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Have Any of You Had or Planned a Home Birth?


luv2laugh

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I never did nor would, with all my medical issues, even though I'm identified (where I live, anyway) as rather crunchy. On the other hand I don't have a problem with it, and think it's probably safe for most healthy women, assuming they've had prenatal care and have a good back-up plan in case of a problem.

Incidentally, a friend from college had two unassistaed home water births, both 10+ pound babies, without a problem. She was a post-doctoral fellow in biology or bio-chemistry or some such at the time. And atheist. So the fundies definitely don't have a monopoly on this stuff.

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I know FJ has members who have had home births. However, that won't be me, if/when I get pregnant. With my blood pressure issues, I'm almost certainly high-risk. With my anxiety issues, most of which are triggered by medical concerns, I will simply be more sane in a hospital. However, I have (extremely liberal, non-fundie) friends who all seem to either be popping 'em out at home or in birthing centers. I was looking into birthing centers for a bit, but reading the descriptions - "for a woman who has no health problems and is confident in her body and her abilities" - I realized I just don't fit the bill, in any sense.

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lord, no! i was ready to get the epidural as soon as i found out i was pregnant.

i do love the concept of home birth, and certainly would support anyone's right to do it, but i wanted drugs with a capital drugs.

turned out, i had an emergency c-section with Girl 1 (breech), and by Girl 2, i was 'of advanced maternal age', and therefore automatically high risk, so my hospital wouldn't allow a VBAC.

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No, but I have attended one. My cousin had a home birth assisted by a midwife and her assistant. However, she had regular prenatal care all the way along, and didn't have any major risk factors or issues during pregnancy. I don't think I'd feel confident enough to ever have a home birth, but I did notice that the midwife seemed to spend lots of time answering the "how" and "why" questions so that my cousin could make informed decisions.

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Yes. I've had 3 homebirths. I've had hospital births as well. I by far preferred my homebirths. I had great, qualified midwives with 2 of my homebirths and my GP at the other one. If all goes well I will have another homebirth with this baby. I have found my midwives to be way more willing to discuss my options and for me to make an informed decision.

Cost played no role in us deciding on a homebirth. We had insurance that paid for 1 of the homebirths; we paid out of pocket for another one, although insurance would have paid for the hospital, and the 3rd was covered under national health (we're in Canada)

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I am trying to get pregnant now, and my partner and I talked about home birth. I am fairly healthy so I don't worry about it. That being said the idea was nixed for two reasons: I don't want to feel a need to hostess while giving birth; and, it would drive the animals insane.

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My sister and brother were born at home. I don't think it's something I would ever do just because I don't want the mess. I might go for natural childbirth in a birthing center, though. I always wonder why more people don't mention that option when this discussion comes up, but I gather that birthing centers can't be found everywhere, so I guess for some women it really isn't an option.

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I'm with Contrary on this one ... I wanted hospital. I had an epidural, gas & air AND Pethidine ... it's a wonder I knew I'd given birth when I did. But DD was a breech delivery so in hindsight I'm glad I didn't opt for a home birth like many of my family did. Hubs was born at home (in a trailer) and his mams had no medical assistance, he's the youngest of 5 so I suppose she knew what to expect, but by all accounts he was enormous (and still is ... think Kung Fu Panda) so I admire my (now late)mother in law greatly for being brave enough to go through with that. I'm all for the woman being able to make choices, but personally, I decided not to have a birth plan, because I knew that whatever sort of birth I had, the one sort it wouldn't be, was the one I was hoping for (easy, pain free, over in 10 minutes ... 6 hours isn't bad tho, is it?).

Mami B xxxxx

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I planned a homebirth with my 2YO. Didn't work out. I got very ill, went into labor 4 weeks early, and my blood pressure took a sudden nose dive, ended up having a c-section. I was planning on an HBAC with my second pregnancy, but that didn't work out either, since even I didn't feel comfortable HBAC'ing twins so soon (14mos) after a previous c-section.

I don't regret either. I wish they had turned out differently, and I have major issues with hospitals and doctors in general (cognitive dissonance, anybody? considering who I'm married to, he'd probably have issues with that statement), particularly on forcing unnecessary medical procedures and deception of patients. But it was the right thing for me at the time.

If I ever do have a baby again, however unlikely, I'll reassess it. I do believe in home birth, even unassisted birth, and that it's safe for competent, generally healthy women. A few horror stories do not mean it's insane or inherently dangerous; how many horror stories come out of hospitals? No one talks about them or uses one horror story to say hospital births are all dangerous and irresponsible, but it seems hospital-only types will be happy to spout off about the Carri's of the UC/HB way in order to justify a position that hasn't really got a leg to stand on.

