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Hello

I am fairly sure I am pregnant with my fifth baby (tested too early as couldn't wait and there was a feint line .....) and if so, I really like the idea of giving birth at home.  I've been very lucky with my previous births, they were all very quick and with no complications (although 3 of them were induced after 15 days) and I got by with gas and air.  My reasons for liking the idea of a home birth are just so as it's more natural and there isn't that big event with me leaving the children to go into hospital and coming back with a newborn which has always felt quite 'staged' and I hated the time spent in the labour ward, waiting to be released back to my family.  I guess I also miss my children a lot.  So .......................

My questions might seem very stupid to those of you who have had home births, but having no experience, I need to ask them, so bear with me!   smile

Firstly, if I don't want a water birth, where at home is a usual place to give birth.  Upstairs in bed feels like too close to the children to wake them, but would downstairs on the lounge carpet be appropriate? 

What do you prepare in advance, ie to protect carpet etc from getting messed up. 

If I go for a home birth, can I still have the routine care through the NHS and does this vary at all from the care you would receive if you were going to hospital?

What happens if you go over your due date?  I have heard that people just let the baby come when it's ready, I think this makes a lot of sense, although when my last ds was born about 15 days late after an induced birth, his placenta was all raggy and his skin was very sore and broken in the creases so that made me wonder.  My last baby was overdue but after a 'cervical sweep' labour started gently and the birth was sooooo different to the frantic contractions of the induced births.

As you can probably see, I am a total novice to the idea of a home birth and would never have considered it a few years back, but it just feels like the right thing to do this time and I am finding out all I can in advance.  I have read Sheila Kitzinger's 'Birth Your Way', but if anyone can give me their experiences/advice etc that would be great.  Sorry for rambling!   ::)

Pippa

Home educating Mammy to DD aged 13, DS aged 12, DS aged 10, DD aged 7, DD aged 3 and DS aged 2 weeks!!  grin
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Congratulations and good luck with this homebirth.  I had my home birth for my first baby all planned and then she turned up 6 weeks early so I went to hospital!  Inform your midwife and don't let them fob you off - you are entitled to a homebirth supported by a midwife (well you are in Scotland!).  Different areas have different ways of doing it and you might have to be firm, but hey you've got 4 kids, so you can do that  ;D.

I was going to do it in the living room, with a birth pool if I wanted.  I'd planned to make food for us and the midwives while in early labour and then to have the midwives in the kitchen while I did my thing in the living room and for them to come in as and when needed.  I felt food was only polite!  You can arrange to have gas and air stored at your house - it turns up a few weeks before your due date.  You can also organise to have morphine derivatives stored at your house beforehand, but I felt I didn't want this.  You almost certainly will get a senior midwife coming to the house to discuss your plans and to talk you through some of the things that might make a homebirth more risky (I know it's not, but this is the way they look at it).  They will talk to you about breach, retained placenta, haemorrhage, etc.  This could be done in a helpful way ( as I experienced) or in a more 'we're trying to scare you out of it' way - depending on the midwife/policy in your area.

I still would like a homebirth for my next baby (when this occurs), but I had a retained placenta, so I'm sure there'll be some pressure not to.  I believe though, that the leg jab was implicated in this and I definitely will not have next time (I only did as bub was prem and I wanted to do the rifgt thing for her - turns out leg jab particularly bad for prem births as it limits amount of oxygenated blood to lungs - oops :-\)

If you feel strongly about this, then do it

Tanya

My last baby (now 8 months) was born at home in the living room.  I chose the living room because I usually gave birth early in the morning and I didn't want to wake my other 2 boys, secondly because my bathroom was downstairs, and thirdly, because I could walk about much more freely downstairs.  It was a great experience.  The midwife brought the things I might need (gas and air) and my hospital notes to the house 3 weeks before due date (not allowed to give birth at home before this as it's classed as premature).  I had to get a prescription for the vit K from the doctors as well.  I used incontinence mats and plenty of towels on the floor and the couch (I was laid back on the couch with my bum hanging off the edge ;D).  I did manage to soak the midwife and the carpet though when my waters broke as it shot everywhere (Sorry wink).  It did wash though wink :D

I always think its best not to be too ridged with your plans (I still had a hospital bag packed just in case) and just go with the flow.  I ended up with 3 midwives on the day, with my husband holding my hand and my other two kids upstairs playing :D.  Great experience, would definitely recommend it.

Good luck, hope everything works out right.

