What’s Really Keeping You From a Homebirth? | Indie Birth

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What’s Really Keeping You From a Homebirth?

November 18, 2006

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We are mamas and birth workers who decided to do birth differently– and bring others along with us. We are kind, fun to work with, and great at (lovingly) calling people on their bullshit. With 12 children and 18 years of midwifery between us, we’ve learned a thing or two along the way, and Indie Birth is our space to share it all with you.

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I want to know why more women don’t choose homebirth.

I don’t know many women outside of my little circle that do choose homebirth. Still, these women are highly educated women who seem aware of their options, and many have even elected to have natural births. So what is keeping them from wanting what I consider the “optimum” birth experience?

There are studies touting safety- check out the link to latest study showing homebirth is just as safe, if not safer than hospital birth- if that’s the concern. There is all kind of support, if you look for it, and birth stories and birth videos to get a peek at what it might really be like. If you ask the right people in your community, you can find out who the homebirth midwives are and interview them, ask them about all your questions and concerns. But why aren’t most women doing these things? Why do they just choose the default option, hospital birth?

So, if the “facts” about homebirth are convincing and available, it seems to me that women are choosing hospital birth from an emotional, instead of practical viewpoint. Women are more emotional it seems, at least compared to men, so this makes sense. What bothers me is that the “emotion” is fear.

Let me back up here. I am not fearless in the face of pregnancy and birth. But I am not fearful.

I view birth as something to be respected, not controlled. I respect birth as the miraculous process it is, but I fully recognize that it is not always what we want, need or hope it to be, and there are risks just as there are with anything in life. On the other side of life is death, and we must respect that. Because I respect birth, I do not and would not try to control it or relinquish the responsibility of my body or my baby to anyone else, regardless of the situation.

I think that choosing hospital birth is relinquishing this responsibility, and the sad fact is I think many women consciously choose this path over homebirth because the respect for birth is not there.

And ultimately, many women also do not want the responsibility that comes with birth.

You can’t really rid yourself of this responsibility of course, but you certainly can transfer it, and this is my definition of hospital birth. But still I ask, why would any women want to transfer the responsibility of her own health and her baby’s health to anyone else?

It really comes down to informed choice.

It’s not about knowing it all, or tuning out information or a scenario you don’t want to hear. It is about being provided all of the options and information, and making your own decisions and your own choice. And here lies the crucial difference between homebirth and hospital birth and also the reason I think most women choose the latter.

They don’t know that informed choice exists, and ultimately they don’t want to have to do the work to make their own choices and live with them. They choose “the doctor says” over what their body is telling them to do, and there is no worse place for that than in birth.

To put a positive spin on this dire situation, I challenge you to ask yourself a few really hard questions during your pregnancy that only you know the answer to. For many women, the way to a homebirth comes after soul-searching and connecting with the innate ability we all have to give birth naturally and with minimal interference.

How do I view birth? What experiences have I had that have influenced this view?

Deep down, do I feel like I need “help” in having a baby?

Am I willing to truly accept the responsibility that comes with being pregnant, giving birth, being a parent, even when and especially when I cannot control every aspect of these things?

Do I feel like I have to be socially acceptable in my birthing choices (often choosing hospital birth)? How important is it to me to make a choice that everyone else agrees with?

Watch birth videos, home and hospital. Close your eyes and visualize what you want for your baby. What do you see?

The greatest power we are given in pregnancy and birth is the ability to examine our fears and make conscious choices. When you think you have gotten to the bottom of it for yourself, tell me what you think.

Do you respect birth? Is fear holding you back from a homebirth? If not, what is? I’d like to hear your thoughts.

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  1. I tried for a homebirth. In fact, it seems quite easy to go ahead with one over here. There was a bit of Uhm-ing and Ah-ing when I first mentioned it, as I’m obese, but they decided it was okay for me to go ahead.

    However, it didn’t go as planned.

    After two days of strong (to me ) contractions, my midwife was worried I wasn’t progressing, and told me she thought it was best to go to the hospital. A few hours later I agreed.

    The only thing that really bothered me about the whole thing, was that all the medical professionals seemed to assume I wasn’t wanting any pain relief, that I wanted to do it naturally. No, I did not! Sorry, but I’m one of those that would take any drug given to me in labour happily! The pain relief options during a home birth are exactly the same as the options at the local birthing center, so I opted for comfort.

    Meh, I’m never doing that again, so I guess I don’t need to consider it all ‘next time’.

  2. I tried for a homebirth. In fact, it seems quite easy to go ahead with one over here. There was a bit of Uhm-ing and Ah-ing when I first mentioned it, as I’m obese, but they decided it was okay for me to go ahead.

    However, it didn’t go as planned.

