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Scared to death about a hospital delivery

You can call me Al

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27-Jun-11 7:28 pm

Thanks in advance for reading this looooong post...

A bit of history on me and birthing.  I had an easy and complication free pregnancy with DS.  DH and I had seen all the birthing documentaries and even before then, I liked the idea of a homebirth.  I have no idea why but I stuck with my current OB/Gyn and proceeded through the normal path of labor and delivery at the hospital.  I didn't think anything bad would happen to me.

Arrived at the hospital at 3cm dialated and 100% effaced.  Immediately was offered an epidural and I took it.  Within 20 minutes of that, the doctor entered and broke my water to move things along.

All hell breaks loose.  Baby's heart rate tanks along with my blood pressure and an emergency c-section is ordered.  To this day, I am not sure what went wrong and whether or not the emergency was caused by the interventions that took place that morning.

It was a relatively painless surgery and my recovery was not bad.  Baby spent 2 days in the NICU being monitored for respritory issues - not uncommon for c-section babies.  I had the blues pretty bad and I felt like crap that my perfect birth had been ruined.

I get pregnant again last year and DH and I decide that the best way to ensure a natural birth after c-section is a midwife attended homebirth.  Well, he isn't gung-ho at this point but he went along with it.  We interviewed 3 midwifes (all wonderfull - midwifes are like English teachers) and we pick the one we like best which was hard to do.

Then, the baby dies at 14 weeks.  :(

Get pregnant this time.  DH has made a 180 degree turn away from homebirth.  The combination of my son's c-section along with the loss of baby#2 has shaken his confidence.  He wants to be ensured that everything is going to be ok.  The rest of the family - our moms - agree.  Everyone (but me) feels the hospital is the safest place to deliver.

I change care to a team of very pro-VBAC, pro-natural-birth,  hospital delivery doctors.  They assure me that they will do everything to get me the natural birth of my dreams.  All is well and we proceed with our care with the intention of delivering at a very good hospital about 32 minutes from home with labor tubs.

But as the time grows closer, I am suddenly growing anxious about my choice.  I have reached out to the midwifes that we interviewed last year and one has responded that she would be happy to co-manage my care along with the doctor and attend my homebirth.  The doctors both are on-board with a homebirth attended by midwife.  She and I haven't discussed the particulars or the fees.

DH told me this morning, and this was really mean but really not how he normally is, "if we have a homebirth and anything goes wrong, I will never forgive you."

Well, fantastic.  I know part of him blames me or wonders if I had anything to do with the miscarriage because I had a sip of beer here and there and drank a cup of coffee every day.  Here he is putting me in this position.  

My mother says that she will support my decision but she also feels like the hospital is the safest place to deliver in case there is another "emergency."  They both admit that they think the interventions caused the emergency in the first place and that it probably wouldn't have happened if we weren't at the hospital.

I really don't want to have my baby anywhere but my own nest.  Sorry.  The idea of timing the whole thing bothers me.  The idea of the long car trip in labor bothers me.  The idea of being constantly monitored bothers me.  Staying overnight, being away from my son, not being able to eat and drink, hospital gowns and uncomfortable hospital beds  - all bother me.  

I am planning to take a hypnobirthing class and both DH and DM are saying, "maybe you can hypnotize yourself to not be scared of the hospital?"  Yeah, or maybe I can not go to the freakin' hospital in the first place.

HELP!  What would you guys do?  I could put my foot down and say, "tough luck, my body and my choice," but I don't want DH and DM to be worried about the birth just like I don't want to be worried.  

Oh, and I should mention, that as a VBAC patient, there are no birthing centers in my area that will allow me to birth.

 

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27-Jun-11 8:05 pm

 

Al ... this is a really tough post to answer.  Don't take this post as me judging you ... because I am not that type of person ... but I will answer it from the point of view of what I would do if I was in your position.

If it were me ... I would honestly go for the hospital.  They are aware of what you want and seem to be very willing to achieve everything to give you the natural birth of your dreams.  Given that it seems from your post that the hospital is a long drive away ... that is what worries me IF anything did go wrong because if things do go wrong, then every second counts. 

I know there are home births that do go well ... but given you don't know exactly why the birth of DS1 went the way it did ... I would want to be as close as possible to the experts able to help me ... if things go wrong again. 

I am not trying to negate your longing for a home birth in any way and it may well be very possible that you can have a successful home birth ... but with your prior history I guess for me ... if I was in your shoes ... it wouldn't be a risk I would be willing to take.  

