At Home Births

[deleted account] ( 40 moms have responded )

Hello Ladies,

Some background history....
I had my first and only child (for now) in Feb of 2006. I was young healthy, and strong. My pregnancy was low risk. No problems at anytime. I did a lot of research and knew what to expect at labor time. So on that fateful day I woke up at 4:30ish am and knew I was in the beginning stages of active labor. I cleaned, showered, took my husband to work, and drove myself to the hospital. I got there and told the E.R staff I was in labor...I then waited 15 minutes in the lobby. They took me back smirking, saying I probably was not in labor (my guess is because I was so calm) and found to their suprise I was already dialated 4 sm. My water broke before I could even make phone calls. The staff without asking began giving me pitocin (I do not know why, there was no reason too, it was still a few days before my due date) I don't know how many of you know about the bad effects pitocin can have you and your child...but my child's heart rate began to drop the minute the stuff hit my blood stream. the birth went fine other than the fact that the staff rushed and I mean rushed. Ladies this was my first child and I birthed in 45 minutes. I tore so badly. It was an entire year before I could sit down and it not hurt....

Now I would like to try for baby 2, but I am scared not only for myself but for my child to give birth in another hospital. So I am thinking of giving birth at home. I would be seen by a midwife that works alongside doctors. If something were to go wrong there is a hospital not even a mile away. I would go through all the motions and have a back up plan..just on the fateful day i would give birth at home, unassisted. I'm here in Al. Here it is illegal to have an "assisted" at home birth. I realize that some of you won't understand and will be outraged. I ask that you not comment and do the whole hate mail thing esp. if you are uneducated on the subject. I would like to know how many of you if any, have ever done it, and what your thoughts are..and are there any resources esp. local that i could utilize..? Thankyou..

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Jeanne - posted on 12/06/2009

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I wanted to deliver my 2 children naturally, but I assisted my good friend with her attempt to home birth. Poor thing labored for hours and hours and the midwife let her go to exhaustion. The baby wasn't coming out. We ended up taking her to the hospital and she ended up having the baby by c-section and the doctor was furious for fear her uterus could have ruptured. Turns out she had all 3 children by c-section - just not made to deliver vaginally. After that experience my goal was still to deliver naturally so I sought out a physician who would let me within the confines of a hospital. My husband and I took natural childbirth classes and when I started laboring with my first I stayed at home as long as I could and ate and drank all I wanted. Once I got to the hospital I knew they'd want to get the monitor on me and that would limit my ability to walk and stand. So I didn't go until I knew I had to, but I gave my doc and the hospital advance notice I was coming so they were prepared for me when I showed up. My doc let me do all the work and the nurses were great. I delivered naturally and without any medication. Everything went so well. For my second daughter I had the same physician and did it all over again the second time. So I felt like I had the natural birth experience I wanted. In addition, both my babies spent their entire time in my room with me caring for them and not in the nursery. I did enjoy having the nurses help to get me water, food, sitz bath, etc.

Nicole - posted on 12/06/2009

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I really wanted an at home birth and made it part of my 'birthing plan' with my Midwife. At the last minute I then decided I would like to use the umbilical cord blood bank facility (freezing blood from the umbilical cord for future medical use on your child) which meant I had to be in hospital for the birth. I was a a bit upset by not getting the home birth plan I wanted, but unbeknown to me, this was a blessing in disguise. On labour day, I went into hospital 5cm dilated and doing very well. Then all of a sudden I started haemorrhaging because the placenta had come away from the uterus. I ending up having a Crash Ceasarian and my baby had just minutes to come out without loosing oxygen. Today I have a healthy 10month girl thanks to an incredible team of hospital staff who helped delivered a healthy baby girl that day. So, in short, always expect the unexpected. It's a risk having a home birth. Your baby life matters more than anything and surely that comes first. But good luck with whatever you decide.

Debra - posted on 12/06/2009

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Did you know that when there were no midwives or doctors, childbirth was the leading cause of death for women? That is the reason why we have hospitals to give birth in & are very lucky to do so.

Betsy - posted on 12/05/2009

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I hate being in the hospital and looked into home births, but I can share why I decided I never would. I have given birth many times. Our second child was stillborn (not due to error and couldn't have been prevented). With our 4th, I had an extreme placenta tear, where I began bleeding out and we were losing him. I had always delivered naturally, but this time, during a normal labor, things went wrong. They had 15 min to get him out by c/s, and it was a scare because they didn't think they could get me in the OR that fast. If I was home, even with all the back-up plans in the world, I couldn't have gotten into the car that fast, nevermind to a hospital OR. Having gone through the death of a baby, I know for me, I would never get over or cope with that again, knowing my choice played a factor. He was the one I was going to have at home too, so that really hits me. At that time I had delivered 3 times already in 16 yrs and knew how I delivered, but childbirth can't be predicted. Many have great home births, but I can tell you all 5 of my births have had unexpected differences, so if something did go wrong, I know I couldn't live with it. I may have a different perspective because I have delivered a child that didn't make it through labor, but of course experiences like that do give you a different perspective. Our now 3 yr old would have been lost if I had made that call.

Meg - posted on 04/22/2011

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The best thing I ever did was have a homebirth! And having had 3 hospital births first I can not exaggerate the difference between home and hospital. Stay home!

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Kate CP - posted on 12/16/2009

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I don't think Brittany would be arrested, but the midwife certainly would.

C. - posted on 12/16/2009

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Quoting Lisa:

My first birth was in hospital, I was induced for being 10 days over due date (apparently) I ended up with an epidural and a forceps delivery and tore badly. After this birth I was terrified to go back to hospital but I found a doula (she was a midwife in training) and I ended up with the same OB in the same hospital but had my second baby naturally on my terms. Having my doula there gave me confidence to stand up to the hospital staff about my rights and made me realise that I could make my own decisions about what happened to myself and my baby.
I have watched some programs based in America on births and births there seem more medicalised. Here (Australia) I can choose what happens to my baby after the birth, as soon as they were born they were handed straight to me, no drops in their eyes, no injections we didn't want.
Anyway I ended up having my third and fourth babies at home in a birth pool, with my midwife. I would encourage you to have a birth at home with someone who is experienced but not alone. Do you have access to any doulas who can speak on your behalf when you are in labour?
Good luck!