‘If we did the things we are capable of doing, we would literally astound ourselves’  Thomas Edison

http://www.handmadehaven.co.uk  www.shellscrafting.blogspot.com   http://www.myhandmadehaven.blogspot.com

congratulations! and good luck.
I had 2 hospital births (I knew 3 of the mid-wives from working at the gym, and couldn't face cleaning up the mess afterwards!) but my sis and sister in law both went for home births- sis in law had 2 excellent experiences- but lives in Brighton where home births are a lot more common. Plastic sheeting and towels on the living room floor seem to be the norm! and get to know your mid-wife (as I'm sure you know, if you don't like her you can request another one)
My sis tried to have home births with her 2 sons- both didn't progress as they should and she was transferred to hospital but had perfectly happy, healthy babies; she was very open minded and was not too upset that the birth plan ended up totally different to what she hoped- I think thats the best point- take it as it comes, get all the information early, and you've proved your body can do it 4 times so I'm sure it'll do it again.
If you are very over-due you are supposed to go in for induction- I was 2 weeks over with my DD, so went for accupuncture with DS (I was desperate to get him out by then, in the heat-wave of last summer)and my waters broke 4 hours after they took out the needles!!!
Keep us posted but there is a ban on making me all broody (my DH just had confirmation that his vassectomy was successful so were staying a 2 children family!)
Gill

I planned a home birth with ym first baby but after about 13 hours in labour - 3 of which in the pushing stage - she was stuck behind a swollen cervical lip and I transferred to hopsital which was awful. I later discovered, in the pregnancy with my youngest that there were methods to release this if I'd had an indpendent midwife as I did for him. He weas born at home, supposed to be in a birthing pool but he was 3 weeks early and it hadn't arrived! I did all my loabouring with both fo them in the bathroom, wasn't planned but that was where I wantyed to be with both. There was a LOT of mess although this seems to vary from person to person. I think it also varies from area to area how supportive NHS midwives will be. Certainly they will be more relaxed if you've had babies straightforwardly before. With my first I had my care from the GP and midwife as usual and then a visit at home to settle all the questions and leave the homebirth pack.
Having had both experiences, I would highly recommend the home birth route, just wish it had worked out with my first. It was particularly good for sibling bonding I think as I never had to leave my daughter and she saw her brother being born, something she still talks about 2 years later.

Liz grin x

Druid, boat-dwelling, home educating mum of DD1 (11), Aspie DS (9) and baby DD2 (2), & part-time step-mum to 2 stepdaughters, 9 and 7.

Thanks so much for that.  It really has answered the questions that weren't covered in the book.  I want to get as much info as I can so when I go to midwife's, I know what I'm talking about!!   :D

I really didn't think I would have any more babies.  DH was very against the idea up to a few months ago and then did a spectacular U-turn, so I am still in shock I think!  It's exactly 10 years since I fell pregnant with my eldest child and I am such a different person from then, calmer and more confident and giving birth at home with my children and DH around seems the most natural thing now. 

Thanks for all your good and honest advice and experience, it's been a brilliant help.    :-*

Pippa

Home educating Mammy to DD aged 13, DS aged 12, DS aged 10, DD aged 7, DD aged 3 and DS aged 2 weeks!!  grin
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Whoo!  Congratulations Pippa smile

This is a fabulous website and has answers to questions you might even not have considered yet!

http://www.homebirth.org.uk/

I second that site - it's fab.  And also, more congratulations!

If you DO have a pool then obviously flling constraints and the strength of your floorboards are issues.  If not you can give birth anywhere though the midwives might want to be able to access you - not that you have to oblige.  wink  When they asked to examine me I said no, then happened to be in a position they couldn't check my cervix even with a mirror, so they just didn't.  When I wanted to push I pushed, and delivered the baby into my own hands.

I had a waterproof sheet for the pool to stand on, and another to get out onto.  A dry nest area for me to labour and/or push and/or deliver the placenta if I felt like it.  This was two large sheets, folded a little, in a corner.  I had a bucket and a seive too, for removing yuck from the pool.  Lots of warm towels, but again you might not need to bother with no water in the equation - just one for the baby.  And that's about it.  Oh a birth ball too (my mum's pink yoga ball lol).

I was at the point of having to negotiate a home birth at only 8 days over when she arrived of her own accord.  Basically they wanted me induced at 7 days over, but "let" me go another week and asked me to be moitored after that.  I told them I would attend to be moitored and have a scan but would NOT be induced, and my midwife agreed that she'd attend me up to three weeks over.  If it had come to that she might have refused to attend any later but I was quit prepared if I didn't have any risk factors to say that I would give birth unassisted.  Sometimes you have to be bolshy with the doctors, who expect you to be grateful to be offered deliverance.  wink

I refused the jab for the placenta, refused vitamin K, none of it was an issue with the midwives.  They were lovely.

Morgan's birth was amazing, empowering, everything I wanted from it.  I would do it again tomorrow (in fact I was saying two days later that it had been too short at six hours long and I wanted to do it again).  I can't even get into words how good it was to reclaim my birthing ability and shake off the shadow of having someone else deliver my baby.

