Pregnancy & Birth

Home Birth vs Hospital Birth

Planning a home birth takes a lot of courage, just like doing anything against social norm – it takes courage to break away from the pack. It’s not for everyone, and I do believe that a woman should birth where she feels the most safe. But my wish for women is what Becky is doing right now as she grapples with her decision about where to give birth: that they look very honestly at whether or not the hospital offers a true feeling of safety or the illusion of safety. -Stephanie 

I’m officially in my first-ever second trimester – bring on the baby belly and my new obsession with delivery questions. Can I afford a doula? Do I really like my doctor? How to ingest the placenta? Hospital or home birth?

My current hospital is Cedars-Sinai, also known by LA locals as Beverly Hills’ celebrity C-Section factory. Jessica Simpson recently booked the luxe $4,000-a-day birthing suites there, and a lot of non-celebs do the same. When I told my OB I wanted a natural birth he glanced at me skeptically and said that 98% of women at Cedars choose the epidural. This is WAY above the 42.5% average in California according to the CDC.

Then, I watched “The Business of Being Born” and a moment of clarity hit me. I want to do screaming labor yoga in my living room! I want to dunk myself into a giant kiddie pool! I want to sleep in my own bed! My husband’s parents were part of a natural birth movement in Santa Barbara, California in the late-70’s. He is one of three successful home births. Why not carry on this tradition?

Home Birth vs Hospital Birth

Because, well, I have fears of something going terribly wrong. Several people I know claimed their baby would not have survived home birth, and I know of someone who lost her baby after failed resuscitation. I don’t mean to be Debbie Downer, but it’s hard not to consider the worst case scenario.

With a home birth, we’d have an ideal environment for one of the most important events of our lives. But, the fighter in me would love to have a natural delivery at Cedars just to prove to my Beverly Hills nurses and OB that I can do it – or maybe I just need to prove it to myself.

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  • Candace
    July 16, 2012 at 2:37 PM

    I was nervous about homebirth until I realized that a good midwife is not out to make birth history, but is looking out for the best interest of mama and baby. I planned a homebirth, found a wonderful midwife, then ended up needing to transfer to a hospital for a forcep delivery because my daughter’s head wasn’t at the right angle and just wouldn’t come without help. My midwife suggested the hospital transfer when I stayed dilated at 9 cm for at least 4 hours and then stayed with us at the hospital until after my daughter was born. It was not what I wanted for my birth experience, but I didn’t doubt that I was given the best midwife care.

    On another note, a number of things happened in the hospital that I absolutely did not want; I was stubborn and vocal, as was my husband, but it is VERY hard to buck the hospital system (although we did basically steal my placenta when the hospital staff said I couldn’t take it home with me)–way more work than anyone should have to do while in labor.

    • Becky
      July 16, 2012 at 3:52 PM

      Candace – I’m shocked that the hospital staff did not want you to take the placenta home with you. Thanks for reminding me that this is a detail I have to look into at Cedars-Sinai. If I end up delivering at a hospital, I intend to take home my placenta for encapsulation.

      • Candace
        July 17, 2012 at 1:30 AM

        I wanted mine for encapsulation, too. I think it’s harder in my state to get your placenta after a hospital birth. I’ve heard in most states you just have to sign a form. Stealing the placenta made a good story though. 🙂 When the nurses left the room my midwife took it and put it in my car, then we called a (very good) friend to come pick it up and put it in our refrigerator. Our small way of sticking it to the man.

  • Heather
    July 16, 2012 at 4:18 PM

    I would be all about home birth if I lived in a hospital…. basically what I’m saying is that I love everything about a home birth… except the fact that if something goes wrong you don’t have immediate access to medical care. What I would like to see is a birthing center in a hospital. A REAL birthing center, where the rooms are set up like bedrooms without medical equipment or anything of the sort, but in a hospital where they have all the necessary equipment if something does happen. I for one am lucky that I had my first son in a hospital. If it were a home birth I would have had to go by ambulance to a hospital or my baby or I could have died. Maybe a midwife would have been knowledgeable enough to get us there in time, but I don’t want to gamble with my child’s life like that. Safety always comes first, and for us that means birthing in a hospital, even if it isn’t ideal. We found it helps to have an advocate, speak your mind, and don’t be afraid to say no to anything. We are hoping our second will be a lot less traumatic and more ‘normal’. We are trying again in January. Good luck to you, and a safe birth and healthy baby 🙂

