Child Birth by Ina May Gaskin. These both kind of pushed me in the direction I was already going. Misconceptions tells you about the medicalization and cascade effect of hosp. births and Ina May tells you about how we're meant to give birth and how our bodies are able and capable.

I started out with an OB/GYN when I was pregnant with my son. We went to the hospital tour and my husband and I were both horrified. When we got home, I said, "I wish we could do a home birth," thinking he'd be too nervous to do that and he said, "Good idea!" So at about 6-7 months pregnant we found a home birthing midwife team. I realized that ALL of the anxiety I had about giving birth was the worrying about how much I was going to have to try to control in the hospital. With the home birth midwives, I knew I didn't have to worry about them taking the baby, putting stuff in his eyes right away and whatever else they do, put the baby under the lights, sneak formula into the baby, etc.

It was an amazing experience and I know I wouldn't have been as comfortable in a hospital room. Pregnant with number 2 and we want to do home birth again!
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#13 of 19 Old 11-14-2007, 11:51 PM
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I had a wonderful HB with my first. Homebirth was the norm to me - all my friends who'd had kids had homebirths. I'd had a roommate who apprenticed with a midwife, and her stories sealed the deal for me. I also had a lifetime of negative experiences with Doctors under my belt, and one particularly harrowing experience in an ER. I wasn't about to subject myself or my babe to that unless it was a true emergency.

Probably the biggest factor influencing my decision, though, was the story of my own birth. My mother managed an unmedicated 35hr OP labor with me in a tiny, old-fashioned hospital in Wyoming. She told me about the enema, the episiotomy, being told to be quiet, being forced on the bed, literally fighting the nurses who were trying to give her gas, and she always said "They wouldn't let me squat, I just wanted to squat!" So that was the cautionary tale I grew up with

I read a lot during my pregnancy - the most helpful books for me were birthing from within and Rediscovering Birth. The first helped me deal with fear (I was terrified of transfer) and helped me get out of my head. The second helped me put birth and homebirth in historical and cultural context - plus it has tons of inspiring, amazing pictures. I read about a thousand homebirth stories on MDC, and I think that helped me more than anything. I feel like we can know the stats, but its stories and experiences that shape our beliefs and our beliefs determine our choices. My advice is to surround yourself with people and books that are positive and trusting about birth and homebirth.

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#14 of 19 Old 11-15-2007, 12:03 AM - Thread Starter
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Thank you all for all of the great information and stories! I love hearing about others' opinions and how they came to decide on HB - it really makes me want to learn more and more about it. I think I would be more inclined to try HB this time if there were more options where I live - I believe there is only 1 individual who assists with homebirths in my region (and I don't believe insurance pays for it - which isn't the end of the world, but does influence decisions.) I know someone who had planned on a homebirth, then things came up and the person who was going to assist her was gone and then she was forced to deliver at the hospital - I would be SO dissapointed if something like that happened - especially after reading how excited and happy all of you are with you decision.

I should say, that my first birth was in a hospital and everything went great (except there was one nurse whom I did not like in the least... in my mind she was a bit evil - she was not pleasant at all - but the rest of the staff was wonderful). I had a natural birth with a midwife and was happy with the experience as a whole - but now we've moved and I've only met the midwifes one time, but had a very good first impression of them - so I'm going to look a lot more into how their births go/their beliefs and so on. They did say that unless something really major occured, I wouldn't ever have to meet the OB's that they work with - so that's reassuring!

Well, off to do more research I go!
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#15 of 19 Old 11-15-2007, 12:04 AM
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I birthed at home for one simple reason: I can do whatever I want at home! It is your birth, your body, I believe you should be able to deal with it in whatever way makes you feel more comfortable. I walked around outside in the rain, I stood in the shower, sat in a hot tub, rocked in my rocking chair and eventually ended up on my very own cozy bed where my dd was born. I held her seconds after she popped out and nursed her minutes later in the comfort of my own big fluffy pillows. In my opinion, the most important thing about having a wonderful labor/birth is being relaxed and for most people, the easiest place to relax would be home. It just seemed like the most natural place to give birth to me. I don't like the idea that doctors have that being pregnant and going into labor is some kind of treatable 'condition'. I mean, I'm not sick so why would I be in the presence of a doctor if I don't want to be treated as if I were? Good luck with your decision!

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#16 of 19 Old 11-15-2007, 04:56 AM
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Short answer: Because hospitals are for sick people. I don't mean that flippantly. I really feel that is an important point.

If you can, see Ricki Lake's new movie, The Business of Being Born.

And just as an aside, I changed to planning a homebirth halfway through my last pregnancy thanks to a couple wonderful friends who questioned me. I am forever grateful to them! Sorry I am not up to writing more about it. Feeling nauseous right now, haha what a surprise.
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#17 of 19 Old 11-15-2007, 08:54 AM
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How did I decide HB was right for me?

I took a tour of the hospital :
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#18 of 19 Old 11-15-2007, 12:19 PM
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Looking back I'm surprised at myself for not considering HB from the beginning. The first time I started out with an OB, thinking that was the only way to go. I fired her at 5 months when I found the midwife in my area (who owned a small birth center) took my insurance. She was stern and grumpy, just months away from retirement, but we went on to have an awesome birth at her birth center. The drawbacks to this were having to drive 25 minutes there & back (twice! The first time MW said I still had hours to go & should go home!)

This time I knew who my midwives were going to be as they come very highly recommended. They only do homebirths & birth centers, and the birth center is 1 hour away, so the choice was made easy for me. And the more it is sinking in, the more excited I am for it. Riding in a car while laboring SUCKS, and I am so looking forward to relaxing here with my family, then not having to move a muscle if I don't want to.

It definitely helped to have experienced a natural birth the first time. I was so proud of my body & my babe for pulling through so beautifully. Now I know I can do it, and I think I personally needed that confidence to be comfortable with HB.

Thanks for starting this thread, I really enjoyed reading everyone's stories!
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#19 of 19 Old 11-15-2007, 02:41 PM
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I watched the show "Birth Day" on the Discovery Health Channel while engaged to my husband and it scared the crap out of me!

That made me swing a little too far in the opposite direction - I tried to have a UC with my first baby and I had an extremely difficult labor and birth alone which ended in an emergency transfer and a horrific hospital experience. I'm lucky I didn't end up with a c-section.

That lead me to a HB the second time around with a MW. It was a great experience and healed the trauma of my first birth. I plan on it again this time.
I think if I had a MW with my first, I probably could have been coached through it and may not have transferred.
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