    After two days of strong (to me ) contractions, my midwife was worried I wasn’t progressing, and told me she thought it was best to go to the hospital. A few hours later I agreed.

    The only thing that really bothered me about the whole thing, was that all the medical professionals seemed to assume I wasn’t wanting any pain relief, that I wanted to do it naturally. No, I did not! Sorry, but I’m one of those that would take any drug given to me in labour happily! The pain relief options during a home birth are exactly the same as the options at the local birthing center, so I opted for comfort.

    Meh, I’m never doing that again, so I guess I don’t need to consider it all ‘next time’.

  3. foxglove says:

    I’m planning on doing a homebirth when the time comes for me to have a baby, but I worry that I won’t be able to find a midwife that I like who is geographically close to me. I have only been able to find three homebirth midwives in Indiana that are within an hour or two’s drive from me. What if I don’t click with any of the midwives? A big part of the problem with home birth is that women have so few choices.

  4. foxglove says:

    I’m planning on doing a homebirth when the time comes for me to have a baby, but I worry that I won’t be able to find a midwife that I like who is geographically close to me. I have only been able to find three homebirth midwives in Indiana that are within an hour or two’s drive from me. What if I don’t click with any of the midwives? A big part of the problem with home birth is that women have so few choices.

  5. keri says:

    I loved natural childbirth. I chose a birth center because hospitals scare me but I didn’t feel safe enough in my tiny apartment. I didn’t want to think about my neighbors listening to me while I labored. Nor did I want to clean up after I’d already been working so hard.
    The birth center looked clean and comfortable. And it was handy to have doctors available with in minutes. Turned out I needed them after the umbilical cord tore. I feel like baby and I got the best of both worlds.

  6. keri says:

    I loved natural childbirth. I chose a birth center because hospitals scare me but I didn’t feel safe enough in my tiny apartment. I didn’t want to think about my neighbors listening to me while I labored. Nor did I want to clean up after I’d already been working so hard.
    The birth center looked clean and comfortable. And it was handy to have doctors available with in minutes. Turned out I needed them after the umbilical cord tore. I feel like baby and I got the best of both worlds.

  7. Katherine says:

    I completely agree. I wonder myself why more women don’t just “follow the evidence”. I’m a biologist – I do laboratory research – you go where the data goes. The data shows homebirth to be very safe – and you avoid a lot of unnecessary interventions that are ubiquitous in a hospital setting – so why doesn’t everyone choose this? I think you’re right on the money. It’s an emotional decision. It’s about not trusting your body to do what it knows how to do. Again, as a biologist, I KNOW that the body is capable of some bizarre, amazing things – birth is one of them. It works. If the female human body wasn’t capable of birthing a baby – the human race would have faced extinction long ago. And yet, here we are. This tells us something.

  8. Katherine says:

    I completely agree. I wonder myself why more women don’t just “follow the evidence”. I’m a biologist – I do laboratory research – you go where the data goes. The data shows homebirth to be very safe – and you avoid a lot of unnecessary interventions that are ubiquitous in a hospital setting – so why doesn’t everyone choose this? I think you’re right on the money. It’s an emotional decision. It’s about not trusting your body to do what it knows how to do. Again, as a biologist, I KNOW that the body is capable of some bizarre, amazing things – birth is one of them. It works. If the female human body wasn’t capable of birthing a baby – the human race would have faced extinction long ago. And yet, here we are. This tells us something.

  9. Cristi Walker says:

    I think many women don’t know that homebirth is an option. When I say something to someone about homebirth many times they say “you can do that.” I don’t think the public is educated. The little education they do get is from doctors who tell them that it isn’t safe. I think we need to expand the general publics knowledge about birth and what that word really means.

  10. Cristi Walker says:

    I think many women don’t know that homebirth is an option. When I say something to someone about homebirth many times they say “you can do that.” I don’t think the public is educated. The little education they do get is from doctors who tell them that it isn’t safe. I think we need to expand the general publics knowledge about birth and what that word really means.

  11. Desiree Carpenter says:

    I think education is the biggest problem. I live in south Texas and there aren’t any midwives closer than 2 hours. So there are not many people in my community that even know that homebirth is going on. And I’m having a lot of people give me ugly looks when I mention that when the time comes I plan on a homebirth and even my own husband thinks I’m crazy for even considering it. If it was out there that a hospital birth is not necessary nor the only safe option I think more women would open their eyes.

  12. Desiree Carpenter says:

    I think education is the biggest problem. I live in south Texas and there aren’t any midwives closer than 2 hours. So there are not many people in my community that even know that homebirth is going on. And I’m having a lot of people give me ugly looks when I mention that when the time comes I plan on a homebirth and even my own husband thinks I’m crazy for even considering it. If it was out there that a hospital birth is not necessary nor the only safe option I think more women would open their eyes.