Here (America) you can choose what you do or don't want the doctors to do to your baby once you have delivered. If on the programs you watched DID have the things that you mentioned (eye drops, injections, etc) then the mother had not requested that they NOT do those things to her baby. All you have to do is ask. Also, it is illegal in Brittany's state (Alabama). If something happened to her baby when she delivered at home, couldn't she be arrested for attempting an at home birth?? Probably so. Why risk it, especially when you have another child already?

C. - posted on 12/16/2009

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I'll tell you why they gave you Pitocin. Once your water breaks, they want to make sure that you deliver as quickly as possible. Since your Amniotic Sac is now open, both you AND your baby are prone to infection if your labor takes long to progress. So really it was in your best interest, just in case it started slowing down (pretty rare, but still happens).



Both of my sisters have had Pitocin and have never had a problem with it dropping the baby's heart rate or anything, and they are both high risk for every pregnancy they have. Sometimes it just depends on how much distress the baby is already in, it doesn't necessarily have anything to do with the medication they gave you.



I'm not outraged that you want a home birth, but kind of grossed out. To me that's just something that should be done in a hospital. If something did go wrong during delivery and you had to go to the hospital, a mile away in an emergency would be too far. And it always seems like there is bad traffic whenever you need to get somewhere fast.. I wouldn't chance it if I were you. It's best to be in the hospital where, if God forbid something DID go wrong, you would be able to have an emergency C-Section, operation, whatever you may need, all practically within an arm's reach (well, maybe a long arm.. But I think you get what I'm saying).

Kate CP - posted on 12/15/2009

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Quoting Heather:

My concern with a home birth is that sometimes a few minutes away is to long. My first birth went great no problems. The second one went fine until the last few minutes when he didn't blow his lungs up all the way. He may have had some serious damage to his little body if we weren't right there.

Have you considered a birthing center instead of a hospital. They are generally more willing to go with what you want to have done unless it is needed for a medical reason. They are located at a hospital but you won't go to the er you would go straight to the birthing center. I don't know where you are in AL but most states have on especially near rural areas.

I had another friend whose son had the cord wrapped around his neck and needed cpr right after birth. You do run a risk at home that you wouldn't run in the hospital.

Good luck with whatever choice you make.


All of the things you just mentioned can be dealt with by a well trained, certified nurse-midwife. Midwives aren't just your next door neighbor who pops in with a towel and tells you to bite down on a stick and push. They are trained, highly experience health care professionals and KNOW what they are doing.

Heather - posted on 12/15/2009

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My concern with a home birth is that sometimes a few minutes away is to long. My first birth went great no problems. The second one went fine until the last few minutes when he didn't blow his lungs up all the way. He may have had some serious damage to his little body if we weren't right there.

Have you considered a birthing center instead of a hospital. They are generally more willing to go with what you want to have done unless it is needed for a medical reason. They are located at a hospital but you won't go to the er you would go straight to the birthing center. I don't know where you are in AL but most states have on especially near rural areas.

I had another friend whose son had the cord wrapped around his neck and needed cpr right after birth. You do run a risk at home that you wouldn't run in the hospital.

Good luck with whatever choice you make.

Stefanie - posted on 12/08/2009

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I just had a home birth with a CPM in May. My older 2 girls were born in hospitals and I wanted a home birth b/c I was not happy with how we were treated in the hospital. Both of my hospital births were low risk, drug free and had no complications at all. I felt like I knew my body, how I reacted to labor and was very confident with my choice in midwife. the labor went great until the placenta came out and then I experienced uterine atony and started to hemorrhage. My midwife gave me 5 units (if I remember right) of pitocin in attempts to clamp the uterus and stop the bleeding but they didn't work and I had to take an ambulance ride to the ER. There was no way I could have expected my 3rd birth to have something like this go wrong when my first to went off without a hitch. Had I done an Unassisted homebirth I might have died.

I strongly suggest finding a birth center or having a hospital birth with a MIDWIFE in place of an OB. They are more gentle and do not attempt to treat labor as an illness to be treated.

Having said that, I DO plan to have my next baby with the same midwife at home as well b/c it was still a much better experience than in the hospital with an OB. If you could find a way (like going over state lines or something) to have a "home" birth or a birth center birth I would HIGHLY recommend it over a hospital birth. However, I think that a hospital birth is better than an unassisted birth.

Sharon - posted on 12/08/2009

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Ok I looked it up - not sure why I'm doing the homework ...

http://www.alabamamidwivesalliance.org/d...