  • Tricia Marble
    July 16, 2012 at 4:19 PM

    I live in Florida and did a birthing center birth with my first child and the second child I had at home. My midwife was great and I believe that alot of it comes down to your midwife. Do you feel confident with them, are they well trained. As with any scenario, things can go wrong anywhere… hospital, birth center, home… etc. It took me awhile to convince my husband to do a home birth and ours turned out like nothing we had planned at all but we were happy we did it. Our story was one that could have ended up on the news (well, it did end up in the newspaper) or Oprah but all was well! Follow your instincts! Look at all aspects… one of the huge issues with us at the time was finances. Home birth was cheaper than the hospital and at the time that was a big deal for us.

  • Nancy
    July 16, 2012 at 4:23 PM

    You have to do whats best for you and baby. If you live in LA and the hospital you want to deliver at has a 98% rate of women who get epidurals (that is the start to a cascade of interventions)…and you want a natural birth…that is a serious red flag. It might be tempting to think “well, I can prove them wrong”…yet if you buy the hospital ticket, you get the hospital ride…stepping foot in the (that) hospital means YOU are no longer in control of how labor progresses…there is a cascade of interventions that will take place and you will be fighting your whole way (unless you find CNM in a hospital) or a DR that is extremely supportive of natural birth. Birth is NOT about fighting against the system, its about providing an environment of support for mama and baby to be born into this world. I am not advocating for staying away from the hospital, if you want something and the current location is NOT that…pick a different location. Statistics are there for us to see the results, a DR can tell you they fully support you, yet their results don’t lie. This is one of the biggest challenges today: either home or hospital birth…there are options. I am sure there are some wonderful Birth Centers (they are required to be located within 30 min of a hospital). Yes Homebirth is risky, so is hospital birth, LIFE is risky. A suggestion: get your fears out in the open, go through all the things you THINK can happen and discuss them…and let go. Birth is a physical experience, its also mentally straining and spiritual (meaning you will be up against your own fears, beliefs, thoughts and you have to be willing to go through them). Preparation is the Key. Hire a Doula, she is worth it. A Doula will help you address any fears concerns, help you choose where to birth (if you find one early, which is recommended), educate you on the stages of labor, prep for labor with different positions and tools…she is YOUR support. Also, attend a childbirth class with your husband: Bradley is in my opinion one of the best because it helps BOTH of you prepare, you get to be on the same page and learn together. Surround yourself with birth stories, books, resources that are empowering and encouraging. Your body was made to give birth. Also, at the end of the day, take full responsibility for the choice you make, whichever it is, its the right one for you.

    • Becky
      July 16, 2012 at 11:11 PM

      Thanks for the info about the birthing classes. I’m just starting to look into which ones we should take. My husband will be a huge part of my delivery process as will my doula. We just found one who is helping us sift through the options we have in LA. Unfortunately, we haven’t found birth centers to be one of them. The only one within 25 miles is extremely cost prohibitive.

  • Jenn
    July 16, 2012 at 4:31 PM

    I had both my kids at home but work as a Labour and Delivery nurse so I see both worlds. I think practitioner is more important than location to having the birth you want. I knew my midwife well and I live close to the hospital so I knew if things started to go wrong help wasn’t far away. A big part of my choice to have a midwife was to have my choices respected and by my birth I knew them both so well I could trust my baby and my life to them. Had I gone to the hospital it can be luck of the draw for care.

    One thing to remember is that while something can go wrong either way, and resus can go badly in hospital as well, the interventions that are used routinely in hospitals are often the cause of babies needing to be resuscitated. I think having a midwife you trust can make a huge difference and keep reading. Ultimately though you’ll labour best where you feel most safe.

    • Becky
      July 16, 2012 at 11:29 PM

      I’m writing down the last line of your comment on my birth board!