  13. Cathie says:

    The only thing holding me back is money, our insurance won't cover us for a home birth nor anything that may be wrong with the baby unless we have it in a hospital. Saddens me as I really wanted my own birthing experience with my last baby. We are low income and cannot afford the expense ourselves.

  14. Hi Cathie! It may be more difficult but you could try and find a midwife that is willing to work with you. I do charge money, as I do need to make money, but I also have a few births per year that I gladly do for WAY less. Way less. I have also accepted barter agreements and received everything from chiropractic care to horse lessons for my kids. I know money can feel overwhelming, but if you REALLY want a homebirth I think you can find a way.
    Best of luck to you!!

  15. newincs says:

    I want a home birth and many midwives have told me I should be eligible but the midwives in my area say I am not eligible!!!!!!:( That is what is stopping me!:(

    Oh, and not being pregnant yet LOL!!!!

    The money factor also bothers us. We barely make ends meet from month to month. We can't pay many of the bills we have. We were unable to afford a doula with our last child which broke my heart and led to severe abuse from my nurse. Bad experience. We may try to go it alone the next birth… or perhaps a doula if one will do a home birth with no midwife (not asking her to catch, just to support me during the labor)… we will see.. HEY, maybe I will win the lottery by then and we can hire someone to do it all! ROFL

  16. Annon says:

    Consider that not every woman enjoys her pregnancy. Pregnancy for some women is not a happy glowing time in their life. If the pregnancy is difficult, or the Mother is not in a supportive environment, a home birth may not be the best solution for her.

  17. Kaitlinrose says:

    Maryn, you covered a lot of good points in this article. Fear is big, and perhaps bigger than many women realize when so many seemingly logical reasons not to be able to give birth at home pop up (such as insurance or lack of money to pay a midwife – the most common reasons).

    As you stated in your comment to Cathie, many midwives like yourself can bend to fit the needs of their clients, which is one of the great things about out-of-hospital midwives! You can lower your prices or barter. Can't get that in a hospital.

    I think the idea of giving birth at home is like other things that are on the “fringe” of society we have grown up to fear in the United States. But I do think the tides are turning. I think more people are giving birth at home.

    Thanks for your site and this conversation!

  18. Beckstar says:

    i am currently pregnant with twins, have had two home births after a cesarean that ended a long, exhausting natural labor (and that i regretted deeply for many years), and am exploring twin home birth…to be honest, at first i did not feel comfortable birthing twins and home and had resigned to birthing in a hospital…and i still might 'have to' if i am unable to find a birth team that i trust…though UC is a far off idea right now, it just might outweigh my innate FEAR to birth twins in a hospital!

  19. Heather says:

    I'll admit it – I'm too embarrassed and too afraid. When our first baby was born we lived in an apartment surrounded on all sides by college kids (I would have been terribly uncomfortable), and it was a nasty, dirty apartment that I couldn't get clean enough no matter how hard I scrubbed. I didn't feel like it was clean enough to have a baby in. Plus, I loved my doctor a lot so I didn't even look into it. When our second baby was born my husband had lost his job and we were living with my parents (and college-aged siblings) in their spare bedroom. There was no way I would've agreed to have a baby in my parents' house with everyone listening. And there was no way we could've afforded it. Finally, I'm interested, so whenever we have a third I will look into it. I at least want to do a birth center because I hate everything about the hospital experience.

  20. MJ says:

    Great article, well written. What kept me from choosing home birth with my first two children was informed consent and the lack of knowledge on where to look for homebirth Midwives. I was fearless though, as I had total respect for my body and baby, but also faith in the Lord to help me.

  21. KS says:

    During my 1st pregnancy, I was an OB nurse, so the hospital was the 'obvious' choice for me eventho I was an advocate for natural birth. I truly thought I could have a natural birth in a hospital and it would be the best of both worlds. My subsequent birth was very traumatic. Because it was so traumatic, I doubted my ability to have a 'safe' homebirth for my 2nd. I read a lot and talked to my OBs frequently about the things I wanted for my birth and tried very hard to be a good advocate for myself. However, having a natural birth in a hospital is a very hard thing to do… and to be your own most skilled advocate while in labor isn't really the best of circumstances.

    And now, again- because of the details of my 2nd hospital birth, I doubt my ability to homebirth my next.

