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  • Homebirthing

    I know some primal mommas in the forum had homebirths. I would love to know what motivated you to choose that option. I didn't even know such an option existed until I read about it here a few weeks ago. I saw the movie, "The Business of Being Born" last night and seeing the women deliver their babies naturally, at home, surrounded by their loved ones, was an exhilirating and empowering experience.

    As of now, due to various reasons, I don't have the option of homebirth. However, I'd love to simulate the experience of homebirth at the hospital. Is that even possible? Would love to hear all your input on this. Thanks much!

  • #2

    If you are going to have a hospital birth, you need to do a few things to get a birth YOUR way. First, tour the hospital, and see if they are set up as an LDR---meaning, Labor, Delivery and Recovery all in one bed, one room. That way you aren't being moved around from stretcher to delivery table, etc. See if hospital policy will allow you to avoid a routine IV and constant fetal monitoring. You will want to be mobile as you desire. Make sure you can have one or two support people with you throughout.

    Second, pick the right obstetrician or hospital-based midwife. See if they will allow you to do without an IV and constant fetal monitoring, too. See if they are willing to let you have a doula (birth support person) with you, as well as baby's father or other family. LaLeche League is a good resource because the members tend to use local doctors who are supportive of minimally managed childbirth. I highly recommend attending a LLL meeting before you are due.

    Third, prepare yourself as best you can. I recommend Bradley classes. The breathing they teach is more physiologic than Lamaze. See if you can find a lay midwife or doula to support your birth plan.

    Finally, know that anything can happen during childbirth, be mentally prepared for anything, and then just surrender when the time comes. There is nothing more primal than giving birth.



    • #3

      Thank you so much Sooze. Your post gives me an idea where to start and what to ask. I was/am quite clueless. The epidural thread I'd posted a few weeks ago was also very helpful.


      • #4

        Your best bet of having an ideal hospital experience will totally depend on who is delivering your baby. Do your homework on this. Are there any nurse midwives around? Do they specialize in natural birth? If no midwives, try to find an OB who is. Hubby never really approved of home birth, and so with the first one, I really searched for my best option for hospital birth.

        My first two were delivered in a hospital with a group of nurse midwives. During my prenatals, I would meet a different midwife, and then at the delivery, I would get the one on call. The hospital was very natural birth friendly, which is why the nurse midwives only delivered there. I had a good experience both times. I didn't have a car at the time, and I had to go to a neighboring town by bus for my prenatal visits, and we had to find someone willing to drive us a half an hour away (there were two other hospitals closer) when I was in labor. But it was totally worth it. I got the birth I wanted.

        For my second pregnancy, I thought that maybe I could try a typical OB, since he was closer. I went to him for the first few months, but it drove me crazy. He just didn't jive with me. I wanted to go back to my midwives. So, I switched over, and had another great experience.

        In the meanwhile, we moved to a different state, and there are no midwives here that deliver in the hospital. When I got pregnant with #3, we didn't have insurance. Also, I was very close friends with a lady who was a lay midwife. I trusted her very much. I also lived just a stone's throw from several hospitals. The midwife needed a regular babysitter, so she offered to let me pay off her fees with babysitting. It was ideal! I knew I'd be fine delivering at home, I knew the midwife well, and she let me trade for her fee! Because of the circumstances (and the fact that I had no previous complications with delivery), dh agreed to the home birth! I was thrilled, and everything went perfectly!

        My fourth delivery was in a hospital with a doctor. By then, we had great insurance. Dh didn't want to fork out all the extra dough to have a home birth when our insurance would pay all but $100 to deliver in the hospital (our friend and midwife had moved, so there was no option of trading babysitting for the fees, lol). There are no nurse midwives where we live now, so that was not an option. Because this was my fourth delivery, I knew it would be fast (not because it was my fourth, but because I always have fast deliveries, lol). The doctor I chose was ok. He was willing to do things the way I wanted. I knew there was not going to be a lot of time for unwanted interventions, anyway. I delivered quickly (within 45 minutes of arriving at the hospital) and was done.

        Edited to add: Oh, and read read read. Before I got pregnant, I started reading every book I could get my hands on (this was 1995, pre-internet for me, lol). I knew exactly what I wanted and what to look for.


        • #5

          I had my children at hospitals but had very rewarding experiences, although all were quite different. My biggest help in this was my husband. He knew my wishes and stood up for them when I was too busy breathing or trying to sleep or whatever else...So, having a good support person or people who can calmly and clearly state your desires will help a great deal. Also you can write a delivery plan for the midwives, doctors, and nurses to read ahead of time.

          And, like Sooze said, keep in mind that unexpected things can happen. Trust your spouse/support and your professionals to do the best they can for you and baby, always with your wishes in mind. Good luck and enjoy!