 

 

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You can call me Al

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27-Jun-11 8:40 pm

A little more explanation - the first c-section was because of fetal distress - caused most likely by the epidural followed by the membrane rupture within 20 minutes of that. Labor was progressing normally until then.  

There is a hospital within 10-15 minutes of us but that is not where my doctor delivers.  That hospital is 32 minutes away.  We live is a populated, suburban area.

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27-Jun-11 8:58 pm

Tayls:
If it were me ... I would honestly go for the hospital.  They are aware of what you want and seem to be very willing to achieve everything to give you the natural birth of your dreams.  Given that it seems from your post that the hospital is a long drive away ... that is what worries me IF anything did go wrong because if things do go wrong, then every second counts. 
 

 

Totally agree!! 

 

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27-Jun-11 9:07 pm
itsbabytime"]

[quote user="Tayls:

If it were me ... I would honestly go for the hospital.  They are aware of what you want and seem to be very willing to achieve everything to give you the natural birth of your dreams.  Given that it seems from your post that the hospital is a long drive away ... that is what worries me IF anything did go wrong because if things do go wrong, then every second counts.  [/quote] 

 

Totally agree!! 

 

Yep me too! I had severe problems and had an emergency c section and would never ever attempt a home birth. Too many things could go wrong as you already know.

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27-Jun-11 9:58 pm

I agree with the other girls. I think you should be seriously look at a hospital birth as the favourable place to ahve your baby. As you said before, noone knows if the epi or breaking your waters caused the problems... they didn't put it as a definate reason for it all.

I have relatively quick labours, my last one was 2 hours 45 mins... from when my water broke... and i wasn't actually in pain until 30-45mins before i had him (and at that I was only squirming with pain I wasn't crying). I'm trying to make arrangements so that if I hit hard labour before I step out the door (as from transition to birth it was only like 10 mins- two pushes)... I'm refusing to leave the house.  because i'm "scared to death" of delivering in transit, on the side of the road... ARGGG! Otherwise I'm going to get to the hospital as quick as possible.

In Australia, the insurance for midwives to attend homebirths is incredible, so noone does it.

I've never had any problems with my other two boys births, but I just don't want to be caught out on that off chance that the baby is breech, posterior, or has the cord around it's neck and requires emergency intervention.

I understand why you would be worried about having the same events as your ds, but it sounds like you have an understanding obstetrics team that are enthusiastic about fullfilling your vbac goals.... I'd stick with that.

There are so many things that can unexpectedly go wrong, and I think it would comfort you, your hubby and your family to know that specialists are around that can help if neccessary... it's not just the baby they are worried about ... it's you as well.

Also you can organise to be birthed with a midwife with doctor intervention only if required. That's what I'm doing... all my care is with a midwife... it's only the stitches that get done by the doctor (where I am). lol

(Also I'm sure they aren't suppose to break your waters until you are further dilated??? and they aren't suppose to give you en epidural until you are further progressed) 

DS1- I was 3cm on friday, started contracting the following tuesday morning at 7am, they broke my waters at 9am (I was 6cm??) and  he was born at  11.03am.  he had the cord around his neck but ended up being fine within minutes.

DS2- I was 4cm 4 weeks before, 6cm 3 weeks before (they expected me to go naturally by the weekend)... My waterbroke in bed at 1.30am (the morning after his due date), Mild (I mean you wouldn't notice it if you weren't looking for it) contractions started at 2am, at the hospital at 2.30am- giggling every time I got a tightening. Started getting pain at 3.30am- I was squirming with it in my chair (still fully clothed). Requested panadiene (BAHAHAHAHA) at 3.45am (yeah they laughed at me too). 8cm dilated at 4am, I went to the toilet (with intentions to hop in shower afterwards), and pooed, and went into transition... incredible pain... I screamed the house down in sheer panic thinking I'd give birth on the toilet! Had a few pushing contractions on the way to the bed, then once on the bed, two pushes later, he was out.... 4.18am. We stayed in over night, (they tried to send me home)... and overnight he started aspirating... so he needed to be checked out, and i needed more education on how to put him in his bassinet (tilted upright)... but we went home that day later.