  22. Rebekers says:

    How do I view birth? As something natural, but also as something that has been subject to the environmental, physical, and hereditary problems with which our race has to deal. Birth is a process that has to line up just right, or no matter what you do it just won't happen well. Perhaps this thinking was influenced by my first baby's birth, but I recall having a similar view before. So many things in the process of birth have to work together in such a perfect way. In this case, I think ignorance was bliss.
    What experiences have I had that have influenced this view? See above

    Deep down, do I feel like I need “help” in having a baby?
    I don't like to be alone when in pain. I prefer to have people with me who will support and encourage and help me when I'm in the throes of a contraction, when I'm delivering the baby, when I'm exhausted.

    Am I willing to truly accept the responsibility that comes with being pregnant, giving birth, being a parent, even when and especially when I cannot control every aspect of these things?
    Yes. So much so that after my last birth became a c/s it took me at least a year to recover emotionally because of the heaviness of the responsibility I felt. Imagine if I had not had help available. (C/S was for failure to decend due to malpositioning after two hours of pushing using as many positions as we knew to use.)

    Do I feel like I have to be socially acceptable in my birthing choices (often choosing hospital birth)? How important is it to me to make a choice that everyone else agrees with? Not very.

    Watch birth videos, home and hospital. Close your eyes and visualize what you want for your baby. What do you see?
    I see, if the birth goes perfectly, that I would love a home birth. However, if something were to go wrong (like it did last time), I would like to be someplace where help would be readily available. Being sure I would have access to medical help should the need arise is, in my humble opinion, being responsible for the birth. Being sure I have care providors who respect my wishes and will do everything within their power to make the birth the best for mom and baby is being responsible. Homebirth is more limited in access to emergency care. Hospital birth is more limited in access to freedom and patience.

    The greatest power we are given in pregnancy and birth is the ability to examine our fears and make conscious choices. When you think you have gotten to the bottom of it for yourself, tell me what you think.
    I am afraid of the ultimate worst case scenario, in either option. Whether the situation be a medically induced emergency, or one that occurs without any medical meddling, the fact remains that c/s is not typically available at home, and decision to incision time is longer for transfers.

    Do you respect birth? Is fear holding you back from a homebirth? If not, what is? I’d like to hear your thoughts. I have fear either way, which is why I can't let fear make the decision for me. That's why I'm praying for God to reveal to me which option is the one he wants for us, which one is right for *us*. If I know he has led me to one or the other, I can have peace that that's where we need to be. There are risks for both hospital and home birth, albeit very different risks. I have yet to determine which one's benefits outweigh its risks.

  23. beck says:

    i have the strongest desiree to have a homebirth, i'm a vbac mom ( 🙁 ) so i'm not able to find a midwife who will support a homebirth . the ones that will say that i'm to far from “thier” hosptial as the one in my town is a 5 minute drive from my home but sadly they are not welcoming to midwives. i've considered an unassisted homebirth ; i'm almost 4 months with my 2nd one so we'll see where i end up .. hopefully in the comforts of my own home welcoming our 2nd to our family !

  24. Jen says:

    I will have a homebirth, one way or another, if I have any more children (with the obvious exception of if I should find myself in a situation where I expect to need intervention). I had wanted a homebirth with my first child, but found no local midwife willing to do it and my insurance wouldn't have covered it if there had been a care provider available. I settled for a planned birth center birth, but when I went into labor my midwife wasn't available and I was told to go to the hospital. My daughter suffered side effects from “routine” intervention that was not indicated by anything other than it being hospital policy to perform certain interventions on every laboring woman and newborn.

    I'm not sure how I will manage to pay for it if we have another child as the homebirth midwives in my area charge more than I normally have available in liquid assets. We will find a way, however, as my experiences with hospital birth (mine and others I have attended) leave me more afraid of birth in a hospital than birth at home.

  25. Livvielou says:

    Up until 7 weeks ago, I would have wholeheartedly supported homebirthing – and been in total agreeance with your article. Then, I gave birth to my daughter 7 weeks ago.

    The birth of my first daughter 11 years ago was wonderful – a problem free, natural 2 hr labour. So when I became pregnant with my 2nd daughter, my plan was simple – a drug free, active birth with as little intervention as possible. For months, I prepared my body and mind with visualisations, yoga, stretching etc. Every midwife check up was on the mark -everything seeming well. I had started to worry when I couldn't get into the birthing centre in my city and could not afford private assistance at home – and so adjusted my birthing plan so that hospital staff could support my wishes and leave me to birth my way.

    After 14 hrs of drug free, active labouring, my baby's heart stopped. I had assumed a few minutes before that maybe I wasn't handling the pain as well as I could be, but kept going. I was rushed into emergency for a c-section, but began to panic when 3 other surgeons were called in to assist. 4 hrs later I was still being operated on. My baby had fallen through the bottom of my uterus a few hrs before hand, and had torn my bowel, bladder and vaginal canal. She was stuck down so far it took almost an hr for the surgeons to pull her out. I was bleeding internally and no-one knew because my cervix and other organs had swollen so far that there were no signs of trouble on the outside. I ended losing 1.5 litres of blood and was in trouble. In the following weeks I had to have 2 blood transfusions and have since been on heavy medication to try and help an infected haemotoma the size of a tennis ball. IThankfully my baby girl was ok, although now I face months of recovery, and am yet to find out if I can have any further children due to the damage to my body.

