I am 6 1/2 weeks pregnant and just had my initial appointment with the doctor last week before being referred to a midwife (that's the typical MO here in the UK). The doctor assumed that I was planning a hospital birth and when I informed her that I was looking at either a home birth or birth center birth, her response was basically, "well, you're a first-time Mom so don't be disappointed if it doesn't happen."  Is there any reason I should be concerned about being able to give birth outside a hospital?  Any first-time Moms who did who could give me a little encouragement?  Thanks everyone!

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There is no reason to be concerned :).  There's a common misconception that a first time mom won't be able to have a natural homebirth - that's baloney!  You don't need the drugs.  If anything, the doc's response shows a definite bent toward intervention if this would be her assumption; all the more reason for you  to seriously attempt a homebirth. I tried to have a homebirth with my first, but due to legitimate complications, she needed to be born via c-section. I don't regret trying for a homebirth, and I plan to attempt a natural birth with my second.  BUT I am truly the minority in cases where a women needs these other 'interventions' - I have many, many friends who were first time moms and had a natural birth.  It's very important to try for a natural birth with your first, as your first birth is where you're most likely to encounter unnecessary interventions if you go the epidural route. So I think you should just go for the homebirth/birth center - it's your body and your baby. Why go to the hospital unless a legitimate medical concern arises?
P.S. Also, the REAL reason there are typically unnecessary interventions for first time moms is that the first labor is many times longer than labor for subsequent children. So the hospital is a business - they start offering pitocin, epidural, you name it in the name of 'speeding labor;' they just want to fill your bed with the next laboring woman. Who told them a good labor is a fast one?!?  Many women are thankful they had a longer labor as it gave them time to gradually cope with the changes happening in their body. 'Long' doesn't equal 'bad'....and in a birth center or homebirth setting, your body will be given the time it needs to let labor unfold at it's own pace, whether that be fast or slow :)

Thanks, Marci.  :o)

 

When you ended up needing a c-section, was there ever any concern that you wouldn't get to the hospital in time, etc?  And when preparing for your homebirth, did you also "prepare" for other scenarios (transfer to hospital, interventions, c-section)?  Do you think it would be a good idea to draft a birth plan that takes into account all the different possible outcomes?  I want to be sure that if for some legitimate reason I can't have the kind of birth I want, I am still "in control" of what happens to me and my baby.

 

Thanks again!  :o)

No, there was no concern that I wouldn't make it to the hospital in time :).  Our midwives told us (and I believe this is the practice with most midwives): "once we see things in your labor that are outside the realm of normal, transport to a hospital will be in order." They made it clear that they weren't going to sit around taking chances. I was at the hospital at least six hours before my c-section.  And of course transport to a hospital doesn't mean automatic c-section; far from it. The first approach was to get me hooked up to monitors and so they could observe some of the irregularities they noticed with more clarity. Once it was established that I had a fever, I needed antibiotics to get the fever down - it was then that care was transferred to an OB, because those antibiotics needed to be prescribed by the OB, etc. If both I an baby had stabilized, the OB would've just let the midwives go on as planned, but because the baby didn't stabilize and got progressively worse in terms of Tachycardic heart rate, the midwives stayed with me in a supportive role, but care was technically in the OB's hands. We were blessed to have a good OB (not interventionist minded), but after a few hours it was established I'd need a c-section because it became clear that the Tachycardic heart rate was not due to a sleep cycle, but most likely distress. My midwives even said that it was a wise decision to get the c-section. I don't believe our daughter would've lived if we hadn't followed the OB's recommendation. She was in acute distress (APGAR 2 right after birth, respiratory problems that resulted in a NICU stay for 48 hours, meconium and mucous clogging airways, took many minutes to revive).

 

But the whole point here is that the midwives saw that things had strayed from 'normal' and got me to a hospital immediately to further investigate. Don't be afraid to interview different midwives; you want to ensure that in a situation that's unforseen, your midwives aren't just going to lay back ...something is wrong if key signs are ignored and you're rushed to a hospital last minute when there've been signs all along that something is 'off'.  So find out what kind of midwives you're dealing with so you have confidence in their ability to help make key decisions in labor.

 

We did prepare for other scenarios - we had a written birth plan. Only a few pages long, and some of the stuff wouldn't even need to be stressed (my midwives shared my philosophies)  unless there was transfer to an OB. So this meant the hospital staff only had to read about 1 page worth of bullet points. We highlighted those headings so hospital staff would focus on just the sections relevant to them. Worked like a charm - we weren't harassed for pain meds...someone maybe asked once or twice, that was it. So yes, a birth plan is a good way to go. I couldn't hold her after birth, but that wasn't the hospital's fault - she was in distress, I was shaking violently compliments of the spinal they'd given me (since I'd labored drug free and by the time they realized I needed a c-section they basically wheeled me into OR, gave me spinal, and got her out).  My husband got to hold her for a brief second before she was whisked off to NICU. Try not to make it overly lengthy, but still keep your desires in there (you don't want hospital staff not reading the document because it's 'so long and we're busy').  Give a copy to your midwife.

 

Hopefully (and most likely) you won't need a transfer. Which makes for a much more relaxing birth. Do not worry - cases like mine are in the very small minority if you're going with a midwife. So you truly, TRULY are most likely to have an uncomplicated delivery. Generally, the world of complicated delivery belongs to those who are under the care of an OB for their pregnancy and birth. So expect a peaceful birth! :)

Thanks, Marci.  Gosh, what an ordeal!  Praise God the system worked the way it was supposed to and your baby survived!

 

I really wish I could interview midwives.  Unfortunately, under the NHS I pretty much "get who I get" and don't get to choose my provider (something that I could have done if I was still in the US).  I guess I just have to trust that God has it all under control.  Plus, I fully intend to have a doula regardless of where I give birth!!

I am so glad you are thinking about this. For my first child I had a hospital birth
because I did not even know home birth was an option. I did not have any drugs
And everthing went fine. To me you are doing your research so you will know what
Is happening to your body and if you have a midwife, well I feel they know more
Then the doctors because that is what they are trained to do. Good Luck!
Thanks for the encouragement, Cheryl!  :o)
Interestingly, up until about 100 years ago, most first time moms through the ages had their babies at home and the human race continued just fine!
He he, you're right!  :o)
I wish I would have even known about this option with my first - but I thought it was only crazy hillbillies who did this.  I am almost certain I could have done a homebirth with my first.  Yes, the labor is longer and you don't know as much so you aren't as mentally prepared...but with the right midwife you can totally do this.  Being in comfortable surrounding with people you trust and having the ability to move around and take a shower and go at your own pace will make you feel powerful and in more control.  Hospitals take all the control and that leaves you feeling helpless and scared.  This is your body and your baby and I have faith that you will do a great job. 
Thanks for the vote of confidence, Sonja!  I definitely do not want to give birth in a hospital, especially now after the recent death of my Dad.  He was in the hospital in ICU for about 10 days and I can't imagine what kinds of difficult memories giving birth in a hospital environment would bring up for me.  Everything in me recoils at the thoughts!  I'm just praying all will work out and I can have our baby in an environment where I feel relaxed.

I also think its do-able!!  all my children were born at home.  I think whats happening here is perhaps, first time moms may not be as educated about the entire birthing process and may end up allowing more interventions because they just do not know any better. By the way my first and last were the shortest labors, go figure ;)-

Good luck! Stand your ground :)

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