The History and Legalities of
Midwifery in Alabama


Purpose
This Position Paper is provided to clarify legal issues surrounding the practice of independent midwives who render care to Alabama families. As efforts are being made to protect and advance independent midwifery as a profession within its own right in our state, it is vital that parents choosing out-of-hospital birth, childbirth advocates, doulas, midwifery students, and practicing midwives understand the political atmosphere in which Alabama midwives practice.
History of Midwifery in Alabama
Historically, “lay” or “granny” midwives in Alabama were predominantly African-American women who served mostly poor populations. Race, segregation, and economics contributed to the development of an inequitable system. Segregated care was an attempt to keep African-Americans and poor Caucasians out of hospitals. Beginning in 1931, Alabama’s “lay” midwives became better trained and strictly regulated. A rigorous screening program reduced the number of midwives by half. Those who remained, attended a 9-month training course, passed a written examination, wore white uniforms, submitted to monthly inspections of their equipment bags and homes, and attended monthly meetings run by their local public health nurse. Despite obstacles, these “lay” midwives served indigent mothers with vigilance and skill, quietly rising above their undeserved reputation as “ignorant, filthy and crude.”
After World War II, changing American demographics caused by the civil rights movement and population growth gave rise to a health care shortage. The availability of Medicaid reimbursement gave hospitals and doctors a new source of income from a group of women who were traditionally served by “lay” midwives. In 1976, with the passage of Title 34, Chapter 19 of the Code of Alabama, the legislature sought to eradicate “lay” midwives. The purpose of this act was to legislatively redefine midwifery to include only the practice of nurse-midwives. Simultaneously, it placed stringent regulations on the practice of nurse-midwifery, preventing autonomous practice. Currently Alabama CNMs practice in the most restrictive environment in the nation, according to a 2004 Health and Human Services study, while “lay” midwives referenced in the law are unable to obtain permits to practice in out-of-hospital settings.
Independent Midwifery as a Profession in the United States
Meanwhile, Alabama, like the rest of the nation, was experiencing a renaissance of out-of-hospital birth. Mothers were seeking health care alternatives. These mothers were largely Caucasian, middle class and educated. They wanted birth to be safer and more comfortable than what was being offered in hospitals at the time. A Mobile woman was representative of these mothers. Toni Kimpel sought out the care of Onie Lee Logan, a permitted “granny” midwife, for her first pregnancy. As midwives like Onie Lee Logan neared retirement, the clients they had lost to Medicaid-funded hospital births were partially replaced with mothers like Toni Kimpel. After enjoying midwifery care for her birth, Toni Kimpel picked up the torch by becoming a midwife herself.
To meet the renewed demand for midwives and fill the void left by retiring midwives, women around the country began to study pregnancy and childbirth, seeking knowledge and training from a variety of sources. Some women chose to obtain a nursing education and subsequent training in a formal nurse-midwifery program; others elected to pursue midwifery education directly. Some organized themselves into professional groups and formulated standards of practice. The Midwives Alliance of North America (MANA) was founded in 1982, and the North American Registry of Midwives (NARM) in 1987. Some midwives sought to legalize their practice in various states across the nation. Seeing the need for a national standard and a psychometrically sound testing process, NARM created the Certified Professional Midwife (CPM) credential in 1994 and Toni Kimpel became one of Alabama’s first Certified Professional Midwives.
A Grim Precedent in Alabama
Under the 1976 law, county health departments were charged with terminating the practice of “lay” midwifery. Their enforcement was inconsistent. While some county health departments actively revoked permits, others allowed existing permits to expire. Still others began referring mothers to midwives who lacked permits, unintentionally endorsing the continued practice of out-of-hospital midwifery. Some midwives tried to apply for permits with their local health departments. They were told the department no longer issued permits, but no official clearly explained the intent of the law. The ambiguities in how the law was enforced and interpreted contributed to a false sense of security for parents and midwives. Independent midwives in the state practiced openly in the 80’s and 90’s, unaware of the legal implications of the redefinition of midwifery.
In the early 90’s, an appeals court ruling set a grim precedent for midwives and the mothers they served. Toni Kimpel was charged with 5 misdemeanor counts of practicing nurse-midwifery without a license. The trial judge threw out the charges on the grounds that the law regarding “lay” midwives was unconstitutionally vague. The state appealed, and the higher court overturned the trial judge’s dismissal of the charges, finding further that Toni Kimpel had, in fact, violated the nurse-midwifery statute. Toni Kimpel’s appeal to the Alabama Supreme Court was denied. Within a year she moved to Texas, where she is able to practice legally.
By 2002, the number of midwives attending out-of-hospital births had dwindled. A Cullman midwife, Karen Brock, found herself forced to stop attending out-of-hospital births in Alabama when the state prosecuted her for the same charge faced by Toni Kimpel. In an effort to continue serving mothers, she obtained her license in Tennessee. Mothers who had once birthed with Karen Brock in their homes across north Alabama now drove across the state line to birth with a legal midwife. Other families contracted with midwives who supported their choice to birth at home. A few of her previous clients chose to birth unassisted rather than ask their midwife to take such a costly legal risk.
An Unacceptable Reality
Despite efforts by the medical establishment to eliminate or control the practice of midwives, some parents continue to choose midwifery care in an out-of-hospital setting. Parents make this choice based upon their religious, cultural and/or philosophical beliefs. In a country that prides itself upon protecting individual rights, it is unacceptable that women’s healthcare alternatives are restricted. Alabama parents have formed a consumer group, the Alabama Birth Coalition (ABC), to advocate for legalization of midwives with the CPM credential, who are trained specifically to meet the needs of families seeking to birth in out-of-hospital settings.
Independent Alabama midwives have formed a professional midwifery organization, the Alabama Midwives Alliance (ALMA), to preserve the art and the craft of midwifery and to act as a self-governing body for those interested in the practice of midwifery. ALMA is proud that our midwives have continued to educate themselves and find ways to serve families who seek out-of-hospital birth, despite legal concerns. Some of our midwives have undertaken the NARM process to validate their education and experiences to obtain the CPM credential. Others have not decided to do so. Some feel there is little reason to justify spending time and resources to obtain their credential when legal recognition is not available to them. ALMA acknowledges that CPMs are independent practitioners who have met the standards of certification set by the North American Registry of Midwives. In addition, ALMA recognizes and supports the skilled and experienced midwives in Alabama who choose not to become certified. ALMA recognizes that ultimately it is the right and the responsibility of parents to educate themselves, to interview prospective maternity caregivers, to choose their birth setting, and to hire the caregiver whom they feel is most appropriate for their individual circumstances.
Since 2007, ALMA has formulated practice guidelines for out-of-hospital midwifery, facilitated ongoing educational opportunities, and provided accountability through regular peer review for practicing midwives. ALMA recognizes the need for independent midwives to be able to serve their local communities without the risk of criminal prosecution. We also support current legislative efforts that would create a state midwifery board to license our members, who possess the CPM credential, to provide primary care for out-of-hospital births.
Choices for Caregivers and Clients
There is no question that parents may legally birth their children in their home in Alabama. However, if an independent midwife attends a family at their birth, she is at risk of being charged with practicing nurse-midwifery without a license due to the judicial precedent that was established in Toni Kimpel’s case and reaffirmed against Karen Brock. Conviction carries with it a C-class misdemeanor, including a fine and possible jail time. According to judicial precedent, it does not matter if the midwife is compensated for her services; if she is performing actions that are within the legal scope of nurse-midwifery according to the Code of Alabama, it is possible that she could be prosecuted.
The reality in Alabama is that a midwife is usually only prosecuted if she provides continuity-of-care when a transfer to a hospital is required, or if there is a difficult outcome involving the well-being of mother or infant. Due to medico-legal concerns, it is difficult for most physicians to form collaborative relationships with out-of-hospital care providers. Infrequently, a midwife has been able to secure a positive relationship with a physician within her community. It is because midwives value continuity-of-care that ALMA is actively seeking legalization for midwifery in Alabama.
Each midwife in Alabama must decide the scope of her midwifery practice in light of the current legal situation. Some midwives choose to obtain out-of-state licensure and their clients plan to birth across state lines. Other midwives choose to continue attending births in their communities within Alabama. ALMA respects each midwife’s choice while encouraging all midwives to be open and accountable to both the families they serve and to one another.
Because Alabama does not provide licensed caregivers to assist home birth families, our culture does not recognize out-of-hospital birth as a valid choice. Insurance policies refuse to cover unlicensed caregivers, and often will not even pay for licensed caregivers practicing in legal states. Authorities hostile to alternative care often perceive this choice as parental irresponsibility. Many times, hospital staff members are not receptive to home birth transfers and families are treated poorly.
Parents seeking home birth are the only ones who can evaluate their circumstances and choose the best option for the birth of their child. Some feel compelled to travel out-of-state to birth with a licensed midwife. For others, the trek out-of-state may not be practical. Some parents consciously secure the services of an independent midwife and choose to birth in their homes. Still, other families in Alabama find that there are simply no midwives available in their area. A few choose to birth unassisted. Some families who make this choice would prefer to have a midwife in attendance, but after much consideration and research on all legal perspectives, they chose unassisted birth rather than contract with a midwife and place her in legal jeopardy.

