It seems to me that every birth site that I go to, people are asking for "successful" home birth stories.  Well, guess what?  Some home births aren't the blissful experience that everyone is praising.  Emergencies happen.  Long car rides to the hospital, while pushing, happen.  Thankfully, poor outcomes don't occur often, but they happen often enough that these stories shouldn't be ignored.  I read story after story of wonderful home births while I was planning the birth of my third child.  They were inspiring and  beautiful. However, I read not one story that led to transport to the hospital.  If I had, I would have been so much more prepared for the reality of an unexpected c-section.  I had nothing to reference my experience to.  I feel that it is important to hear how different midwives handle emergency situations.  Some stories are scary, others are inspirational in their own way.  To be honest with women regarding birth, EVERY aspect of home birth should be openly discussed.  Transport, and tragic stories should NOT be hid away.

Who's with me?

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I'm with you!

I've had two home births, no transports, but I do wonder about it.

Will you tell us your story?
Yes, please tell us your story!

I'm not sure people are asked to hide them, though there is a sense of "failure" there that probably holds them back from telling their story. People will say, "Well, sure, you had to go to the hospital! You're not supposed to have kids at home!" That confirmation bias that others present is a blow to an already difficult experience.

One thing that I have learned about birth is that it isn't the place of birth that seals the experience but the control over the situation, the preparedness for the unexpected. Someone who plans for an induced labor with an epidural will be completely traumatized by a spontaneous, drug-free birth on their bedroom floor, most likely! Likewise, a mother who plans a natural, spontaneous birth but loses control will have the same kind of trauma.

Plus, many women are proponents of home birth, even in the face of their own transport challenges. They might feel that their traumatic story will deter someone from birthing at home irrationally. That being said, more information = better decisions.

Please, tell your story! I love the idea of encouraging others to do so, as well! It doesn't have to mean that home birth is bad...or that you did anything wrong in making the choice you made. It is a side of the story that should be told, just as it was in Ricki and Abby's film.
I agree with you. My daughter was born on September 3rd after 56 hours of labor via c-section. We had planned a homebirth ...but nothing went as planned. Because I felt like my story would be discouraging to people who wanted a homebirth, I didn't write it...until recently. I had a wake up call when reading The Birth Story of James Wyatt here at MBB - it's here: . I realized that although there are things about the birth that were painful, I have a wonderful, lovely daughter ...and due to many different circumstances, she NEEDED to be born via c-section. And I realized I should at least be thankful that the C-section was medically indicated, not an unnecessary procedure done for the convenience of the physician. I was also thankful that my midwives stayed during transport, during the c-section, and visited me daily in the hospital after the birth (I was there 5 days) and still provided all the postpartum care for myself and my baby. So I wrote The Birth Story of Annalise - it's here:

Hopefully other women will feel empowered to share there stories too, no matter what the outcome
I wrote a blog post about my homebirth/transport/C-section on my blog. Here is an excerpt:

I labored okay. I spent a lot of time in the tub with hot water trying to deal with contractions. I walked around and did some squatting. My labor was progressing taking it’s usual leisurely time. Mr. Pete kept reminding me of Philippians 4:13 as I had asked him. I tried to remember Helen between contractions. I am not very good at suffering. I hoped that my efforts were somehow helpful to her. When my water broke and it had some meconium staining, but my doctor was not concerned. The heart rate was good and I was making progress. Because the membranes were broken, I could not get back into the bathtub. I was trying to find ways to deal with labor as the contractions got stronger. Dr. S even reminded me that I had wanted my baby to be born on the 22nd because my husband and two of my sons have births on the 22nd of their birth months. I think he thought that would hurry me along. It is not like I could control it. I was hoping to be pushing before midnight, but I could not trust that I would be.

Around10:30 or so Dr. S wanted to check the fetal heart tones. What he heard concerned him. There were some decelerations. He asked me if he could check my cervix and I was definitely ready for that. I was starting to feel like pushing and I wanted to know how much longer I had to go. I sat down and he put his hand into the birth canal. The look on his face made my heart freeze. There was something terribly wrong.

“Oh no,” he said.

