Monday, 7 January 2019

Why I Want A Home Birth

I would never have considered a home birth for my first, I wasn’t even comfortable with the idea of a water birth (too much nudity and the idea of pooing in the water and it having to be fished out put me right off). I wasn’t really sure what to expect by the whole labour and birth thing, but I thought going to hospital was the way to go. I’m not sure I was even really aware there was an option of a midwife led unit. Two births later and I’ve had enough of hospitals. This time I’m hoping to stay at home.

Giving birth in hospital can make you feel out of control


My first birth was straightforward, but other than the Triage midwife non of the midwives really listened to me. The Triage midwife offered to admit me, but the midwives on the ward obviously didn’t think I should be there, that it was too early. When I asked for some pain relief they told that if I was struggling now I would need an epidural during labour (which I didn’t want). I asked for gas & air, they suggested I had a shower. Shortly after my shower I felt I needed to push and we had to persuade the midwives to check me. They were obviously surprised when they finally did and realised, yes I was about to give birth.

I was whizzed down to a delivery room on a bed and there wasn’t really an option to get off my back at anytime. I was told not to make less noise (even though the groans made me feel better) and talked into an episiotomy. I don’t remember being given a choice about anything.

My second birth was equally fast, but this time I had the confidence of experience. I called the midwife led unit, said I progressed quickly and they told me to come in. Labour was fine and I was listened to and respected, but they still didn’t really appreciate how quickly it would happen. It was a very busy night for the unit so the staff were more stretched than they would like and I ended up giving birth on a ward instead of the birthing room which I briefly visited when I arrived.

A birthing room at Princess Alexandra Hospital in Harlow Midwife Led Unit

It wasn’t just the labours where I felt out of control. The timing of the births meant an overnight stay and long waits the next day to be discharged. I don’t really remember the first stay, but second time round I spent half the night starving hungry, not realising there was a kitchen down the hall where I could have made myself toast, and the morning trying to hide my bloody sheets from everyone else’s visitors as the midwives had been too busy to change them.

So I guess the main reason I want a home birth is so I can control my environment before and after birth.

It doesn’t guarantee the midwives will listen or respect my choices, but while I am at home the balance of power is different. Labouring at home also doesn’t guarantee that I will get to stay at home, there are a long list of reasons why I could be expected to transfer to hospital anything from failure to progress, raised blood pressure or minor complications post birth. 

Of course there are things that worry me about a home birth. The mess for one thing. Birth is messy and there is a lot to be said to letting it take place in a clinical environment where someone else cleans up. I know the midwives clean up the mess, but I remember trying to try after a shower last time and I couldn’t stop bleeding long enough to get from the shower to put a maternity pad on without making a mess. I’m also worried about the distance from the hospital if something goes badly wrong, those extra minutes before baby or I get help could make all the difference to the outcome. I can’t think too much about that though.

I just think, what if it all does go ok? The likelihood of problems is low and it should all be fine. I could have everything I want to hand, whatever I want to eat (and drink) afterwards and the comfort of my own surroundings, including access to clean sheets if I need them.

Hospital birthing rooms and why I want a home birth


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