Sharon - posted on 12/08/2009

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Really? Did none of you read the OPs original post? Midwife Assisted birth is ILLEGAL in her state. NOT ALLOWED.

I think most or all of us agree midwives are great & generally competent but in her state it is ILLEGAL for the midwife to assist at birth.

Kathryn - posted on 12/08/2009

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I helped both of my daughters birth at home with a midwife and an assistant .( I had my own babies in a hospital )I felt the home births were very safe and well planned. The choice of midwife is crucial. so you need to talk to other women who have had midwife-assisted home or hospital births. I Am in the in the Ann Arbor Mich. are and suggest you check out the Center For The Childbearing Year. They have great website.. I applaud you for wanting a better birth experience. After my first baby I shopped around and was so lucky to get a great doc and even better hospital (U of M Women's hospital) You also should read Ina mae's Gaskin's book, Spititual Midwifery. That will really help. Good luck to you and I know you can have a better birth for baby #2. I did. And my daughters each had amazing home birth experiences.

Wuraola - posted on 12/08/2009

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I really do think this is a tricky subject. Everyone knows women who have had successful homebirths and others who had nightmares. Plus different countries have different legal views. I had my kids in the UK where I personally opted for hospital but was lucky enough to find one with a water birthing facility, with a midwife who was happy to let me have the active birth that I wanted. Does your partner support your choices as you do not mention this. I was very lucky in that my husband knew that his job was to keep everyone and everything that was unnecessary off my back and let me get on with the job of birthing with my midwife. When I needed someone or something I would ask for it. It was great having him run interference for me. I think that you absolutely need someone to do that for you. I was especially grateful for this with my next pregnancy as it was twins. Everything became more difficult and it was all a massive fight. They absolutely did not want me to have an active birth at the hospital or a water birth. I lost on the water birth because of a stupid resident doctor who wasn't my ob and who wouldn't follow the instructions for the water birth since he was worried that I would not be able to get out of the pool if there was a problem. Luckily my midwives were superb and my husband once again took over running interference duties so I do think it is really important that you have someone there to fight for your wishes, I did get to have an active birth with no drugs and no unnecessary examinations etc. Plus if there is a problem you know that they have your wishes with regard to that as well, this was personally very important to me as I knew that my husband was totally committed to my wishes.
I thought the comment about visiting out of state so you could have a midwife in attendance was good. I am also very committed to women being able to have a natural, active birth in hospital if that is what they want, with the knowledge that all the backup in case of problems is right there. This to me seems the best of both worlds, but after my twin birthing experience I absolutely understand why women would choose not to have their baby in hospital.

Kate CP - posted on 12/07/2009

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Quoting Anita:

Very lucky for the women who had successful home births. But does a midwife know what to do if complications arise (drop in heartrate, distress, cord wrapped around neck where an emergency c-seciton needs to be performed.) 


Yes, they are trained professionals with many years of experience and most of them are certified nurses. If they suspect something ANYTHING is wrong they will transfer their patient.

Diana - posted on 12/07/2009

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Oh my! I would suggest any alternative than an unassisted home birth! I understand your frustration and fear as I had an equally negative first birthing experience as well. However, I did not take such drastic measures. I learned from my mistakes and educated myself thoroughly for my second child.

I wanted a 'natural' birth as much as was possible to have in the hospital. I daydreamed about how easy it would be with my Bradley Method handbook to guide me and my husband there to coach and support me as well. The staff would be amazed at how calm I was and how remarkably pain-free I appeared to be. I'd labor quietly and quickly and push forth this un-sedated, healthy, squalling baby without the interference of IV's, epidurals, foreceps, stirrups, fetal monitors, etc. And I'd be alert, overjoyed, and ready to nurse without a problem. YEAH RIGHT! The only part I got right was how easy breast feeding would be with him (the second child was a whoooooole different story, though!).

Unfortunately, my oldest was taking his own sweet time and I was a week overdue and less than one cm dilated and zero effaced when we discovered he was down to one cc of fluid. There was much hubbub and I was admitted and an IV was popped into my arm and pitocin was pumped in-WHILE they were putting proglastin gel on my cervix to soften and open it! After 24 hours of laboring like this with only 5 hours of sleep before it started, I had to have an epidural or collapse from exhaustion. 12 hours later, my son was born after nearly having to have a C-Section. It was a nightmare that thankfully I only remember in abstract, as if I was looking at it on TV.

I was naive enough to believe the Bradley book when it said that no interference should be necessary and didn't even stop to consider that I might have to be induced and what that might be like. For my 2nd son, I found a different doctor (my first was a 2nd year resident), and a different hospital. I then read everything I had time to read about birthing, typical hospital policies, induction and it's various forms, etc. I was also very sure to see to it that my doctor knew what happened the first time around and what I wanted differently the second time. I made sure to ask about hospital policies (the one I used did NOT do V-BAC births or many non-Cesarian multiple births) and my doctor's own philosophy. If I had been unsatisfied with either, I would most certainly have gone elsewhere.