  • Emily
    July 16, 2012 at 4:32 PM

    Becky: We chose a free-standing birth center owned by a midwife for both of my childrens’ births. It was basically a house with some extra equipment; birthing tub, and equipment for emergency situations. I wanted to do it this way because I didn’t like the sterile feeling of the hospitals and because I felt that I in particular would have a difficult time standing up to the hospital personnel if they started pushing for interventions. As long as you find a midwife you trust to tell you if things are getting out of hand (i.e. you really need to transfer to a hospital), I think home birth (or birth center) is a great option! The other great thing about being at the birth center is that both I and the mid-wife were extra motivated to get those kiddos out, because there WEREN’T any readily available interventions (such as an epidural) to fall back on! Personally I think that it’s too easy to take the easy way out when you’re in the hospital; all that equipment is right there, the hospital personnel tend to be biased toward interventions, and labor is difficult!

    One other thing to keep in mind; just because people have told you that their babies wouldn’t have survived if they hadn’t been in a hospital doesn’t mean it’s true. Things may have gone differently if they hadn’t started out in the hospital to begin with.

    Good luck, whatever you choose!

    • Becky
      July 16, 2012 at 11:02 PM

      Here in Los Angeles County, there are shockingly only two birth centers and they are both very expensive. I’m told that it’s very difficult for these centers to acquire insurance for their businesses in case they are sued. That would have been my first option without a doubt. Thanks for the encouragement!

  • Dominique
    July 16, 2012 at 4:38 PM

    I have always been supportive of home births, heck I even strongly considered it for the birth of my first child. The only trouble is my boring, normal run of the mill pregnancy did not end with a labor and delivery of the same tune. My son would not have made it if I delivered at home.
    I labored for 18 hours, the epidural did not take and I felt every minute of it. The pain I could of handled at home, but the fact that I could have done harm to my son had I not been in a hospital I couldn’t handle.
    Over all my birth plan was to get my son out safe, healthy and happy. Even though I ended up with a c-section I couldn’t be happier with the way it all happened because I have this beautiful, healthy, wonderful little boy.

  • Melissa
    July 16, 2012 at 4:42 PM

    I agree that women should be able to choose where & how they deliver. That being said I had a very healthy, normal & uncomplicated pregnancy (after ivf/icsi)-went into labor naturally @ 40w+1d and arrived at the hospital 5cm dialated. My son was a posterior presentation and had both hands up at his face, I pushed for 3 hours and tore from front to back externally and from my vagina up to my cervix internally. I was hemorrhaging so badly that I was rushed to an OR immediately b/c the bleeding could not be stopped & the lacerations needed to be sutured with layers upon layers of stiches, I also recieved muliple units of blood. My son was prefectly healthy, however had I birthed at home I would likely have bled out at while waiting for the ambulance to arrive (I only live 10 min from the largest women/infant hospital in our area). I realize my experience is not at all the norm, but I had absolutely no indications that my birth was going to be complicated at all…I think no matter how healthy, prepared, well equipped and educated you are there are some unforseen circumstances that can occur, and to me would always trump being at home. Alive, & healthy Mom and baby is always number one and there are some things (like tranfusions, operating rooms and high level nicu) that can only be done in a hospital setting. * I should note that my hospital offerd both a traditional birth setting as well as a “natural birthing center” which allowed for baths, showers, music/meditation, acupuncture, doulas, midwives, accelerated discharge etc..with the benefit of being there at the hospital should any emergenies arise-to me it sounds like a wonderful balance of natural & safe ; )* No judgement here at all, just wanted to share my experience-best of luck for happy & healthy deliveries for any mama’s soon to deliver at home or in the hospital!

    • Becky
      July 16, 2012 at 11:24 PM

      I love that more and more hospitals are creating “natural birthing centers” within their maternity wards. I’m definitely opting for acupuncture during my screaming labor yoga even if I have to provide it myself.

  • Molly W.
    July 16, 2012 at 6:12 PM

    A tip about choosing a hospital birth from some LDR nurse friends:

    *Most LDR nurses and doctors welcome a doula or other birthing coach to be by your side and this because they are typical not there to be your labor coach or doula. They, especially those who work at larger hospitals and hospital with specialty LDR/NICU resources, are there for when a problem does arrive and it’s very likely that they are trying to get you through your safe, uncomplicated pregnancy quickly because they know a high risk pregnancy could be coming through the doors at any moment.

