It was up in the air because the obstetrician I saw recommended I go to the local hospital to 'keep my options open', however this really didn't sit well with me. For starters, this would have meant being in the same place where I had Lib. Now, I certainly didn't have a traumatic experience there, and I wasn't angry about what happened, but I would rather not put myself in the situation where history could repeat itself.
To have a quick recap - last time we planned for a home birth, but my waters broke (a tiny amount) and I had to go in to the hospital to be assessed. I had started to have contractions, but because we had to sit and wait for 4 hours, everything stopped and I was sent home to see if things progressed naturally over night. So far, so standard. However, nothing really happened so I ended up going back in in the morning to be induced. I spent 12 hours on the Antenatal ward feeling what I thought at the time were contractions, but when they assessed me they told me I was hardly dilated at all ('Arrrghhhh!' I thought. 'If these painful things aren't contractions, what the HELL are contractions like?!!'). The thing is, labour did in fact start shortly after but because they had only just seen me, I felt like I was kicking up a fuss! It was only when I started to make what can only be described as mooing noises that I got put in a room on my own so Si could hang around, and I wouldn't carry on disturbing the other women on the ward! This is probably the point when I should have gone up to the delivery suite, but because of two severe emergencies that had been admitted, and generally being short staffed, I was put on a monitor in my room and left to it. I got to 9 1/2 centimetres without any assistance (or pain relief other than some paracetamol I took earlier on in the evening), and we had to insist on me being examined again when I felt like pushing. They didn't want to cause any infection but seemed pretty shocked when they found me at 9 1/2 cm! Needless to say I rushed up to the delivery suite in a wheelchair and the rest is history......
So yeah, it wasn't exactly the relaxed birth I had planned when we had arranged a home birth. I know full well that the majority of births don't go to plan, but I felt so much confusion. Clearly I was in labour, but because I wasn't being moved to the delivery suite I doubted it myself. The nurses/midwives probably just thought 'first time Mum....what a drama queen!' so I didn't feel comfortable with the situation at all. I was basically stuck in no-mans-land.
My obstetrician had suggested the hospital again this time in case I needed pain relief, anaesthetic, or assistance with regard to my MS, but I had all of those conversations last time and it didn't make a blind bit of difference when it came to the birth. At the hospital they are just not in a position to offer assurances because they are so short staffed, and even if we planned for another home birth we can't guarantee that the midwives would actually turn up on time. Last time, I got the impression that planning for a home birth helped to ensure that you get one-on-one care throughout (which was what I felt was important for me) but even in the 4 years since, this appears to have changed. I've heard a few horror stories from people where midwives haven't turned up, or left early telling the Mum that they've got ages yet...only for the baby to arrive an hour or so later. Needless to say, we've decided to opt for the midwife-led birth centre. It's quiet, relaxing, and I know that as soon as I turn up there I will get seen by someone, as opposed to the land of unknown that comes with a home or hospital birth. It seems the best of both worlds...and it's only 10 minutes away.
I stood my ground with the obstetrician and explained why I was going against her recommendations (the fact that it took me 25 minutes to park outside the maternity unit, despite having a disabled badge helped my cause...it certainly doesn't bode well if my labour was going to be quicker this time. I had visions of Si missing the whole thing while he was trying to park!!). I was pleased to find though that she was completely supportive of my decision, as I was expecting a fight on my hands. She even apologised for the treatment I received last time, and admitted that there are certainly issues on the wards regarding inductions. For example, when I was in they had to induce 10 women at a similar time, with a staff number of two. She also sympathised with how awful the parking is! That's why I can't get angry though...the staff are well aware of the current problems, but it's out of their hands. It's certainly not their fault.
Anyway, the fact that I now have a plan in my head, and I know that everyone is in agreement and supportive, is a big weight off my mind. With just over 10 weeks to go to full term, all I've got to do now is try to relax and...wait! :)