Your story sounds like a typical rush-job. Some doctors apparently still have a 'policy' to use pitocin to 'speed things along.' The hospital cannot give you anything like that without your consent, or in other cases, a doctor's order-as far as I know, since it's usually pretty much all nurses until it's time for that baby to come out. So somebody had to give them the order to do it. This is where research and a birth plan is a great tool. If your doctor (for your second) knows what happened the first time and your concerns and know what you expect (like being informed and whatnot) regarding any medications given or about ANYTHING they think they're going to do to you or your child, you should not have to worry. There's a reason you see doctors on TV repeating, "do I have your consent?" when something goes wrong and they have to do something.

Either way, you should have been informed you were going to get pitocin and been given a chance to refuse it. Because you can! You don't HAVE to take everything they give you. I didn't. My doctor didn't like that it took me four hours to go from 4 cm to 5 1/2 cm with my second and I'd been in labor for almost 8 (after an induction that went a LOT better than my first). So, he told them to start me on pitocin on a very low dose. I refused to have it till I got an epidural. I had the epidural and ended up not needing the pitocin.

You'll read and hear about how nurses and some doctors complain about patients who are vocal and don't want to submit, but you HAVE to be pro-active during your labor. If a nurse gets snippy with you for asking 'too many' questions, request a different nurse. They should be more concerned if YOU are NOT concerned about what they're doing and why. They're not perfect and they do make mistakes.

A lot of hospitals now have 'birth consultants' on staff that can answer your questions about policies and whatnot. If your insurance will cover it or you can afford it, you may be able to find a good 'midwifery' or birth center that is not part of a hospital but is staffed by skilled, certified nurse midwives and possibly a doctor and has the equipment to deal with most births and access to a hospital if need be. Some hospitals also have separate birthing centers that specialize in pre-natal and even neo-natal care.

I have to say, I went back to the first hospital with my third son, but I had a different doctor. She was the first woman OB I'd had and she'd been delivering babies for over 30 years. She was also very on top of current medicine and was the head doctor in researching the use of nucal-translucency scans in catching Down Syndrome during fetal development. I think the doctor makes a ton of difference. That, and not being timid about asking questions and even out-and-out refusing something that you don't understand until someone explains it to your satisfaction or gives you options if you aren't sure. There is almost always another option. If the nurse says your doctor told them to do something and you're not sure why it's being done, ask to speak with him or her before you let them do it.

If you are totally against going to a hospital, is there someone in another state where assisted home birthing is legal you can go and 'visit' during your last month or six weeks and have the baby there? There are of course, 'underground' midwives in every state, but that denotes another risk. Check and see to what extent it's illegal in your state. In some, the midwife must be under a doctor's supervision but can do home births. Or look for a homeopathic doctor!

Good luck!

Sharon - posted on 12/07/2009

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Hey Brittany. Thanks for the feedback.



I think, then given your options, you should find a competent hospital/doctor for your care. With my first birth, I was simply lucky. But the next two I really did my research. I was very picky about my doctors. I just kept skipping doctors until I found one that communicated with me. By the time I was pregnant with my third I had done a LOT of research into what I wanted and how to get it. A huge reason why I've been so pleased with my births.



Really, whatever happens, I hope you and the baby to be are safe.

[deleted account]

Very lucky for the women who had successful home births. But does a midwife know what to do if complications arise (drop in heartrate, distress, cord wrapped around neck where an emergency c-seciton needs to be performed.) Back in the old days when there were no hospitals many women died giving childbirth and many babies died too. I think if you let the hospital know your boundaries and speak with your doctor in advance about your wishes you can give birth as naturally as possible in a hospital and have the peace of mind knowing that if an emergency does come up it can be handled within minutes and save lives. I guess I can't see what the big benefit is of giving birth in a home vs a hospital room when you weigh the risk involved - the baby definitely doesn't know the difference! Good luck with your decision.

Linda - posted on 12/06/2009

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Have you ever thought of having a midwife birth at the hospital. Here in PA we are allowed to have births by midwives at home but we also have midwives who deliver in the hospital. Contact the midwife you know that works with the doctors and inquire if she would be able to be your delivering party at the hospital. Also, when you saw your OB/GYN during your pregnancy did you check that you wanted drugs during your delivery. You can state no drugs to be given unless it is an emergency. Did you inquire to the physician about why you were given the Pitocin. I had Pitocin with my first birth also, so I know what you are talking about. I have three children and all three pregnancies and births were different. I hope you find my suggestions helpful.

[deleted account]

Quoting Sharon:

Women used to give birth all alone, unattended by anyone but for their closest neighbor & whatever children they had at home at the time. A lot of babies died before their first birthday too.

I think an unassisted birth is crazy. you're taking way more chances than you need to with your life and your unborn child's life.

Honestly - with everything I read about Alabama, Louisiana and Arkansas.. you couldn't pay me to give birth there.

Could you live with the guilt if something did go wrong?

Why not give birth in a hospital with a midwife in attendance? Make a birthplan, find an OB who agrees with you and is willing to do it your way? for my last two births I called a LOT obgyns to find one that agreed with me.

I'm not outraged. I honestly don't care what you choose to do. Ultimately, in this decision, only you and your family are affected. I personally like hospitals, I like the care I get there, I like the highly trained & competent doctors I choose. I liked their friendly nurses and high tech baby nurseries . When something went wrong with my first birth, specialists were on hand to talk to me about what went wrong, why & how to fix it.

But that isn't for everyone.

All three of my births happened in less than an hour. I didn't tear. I had small episiotomies. It took 3 pushes to get my daughter out. My OB said her dinner would still be hot at the restaurant. I'm pretty sure after they counted fingers & toes, she went back to dinner too, lol.

It sucks to not have things your way. But you are more educated now. If you research on the internet about birthplans you will find a LOT of information. Look up doulas and midwives in your area and talk to them.


The difference being you had competent doctors............The death rate went up significantly for birthing women and children once they started entering hospitals. Hospital death rates are still higher. You don't call and talk to Obgyns here. You get put on waiting lists and pray you get someone decent...and I have good insurance and the city employ discount. For some it is ignorant to forgo the hospital. I had no complications other than what my incompetent doctor caused. There are things that go wrong in unassisted births and on ocassion death. The same exact thing happens in hospitals. The difference being its considered normal. Do your research. Seriously, you would be suprised at what you might find. Had someone asked me if I wanted to do this with my first baby I would have thought what a nut, but I have done my research and educated myself.