    If I was not in hospital, I could have died in childbirth, and my baby may have too. I was in no way expecting things to go so wrong. I firmly believe now that more stringent assessment and testing should be performed leading up to home birthing to rule out/reduce/eliminate/prepare for life threatening situations such as mine.

    The safety of mother and baby should be the first considered and provided for when not birthing at hospital. Life is far too precious to lose when the act of birth is so unpredictable.

  26. Amazon says:

    I disagree that opting for a hospital birth means that you give up responsibility for your birth experience, and tosses informed consent out the window. Maybe that is because I live in Canada. After an excellent first birth, in a hospital, where I had no unwanted interference and gave birth how I wanted, thanks to a great birth team (an open-minded GP who does obstetrics, a doula and my husband…as well as me, of course), I made the informed choice to go with that same team for baby #2, even though midwives and homebirths have just been covered by our health region. I met the midwives, heard what they had to say, and decided that the team I knew was better than building a new one. It takes a LOT of preparation to have the birth you want in a hospital, and you have to be prepared to sign wavers and be braced for fearmongering, but it isn't impossible, and doesn't mean I'm giving up responsibility for my experience. It means I have taken the time to 'know thine enemy' and to surround myself with likeminded people who will back my choices. That way I can have the birth experience I want, but have the help nearby if I need it. I don't expect to, but after hearing stories of difficult births in my family over multiple generations, it was a reassurance I wasn't ready to dismiss.

  27. julie says:

    I think that there is one crucial reasoning for having a hospital birth that you overlooked…and that is ignorance. A lot of women just assume that it's not an option. Either due to dis-empowerment via our modernized and medicalized society, or that they Don't have access to home birth attendants and/or the information about home births. If they feel they are safer at the hospital, it is probably because one or a combination of these aspects. As a soon to be mother at the age of 19 I was very ignorant to my birthing options. In rural new brunswick, home births are rare (culture)…and midwives are non existent. The information about homebirth was available but being so ignorant, I had no indication that I should even consider such an option. This being my 3rd birth, and 9 years later, I have a social circle of support for home birth. I have pursued information via my own empowerment about birth. Only after 2 births, Becoming certified in Human services, and teaching prenatal classes for years, did I discover the options of having a home birth. Of course, after having peer support, and learning about traditional birth attendants (and that I could have access to one), becoming aware of how my body should work during labor, and just how much the slightest interventions can interfere with my bodies ability to birth, have I made the informed decision to take back my body and trust birth. I think that as home birthing women, we need to talk about home birth…loud…tell our friends and family. Our sisters and daughters. Be the support for those who have none. Help to empower them to make their own decisions and guide them towards the information that they seek. 9 years ago, I was not in any position to home birth. I would have been scared at the prospect…and in that case (having no trust in the process) I was far better off in the hospital. Home birth is for those who are ready for it. For those who's fears have been dismantled and confidence instilled. Once a woman instead becomes fearful of the policy and cold hands of the hospital, will she look towards other options. Sending clear messages of the risks involved in industrialized and mainstream care may speak to some woman….but there will always be those who fear their own bodies..those who insist and depend on medications and interventions to quickly resolve their laboring experience. There will always be a woman who feels absolutely secure and safe having a scheduled c-section.

  28. Laura says:

    I think it's that we simply cannot describe to women in a way they can fully understand how different homebirth truly is. I had a hospital birth with my first. I considered homebirth, but insurance paid for a hospital birth. My childbirth educator was a hospital birther. I was not part of a birth community at the time, the BMJ study hadn't been published, the Business of Being Born didn't exist. Nobody told me that homebirth was just as safe, and nobody told me the vast differences between the two choices.

    I had my hospital birth – a waterbirth with a midwife. It was a good experience. Then I attended my first homebirth as a doula. Wow. The respect, the individuality of each experience, the way the mother and baby are honored. There is no comparison between the two, even when the hospital birth goes off exactly as hoped. Needless to say, my second was born at home. I think fear plays a part, definitely. I also think that words can't convey to women how precious the homebirth experience it is. If you haven't done it both ways, you just can't really understand, in your heart, why those of us who love homebirth are so passionate about it.