Sarah

Sarah
Living, loving, learning, laughing, growing, with
8yo Jenna (August 04)
6yo Morgan (December 06)
4yo Rowan (April 09)
and toddling baby Talia (December 11)

http://www.carried-family.blogspot.com
http://www.etsy.com/shop/ArwenMakes

GP LETS number 17

That sounded lovely Sarah!  You mentioned a birthing ball, I have seen pictures of pregnant women using them, is it just for labour, or would it be useful for pregnancy too?  Also, would a gym ball be the same, I've noticed they are a lot cheaper that's all.

I feel a bit daft asking all these questions, especially as this will be my fifth birth, but all the others were in hospital and the first three were induced.  I didn't realise how different this was from 'normal' birth until my fourth was born without any inducing - it was so much more relaxed and gentle and not so frantic, so I still think of myself as a bit of a novice as induced births do take all control away from you, you just do as you're told!!   :'(

Thanks for the links to the homebirth site, it's really informative and the stories of people's experiences is great too, it gives a good, honest picture of birthing at home.

I was always told that I would have to have the injection that releases the placenta (sorry, the name escapes me at the mo) as they said I bleed heavily afterwards, but I have always rejected the Vit K jab, opting for the drops instead (which I usually forgot to administer!) 

Thanks for all your help, I may be bothering you in the future with more questions though, but I really like the idea of a home birth.

Pippa

Home educating Mammy to DD aged 13, DS aged 12, DS aged 10, DD aged 7, DD aged 3 and DS aged 2 weeks!!  grin
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Well I've handled both and sat on both and in my opinion YES they are the same lol.  I think that the birth balls are meant to have tougher "skin" but I found the yoga ball absolutely fine and I'm not exactly small.  I used it a little in pregnancy to practice sitting on, to relieve early practice contractions, and to generally rock about on to open up the pelvis and improve my balance.

In labour I used it for a couple of hours to help me stay active past the point where I could easily stand.  I bounced on it (distracting me from contractions lol) and rolled around on it (ditto).  Both activities will have helped her descend where lying down would have slowed things up for us (both of mine have easliy slipped into OP positioning if I lie back in labour - the reason I had an episiotomy with Jenna).  I'm very glad I had the ball there, it kept me from feeling helpless before the pool was full.

It was wonderful for me to have no lights on (it was dawn) and candles, and relative quiet.  The living room became such a magical place, and being in here still gives me warm memories of laying back in the pool and drifting, and of course of being blown away lifting up my daughter and staring into her eyes - it took me a while to realise I still didn't know she was a girl, and she didn't cry just stare at me and drink me in.

OK so now I'm using your questions as an excuse.  ;)  I'm really not going to be unquestionningly doing as I'm told again.  :)

Sarah
Living, loving, learning, laughing, growing, with
8yo Jenna (August 04)
6yo Morgan (December 06)
4yo Rowan (April 09)
and toddling baby Talia (December 11)

http://www.carried-family.blogspot.com
http://www.etsy.com/shop/ArwenMakes

GP LETS number 17

I like the idea of keeping the room dark.  I think I kept my eyes tight shut with all my labours, I know when I opened them when the baby was born, the room seemed very bright and I felt as though I'd had them shut for a long time!!  It really helped me to focus on what I was doing.  I found that keeping my eyes shut and imagining everything gently opening up and my children cheering me on helped  when the contractions got overwhelming.  The last time I was in hospital, giving birth, I was offered music which was nice and I hadn't had that before, but it was very relaxing (the choice of CDs was hilarious though - Queen, Party Hits, Christmas number ones and classical .......................I went for the classical!!)   :D

I think I might give the birth ball a go when I'm further down the line, it might help me avoid another induction hopefully.  I gave birth to all mine laying down, I was asked if I wanted to move about, but it's not easy when you're on a hospital bed and you have monitors attatched to you!!   ::)  Being at home would make me feel happier about trying out different positions.

Told the children  they were going to have another little brother or sister today.  My eldest dd was very excited, especially as she is old enough to carry the baby and help out now, my younger ds said "Oh good." and then asked me what was for tea!!   :D

Home educating Mammy to DD aged 13, DS aged 12, DS aged 10, DD aged 7, DD aged 3 and DS aged 2 weeks!!  grin
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LOL cute!  smile

Sarah
Living, loving, learning, laughing, growing, with
8yo Jenna (August 04)
6yo Morgan (December 06)
4yo Rowan (April 09)
and toddling baby Talia (December 11)

http://www.carried-family.blogspot.com
http://www.etsy.com/shop/ArwenMakes

GP LETS number 17

I had my first baby at home 8 months ago and would definitely recommend it to anyone, especially compared to some of the horror stories that I have heard about some (though of course not all) hospital births. When I went for my booking appointment the midwife said I would not be allowed to have one because I was too old - 37! Luckily my community midwives were more constructive and ironically it was the midwife at my hospital ante-natal classes that was the most encouraging.