    There are also a whole other set of rules that govern nurses and doctors – they can get in big trouble if they don’t do what the patient requests. So even if you come in thinking you’re going to have a completely natural birth and start screaming for a pain killer or epidural they are not in the same position (as a birth coach or doula) to talk you through the contractions and convince you otherwise. While they can to a point, when it comes down to it they have to do as you request even if it’s not on your birth plan.

    If you do decide to labor at a hospital or just want it checked out as a back to home or birth center delivery go and talk with some of the staff on the floor. They can be incredibly helpful in suggesting local doula, centers and classes when they’re not trying to juggling your contractions while another mama and baby are being life flighted in from a car accident.

    I’m not saying that there aren’t hospitals who cater to those who want an in and out, painless delivery complete with post c-section tummy tuck and that there aren’t going to hospitals and doctors who see laboring women a quantity to fulfill a quota, and there is a long way to go before we stop looking at a healthy, uncomplicated pregnancy as a disease, but with a little research and a few good contacts there are ways to have the birth you want at a hospital!

    • Becky
      July 16, 2012 at 10:31 PM

      Great inside info! Thankfully, we just got a doula. She’s actually a former class parent for my husband’s 3rd grade class and knows us really well. Not sure how I would get through a home birth or hospital birth without one.

      • Molly W.
        July 17, 2012 at 1:39 AM

        I would say that the most important thing whether you start and end at home or in a hospital is to be prepared to throw away your “birth plan”. Birth can be an amazing, blissful experience in which nothing goes wrong (and that’s the outcome every doula and doctor should be aiming for), but we as mothers always need to be willing to sacrifice from the moment those contractions starts – a safe delivery will always be what’s best.

        I actually had the reverse experience of many women – my doctor was ready and willing to make me have a regular delivery even though I had been stalled for almost 8 hours at 8 cm, exhausted, my son was bigger than they realized and face up she still wanted me to deliver naturally and it was actually my call that decided on a c-section. And I’m actually glad of it – instead of dwelling on my natural, vaginal delivery that never was I feel even more determined to do so the next time around even though I feel completely at peace with my c-section decision.

        P.S. I’m surprised that L.A. doesn’t have a wider selection of “birth centers” or at least hospitals with dedicated birth center type accommodations – they are definitely gaining popularity across the country.

        • Becky
          July 18, 2012 at 4:02 AM

          There used to be a wide range of birth centers in LA I’m told. Many of them allegedly got wrapped up in litigation which made them difficult to insure. It’s been hard to find out the real story here. UCLA Medical Center does have a dedicated birthing wing, but their word-of-mouth reputation isn’t good. At least the home birth community here is thriving.

  • Elle
    July 16, 2012 at 6:30 PM

    You cannot just paste a hospital birth outcome/scenario into a home birth situation and say that you would have been in an emergency if you had birthed at home. Many of the problems that arise in hospital births are due to hospital interventions that would never happen at home. Furthermore, even if you are in a hospital, it takes some time to prepare the OR for an emergency- if you live within several minutes of a hospital, they can prep the room while you are in transit. The truth is that, statistically-speaking, a home birth is far safer for low-risk women than a hospital birth. That said, you would be best informed by interviewing midwives who do home births and doing additional research to get the best information in order to make an informed decision that you are comfortable with. Focusing on threatening words from other moms (even if they mean well) isn’t going to do you any good.

    • Becky
      July 16, 2012 at 11:18 PM

      I’m going to start interview more midwives next week. So far I haven’t found anyone who will be around the second week of December. Hopefully, I’ll find one who isn’t taking an extended holiday vacation. : )