P.S Here in Al it is illegal to have midwives attend you...just another way to stick it to midwifery.

Iysha - posted on 12/06/2009

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I myself would never do a home birth by myself or with a midwife...I am not a good candidate for a home birth either, so I don't have much of a choice anyway. lol. If you want to do it and it is against the law, honestly...that's your decision to make. You should know that not all pregnancies are the same and that not all labors and births are the same. I don't know what the law states where you live...here in California it is ok to have a midwife and have a child at home and it is done successfully. I mean...I wasn't happy with my daughter's birth in the sense that it was a premature birth and I was freaked out with all the complications she could have had...I felt safe though because both her and I were in the care of Health Care Professionals who know what they are doing. As for going too fast and having a baby in 45 minutes...I was on meds to keep me from having a baby and I gave birth in less than 30 minutes... Practice pushing to the time my daughter was out was 30 minutes all together. I didn't tear at all... and my baby was not that tiny. My stomach would be turning if i was about to do what you are thinking of doing.



If you are seeing a midwife...you should be able to just have the midwife there with you in the hospital and no doctor interferance unless there is a problem that needs medical attention. I think that would be a good compramise...You will have a more natural birth and not be given meds...midwives ar for people that want a more natural birth and need assistance with actually having the baby...they are not quick to introduce medications and actually discourage it unless it is absolutely necessary.



Is having you baby the way you want to have it worth what can go wrong by having an unassisted home birth? I personally do not think anything is worth the risks associated with it. I had a scare with my daughter and can't imagine doing anything that could have put her at risk. Your satisfaction in the labor and delivery should not be all that matters. It doesn't matter how babies come into the world, just that they make it safe and healthy.



With that said, it is still your decision and I hope everything goes well when you have baby #2.

Betsy - posted on 12/06/2009

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Quoting Lisa:

My first birth was in hospital, I was induced for being 10 days over due date (apparently) I ended up with an epidural and a forceps delivery and tore badly. After this birth I was terrified to go back to hospital but I found a doula (she was a midwife in training) and I ended up with the same OB in the same hospital but had my second baby naturally on my terms. Having my doula there gave me confidence to stand up to the hospital staff about my rights and made me realise that I could make my own decisions about what happened to myself and my baby.
I have watched some programs based in America on births and births there seem more medicalised. Here (Australia) I can choose what happens to my baby after the birth, as soon as they were born they were handed straight to me, no drops in their eyes, no injections we didn't want.
Anyway I ended up having my third and fourth babies at home in a birth pool, with my midwife. I would encourage you to have a birth at home with someone who is experienced but not alone. Do you have access to any doulas who can speak on your behalf when you are in labour?
Good luck!



Here in America, we can also choose what we want in hospitals. The key is remembering that as the patient, you are the consumer. That includes interviewing doctors prior to choosing one and knowing what you want, taking an active part of your care. People tend to feel they don't have power, but we are the ones hiring our care providers and have the power to fire them if it is not a good match. I had our first child in 1990 and our youngest in 2007. I always hold my babies right after delivery, and I choose to nurse before I have even delivered the placenta or before they are cleaned up. They are handed to me immediately, and barring a medical emergency, I have never had anyone differ with what I choose, but I make sure the OB I choose is on the same page with me prior to hiring them. The babies always stay with me 24/7 in the hospital, except for one 24 hr NICU stay with one of our premature twins. If in the interview process of the OB or during my pregnancy, I sense they handle their practice differently and wouldn't be a fit with my personal wants and needs, I hire a more suitable OB because I am the one doing the hiring. People often complain about their drs not respecting their wishes, but they would have no problem firing and replacing a contractor who didn't listen to their wants and needs, but they don't do that as consumers of their own health care. But having delivered 5 times in America with 3 different OB practices, I can tell you that myth of American births is false.

Lisa - posted on 12/06/2009

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My first birth was in hospital, I was induced for being 10 days over due date (apparently) I ended up with an epidural and a forceps delivery and tore badly. After this birth I was terrified to go back to hospital but I found a doula (she was a midwife in training) and I ended up with the same OB in the same hospital but had my second baby naturally on my terms. Having my doula there gave me confidence to stand up to the hospital staff about my rights and made me realise that I could make my own decisions about what happened to myself and my baby.
I have watched some programs based in America on births and births there seem more medicalised. Here (Australia) I can choose what happens to my baby after the birth, as soon as they were born they were handed straight to me, no drops in their eyes, no injections we didn't want.
Anyway I ended up having my third and fourth babies at home in a birth pool, with my midwife. I would encourage you to have a birth at home with someone who is experienced but not alone. Do you have access to any doulas who can speak on your behalf when you are in labour?
Good luck!

[deleted account]

I had a horrible experience in the hospital with my first daughter, inducing, lots of pain, should have had an epi, but was trying to be tough, dumb! The cord was around her

neck, but she was too far down the birth canal to do an emg. c-sec, she was blue, and

had to have oxygen. I would have gotten an epi if I could rewind.

With our second daughter she was a home birth w/a midwife, she was turned posterior,

her face was up-not down, and so she kept hitting my pelvic bone, finally the midwife had to give me an episiotomy, which is very rare for home births, she was fine, tho, just

had to have a little oxygen, which the midwife had available, and she knew how to give

an episiotomy, please find someone who is knowlegeable about births to be there w/you

and has all the need equipment if necessary. I had 2 miscarrriages after this, and so

wasn't eligible for home birth w/my third birth, our son, he was born in the hospital, and

silly me tried to go natural w/out meds again, I would not endure 15 hours of hard labor

w/out some help, again, after this they wanted to induce since my labor was not progressing not up to anymore pain, I opted for an epi, something went wrong, and only

half of my body was numb. When they started the pit to induce we were both showin

too much stress, and I ended up w/emg. c-sec and put under completely since the epi

did not work. I had numbness all over for a week, and bad headaches for a while after

the birth. Our son was blue and had to have oxygen, the cord was around his neck 2x!!