  29. Rose says:

    That's what held me back from my last home birth. My insurance would cover all prenatal and the birth for $250. Total. Home birth would cost me a couple of thousand. For this baby, we're doing a home birth, but it is expensive. My midwife would work with me, but I really don't have anything to barter, and the bottom line is I still have to pay (and I think that's, uh, reasonable!!). It will be money well spent.

  30. Melissa says:

    I often hear moms say that the first time they want the hospital birth to make sure everything's OK (fear), but if it all turns out well, then they'll do a homebirth the next time around. It's like they have to give their pelvis a test drive first. I think one of three things happens – mom has a great birth and wonders why she bothered with the hospital; mom has a crappy birth and wonders why she went to a place that undermined her (my story); mom has an “emergency” situation and feels the doctors saved her, never questioning if the doctors caused it.

  31. Guest says:

    Money! I came across your site looking for proof that my insurance, which covers maternity but is refusing to cover homebirth as it is not “standard of care” due to the “risk factor”, must pay for it. I absolutely need them to do this, as I am self-employed, not wealthy, and will be funding my own maternity leave. The midwives' fee = the cost of several months at home with the baby after birth. I am determined that the insurance will pay for it. At this point, knowing what I know about hospitals, I'd rather give birth alone at home than set foot in one.

  32. Reese says:

    After two hospital births, one cesarean and one VBAC, I'm now more afraid of birthing in a hospital than almost anywhere on Earth. I don't need a doctor or a hospital to safely have a baby, I need respect and safety. I'm now working as a doula in hospitals and the belief is ever being reinforced that hospitals as a rule (with very few exceptions) provide neither of those.

    Having said that, I need my husband's blessing… why? Because this is OUR family and OUR birth and if he is fearful or if he feels disregarded – this will undermine the safe and beautiful experience of a homebirth – as well as a fundamental trust in our relationship – our family base. I cannot have faith in Birth for him, I can only hope he will catch some of my own. I'm excited that 2 birthing centers have opened recently in my community, so we have options, we'll continue the conversation and see how it unfolds the next time around.

  33. Holly Fix says:

    I'm so sorry you went through such a difficult and scary experience with the birth of your daughter. And of course, no one can really know what would have happened if you had been laboring at home instead of in the hospital. But I think it is a misconception that your complications would not have been identified or you would not have gotten the care you needed, had you planned a home birth. Home birth midwives are highly trained to identify complications and transfer to a hospital when problems arise. It is really awful what happened to you, but obviously no one knew about it until it happened, even in the hospital setting. And even though it took an hour to get your baby out in surgery, she was still ok. Unless you live in a very remote area, chances are, the same outcome would have occurred even if you had been at home.

    It is quite obvious that you and your baby required lifesaving surgery and hospital care, and that was surely very traumatic for you to go through, but it is not fair or accurate to say that you would have surely died had you planned a home birth. In all likelihood, the outcome would have been exactly the same, with the only difference being that you would have just gone into the hospital when the difficulty became apparent.

    I wish you all the best in your recovery!

  34. Great questions. I chose a hospital birth for both of my children. My last was a natural drug-free birth w/o any issues with my OB or hospital regarding my choices. (My OB is a proponent of NCB, which is nearly unheard of these days, right?) Part of my decision to have a hospital birth was emotional – I have a really good relationship with my OB and I wanted to keep seeing her on a regular basis and have her there for the delivery of my baby. Anyway, I do want a homebirth next time around. I hated the drive to the hospital while I was in hard labor. And I can't stand being in the hospital post-partum either. The one thing that is holding me back is that I will have to drive about an hour each way for each of my midwife appointments (there are no other closer options). I'll probably just suck it up and go for the homebirth though!

  35. Sara Eiser says:

    There are many studies showing that the “decision to incision” time is no different for hospital birth than for homebirth/freestanding birth center transfers.

    I also had 3 midwives (1 full midwife, 2 students) and a doula with me during my homebirth. That's a 4:1 ratio for “not being alone” during birth. In the hospital, I was left alone for 9 hours because I was hooked up to an external fetal monitor.

  36. Kmosny says:

    You Get What You Pay For…

    Pay $250 – $3000 out-of-pocket and get a hospital birth: no control, too many potential interventions, people telling YOU what to do, your baby taken away from you, restricted # of support persons, no siblings allowed, rarely if ever vertical or water birthing, a FIGHT if you say NO to routine procedure and protocols, 1 in 3 risk of having a C-Section…

    $3000 and a home birth… none of the above and with a skilled birth attendant who respects your choice and protects both the sacred and the safety. C-section rate less than %10 for most HB midwives.

