wanting a water birth at home for our first child....AM I CRAZY?

Sarah - posted on 01/27/2010 ( 16 moms have responded )

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title pretty much says it all...
this is our first child, due may 6-7 th-ish, and we'd like to give birth at home, in the water.
(i tell my friends and family and they think we're nuts >.< )
ive done my homework (almost two years of research) and we decided this before we even got pregnant.
now...im not so confident.
my mother says that i should give birth at least once (in the hospital) to see how it goes but 1. we only intend to have one child....she knows this...and 2. from what ive heard, every pregnancy is diffrent.
so are we really as crazy as they make us sound or are there other parents out there that were brave enough to try it the first time too?

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Heidi - posted on 03/30/2010

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Oh man, Sarah, it's the same story in most places love! i live in South Africa and everyone here said we were nuts. My birth was attended by my hubby, doula and midwife. it was quiet, I was unhurried, played my own music etc. The benefits totally out-way anything anyone could possibly tell you love. There is nothing to relax and ease the concerns of a first time mom like the smell of home when those contractions arrive...You can do this, your body will guide you. This is YOUR child not your mother's...she had her chance :o) When you look back and have wonderful memories of the birth of your amazing child, you will be able to thank yourself and your hubby for making that very important decision.

just remember it's your body and your baby!

Much love and a blessed birth to you both, no matter how :o)

xx Heidi

Chelsey - posted on 03/18/2010

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NO! You are NOT crazy! Some people think I am crazy. I am planning a VBAC (vaginal birth after cesarean) at home with my second child due July 8th. My first was a planned cesarean. I also highly recomend Ina May Gaskins 'Guide to Natural Childbirth' it has given me alot of confidence. Good luck! =)

Jemima - posted on 03/18/2010

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If it's what you both want and you've had a healthy pregnancy then go for it! I had my 1st baby in Dec 2008 at home in water - it was amazing and I can't wait to do it again. I just felt completely relaxed and comfortable the whole time. That's not to say that complications never arise but if you feel it's the right decision for you then don't let other people push their own opinions onto you. Good luck!!!!

Karen - posted on 03/14/2010

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You're not crazy, and I think it's really important you don't let other people's preconceptions take away you options. My son Theo just turned 1 last week and he was born at home. I am so happy that we did it that way and even though it was my first birth I never really thought of it as a risky option. I always knew that if there were complications we could and would go to the hospital. Having talked to other mums who had a variety of birth experiences I am even more definite that I want to have a home birth next time too. I was absolutely shocked to hear some of my friends (hospital births all) describe their birth experiences as awful. I would describe my labour as hard hard work and painful, but I felt strong and powerful and I knew I could do it. Noone took my choices away from me, and the baby and I were the focus of everything that was going on. I would totally recommend it, so don't let someone else's fears control your life

Karly - posted on 03/10/2010

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We just welcomed our first in December. I like you had long decided to have the birth take place at home in the water. My mom was not supportive saying the same yours is saying. Basically she said I didn't know how my body would handle delivery and I should be in a hospital in case something goes wrong. I continued with my plan though being confident I had made the right choice. I reassured her the midwife would not be planning a home birth if I was having complications and we have a back up plan if there is an emergency.
The birth went smoothly, we labored in the pool and started to push there. I wasn't able to see my progress and honestly don't think I was pushing very well so the midwife had us move to the bed. I was originally against the idea of being on the bed leaning on my back but also told myself to just go with the flow. So in the moment it really didn't matter I just wanted the baby out.
My next one will be at home it was so peaceful, we had soft music playing, candles lit, the fire going and it was so nice to be in my own space. It made the experience feel more spiritual and connected rather than a medical procedure. I loved it. You can do it!

Allison - posted on 03/08/2010

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I didn't mean to sound too negative about hospitals and doctors, either. My sis-in-law is an OB nurse, and they definitely do everything they feel is best for the baby, but are also bound by hospital rules which sometimes aren't. Still, they do save a lot of moms and babies who need emergency care, and I am grateful for the care I got there. For normal, non-emergency care and even "small" emergency care for me and my baby, my midwife did a FAR better job, though, than the doctors did, because she was way more attentive, thoughtful and hands-on. Doctors just don't have time to be by your side and listen to ALL your concerns :)