    • Melissa
      July 16, 2012 at 11:49 PM

      My son was born a 5:13pm, I was in the OR and under anesthesia by 5:20 pm (I have gone back and read extensively thru my chart/records after requesting it from the hospital). I had no epidural, no episiotomy, no pitocin, no forceps, nothing. If you read back thru my comment, I delivered my son who was in a posterior postition after 3 hours of pushing (many “regular ob’s” would have insisted upon me having a c-section) All hospitals are quipped for crashing patients & emergencies. Given MY personal situation, and the severity of it I was in huge trouble regardless of where it happened. My point is that I am greatful that in MY situation I was able to have the blood & immediate surgery I needed in order to save my life. Had I been at home, after calling 911, waiting for an ambulance, transit to the hospital and being rushed to an OR time would have far exceeded the 7 minutes it took for me to be rushed literally down the hall to a waiting OR. I was extremely low risk, for an at home or hospital birth and still had an awful time. Honestly I never really thought about what could have (and did) go wrong for me during birth, I was always solely concerned about what may have potentially gone wrong for my baby. Elle, I was the exception to statistics & I would never ever wish that upon or for anyone else. I do think it’s important to hear all sides and to consider all possibilities as part of doing research. As an informed patient you have to weigh pro’s and benefit as well as con’s/risk.

    • Stephanie
      July 18, 2012 at 2:55 AM

      Well said. So many women who “needed” an emergency cesarean feel so grateful for having been in the hospital to save the baby, but the reality is that they most likely would not have needed whatever medical intervention that “saved them” had they not been in the hospital in the first place. And like you say, the stats on home birth and the stats on hospital birth, clearly stat that women are safer at home. For the record, only 2% of cesareans are truly necessary. 2%. Not 35% like it is in my town.

    • Jenn
      August 18, 2012 at 7:01 PM

      Agreed. While there are true emergencies (like Melissa mentioned above), I would venture to say many of the fear mongers don’t understand that plenty of unexpected situations can be handled at home just fine. I’ve had people tell me “my babies wouldn’t have made it if I had them at home,” but that’s only because the cord was wrapped around the babies neck, which is actually pretty common and the midwife can unwind it as home just as easily as the hospital.

      • Stephanie
        August 19, 2012 at 12:28 AM

        Penelope’s cord was wrapped around her neck and she was just fine. She is born in water so it was noticed until I pulled her up on my chest, and the midwife just slipped her finger through and un-looped it.

  • Lisa Waszkiewicz
    July 16, 2012 at 8:33 PM

    I gave birth to my daughter in a hospital. I had a high risk pregnancy. I don’t remember ever considering a home birth. Mostly because I was so scared about her coming out safely and keeping myself healthy during the process. I felt safer (at least as safe as you can feel knowing that in the near future you are going to push an entire human being out of your body) with my doctor in a hospital. The beautiful things is that there is such a wealth of information and experience out there. You can talk and listen and choose what is going to work best for you and your family. Good luck!

    • Becky
      July 18, 2012 at 3:41 AM

      Thanks for the encouragement. It appears my current task is to NOT get overwhelmed by the wealth of information. Wow. Loving all the input.

  • Claire T
    July 17, 2012 at 12:37 AM

    I think you have to accept that your baby is going to drive your delivery. My daughter was a text book pregnancy and has been a textbook baby but our delivery was anything but. I too had a baby with a hand by her face, extensive tearing and a requirement for immediate surgery post birth. I did all my early labour at home, bouncing on a Swiss ball watching the winter Olympics. I was booked for a birthing centre but when my midwife came to my home to see how I was progressing she moved me to the major birthing hospital in our area. At the time I was very upset but I know her choice saved my daughter and me. Going to the hospital did start a cascade of intervention that I had hoped to avoid i ncluding not be but two epidurals ( the first failed), forceps, and the episiotomy they used to prevent tearing did not prevent a fourth degree tear. Fortunately DD was born screaming and healthy but I had a much harder day. I was very lucky to birth in New Zealand where the midwife visited me daily for my first week at home and continued to see me at least three times a week at home for the first six weeks. She was very apologetic about what ended up occurring but I will always be grateful that she listened to her thirty years of experience and took me to the hospital. Sadly I have had three separate opinions that I must have a c section if we have another child as a result of the damage caused by this birth.

    • Becky
      July 18, 2012 at 3:28 AM

      Ugh. Sounds like your delivery was quite an experience. It must have been nice to have your midwife visit frequently after birth!

