I planned a homebirth for my first baby Isabelle, and was lucky to have a supportive midwife with me during the labour, though I had met her only once before she was great.
I started getting contractions at 3am on a Thursday and they were one every 10 minutes. I couldn't sleep through them but I dosed between them. I was at 40 + 12 days at this point, and due for induction the next day. I went for a walk with my husband during the day and at around 5pm the midwife popped round for the 3rd time and decided to stay - contractions were roughly one every 5 minutes at this point.
At 5.30 I was examined and was at 4cm. Contractions continued at much the same pace for the next few hours. They were at this point very strong and I wasn't quite there. I used gas and air with tens at this time. At around 8pm I was examined again and was still at 4cm. A bit depressed by this, I asked for the pethidine equivalent (nandrolone I think) which helped me focus a little - I could have short conversations between contractions now.
At around 10pm my waters broke and at 10.30 started passing thick fresh meconium. The midwife felt we should transfer to be safe, and I was fine with this. If it was going to go this slowly with the force of the contractions I felt I could do with more pain relief. I was also ketotic at this point and having real trouble forcing any food down to keep my energy up.
The ambulance finally arrived at about 11.45 and we transferred. At the hospital they went to examine me and during this exam Isabelle's heart rate dropped dramatically for a few minutes. It recovered for a little while but then did the same again. I was at this time 4cm dilated still (sigh). It was decided that the baby was in serious trouble and I was told they wanted to caesarean. To which I remember replying - yes please - any thing to make this stop! Amusing in retrospect but not at the time.
The staff were great. They reassured me as I was whizzed into theatre and as I was given the general anaesthetic. Isabelle had difficulty breathing after she was born and was taken straight up to the special care unit. I woke up after the op with my husband to be shown a picture of my seriously ugly-looking baby (sorry Izzie). She was 8lb 10oz (I am 5.1 so its pretty big for me), chubby looking, and covered in greeny yellow meconium and blood.
I have no complaints against the homebirth care, and none about the labour suite care. I was looked after well in all cases and came out of it will no long term problems for me or Isabelle other than taking a while to get over the shock and trauma of the whole thing. I am very disappointed that I couldn't give birth normally though, and that I didn't see Isabelle being born - I suspect seeing the birth has a big impact on how you feel afterwards. My one complaint would be that the morphine drip was not attached properly after the op so I was in 'quite a lot' of pain as I woke up.
I don't want this to put people off from a homebirth option. On the contrary. I did the majority of my labour at home. I was in my own environment and totally in control - which is what I wanted. If I had managed to give birth at home I'd have been a happy lady. When things didn't go to plan the transfer and care I received at the hospital was great. No 'comments' were made about my previous plans. Even though my consultant had said before the birth that she couldn't understand why anyone would want a homebirth - too messy (he he - yep it was that). I think I had the best of both homebirth and hospital care. The birth didn't go as planned and was traumatic for me, but I feel it is likely that if I had had a hospital birth things might not gone as smoothly, intervertion too soon etc. I'm happy with my homebirth decision.
Home Birth Stories
Meconium in the waters - what does it mean? Should you go to hospital?
Pain relief - what are your options at home?
First Babies and homebirth
Blood on the carpet - How much mess are you likely to encounter at a homebirth, and what can you do about that carpet?!
Overdue - but still want a homebirth? When is 'postdates' risky?
Home Birth After Caesarean
Home Birth Reference Page