          • #6

            Maba: I'll try to get my wife in on this one. We are 33 weeks today and are going to homebirth. Our decision basically went something like this:

            (Wo)Man has been on this planet for 4 million years. Less than 75 years with a significant infant immortality rate in this country excessive use of chemicals and intervention from the use of hospitals tips the scale in favor of a home birth. Not to mention hospitals are for the sick; a woman giving birth to a living being is not ill nor is she diseased therefore a hospital is not the place to have a child. We've been delivering children in homes up until 1940 something when women were forced to go to work while the men fought in WWII and thus needed the attention of a hospital to have a baby. Otherwise, we'd still be birthing in our homes. Any statistic you read says that a hospital birth is more risky than a home birth.

            It's a fact. Ask my neighbor who is almost 90 and was born in her home. Ask my little sister who is 7 and was born in rice fields in China. I digress.

            If trust is an issue, then seek a birthing center. There is much less intervention there. We have a backup location in case there is an issue and you can be sure we'll take every precaution to make our lil person safe. Good luck. Again, you can email me if you want to talk to my wife.



            • #7

              Oh and you may want to seek out a BirthWorks class in your area. The best $125 spent. 9 weeks and I know exactly what happens from conception to breastfeeding. We know as much as even birthing ourselves if we were in the forest. It helped my wife erase all the negative behavior other mothers like to share with each other on labor.



              • #8

                For my first pregnancy, I had planned a homebirth but my water broke at 33 weeks and of course we ended up at the hospital. It certainly was not the experience I had wanted, but everything was fine and I was happy with my treatment and the outcome. My second baby was born at home and it was fantastic.

                Some background: I trained as a home birth midwife (got licensed but didn't stick with it), then became a nurse and spent some time working on a fill-in basis at a hospital birthing unit. I found the differences between home and hospital birth to be huge, even when nurse-midwives are involved. At home, you are the boss. In the hospital, even the midwives and doctors have their hands tied by hospital policies.

                Queen of the Jungle mentioned insurance issues; in many states, home birth midwives are licensed and are able to take insurance.

                I think most of the advice given above is excellent, but I would stress that the more set in your ways you are regarding how you want your birth to go, the more likely you are to be disappointed. Birth is about letting go of control - we don't know how it is going to go, and if you are flexible and go with the flow things will be easier. I have seen women so hung up on sticking to their "birth plan" that even when they are hemorrhaging, they are still saying "but I said no IV!" The big picture is what matters, and in a real crisis the birth plan needs to be scrapped. I would certainly not be opposed to a saline lock IV (meaning not attached to a bag), that way it's there in case of emergency, but it doesn't impede your movement. Constant fetal monitoring has never been shown to improve outcomes, and often slows labor down because you can't walk around. Checking the baby's heartbeat intermittently is just as safe. Many hospitals now have an 80% - 90% epidural rate; we had one RN who came to work at our birthing unit who had never even seen an unmedicated birth. Find out what your doctor or midwife is used to when it comes to medication. Some will be very supportive of natural birth and others will not. Tour the hospital. Ask what techniques the hospital staff uses for pain control. Hopefully you will be one-on-one with a nurse during labor; if not, see if you can have an additional support person with you, and make it someone who will be a calm and strong advocate.

                My blog: Pretty Good Paleo
                On Twitter: @NEKLocalvore


                • #9

                  @QotJ: Thank you for sharing your experience. Happy to know you had smooth and easy labor all 4 times. All your comments are helping me learn what to ask. I really had very little idea when I went for my first check up with my OB and it was such a rushed meeting, in that, she said everything looked normal and we were good to go. I was hoping to hear more from about the pregnancy, the changes I would be going through, the delivery etc. I have another check-up coming up this way. I hope I'm more equipped now with questions to ask.

                  @anniegebel: Writing a delivery plan is a great idea. Thank you.

                  @Daniel: I'd always wondered why childbirth, something all mammals do so naturally, was made out to be such a difficult process for humans. Watching the movie The Business of Being Born was eye-opening. DH is a physician himslef and he's just more comfortable my being under the supervision of an OB, which is why homebirthing is not an option. Will look into BirthWorks class also. Thank you for the information. Will get in touch with you/the wife if I have any questions.


                  • #10

                    I've had both a hospital birth with a certified nurse-midmife and a homebirth with a lay midwife.

                    I was glad for the hopital birth as I had toxemia with my first. The CNM was great and the overall experience was okay. However, the people you need to watch out for in the hospital are the ones you have the least control over - the nurses on staff when you go in. I've read studies that correlate the nurse with the C-section more than the OB. If you're going for the hospital birth it's good to have a non-related advocate to mediate with the nurses. Someone like a doula or birth attendant. Your hubby's too involved to mediate well and keep you within your birth plan.