  • Barb
    July 17, 2012 at 3:01 AM

    I was like you in a lot of ways. I watched the business of being born and had my mind set on a natural childbirth. As an RN i know all of the medical interventions that just aren’t necessary all too well. I took the bradley birthing class, practiced prenatal yoga religiously, and saw a chiropractor regularly. I even did acupuncture to prepare my body for labor. In my mind it was going to be this way and there were no other options. So once 41 weeks hit and I still wasn’t going into labor, I knew that things were not going to go according to plan. My midwife induced me at exactly 42 weeks and I then experienced the worst labor and delivery possible. Without going into too much details, I will cut it short by saying…induction……..24 hrs later epidural……12 hrs labor pushing which doesn’t seem all that bad, then came the back labor (baby was posterior), and I ended up pushing for 7 hours because i refused to have a c-section. I ended up having a c section 48 hrs after my induction because of infection. Baby was born at 9 lbs, 10 oz and was stuck in the birth canal. I had major complications in surgery including hemorrhage which required 2 units of blood and plasma and 5 liters of fluid. I was very sick. Through it all, I still nursed my son as soon as I held him for the first time and it was a magical moment. I am still nursing my 15 month old son and successful breastfeeding has been the saving grace of this story for me. I am still very upset about my birth experience and I almost feed the need for a “do-over” I want to have a natural childbirth experience and I pray all the time that my next will be that way. I guess my main lesson learned here for me is that you can plan, plan, and plan till the sun goes down, but there are factors that are just out of your hands. I feel so lucky that I am alive given my birth I am so glad that I was at a hospital. I know thousands of woman have home births, but I could never forgive myself if I was the exception to the norm. I wish you all the best of luck with your child birthing experience. 2 of the 4 of the girls in my birth class had perfect, natural and beautiful births so I am hopeful with my next. Sharing my birth story has been a big part of my healing so thank you for opening up with forum.

    • Becky
      July 18, 2012 at 3:39 AM

      Barb, thank you so much for bravely sharing your story. I truly hope you get the opportunity to have a positive birth experience with your next child.

  • Sarah
    July 17, 2012 at 11:30 AM

    When giving birth all the home and natural birth books say that the most important thing is that you feel comfortable and safe in your birthing environment, after thinking long and hard, I decided that I would feel safest and most secure in the hospital where I would have access to medical care if something went wrong. I was also committed to having a natural birth. I used the book “Natural Hospital Birth” by Cynthia Gabriel as a guide to get what I wanted. I think it is important to take an honest look at what you really want and how you really feel. If you attempt a home birth, but you are full of fear and anxiety about what might go wrong then you will set yourself up for a bad experience. At the same time, if hospitals and medical professionals make you nervous and fearful, then you owe it to yourself to take charge of you birth experience. I had an amazing experience laboring in water and delivered with no medication or medical intervention of any kind right in the comfort of my hospital room. It was the perfect way for ME to give birth. My advice for any pregnant woman is to take a hard look at what YOU want and how you REALLY feel.

    • Stephanie
      July 17, 2012 at 1:02 PM

      Very well said, totally agree!

    • Becky
      July 17, 2012 at 6:07 PM

      Well said Sarah. The main reason I haven’t chosen a home birth outright for the birth of my first child is due to my own fear and anxiety issues, which I’m currently trying to work through. Laboring at home and finishing with a natural delivery at a hospital is a very appealing to me.

      • Sarah
        July 17, 2012 at 6:57 PM

        I think that many women would like the best of both, but consider how will you feel while you are laboring at home? Will there be a lot of anxiety about when to leave? Will there be fear about delivering early? Whatever you decide I would really encourage you to write out a birth plan and talk it over with you care provider. I had like 20 copies of mine with me in my hospital bag and my husband gave a copy to everyone who entered our room. He even tried to give one to the guy that delivered my turkey sandwich! I also wanted to labor without pain meds, but I didn’t know how long I could stand firm if my nurses constantly asked me if I wanted something. I made it very clear from the beginning that I did not want meds and I would let them know if that changed. Please don’t ask me again. I had to tell a couple different people but for the most part they got the hint and it wasn’t even an issue. I really like the book I mentioned earlier. It was very helpful while thinking through what I wanted and didn’t want. And how to navigate the hospital protocols.

        • Becky
          July 18, 2012 at 3:44 AM

          Team birth plan is already in full effect! My husband and I have just begun to outline what we want. You are right, it does help you gain clarity.

