I opted not to have one but I could have in hindsight. I am seriously considering it for a second baby someday. Ask your midwife first and foremost to make sure you even qualify. Then if it were me I would do what you are doing and ask around. I don't have a first hand experience to relate but many of my friends have had a home birth and they think it was the most wonderful thing in the whole world. With an older child at home I think it would be particularly advantageous - as little disruption to their lives as possible. A friend of mine was able to watch her nightly Sesame Street with her elder daughter a few hours after having her second and tuck the elder into bed just like she did the night before. I bet that made the first kid feel pretty great and safe in face of massive change.
I tried to have a home birth with my second but it didn't work out. I think it's a great if you can do it! I do suggest keeping an open mind though. I know someone who was so hell bent on having a home birth that when she eventually did end up in the hospital she felt like a failure. Do realize that it may not work out and that you may end up wanting/needing more medical intervention and that is okay and it is not a failure if that happens :)
I'm curious to know what the advantages of home birth are? In my experience, I had unforeseen unrelated birthing challenges in both my second and third pregnancies. My first child was born with a textbook like pregnancy, labour, and birth. However, after my last 2 experiences - I just don't know how the advantages of a home birth could outweigh the potential risks? I'm thankful I was in hospital to receive immediate medical care - otherwise, my babies may not have had a mommy. Also, I should note that my labours were as natural as could be. No drugs, lots of loving support, and with amazing midwives.
There is something called Quantum Physics hat explains many of the intangible benefits of home birth. It is absolutely imperative that you put your trust in the "right" outlet if you are to succeed at it. Don't put your trust in Western Medicine if you want what I had.....a birth that kept me connected with my baby before, during and after in a way that is both intangible and real. Watch "What the Bleep do we know" for inspiration. Also I'd try a book called "w
"womens bodies, womens' wisdom"......read the chapter on pregnancy and birth. the library has it. and by all means find a good mentor/doula if you decide to join the ranks of the "not post-partum depression" mamas. meaning u will feel good, an option not often acknowledged.
I too am thinking of having a home birth for my second. My first birth in the hospital was fine, I have no complaints. I had a midwife and an amazing nurse by my side, as well as my husband who never left my side. My first labour was long and hard and I would have ended up in hospital anyway. With my second my hope is the labour would be much quicker. In most cases if there are complications you'll get to the hospital in time. Have you read the article in the Times Colonist that came out about a month ago? The BC Health Minister announced her support for homebirths. I'm reading lots of articles, reports and stats on the subject but ultimately I'll go with my gut. I have many friends who've had homebirths and all had positive experiences. I have a great midwife, and I'd definitely consider a doula, if we can afford it.
Josie - in terms of the benefits... I am not an expert by any means and I don't have stats to back it up - although I am sure they would be easy enough to find. This is just what I have heard from my midwife and through my sister, who is currently training to be a midwife at UBC:
- rates of medical intervention go down drastically with a homebirth (obviously since there are none available at home). Any medical intervention increases certain risks as you know - infection rates in both Mom and Baby, irreperable damage to the perineum, damage done to the body through major surgery (C Section) and adverse reactions to the medications and drugs commonly used.
- There are many who believe, and I agree, that the medical interventions are not always necessary and we are exposing Mothers and Children to uneccessary chemicals and foreign substances. If a women is at home the situation provides more freedom to choose not to have these - since as I said they are simply not an option outside of the hospital.
- Emotionally - which I believe is as important of a component in birth as the physical experience - a home birth provides comfort, peace, familiarity, a sense of control over your experience and the studies are showing that recovery time is exponentially faster for the Mom.
Of course, as you mentioned sometimes medical intervention is absolutely necessary and not all intervention is bad. I would highlight that a midwife who will agree to do a homebirth is well trained and totally comfortable with her competency in attending that birth - which means she should be able to assess exactly when a mother needs to go to the hospital and anticipate the medical intervention well before it becomes a life or death situation. (which I am sure you know because you have had experiences with midwives - but its still worth mentioning for anyone unfamiliar with midwifery care!) I know from many of my friend's experiences that a midwife will always err on the side of caution and will never push a woman to stay away form the hospital - they will insist on going to go to the hospital as soon as they think it may be necessary.