 

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27-Jun-11 10:35 pm

What a tough decision. I have to take the other perspective on this. You and your doctors and midwife seem to be quite confident that your emergency was caused by the hospital interventions. The fact that your DOCTORS support you having a homebirth with a midwife tells me that you are an excellent candidate for a home VBAC. They would not support this if they thought it was dangerous. (I have to commend you on your choice of doctors--not many would take that view, at least not around here). Midwives are well trained to recognize emergencies early enough that you could transfer to a hospital. There are true emergencies that do require c-sections, but the vast majority give warnings in plenty of time that you could get to a hospital. And the kind of interventions to lead to a huge percentage of c-sections just simply do not happen at home.

A big piece of this is your mental state about it. You are worried about going to the hospital, worried about having to travel in labor and getting there on time, worried about being away from your home and your son--those concerns can impact your labor. Being in the comfortable environment of your choice can have a huge benefit to your labor and birth.

My second and third babies were born at home. My first was born at a freestanding birth center. My first was a perfect birth experience, but my homebirths were so much better. It really is so very different to be in your own surroundings and to be able to have your labor and birth be exactly the way you choose them to be. BTW, my first birth would probably have turned into an "emergency" if I'd had a hospital birth, because my water broke 12 hours before I went into labor. My third birth would also have been viewed as an "emergency" because she was 12 days after my due date. She was born perfectly healthy after my shortest (6 hours) and easiest labor, and she had a true knot in her cord. If I had been induced because I was "late", that knot would very likely have pulled tight and led to a disaster. But letting things happen in their own time and in my comfortable place, everything turned out fine. People are often quick to tell stories of how hospital births save lives, but it can go the other way too. I believe that my homebirth saved my daughter's life.

Is there any way you and your husband could get some counseling about this? It's not right that he is blaming you for your miscarriage and saying that he would never forgive you if you have a homebirth and something goes wrong. What if you have a hospital birth and something goes wrong? Occasionally things go wrong, and it is nobody's fault. You are the one giving birth, and you should be the one to decide how you are comfortable doing it.

I hope you have the birth of your dreams, wherever it ends up happening.

ETA: You still have plenty of time to figure this out. I was originally planning a hospital birth with my first baby, and I switched to the birth center and midwife at 30 weeks! Do some real soul-searching and take some time to work through this with your husband.

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You can call me Al

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27-Jun-11 10:50 pm

Thank you everyone for weighing in.  While I understand other people feel safer in a hospital, I simply do not feel that way.  I feel like the best place for me to give birth is at home.  I truly believe that fear and anxiety cause the pain associated with labor and my fears and anxiety are associated with giving birth in a hospital.  Just because my son went into distress during my labor with him doesn't mean this will happen with his little sister.  But, my anxiety about being tethered to a monitor in an unfamiliar place surrounded by unfamiliar faces just might.  Statistically, homebirth is just as safe if not safer than hospital birth - just not as profitable.

My real dillemma is not where to birth this baby - I should have had my son here and I know this is the right place for me.  My dillemma is with my sweet husband who is scared out of his mind and feels like the "safety net" of the hospital will provide him with some comfort that nothing is going to go wrong this time.  Unfortunately, there just aren't any guarantees in life.

I am not really looking to collect horror stories - I believe it's best to think positively and to fill your subconscious mind with images of what you want your birth to be like - not all the horrible "what-if" scenarios that are unlikely. 

Hubby and I will continue our discussions (during naps and bedtime).  I need to figure out a way to get him back to where he was last year before tragedy took over.

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28-Jun-11 1:00 am

 

Al - I hope you find the right words for DH ... and that you go on to have the labour of your dreams ... in the place you are most comfortable.  Hearts

 

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28-Jun-11 4:23 am
I agree with the others. Where I understand the desire to have a baby at home, I would not do a VBAC at home. And, you don't have to stay in the hospital, it is not a jail. If everything goes well, you should be able to leave withing 6 hours. At least in Canada you can. I learned in my life that you don't always get what you want. IMHO, you are putting yourself and the baby in a very risky situation. If things are to go wrong, will you ever be able to overcome the guilt?
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28-Jun-11 4:53 am

With my ds2 and 3 I would have loved a home birth. My little bro and sis were homebirths after my mum had a horrible hospital experience when I was born.

The thing that stopped me was that my dh was sooooo not on board. And that was that I decided that I didn't have his support then I couldn't do it. They are after all his children too!

Saying that though we live 3 minutes from the hospital and I had a 6hr discharge so I never left birth suite besides to go home! Maybe worth looking at this option?

Sorry if I came accross a bit blunt but I think you BOTH need to sit and discuss this and figure out what is best for you BOTH and your baby.