  • Cassandra
    July 17, 2012 at 7:57 PM

    I was a high risk pregnancy too. I was GBS+, my water broke to begin labor with copious amounts of meconium, and then labor stalled for 3 entire days. At one point I had a quick ultrasound to check positioning and they found low fluid. I did not go to a hospital because I did my research, I knew the risks, and my midwives were confident to stand by me during that time. There was no threat to my wellbeing or my baby’s wellbeing. When labor did finally become consistent, it only took 4 hours for her to come down.

    People can talk about risks all they want and give all these anecdotes, but the single best thing any parent can do besides working with a qualified, evidence-based care provider is educating themselves about basic risks and the process of making decisions about what is legitimately a risk and what has merely been labeled a risk. I highly recommend reading Pushed by Jennifer Block, followed by every single post on Care providers, even good ones, are biased by their own experiences and unfortunately by money (lawyers, insurance, legal policy, etc.) so they should really only HELP you make a decision, not dictate what has to happen. It’s not unheard of to have a doctor cover up the real reasons behind a c-section or tell a mother it was necessary, when there is no evidence to support that.

    • Becky
      July 18, 2012 at 3:19 AM

      I’ll look into that book Cassandra. Thanks for the input!

  • Kristin
    July 17, 2012 at 10:37 PM

    I had my baby girl at St. Jo’s in Orange in October. I didn’t have a high risk pregnancy, things went really great for me up until I had to be induced about 7 days after my due date. I had tiny contractions up till that point but nothing remotely close to labor pains. I went in on Thursday morning and had to have 3 rounds of suppositories to soften my cervix (had to wait 4 hrs in between each round). I still was dilated at a 1. By Friday morning they started me on Pitocin to see if I would progress any further. It turns out I had scar tissue on my cervix so it wasn’t allowing it to dilate. The dr had to break up the scar tissue (most painful thing i’ve ever felt in my entire life) to get me dilated at a two. I did end up having an epidural…I did want to wait till I was about a 7 or 8 but that wasn’t happening anytime soon and I couldn’t bear it any longer. I was in the mind set going in that if I could do it without one I would, or if I needed it, I’d get one. They came in to break my water Friday late afternoon and as soon as they did that her heart rate dropped to 50. They rushed me into the OR and I ended up having an emergency c-section. Definitely not what I pictured or ever dreamed would have happened. The only thing that really bothered me about the whole situation is that they weren’t explaining to me what was happening when her heart rate did drop. My husband had no idea what was going on. We went from having one doctor in the room to about 10 nurses and a doctor standing over me. I wish they’d been more informative, but I guess they needed to get her out fast. It really happened in a matter of seconds from the breaking of my water. I think after the experience I’ve been through, I would never consider a home birth just because my daughter could have died. I really loved the staff there though, besides having a rough delivery, the nurses and doctors were awesome. They never really pushed me to do anything I didn’t want, only when it was medically necessary. Good luck to you, I hope everything goes well for your delivery whatever you may decide.

    • Kristin
      July 17, 2012 at 11:08 PM

      Also— I know that might not have happened in those steps had I had a home birth. It’s hard to say the outcome of things if I hadn’t had the pitocin, epidural, etc. Just after having that experience I don’t think I’m brave enough to have a delivery without medical equipment if necessary. Just wanted to add that 🙂

      • Becky
        July 18, 2012 at 3:21 AM

        Thanks for sharing your story Kristin!

  • Christine Taylor
    July 19, 2012 at 5:37 AM

    We had our little one in the hospital. I was induced at 39 weeks because I was told that I had a small pelvis and that our daughter was going to be too large at 40 weeks to make it through. So…..24 hours after I was induced, I had a c-section. The induction process was awful. I was in a lot of pain. We choose to have an epidural (I’m all about it!) and it didn’t take. So, we had to have it done again and then again before the c. My daughter ended up only 6 pounds 13 ounces, so they were wrong on the large part. But I do know that my doctors must have known about my small pelvis all along and chose not to tell me until my 37 week or so (so I wouldn’t freak out). They must have been planning on a c. My mother was ripped from front to bottom delivering my sister (at 10 pounds) naturally, so this was something that I definitely wanted to avoid as she had to have surgery again 20 years later to repair. I am glad that the hospital was able to take care of all my epidural and surgery needs. On a side note, I don’t think it matters how your little one is brought into this world – via home birth, vaginally or c-section – the important thing is your little one. I think many people forget that – the miracle is your baby! I’m glad that my daughter is here with us and that I’m fine too and it doesn’t matter to me how she got here. 🙂