A home birth prob would not have been a good chose for him? But I would have gotten

the epi sooner if I had to do it again.

Kate CP - posted on 12/06/2009

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First of all, when childbirth was the leading cause of death among women it was because people weren't washing hands, didn't have the added option of delivery assistance tools, and weren't experienced, highly educated doctors or midwives. So, birthing at home is not an automatic death sentence for a mother and/or child. However, birthing UNASSISTED is *not* a good idea. A trained professional can tell when you are in trouble or the baby is in distress. You can't. Find a birthing center, get a midwife who has privileges at a hospital, but DO NOT deliver unassisted.
Home births are AWESOME for women who have that option. If I could home birth I would (no immune system).There are risks associated with any birth anywhere. It is up to you to make the decision if you want to birth in a hospital or not. But please don't deliver without a midwife or doctor. It's just too dangerous.

Hannah - posted on 12/06/2009

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Do you have the option of a birthing centre run by midwives?
Where I live, I have access to a "Family Birth Centre" which is run entirely by midwives. If your pregnancy is low risk and you have no complicating factors during the labour, you can birth with midwives only in attendance. As the FBC is in the hospital, it's quick to transfer out to the regular birthing suites if there are complications. The FBC is set out like a regular home with large open rooms with chairs, birthing stools, fit balls, rubber mats etc. to assist you to give birth in an active, natural way.
I was booked to give birth at my local FBC and was in the centre for under an hour before my waters broke showing meconium staining. I transferred out to the regular birthing suites and had a fantastic midwive assisted birth. The midwife kept the doctors from doing any unnecessary interventions and my daughter was born within 2 hours. The only intervention I had was monitoring belts to keep track of my baby's heart rate and movements. There was a doctor present at the birth only.
I wouldn't give birth at home because I would not risk my baby's health outside of a hospital if there were complications. I firmly believe that pregnancy and birth are not illnesses but hospital is the safest place to give birth for me.

Laura - posted on 12/06/2009

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Hi, i had planned a home birth with my first but at the last minute it was cancelled as she was measuring very big and they said it would be too risky, as it was i was in labour for 4 days and had to have an emergency c-section and she was big over 10lbs and i must admit i hated every minute of being in hospital i found it very intrusive there was no thought given to my feelings and i was being pressured to take pain relief that i did not want luckily my husband and sister were with me and helped me stick to that i also had no support afterwards.at one point when my husband spoke to one of the many midwifes i saw he was told i was not her priority and that she had ten other woman in labour to deal with so would appreciate it if he would just leave her alone intill i really needed her! then with my second i had to have a hospital birth as i had had a section and after another very long slow labour i again ended up having another emergency section baby wasn't as big only 8lbs but i obviously dont give birth very easily, where as my sister had planned a home birth with her first but got high blood pressure and had to go to hospital she had an 6 hour labour and a 8lb baby but tore very badly then with her 2nd she had a home birth a 45 min labour a 9lb baby and the most amazing birth experience ever! and no tear! i am not stupid enough to say there are no risks in a home birth but the midwifes are very capable and if at any point they think there could be a problem or are not happy they will transfer you to hospital. In my area they are trying to promote home births but i know lots of people are still very sceptical about them. as you had a very quick labour they may suggest you have the home birth kit at home anyway just in case its so quick you have no time to go to hospital which is what happened to my friend she has had 4 babies and the last to were so quick she had them at home the last in 25 mins and on the sofa! but they had done that with her.at the end of the day you have to go with what you want to do and if you are considering a home birth your midwife will go through every thing with you and all so even once you are in labour you can change your mind and go to hospital if you want to. All i can say is all the people i know that have had home births have found them to be the most amazing experiences compared to hospital births. i wish you all the luck and hope you get to do whats best for you and your baby.x

Ashley - posted on 12/06/2009

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I already posted but wanted to add that I think that if you ask around you may be surprised to find an underground midwife who may be willing to help you. Try your local La Lache League or maybe some birth instructors like those who teach the bradley method. Maybe there is a women in your community who has been to some births that maybe able to help you. I bet more people than you think are doing it.

Ashley - posted on 12/06/2009

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Good for you! I planned a home birth with my first baby and ended up transporting to the hospital after 30 hrs of labor but had a good birth in the hospital. I think that if I would have started in the hospital I would have had a c-sect. I am now pregnant with #2 and planning another home birth. I would not do it any other way. I am in a Michigan where home birth is legal and have a trained midwife attending. I would recommend finding one. Maybe if your close enough to the border of another state you would be able to go somewhere legal, there are birth centers in some places also. But if you can't find a birth attendant I think it is reasonable to do it unassisted because of how close you are to the hospital. I hope you have a wonderful experience no matter what you decide. P.S. Watch The Business of Being Born if you get a chance. I think it is a must see for all expecting mothers.

Stacey - posted on 12/06/2009

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I have not had a home birth, but also had a TERRIBLE hospital experience w/ my first birth (except my experience was a little different -- had Pitocin after being left 3 hours fully dilated so that the doctor could "take a nap"...yes, the nurse really said that.) - to the extent of being diagnosised w/ PTSD as a result. We did everything possible to avoid the situation the next time around -- changed hospitals, wrote a birth plan that included being consulted for everything, being educated about every decision, and NOT using Pitocin -- under any circumstances. We were given a hard time by some (we spoke to anesthesia, the nurse manager at the hospital, and all the OB docs in our new practice), but it was well worth it. It didn't go as I would have liked it -- it was very painful -- but, WE were calling the shots and that made everything more manageable. It is your body, and YOU have a medical right to make ALL (get that - ALL) decisions w/o hassle from anyone about it. The pros/cons and risks should all be explained to you, and you should be treated like a human being, not a dog that cannot communicate. Let whoever know (I've heard horror stories about midwives too - there are bad apples in every field) - that you expect proper care, in as much detail as you can - both in writing and verbally, and, hopefully, your next experience will be much better - wherever that ends up being. Good luck.