    So you think you can't afford it? Think about WHERE you prioritize your spending throughout a year's time…

    Cut household costs… save your money… reduce unnecessary and/or luxury spending… get rid of cable TV/Triple Play/HBO for a year (that's over $1300 right there!) Stop buying Starbucks ($5 a pop x 5 days/week = $1300/year). Make a grocery list and STICK to it every time you grocery shop and don't buy any junk and/or processed foods (save $50/trip). STOP going OUT to eat, going to the movies and START spending more time at home, making family meals and playing games & having meaningful conversation… One movie night out with the hubby & kids can run upwards of $60 just for admission! Don't take a summer vacation. SAVE… SAVE… SAVE!

    You would be surprised how FAST you can save $3000-$3500 if you REALLY want a home birth! Small signature loans are
    available to persons with average to good credit. MedLoanFinance.com is one resource. Talk with your local financial institution.
    $3000 financed for 18 months @ 7% interest is $176/month. YOU CAN DO IT!!

    It really CAN be done if you REALLY want a home birth and you THINK you can't afford it
    See: http://richmondmidwife.com/Documents/YouGetWant

    'Nuf said… My 2 cents.

    Kim Mosny, CPM, LM
    Home Birth Midwifery Service
    http://www.RichmondMidwife.com

  37. Kmosny says:

    See my post above…

    Kim Mosny, CPM, LM
    Home Birth Midwifery Service
    http://www.RichmondMidwife.com

  38. Biv322 says:

    See if you can find a doula working on her certification. Most will work with you. I am working on my certification and will gladly help a mother if she is willing to fill out the short form that I need for certification. I have even volunteered at a teen pregnancy center. We are out there, just keep looking!!

  39. Biv322 says:

    I am glad you were in the hospital for this birth. When I was in the hospital for my other births, I was left alone, unattended for hours. For my last birth (#4) I was at home with 2 midwives in attendance (one was in training). They watched me like a hawk. They never left my side. They were wonderful. I felt that I was observed more closely by having a homebirth, than a hospital birth. Hospitals get complacent. They have access to surgery and other interventions at a moments notice. Could it be that this would never have gotten to be an emergency if you did have a home birth?? Wouldn't you have been watched more carefully? Wouldn't your midwife have known that something wasn't “right”? Our intuition does tell us when something is wrong. While I am sorry that you had to go through this ordeal, I am not convinced that the hospital wasn't in someway responsible for making this worse. Didn't anyone check you to see the position of the baby? Couldn't they feel that the baby went through your uterus? I'm sorry to bring up these questions, but I think you have a case for litigation. I would seriously look into it.

  40. Krystil says:

    I am intending on a home birth for my next child. My first was born in a hospital, with CNMs. I'm not sure of it was the CNM, o rjust because of how many women were in labor that day, but I was left essentially on my own until I felt the urge to push. …20 minutes of waiting for the CNM to come into the room to give me the Go Ahead for pushing was the worst part of my entire labor. I loved my daughter's birth. I did it pretty much myself, with my loved ones for support. But after she was born, my daughter was randomly wisked away for tests, and I was unable to curl up with my family. I'm determined to have a home birth for any future children because I feel that birth is a natural family moment, NOT a medical procedure. I can birth, all I need to do is trust myself and my body. Home birth will give me that, with the emotional / familial support that giving birth ought to center around. I'm adding to my family, it ought to be about us.

  41. Biv322 says:

    I would also like to clarify that most doulas will not do a homebirth without a midwife or doctor in attendance. We can have our certification revolked if we were to attend you at home without a trained health provider. I am not saying that you could not do it on your own (I think you could), but we have standards that we must abide by. I'm in Jersey in case anyone is interested! Happy & Healthy Birthing!!

  42. Guest says:

    Honestly, at least among my friends, the reason most aren't having a homebirth is because it's $X000 for a homebirth and a couple hundred after insurance for a hospital birth. Granted, the last person who did that (twice, mind you) had a c-section… and another c-section.

  43. Tara says:

    Lack of access to a midwife. They are illegal in my state. 🙁

  44. enjoybirth says:

    Thank you for talking about this. I agree, I think that you are right, it is fear that is holding women back from so many things in their births. You ask some great questions to get moms thinking about what they may be afraid of and anything else that may be holding them back.

    I just did a post on some other ideas to help moms move past their fears. http://enjoybirth.com/blog/2010/08/05/does-moth

    It may be helpful for moms who want to make choices based on information and intuition instead of fears.