  • Carrie
    July 19, 2012 at 10:17 PM

    Hi, I have not read any other comments, so I hope that I’m not repeating items…

    We’ve had two homebirths… One with my Son, 4 1/2 years ago. We had a midwife attend that one. Everything went well. It hurt like hell! I had no idea what to expect, which made me act out in ways that if I could have a little more knowledge, wouldn’t of happened…

    The second birth, my daugther, took place 14 months ago. The birth was a lot easier – mostly because I went into it with the attitude that I could do this! and I did!! The birth was a lot more calm, a lot faster, a lot easier. It hurt, sure, but not like the things I felt with my son… I truly believe it was my mentality shift that changed the outcome. Both were successfull home births, both gave me healthy, squirmy little babies! Both were safe, both were natural… But the mindset, that is what changes a birth for you.

    It was just my husband and I delivering our daughter… My boy came in and sang his choo-choo train song to his sister when she was earthside… it was lovely. Both births were. Going to be in my own bed… taking a shower in my own home. Having privacy – no one interrupting us to ask how it’s going for the 100 times…

    You can do this. Truly. Listen to your body. listen to your heart. If you feel able, and the pregnancy is safe, then, go for it!

    We had a doctor with my son who wanted to ‘get him out!’ and I think that’s what changed our minds… we didn’t want to get him out. we wanted him to be born when he was ready. we were two weeks ‘late’ but he came when he was ready to be born. Babies and Mama’s are made to do this.

    Good luck to you Mama! Do what’s best for you and your family. Don’t let others sway you into something you aren’t comfortable with!!!

  • Jennifer
    July 23, 2012 at 6:45 AM

    I delivered my son in a hospital with a nurse midwife. Our Kaiser hospital has nurse midwives on staff – you choose a midwife assisted birth or whichever OB is on call. Knowing that a midwife assisted birth had the higher likelihood of supporting a natural birth, I chose a midwife. My husband and I took Bradley classes to prepare and I highly recommend them. I am planning to take a Hypnobabies class with my next pregnancy as the most challenging part for me was training myself to relax. I had a hard time with that mental challenge and the only thing that relaxed me was sitting in the shower in the hospital room. I spent 4 hours in there off and on (had to get out for monitoring – annoying!). I avoided the epidural but after 10 long hours, I did cave to a dose of Nubain. While it afforded me some change to rest before it wore off and I went through transition, I regretted the decision and felt that it had negative affects on my recovery and my son’s initial sleepiness (which caused stress on our start to breastfeeding and led nurses to force formula on me and my husband saying our son NEEDED it when in fact, he was fine). I have yet to decide if we will go back to Kaiser even though I do believe I can have a natural birth there next time (I will labor at home far longer, even if my water breaks, which is why I went in so early). We do have a natural birth center in our area that has wonderful reviews and I know a few people who have gone there. If I was concerned about a hospital birth, I would absolutely hire a doula at the very least. Now that I know I can do it….I’m more inclined to use the birth center or plan a home birth with a local midwife (highly recommended by a friend that has used them as well). Point being….it is your choice and your body and your baby. Best wishes to you!

  • Ann
    July 27, 2012 at 5:41 PM

    Just so you know natural child birth is great but if you plan it with your ins. just remember if there is an emergency and you have to go to the hospital then ins might not pay. We are going through a battle with the ins because we were preapproved for a mid wife and not the hospital and ended up at the hospital due to complications and the ins says its not going to pay for the hospital without prior approval!

    • Becky
      July 27, 2012 at 7:01 PM

      You bring up such an important point Ann. To a certain extent, what we can afford through insurance may dictate our ultimate decision. This is my first child so I’m just not sure what to expect. As it is, I’m floored by how much all these labs and checkups are costing me despite having Blue Cross PPO insurance. I’m about to engage in my second call with my ins about this! UGH!