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I had considered it with my last two.

I am a good candidate for it as I have uncomplicated pregnancies but opted out at the last minute because it would have meant using a lay midwife who would only let me know her first name.

I have a general rule of knowing the first and last names of people who get to see my bajinga so I went another direction for delivery.

(we had considered the lay MW because we did not have insurance at the time and it would have cost much less than paying out of pocket at a hospital.)

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I used Midwives as my primary care throughout my pregnancy (In Canada so covered by universal health care) I always intended to give birth in the hospital with my Midwife but labour at home as long as possible before checking into the hospital.

All that went out the window when the baby wouldn't come and the midwife wouldn't let me go any longer and I had to be induced which meant transfer of care to the hospital OB. Long story short the baby was huge (10.5lbs) and got stuck coming out and once delivered with forceps and a broken collarbone... I hemorrhaged and lost consciousness.... last thing I remember was insane amounts of people rushing into the room and I'm not sure either baby or I would have survived at home.

After what I went through I would strongly recommend against home birth but I also support a woman's right to choose how and where she deliver the baby although I think unassisted births are reckless.

p.s. I had a perfect pregnancy with NO complications and felt like a million bucks until delivery.

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I had a homebirth 16 months ago and am planning another one here in a few months. I have my prenatal care after 12 weeks with my midwife (first 12 I see an OB due to miscarriage risks because of low progesterone). I really feel like I get more personal care with my midwife. For instance, my OB cared about how much weight I gained - the numbers were the only thing that mattered. (with my first pregnancy, too much. With this pregnancy, too little.) My midwife moniters my weight, but cares far more about what I am actually eating. I also like that my midwife stays a part of my life after the birth. Her patients host an annual BBQ where she can catch up on all her little "catches". :)

That said, I don't have a problem with doctors or hospitals & if I needed to be transferred, I would definitely do so.

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Thought about it, since I was a good hippie girl back in the day. Glad I didn't, though - my almost 10-pounder had to be delivered with forceps, then my uterus turned inside out and I hemorrhaged. At the hospital, that was bad news but fixable. If I'd been at home? Very very bad news.

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I have not (3 hospital births) but most of my friends have, so I definitely see the other side of the coin.

My first birth was with an epidural, midwives, in a birthing center attached to a hospital...worst birth of my life. Pretty serious injuries from that birth (ever have to catheterize yourself for 5 weeks? not fun). The other two births (different hospitals for each) were all natural and lightning fast, I felt like running a marathon after those. I checked out of the hospital early, I felt great and was ready to get home.

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Heck, no. I know a lot of people who do and I think it's taking a big risk. You can be totally low risk and still have a true emergency in childbirth, and not have time for a hospital transfer. Not common, but still not a risk I'm willing to take!

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I plan on having a homebirth whenever I next get pregnant. I had a "good" hospital birth, by most standards- but I delivered at the only hospital in the area that offers privileges to midwives, and my midwife was a homebirth midwife who was called in last minute to cover my birth. Being in the hospital still sucked though. The idiot nurses freaking out because my midwife had me up and on the toilet right before pushing, (um, midwife was in charge, she knew what she was doing!) and the awful postpartum care I received from the nurses- who yelled at us for just about everything. The only time I was kind of glad i was there was when i needed to be stitched up for a 3rd degree tear, but even that could have been dealt with at home if need be. I think I'm a good candidate all in all. But I would only deliver with a CNM or a CPM i had really thoroughly vetted.

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I would love to have one, the whole idea of being in a place that I utterly control, giving birth without medical intervention, or strangers around, sounds really lovely and meaningful.

But it also sounds unbearably risky, I know most births go well, and risks are in small percentages, but I couldn't live with myself for adding any level of preventable risk to the experience if something did go wrong.

People have different tolerances for risk, and I think people have every right to put their infants (and themselves) at risk, even when that risk seems really high, stupidly high. (I do think it's really sad when people feel forced by ideology, or even worse by money, to take on more risk than they are truly comfortable with.) After all, they are the ones that are weighing the risks, establishing their priorities, and then living with the consequences.

Right to choose what you do with your body doesn't stop at fetal viability for me. If you want to treat your pre-eclampsia with cherry juice or labor for five days at home without attendants, I think you're an idiot, but it's your body, your baby, and maybe you'll both get lucky. I don't believe in criminalizing stupidity or that only people making smart decisions have human rights.