  45. Erin says:

    I did finally choose homebirth for my third and fourth pregnancies but I will tell you why I did not choose homebirth sooner. Even after I became fully informed and had done a tremendous amount of research, I still had a hard time letting go of societal influence and accepting something that was so far against the grain. It seemed like such an uphill battle – there were no midwives in my area *legally* able to attend homebirths, it cost so much more than my completely free hospital birth, my husband was totally against the idea, and I had lost a lot of faith in my body after having a one hospital birth where I went 18 days past my due date without any dilation or effacement (100% sure of my dates) and then being induced after failing an NST/BPP and giving birth to a baby showing every sing of post maturity. I think a woman has to be very confident in her choice in order to go underground, shell out $$ all the while changing her husband's ideas as well. I felt that I could have my 'homebirth in a hospital' by educating myself, hiring a doula and making different choices within the hospital system. I did it. I had my natural hospital birth complete with no IV, not even a heplock, pushed my baby out on all fours….but I learned the hard way that there really is no such thing as a homebirth in a hospital. It really took realizing that to gain the strength within to do what was best for my future babies by giving birth at home.

  46. runthegamut says:

    I've been rejected by every midwife in the area. I could expand my circle by a couple of hours and possibly find one, but I'm not comfortable with that distance. I could travel to someone else's house and use one of these midwives, but that defeats the purpose of HOME birth to me. I have considered a traveling midwife, but I've always been suspicious of how that works. Right now, my plan is to have a monitrice at home as long as possible.

  47. Kari says:

    I want to have a home birth very much. I had my first 3 in the hospital, and had made the decision to have a home birth next time. But then i had an unexpected breech birth with my 3rd, ended up with a surprise c-section, and now am facing a different circumstance.

    I am so afraid that I will choose a home birth out of selfish reasons, to see if I can really “do it”, to truly experience childbirth; and I will be that small 1% that experiences a uterine rupture, and I will lose my baby, maybe even my own life. And for what? To prove something to myself? I could just get another c-section and have a safe, relatively uneventful delivery. There are some disappointments in life, and we can't have it all…would I rather miss out on the birth experience, or lose a child?

    I am afraid.

  48. MamaV says:

    Our insurance company didn’t originally cover our home births either, but with persistence and time, we followed the appeals process and eventually ended up having both covered for 80% of the total cost. Our midwife was willing to drop the remaining 20% (she also charged the insurance company more than she would charge us, knowing that we wouldn’t get the full amount). Two home births: free.

    I find the insurance argument to be yet another excuse for a lot of women who can afford to cover the first few payment installations until the insurance money comes in. There’s always a way if you ask questions, push, talk to the right people, write down in one place all conversations and names and dates, and persist through the appeals process. One of the only honest insurance folks we talked to even admitted to the fact that she was required at her level to automatically deny our claim but that if we continued through the appeals process (which most people usually end up giving up on), we’d get what we wanted. She was right! We proved that home birth was the best option for us and shared stats demonstrating that it was as safe (or safer) AND cheaper than a hospital birth, and it worked.

    It was worth the process for us, if only to be able to set the precedent for other people (and for our future births) and as a matter of principle. We can’t let money and especially insurance companies dictate our choices.

  49. MamaV says:

    We came to this conclusion as well. Being able to birth at home with the caregiver we wanted felt like a long-term investment. It was worth every penny we would have had to shell out of pocket. We started saving (and asking family for help) as we followed through the appeals process for our insurance company. After a lot of time, phone calls, letters written, conversations, persistence, and being as annoying as we could, our insurance company covered both of our home births!

  50. guest says:

    Granted I’m not in the USA, but I wanted a homebirth. I wanted one, but couldn’t find a midwife to attend me at home. Everywhere I turned, I was told it was illegal and that anyone who attended a homebirth where either the mother or baby died would be held legally responsible. Yes, I transferred responsibility from friends (who would have refused to attend me unassisted at home) to the hospital. I had to choose between having a hospital birth or going completely unassisted (and I mean completely–just me and the baby). In the end I chose the hospital, and I have an unnecessary low transverse uterine scar to prove it, too. 🙁

  51. Ann says:

    Totally random but it was the noise. I lived in an apartment building! I went to a stand alone birth center instead, until I got very, very sick, and so did my son. But it was in steps where I was in control for each decision. That’s what matters. But yeah, self consciousness can make a lot of women decide to go elsewhere!~

  52. NJ_Mom says:

    I agree with Amazon. I had an excellent, natural first birth in a hospital in NJ. I didn’t have to do anything extraordinary to have it that way, either. My water broke at midnight and I called my doc when my contractions were a few mins apart, hubby and I drove in, and out popped my daughter an hour later. They put me on the monitor for only 5 minutes when I arrived to check the baby’s heartbeat, and then I was up and free to do as I pleased until the doc said it was time to push. The nursing staff told me that they love moms like me! And this large medical center provides intense support for breastfeeding and free, round-the-clock access to lactation consultants. Had there been complications, I would have had the resources available, if needed. I had no fear about birth, whatsoever – until my water broke and my legs turned to jelly (OMG, this is really it!!) – and I couldn’t have ordered a better experience.

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