                    The homebirth with my second child was great. I was at home where I was comfortable. I *loved* my midwife and felt really comfortable with her and her attendants whom I'd met several times already. I was allowed to labor how and where I wanted. I spent much of my "hard" labor in the tub, hanging out during contractions and well, going where ever I went when I wasn't having a contraction. It was an out of body type of experience. Your mileage may vary, as they say. Their support (literal support and emotional!) was great, especially after I'd gone through transition.

                    After the baby was born, the midwives totally took care of all of us. Bathed and dressed the new babe, gave all of us food and totally cleaned up everything. A friend came over to hang out with my older daughter and I slept - not something I had ever been able to do in the hospital.

                    The best thing about homebirth, like Annika mentioned, is that YOU are in control and no one's barging in an bothering you or hassling you. My aftercare and the baby's was better during the homebirth, too. The midwife came back the next day to check on me and then three days later she was back again. It was really a wonderful experience. If I had another child, I'd definitely give birth at home.

                    No matter what your choice, Maba, you really need to trust your care provider. Halfway through my second pregnancy I switched to the homebirth midwife because I no longer trusted the CNM.


                    • #11

                      I'm from canada, so things are a bit different here but,

                      My homebirths helped me to birth naturally, but a big part of why I loved them was that we (the baby and I) were tucked into bed and in our cozy home. Also, the post partum care the midwives I used was incredible. They came to my house 5 times over the first week, just to check on us, help wtih breastfeeding, and they were on call 24/7.

                      So, if a homebirth isn't an option, is a midwife in the hospital an option? If no, I suggest you start researching doulas. They are an awesome support to a mother in labour, and many offer post partum care, helping with house work, that breastfeeding learning curve, pets etc. They are there to serve and support the mother.

                      I agree with posters who have said that your partner needs to be your advocate, because "your brains are in your bottom" lol as Ina May would say.

                      The more I see the less I know for sure.
                      -John Lennon


                      • #12

                        Had homebirths with both of my kids, now 18 and 21.

                        I've always felt that hospitals are for sick or injured people. I wasn't sick or injured; I was pregnant!

                        Even before the upsurge of all the current "super germs", staph infections have always been a big problem with hospital births. One of the women in my birthing class had a hospital birth, and her baby was in intensive care for two months after contracting a staph infection there. When you birth at home, your baby has instant resistance (through your breast milk) to all of the germs that are in your normal home environment.

                        (Not trying to scare the crap out of you, but you did ask about our reasons!)


                        • #13

                          Maba; again, I am only the father here so my opinions are from a male's perspective. I have no idea what it will be like for my wife, but I support every step of the way no matter what happens. All the advise thus far is spot on. I am sorry your option is only in favor of an OB simply "because." Please keep in mind your OB is a surgeon and will advocate birth from a surgeons perspective. I would hire a doula and ask around for a CNMW if at all possible. They report to OBs and you may never even see your OB. That is what we have as a back up. Our CNMW is at a hospital and has us meet with her once a month. Our HBMW comes to our house once a month and will be there after. Luckily our doula is friends with both women and has worked with both. The statistics are almost even between both CNMW and HBMW for their careers.

                          Bottom line as it was mentioned above; this is YOUR baby. It's ultimately your decision. Birthplans are excellent.




                          • #14

                            I had 3 out of 4 babies at home, in 98,01, and 03. My fist baby was born in a free-standing birth center witha nurse midwife in 1995. I was 21 at the time, and the previous year I was in an intro to Women's Studies class at my university and a midwife came to speak to the class. I learned a lot that day, and when I got pregnant a year later I called a midwife.

                            I have had so many people tell me that they could ever have the guts to do a homebirth, and my reply is that I feel the same way about hospital births! It scares the HECK out of me to think of how limiting and fear-based hospital births are.

                            To each their own, though. The MOST important factor is a wonderful birth experience is the comfort of the mother. I felt most comfortable and safe at home with my lay midwives. Others may feel that in the hospital with doctor. I am just very glad their are choices for everyone.

                            And btw, my babies were ALL 10-11 lbs and I birthed them all with no drugs OR tearing. Midwives know their stuff!


                            • #15

                              Thank you all for your kind words and advice. The more I read, the more I am convinced that if it's a low-risk case, having a midwife deliver the baby is the way to go but I don't think I can ever convince DH to agree. Speaking of which, how did you convince your spouses about midwives? Were they supportive right from the beginning?

                              With the way things are going, I'd consider myself extremely fortunate if I can get DH to agree to my seeing a midwife.