Allison - posted on 03/08/2010

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Great job doing your homework. Being informed is the most important thing, so you are able to make informed decisions as the need arises! I was 25 and always wanted a peaceful home birth, and became even more convinced when I learned that a lot of unecessary hospital interventions can actually cause serious complications. My own mom had a terrible induced labor and hosptial birth with my younger brother 12 yrs ago. I've heard people comment that moms choose home or natural birth to "prove something" or for other selfish reasons. Definitely a lot of people asked me why and were worried it wasn't safe, but I think one of the best explanations you can give people is that you are choosing the method that you feel (based on research) is the safest and has LESS risks. It's true that for healthy moms and babies with no complications during pregnancy, the mortality outcomes for attended home births are statistically the same as hospital, with LESS risks of inverventions, c-section and other labor and birth complications. You probably know all this...but the World Health Organization recognizes that when c-section rates are above ~15%, the risks to women and babies are actually INCREASED over natural birth. That is, less than 15% of births should require a c-section for an improved outcome. Beyond that, the c-section actually makes the outcome worse. And they recognize that *early* induction rates are far too high, one factor driving up c-section rates. And the list of risky interventions goes on and on... Many women in my family "stall out" when they get to the hospital during labor - that is, their labor ceases to progress - and I feel that's because our "fight our flight" response is designed to shut down labor if we are in an uncomfortable, stressfull or strange situation. The oxytocin which drives labor simply shuts off as adrenaline overtakes it. Since hospitals and doctors seriously stress me out, I really didn't think I could relax enough to give birth there!

I had my first at home (3 years ago) with an experienced midwife (and assistant midwife) my mom and husband. After a really peaceful 12 hour labor and 1.5 hours of pushing, he was born healthy and strong at 9 lbs. 7 oz. He was almost 3 weeks past his "estimated due date", my water broke over 24 hours before my active labor started, and he was a "big baby" so I am sure any OB would have wanted to induce me on multiple occasions, which is why I am VERY grateful I had a homebirth.

I was unfortunate enough to have a severe hemmorhage afterward and had to go to the hospital in an ambulance, but my baby got to stay home with his daddy, uncle and grandma. Not to scare, but the emergency room care was terrible in my case - I think because I didn't have my baby with me they didn't understand that I had just given birth, it took about 1.5 hours to see an OB and I ended up needed several blood transfusions. But I am very grateful that once I got an OB he took great care of me and a few months later I was back to normal. So I would definitely check that your local ER is a good one, and ask around about how a transfer would go if you needed one. If at all possible, I think having a relationship with an open-minded OB is the best back-up plan, in case you need follow up surgery (I did), and to get advice about how to navigate the local hospital and ER. I did have a good OB, but terminated the relationship because I *thought* that was required to have a home birth. Although OBs can't care for you during a homebirth, I realized afterware that she could always be my OB for pre-natal and follow-up care, surgery, etc, and I still consult her today. She even fills me in on how the ER works, how OBs typically work, etc., so I think and OB is a valuable resource when you are trying to be as prepared and educated as possible, but I don't know if many are as open-minded as mine!

Sheryl - posted on 03/02/2010

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I had Elsie at home with my midwife, my husband and our cat & dog. That was it. She is our first. I felt the same stuff with the 'am I crazy to have my first at home?' but honestly what did people do before dr's and hospitals? Birth must be 1) safe 2) possible 3) repeatable because look how many people there are in the world! Be prepared to transfer if it ends up that you need hospital help with complications (if they even happen)
My labour was an 11 hour active labour with no drugs/ gas/ needles. I had a big bath full of hot water and that helped with the pain. I got a small tear and that was it. And the placenta came out about 1.5hrs after Elsie.
I would not hesitate to do that all again tomorrow for another little bubby!
I chose homebirth because I didn't want to go to the hospital and be dealing with contractions and have some midwife (I'm sure very well- meaning) trying to give me an epidural which I didn't want. Hospitals have their routine and everyone likes to stick to their routine. And it was really nice not having people rushing about and sleeping in our own bed with our new bubby that night!
My husband is all keen to have our other babies at home, and he even handed out our midwife's card to our pregnant friends (who are now having a homebirth too!)
If you are low risk, and keen by all means ignore your mum, you can always have your second in hospital! (if you have one that is)
Good luck, you can do it, your body is made to do it and don't be afraid to transfer if it gets beyond you, or bubby needs help.

Becca - posted on 02/21/2010

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Go with your homebirth, you will love it! I had a home water birth with my daughter and it was the best thing ever. Everyone was calling me crazy but I knew deep down that it would be far more crazy to let other peoples ideas get in the way of what me and my partner wanted. Its your birth experience not anyone elses, so make sure you make it is your own. You dont need anyone pushing you around. GOOD LUCK

Jennifer - posted on 02/12/2010

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follow your gut. my 1st was born in a free standing birth center with a midwife in a wonderful water birth. I would have chosen a homebirht then, but it was not legal at the time. my 2nd was a planned homebirth but I needed to transfer to hospital because my membranes had ruptured and I had no contractions. my third was born at home in a birth pool that I set up in my bedroom.



you are not crazy. you have done your research and feel this is what is right for you. bottom line is that YOU have to be comfortable with your birth setting and attendants. no one else. your being comfortable with it is integral to your being able to let go and relax and let your body do what it needs to do.