“What!? What’s wrong.” My heart was racing.

“The cord has prolapsed. We’re going to have to call the paramedics.”

I just sat there trying to understand what was happening to me. Intellectually I knew, but I had to hear it.

“Am I going to have to have a C-section?”

He nodded. I could not believe it. In an instant I learned that my baby was in mortal danger, my plans for a homebirth were gone, I would need major surgery and all that went with that including pain, recovery, and a whopping debt.. Would I have time for an anesthetic? And how were we ever going to pay for this? I wanted to just go lock myself in the bathroom and push the baby out by myself. But I did not want to hurt my baby. I wanted to give this child every chance at a normal life that I could.

I got off of the couch, put my chest on the floor, and raised my hips and butt into the air as high as I could go take the pressure off of the umbilical cord, my child’s lifeline. I started to pray an imaginary rosary. I was no longer offering up contractions, I was instead praying for mercy. Mercy for my baby, and for me. And as I lay there on my living room floor in this less than ladylike posture, I felt a peaceful calmness come over me. I was afraid, but not panicked, concerned but not overwrought. In a strange way, I felt courageous.
I agree. I posted my full home birth transport story on my blog
This is something I spoke to my midwife about and she shared with me her personal experiences of women who needed to be taken to the hospital. It does happen and having a midwife who is prepared and watchful is important. Our midwife explained what she watches for, at what point she would recommend transport, and the reasons why. It was important to me to have this information before deciding on a home birth and I felt prepared for any eventuality as a result.

I think the trend of posting primarily "successful" home birth stories is a result of the mostly negative attention, massive criticism, and ignorance surrounding home birth and its safety. Until we have a balanced and informed representation of home birth, many people are going to be hesitant to post transport stories because mainstream media will point to those as "proof" that home birth is dangerous and ought not be attempted.

I hope that more people will continue to become educated about the truths of birth and become more balanced in their understanding of the options and safety related to those options. It is going to take time and a lot of discussions before this happens.
does a planned homebirth that ended up in a hospital transfer because of pre term labor count?
There's a good reason why you don't hear about transports that often from home births - because the HUGE majority of them are successful births at home. The transport rate is usually very, very low - less than 10% of planned home births I'd suspect - but your own midwife will know her own transport rates. Some of the transports end in a vaginal delivery, some c/s, and some of those are for postpartum. Usually, the ones that end in c/s are truly necessary.

If you look at Ina May's statistics that have been kept since the 1960's, her transport / c/s rate is well under 5%.

I do agree, however, we need to know about the transports - because they do happen. And when the midwife says, "we gotta go", the family needs to agree.

I know a homebirth midwife with many years experience and less than 10 hospital transports, about 6 of those with c/s. She sometimes has to scream, threaten, and argue with families to transport!
I think the term "successful HB" is a misleading statement. It implies that a transport is the opposite of a success, which is a failure. Not the case IMO. I would prefer to see the term as something like "completed HB" or something similar.

I agree that transport stories need to be shared. As often as "completed HB" stories. To do otherwise damages the credibility of HB and those of us that advocate for it. When we "gloss" over the so called "unsuccessful" HB then we appear as though we are looking at things through "rose colored" glasses and not taking into account that sometimes things can and do happen that require medical intervention.

I was a doula at a transport, so it wasn't my experience exactly, but the way I saw the midwives handle the situation completely confirmed my beliefs in the safety of homebirth.  The watched her carefully, saw a problem before most OBs in a hospital would have noticed it, partly because they were watching the whole labor and mom, not just a monitor and dilation.  this momma was a friend of mine as well, and she was trying for a VBAC, her scar ruptured, and from decision to be transfered, to baby's birth was less than 20 minutes (about 5 min drive from the hospital), bub never had any decels and OB that did the surgery said even he wouldn't have made the decision to section based on what the midwives knew and mom knew intuitively.  Mom was upset of course, but knew that it was not a rash decision and was very thankful to dilate as far as she did (8cm) and know that bub was ready to be born, she went into labor on her own. From what I saw, emergencies can be handled apropriately and with compassion and care at home as well.



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