[deleted account]

I have had 7 children and am pregnant with my 8th. I have given birth at home for all but the first, she was born in a hospital shortly after I arrived. I have had one CNM deliver 2 of my babies at home and since we joined the military have paid out of pocket for 4 more homebirths in various states with various laws. The last 4 births have been with 3 different certified professional midwives (2 in San Antonio where it is totally legal, 1 in Dayton, OH where it is a-legal and the last birth & the next birth in MA where it is somewhere between the two other places in the legality system). I have no doubt that you can find a midwife to work with in AL if just through word of mouth, or looking things up on the internet. I also highly recomend homebirth & am a strong supporter of birth choices. If you are healthy & the pregnancy is uncomplicated there is no reason you should not have a safe home delivery with a wonderful outcome. It sounds like you have all the right back up in order, close to a hospital, etc. Best of luck to you for a safe & happy birth!

[deleted account]

Go for it! I had my last baby at home and it was just fine. Midwives are generally more experienced than ob/gyns because delivering babies is really the ONLY thing they do. Ob's are much too quick to offer drugs, c-sections, etc. I had this baby with absolutely NO drugs, not even an IV. I was allowed to eat and drink as I wanted. It was a much more relaxed atmosphere, which made ME much more relaxed. My husband "caught" the baby as he came out. It was a very powerful experience. I still keep in touch with my midwife via Facebook. I can't say that for my ob/gyn.

Sarah - posted on 12/06/2009

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i can totoally understand why you are planning on doing it this way 2nd time round. you will know what to expect. i guess it makes a huge difference what type of mid wife you have. and by the sounds of it you had bad luck first time around. i say do what ever you feel compftable with. im a mum of two. but have never had a home birth, also i dont think i want to. dont listen to the negative so much do whats right for you and baby. remember there are thousands of mums that give birth to healthy baby's at home although most people tend to focus on what can go wrong. i say take your time in thinking about it. and choose whatever feels the best option for you dont be pushed into anything you dont want to do. and i wish you a much happier birthing experience :) sarah

Rachel - posted on 12/06/2009

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I'm so sorry about how the hospital treated you with your first birth!!!! I was induced with my first and found out later that it wasn't really necessary to induce and we could have waited. But, our doctor pretty much told us that me and the baby were both at risk if we didn't induce. My birth experience was pretty rough as a result. I've changed doctors and gotten a certified nurse midwife for my current pregnancy. They are much more supportive of my desire for a natural birth.

I think homebirth is an awesome choice. It would scare me to death to have an unassisted home birth, just because I may not know if something is going wrong and wouldn't know the proper action to take if something did go wrong. Is it possible to have a doula or other professional that wouldn't legally be considered a person "assisting" your birth?

Check out the forums at mybestbirth.com. I've read a couple stories of women who had unassisted at-home births very successfully. You could ask them how they prepared, what their backup plans were and so forth.

Another option is to make sure you have a couple people go with you to the hospital to defend your decision to have a natural birth. Refuse the IV. Be very nice, but very firm that you do NOT want pitocin or any other interventions. Labor at home (like you did before) as much as you can before going to the hospital. Talk to the hospital soon about whether they are able and/or willing to not give you pitocin. If it is their rule to always give a woman pitocin, regardless of need or choice, then don't use that hospital. Pitocin, as you know, is not necessary to give birth and birth can be very successful and easy without it.

We are using a hospital again for our second birth (due in June), mainly because I'm concerned about how my back will do with pushing (I have a herniated disk that is causing lots of problems). Just in case we have complications with this pregnancy, I want to be where they can help. But, in the future, I am tickled to death that my husband is supporting my desire to birth at home. In Ohio, it is legal to birth at home with someone certified to do so. And insurance will even cover it, depending on your plan and if the doctor/midwife is covered by the plan.

Wishing you the best birth for you and your future children!
Rachel

Sharon - posted on 12/06/2009

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Women used to give birth all alone, unattended by anyone but for their closest neighbor & whatever children they had at home at the time. A lot of babies died before their first birthday too.



I think an unassisted birth is crazy. you're taking way more chances than you need to with your life and your unborn child's life.



Honestly - with everything I read about Alabama, Louisiana and Arkansas.. you couldn't pay me to give birth there.



Could you live with the guilt if something did go wrong?



Why not give birth in a hospital with a midwife in attendance? Make a birthplan, find an OB who agrees with you and is willing to do it your way? for my last two births I called a LOT obgyns to find one that agreed with me.



I'm not outraged. I honestly don't care what you choose to do. Ultimately, in this decision, only you and your family are affected. I personally like hospitals, I like the care I get there, I like the highly trained & competent doctors I choose. I liked their friendly nurses and high tech baby nurseries . When something went wrong with my first birth, specialists were on hand to talk to me about what went wrong, why & how to fix it.



But that isn't for everyone.



All three of my births happened in less than an hour. I didn't tear. I had small episiotomies. It took 3 pushes to get my daughter out. My OB said her dinner would still be hot at the restaurant. I'm pretty sure after they counted fingers & toes, she went back to dinner too, lol.



It sucks to not have things your way. But you are more educated now. If you research on the internet about birthplans you will find a LOT of information. Look up doulas and midwives in your area and talk to them.

[deleted account]

If you have any concern about having a child with a mid-wife at home, many hospitals offer this service in the hospital. When I gave birth to my son 5 years ago in Maine I was able to choose this method (chicken... I did not - LOL)

Korina - posted on 12/06/2009

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Google unassisted home births and you will get loads of information. It is a very personal choice and I would say get as much information as you can, read everything and then make up your own mind.

Good luck.

:-)

Christina - posted on 12/05/2009

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I am planning on doing an at home birth when we have our next child. I will never have a baby in the hospital if I can prevent it. I'm up in Alaska and it is very common for women to have at home births or births at a midwifery. I wish I knew of some resources for you. I hope you can find a good midwife that can help you have a great birthing experience. I think that you should go for it especially because you had such a poor experience at the hospital. Good Luck!!

Kristen - posted on 12/05/2009

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I personally say no. I had my daughter with no pitocin and her heart rate went down off and on. When she was born she had the cord around her neck. I just feel like you never know what can happen and while there is a hospital close by every minute counts and what if it was that one minute that made the difference. There are ways to have an all natural labor in a hospital. There are hospitals that specialize in all natural, they give you a room that is more like home and no medicine, but you are still in the hospital in case something were to happen. You have to think of the baby to in the situation. Ultimately the choice is yours and everyone can make their own. Good luck whatever you choose.

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