I know also that for people who live in areas where the medical establishment is overly conservative, or regressive, that risks for an ordinary, healthy pregnancy, might tip in favor of home birth with a certified attendant. For me, my hospital system (Kaiser) does not allow routine interventions, does not believe in labor keeping to a schedule, and has a low C-section rate (especially the hospital I chose). After delivery, the system has all the right progressive buzzwords: magic hour for bonding, rooming in and babies don't go to the nursery unless they need medical attention, no formula without a prescription based on medical need, delayed testing if that's what you want, etc. Plus I was able to pick a hospital where there is a CNM on duty at all times as well as an obstetrician, so I will have midwife support for as natural a childbirth as I can manage, and then medical options on top of that as needed.

So for me, the home birth versus hospital birth was a pretty obvious choice (I would have done a birthing center, but it seemed like an unneeded expense when my covered option was already fairly 'crunchy'). I do feel a little sad about being too worried about risks to feel comfortable making a different choice. I'll be laboring as long as possible at home, and hoping to soak up the spirituality that way.

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I planned a home birth VBAC for my second, but ended up with meconium in the water and transferred to the hospital, where he was born perfectly healthy. I caught him myself, lifted him out of my body and onto my chest.

We live very close to the hospital and I was comfortable with the risk and had the approval from my midwives and OB for a HBAC. I could have stayed home in spite of the mec, because midwives have suctioning equipment, but that was something I wasn't comfortable with at home and chose to transfer.

I plan to have a homebirth for my next baby, if I have a next baby. I don't get into arguments about what's best...I make the choices that are best for me and my body and baby and don't expect other people to make the same choices or agree just because it's the choice I made. I hate the birth wars. People need to have their babies where they feel most comfortable, and for most people that's in the hospital.

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Both my births were planned to be homebirths, but I risked out (for relatively minors issues) so both kids were born in hospital with my midwife. That's really the safety net of homebirth with trained and registered midwives, operating within a well definied scope of practice, your care is transfered if things go wrong. Unlike the horror stories, things don't actually go wrong very quickly. Good homebirth policy is to be within 20 (some say 30) minutes of a hospital, so emergency transfers are quick and easy. Most transfers are not emergencies, but actually for pain relief.

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Both my births were planned to be homebirths, but I risked out (for relatively minors issues) so both kids were born in hospital with my midwife. That's really the safety net of homebirth with trained and registered midwives, operating within a well definied scope of practice, your care is transfered if things go wrong. Unlike the horror stories, things don't actually go wrong very quickly. Good homebirth policy is to be within 20 (some say 30) minutes of a hospital, so emergency transfers are quick and easy. Most transfers are not emergencies, but actually for pain relief.

That's a good summary of my feelings about homebirth. Make sure you're healthy before you try it, be close to a hospital, choose a competent midwife and have a backup plan.

FWIW, complications with my last almost killed me, and I was in a hospital. They waited way too long to intervene and I do think it had to do with a lack of listening and dismissal of my complaints until things got bad. So while I would have been at risk with a home delivery, it's also possible a midwife attending only to me might have gotten me to a hospital and advocated for intervention sooner than I was able to. I can't know for sure, obviously, and wouldn't have had a homebirth anyway; just saying being at a hospital doesn't eliminate or necessarily even minimize the risks in all cases.

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First birth at a freestanding birth center, second birth at home. I have short, intense labors (3.5 hours for the first and 45 minutes for the second) so I knew just a few minutes into the drive to the birth center that the next time, if there was one, I was giving birth at home. In both births resuscitation equipment was available, and transport, if it had been needed, would have been by helicopter.

By the way, with a homebirth there is no mess to deal with (unless you're speaking metaphorically about the responsibility you take for the decisions you make) and no feeling that you are playing hostess. The only really bad outcomes that I know of personally happened with hospital births so I was pretty comfortable dealing with the metaphorical mess.

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I briefly considered it with my first. He was early and we both needed some interventions so I'm glad we had settled on the hospital before that. With my second (a short 11 months later) I never even thought about it. When he was born 5 weeks early we needed even more interventions.

My littlest sister and my brother were both born at home. I was the only one there to help my mom with my brother's birth (45 minute labor + midwife lived an hour away) and we all did fine.

I've mixed feelings about it. It can certainly be a good and healthy thing but hospitals and their doctors have saved a lot of lives that would have been lost in previous centuries!

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Hospitals and surgeons are there for those early births.

First birth was a hospital. Ugh. I won't go into it again because it is triggering for me.

2nd birth (at 38yo) home water birth. It was awesome. The midwife is licensed in California, I had a great doula too. He was born at 41 1/2 weeks (which some obs in our area wouldn't allow. We have a 35% csection rate in my county.) he was 10 lbs (same size as his brother.)

If we'd had another, I'd have had a doula there and possibly done a UC.

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I planned a homebirth for my first but had a complication. I had my second at home. I'm agnostic, well-educated, scientifically literate, and not a particular proponent of homebirth, but it did save us $10,000.

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