Every local situation is different but here my local maternity ward is often full and 'on divert' to other wards much further away. This means that on top of every thing else that you have to think about when contractions start you have to worry about where you might end up and you won't know until they finally let you come in when the birth is imminent. All that stress can't be good for a normal labour and I would have hated my partner having such a long drive to come and visit me after the birth. Because I was booked for a home birth the midwife came to see me at home soon after contractions started to make sure everything was ok and talk through what was going to happen which was reassuring & exciting. I was then in touch with them by phone which was also really reassuring. Also, if we had had to transfer to hospital apparently we would be much more likely to end up in my local maternity ward, and my midwife would have come with me so I would have had continuity of care. I used a TENS until the midwife turned up when I was 8cm dilated and she brought gas and air (baby was over 2 wks early so we didn't already have the stuff here - as someone else said you can have pethidine too but I didn't want to use that as it can get in the way of breastfeeding I think).

I had large plastic sheeting from my work but I'm sure shower curtains or even very large plastic bags would do - you do want to cover them with old sheets or towels though as all that crinkling is very off putting! I had them laid out in several places as I walked around a lot (for over 30 hrs!) and had several spots where I leant or knelt against furniture/bannisters. The midwives were incredibly efficient about clearing up (they take it all away themselves). I actually delivered on the spare bed. Baby had the cord round her neck which had to be cut during delivery and had to be resuscitated but I don't have any doubt that the midwives were fully in control of the situation and we were perfectly safe to be at home. Unfortunatly had a retained placenta so had to transfer to hospital which only reinforced my feeling that we had done the right thing having the birth at home. It was really amazing and I'm so grateful that I had supportive midwives as so many people that I know thought I was insane to be going ahead with it!

Good luck!

hi pippa,

i had my son 4 weeks ago at home (please excuse the spelling, but typing and breastfeeding is not easy yet!) and i would recommend it to any one. i hired an independant midwife as i didnt want to take a chance on the understaffing in my area and i wanted to know the person who attended the birth, and had the same views on childbirth as i did. Its not cheap (up to £3000 in some places but its the best moeny i have ever spent, and she has become a friend as well as my midwife.

I planned for a water birth but my labour was too quick to fill the pool in time so i gave birth on the bathroom floor, and as far as where to give birth, anywhere goes! my midwife had a traveller client who gave birth outside under a tree!!

I cant comment on nhs home births and the care you recieve but i would think it is the same, uust in your own home.

with the nhs, the same rules apply about going over due, but with my midwife, as long as i and baby were ok she was prepared to let me go over due as long as it took, it helps that she really hates inductions smile

linzi and oliver

This was originally posted this in the general section, under "the joy of pregnancy and birth" but got blanked…...! btw has anyone else with a positive birth story found that people just don't want to hear about it? My health visitor looked away in embarrassment when I said that the birth had been wonderful.

I agree that having an IM is (currently) the best way to have a good home birthing experience and worth every penny.  The birth of my son was the most magical experience of my life and even now, a year later, just  thinking about it makes me well up with emotion. He was born at home, with me kneeling on my living room floor, in complete peace and quiet and candlelight after a 5 hour labour with just the IM in attendance. Water birth was planned but no time to fill the pool, although to be honest when it arrived I was VERY put off by the horrible strong plastic smell, which lots of washing and drying outside in the sun did nothing to remove.  Contrary to my expectations the labour and birth was completely painless (truthfully) and it wasn't even necessary to push him out - my body did all the work. He was born "in the caul" as the waters didn't break until he was born and taking the membranes off was like unwrapping the best present I've ever been given.

IM's are not bound by silly NHS policy rules about inducing for "overdue" and the two midwife rule - a friend of mind in second stage hard labour at home was told not to push until the second midwive arrived!! - and they generally tend to be very holistic in their care.

I'd recommend reading "Spiritual Midwifery" by Ina May Gaskin - but disregard the "stranded beetle" birthing positions favoured  smile

[quote author=yogamum link=topic=186.msg3451#msg3451 date=1186004096]
This was originally posted this in the general section, under "the joy of pregnancy and birth" but got blanked…...! btw has anyone else with a positive birth story found that people just don't want to hear about it? My health visitor looked away in embarrassment when I said that the birth had been wonderful.


I've found that too - nice positive birth stories are boring compared to awful horrific experiences it would seem, lol  Actually I find that people are far too busy relaying their own birth story to want to listen to anyone elses.  I've had 6 homebirths (7 babies) and my last one was a planned unassisted which was absolutely wonderful, as was my 6th baby's birth where I used natal hypnotherapy and I can honestly say it was absolutely fantastic.

Lucie

SAHM to B, R, E, M, S, J, A and A

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