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28-Jun-11 6:39 am

It does sound likely that the interventions/timing of the interventions is what caused your son's distress and subsequent emercency c-section.  That said - EVERY birth really, truly is different and having had 3 children, I can tell you that only one birth was complication free.  I know you said you don't want to hear horror stories, so I'll just say briefly that my first son had such a ginormous head that he was stuck during delivery and required a vacuum extraction. My second son was an absolute cake-walk and I could have had 10 in a row!  My third son went into distress with the cord around his neck, I did birth naturally but then retained placenta and ended up hemorrhaging like CrAzY and needed a pump/cathedar after delivery.  There is such a huge mixed bag of things that can take place during and after a delivery to both you and your baby.  I do not think your husband is being unreasonable in feeling more comfortable with a hospital setting.  And I think this is absolutely a decision that needs to be made by the both of you. 

If you do go to the hospital, you don't have to stay long!  Lots of women sign releases for themselves and their babies and are able to leave within hours of birthing!  I know in my area they will send a home nurse the next day if you choose this option.  If you have a midwife and supportive doctor both advocating for you to have an intervention-free birth, I think you can trust that they will respect and honor your birth plan. 

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28-Jun-11 9:54 am
I'm sorry you're torn about this and the hospital gives you so much anxiety :(. While I completely understand how you feel, I have to agree with the majority here.

If I were in your shoes, this is what I would say to myself... "I hate the hospital. Being there probably caused the distress and consequently a c/s. I DON'T want to go through that again! I want a natural birth!" Next thought would be, "What are the worst case scenarios in each situation? Hospital scenario - another c/s, being connected to monitors, another 2 nights in the NICU, an extended stay (all sucky). Home birth - however unlikely, an emergency situation for either me or my baby, where a trip to the hospital is too long and too late" Personally, I couldn't live with myself if the worst case home birth scenario were to happen. Whereas though the worst case hospital scenario would forever be a bad memory, it's one that I could very much live with. I realize that the best case scenario would be a successful home birth, but in my opinion, the best case scenario isn't a factor in this decision.

It sounds like you've found great doctors/midwives that are willing to do their best to ensure you have the birth you desire. I have 2 friends that had successful unmedicated VBACs - I know it's possible.

With DS2, I used a midwife and left the hospital 24 hours after the birth.

Good luck with your decision!

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28-Jun-11 10:51 am

alsestis:
While I understand other people feel safer in a hospital, I simply do not feel that way.  I feel like the best place for me to give birth is at home.  I truly believe that fear and anxiety cause the pain associated with labor and my fears and anxiety are associated with giving birth in a hospital.  Just because my son went into distress during my labor with him doesn't mean this will happen with his little sister.  But, my anxiety about being tethered to a monitor in an unfamiliar place surrounded by unfamiliar faces just might.  Statistically, homebirth is just as safe if not safer than hospital birth - just not as profitable.
 

This says it all. You need to do what is right for YOU. A home VBAC is NOT very risky. People have successful home VBACs all the time. You have a much better chance of an uncomplicated VBAC at home than in a hospital. The medical establishment has created a climate of fear around birth that is not based in reality.

When I first switched to my midwife/birthing center plan for baby #1, I  had a lot of fears and concerns. It really helped me to talk through how the midwife would handle things that could go wrong, and how she had dealt with emergencies in the past to keep everyone safe. I wonder if having a talk like that with your midwife might help get your husband back on board. With our homebirth midwife, it helped me so much to know that she had attended over 1200 births in 30 years and she had NEVER lost a viable baby or a mom (I say viable because she did attend births for a few babies who were known to have conditions that would not allow them to survive, such as being born without kidneys). There are not many doctors/hospitals with a track record that good. And it's not just because she only does "low-risk" births. She has dealt with plenty of VBACs, twins, breech births, etc. in her career.

Al, I hope you can make your decision based on what you know in your heart and the research you have done, not based on fear of others.

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28-Jun-11 11:10 am

These answers are all so indicative of the pervasive culture of fear surrounding birth! The worst case scenario is something going horribly wrong and losing the mom and/or the baby, and that is exactly the same whether you give birth at home or at the hospital. Babies and moms die in hospital births, and a horrible outcome is no more likely at home than it is in the hospital. Sometimes babies and moms even die BECAUSE of hospital interventions that would not happen at home.

With all of our "modern, advanced" medical care, our country ranks far below most other industrial nations in neonatal and maternal mortality rates. Countries where midwives and homebirths are the norm rank far better than we do. I will look for a link with statistics when my daughter naps.

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