Midwives screen for complications during pregnancy and usually when a transfer during labour is necessary it's because mom has become tired and/or has decided she wants pharmacologic pain releif. it's rarely the kind of transfer that would be considered an emergency that requires ambulance and flashing lights. very often mom and dad get in their car and drive to the hosp either with the mw in the same car or following behind. where I live, MWs bring oxygen and drugs to stop hemoraging to your house. and there is always a 2nd MW present too. One for mom and one for baby.



Birth is not a medical emergency. it is a normal physiological event in the vast majority of cases.

Erin - posted on 02/03/2010

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You are NOT crazy! My son was born Oct. 27 2009 at home in a pool. My husband delivered him with the midwife and her wonderful assistant present. It was the greatest experience ever. He is our first child, my husbands second. Even my husband was like 'wow, this is totally the way to go,' His daughter was born at the hospital and he said that even though it went ok he could tell I was more comfortable and happier at home. I got to hang out and pet our dog while labor progressed. It was awesome and we know that all our future children will be born at home too. I read Ina May's guide to natural child birth and that really helped my confidence. Also watch Orgasmic Birth or The Business of Being Born with the 'doubters' and see if that doesn't help. I know it helped in my case. I wish you lots of luck! Please post and tell us how everything goes! I hope it's everything you expect and wish for :)

[deleted account]

Not crazy at all...we had our first child at home in the bathtub with our midwife and her birth assistant present. Labor lasted 6 hours...I pushed for a half hour. It was an amazing, awesome, beautiful birth. I recommend taking Bradley Method classes or at least reading "Natural Childbirth the Bradley Way" to increase your confidence. :)

Karen - posted on 01/30/2010

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You are not crazy at all!! All my kids were born at home in the water and all my "kids to come" will be too!! i could not think of a better way or place to have your child. It was the best choice we ever made with our first baby. There is nothing like it in the world and starting off motherhood with an awesome natural home birth is so empowering. If that is want you think is the best choice for your family you should do it regardless of what people think.

[deleted account]

HI Sarah
I don't think you're crazy at all. Like you, I did a lot of research prior to falling pregnant and found that I was safest and least likely to have tearing and other problems if I birthed at home, in water. So I did! Twice!
Having my first baby at home was the most amazing and empowering experience of my life and I could never imagine going to the hospital to give birth now unless it was truly necessary.
My mums a retired emergency doc and was pretty freaked out by it - but she came around when she realised I really knew what I was talking about.
Good luck - you can do it!
PS I go to a playgroup where 4 of the 6 mums had their first babies at home - the other 2 attempted it but ended up transferring - one before labour began (breech bub) and the other after labour began (failure to progress)

Fonda - posted on 01/27/2010

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I wanted to have my first at home, but I had no idea that it was a legitimate option at the time. I'll summarize by saying that our hospital experience was a nightmare. It sucks when you're on someone else's turf, and they will remind you that you're in their domain. Many common hospital policies are not good for mom or baby, yet they still insist that you follow them despite decades of research stating the contrary. There's a reason every single study out there shows home birth/birthing centers with midwives consistently have better outcomes than birth in a hospital.



If you're healthy, low risk, and have a good midwife then you should be fine to deliver at home. I wished I'd done so with my first. My second child was born at home and my third will be born at home in March. After what happened with my first child, I would not risk birthing in a hospital again unless there was some complication and my midwife and I felt that it would be best.



Everyone (generally speaking) is always so quick to point out the risks of homebirthing and so quick to ignore the very real risks of birthing in a hospital. You and your partner should weigh out the risks of both sides together and decide what's best for you and screw what anyone else, including your family and friends, may think. Everyone thought I was nuts at first too. Now several of my friends and family have gone on to have homebirths of their own.



Congratulations on your pregnancy and I wish you well.

Becky - posted on 01/27/2010

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Unfortunately, I didn't start with homebirths until my 4th child. Wish I had done the research to start with child one or two! My midwife talks about having to 'transport' (go to the hospital), and how often that happens. For her, 99% of the time it is 'first time moms' with 'failure to progress'. But, then if you look at the video, 'The Business of Being Born" you can get a picture of how sometimes the Drs and nurses in the hospital environment cause many more problems than they need to because of impatience. For instance, the c-section rate jumps at 4pm and 10pm. Why? Dr. wants to go home for the evening, or Dr doesn't want to be up all night, so lets just get it done the quick and easy way (for him).

So, I guess I am trying to provide both sides of the picture. I believe that if you have a knowledgeable midwife with you during labor, you are just as safe at home (if not safer). Talk to your midwife ahead of time about first time moms, and how she handles 'failure to progress'. Be prepared ahead of time for whatever options she presents.

My parents were a bit hesitant at first as well...and so was hubby, but now hubby and mom are sold on it. Since I have had hospital and homebirth, I could tell you some stories! :)

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