I'm also a labor nurse who seriously considered homebirth. If we're so great, why did I consider it? Much as I love my coworkers, I was embarrassed about the idea of delivering in front of them. Also, due to some medical issues, I cannot have an epidural or spinal, and I thought a midwife could help me with natural childbirth. The vast majority of the patients where I worked had epidurals, so natural labor was a rarity. Not that it was pushed on them, on the contrary, this was the demand of the patients. I sought out a midwife who would assist me, but I changed my mind. Part of it was the iffy legalities, I live in a state where homebirth is a risky proposition legally speaking. When the midwife told me that if something went wrong she would, in her words, "dump you at the doors of the ER and never acknowledge that I knew you" I had some serious doubts. Don't get me wrong, I didn't have a problem with her attitude, because I knew if she attended me at home (or at a hotel, as was her usual practice) and it was found out, she could go to jail. So I stuck with my favorite OB at the hospital, and my birth was definitely a nightmare. He and my nurses did everything I asked of them. I was able to sit, walk, rock, get on a birthing ball, and reposition at will. But my baby had other ideas about my plans for a calm, natural, vaginal delivery. My nurse had dimmed the lights, I had music, she massaged my back until I'm sure her arms were about to fall off. She fetched ice, she put cold cloths on my forehead, she encouraged me. My OB suggested a cesarean around 2am. I refused, and he said, "Ok, great, I'll be back in an hour and we'll see what's happening." By the time the hour was up, I was begging for a cesarean. I had that awful bone-on-bone pain of CPD. The baby was also having huge decels. My fears about being shy and embarrassed flew out the window. I'd have walked down the halls of the hospital naked if that was what it took to get that baby out of me. I was in agony. I hopped onto the OR table under my own power, while being gently scolded for not waiting on help. My precious child coded at delivery, and luckily, because I was at my hospital, he had a nurse practitioner, a nurse, and a respiratory therapist all to himself. Good thing, because I hemorrhaged due to uterine atony, so my nurse and OB were a bit busy dealing with me. My husband was brought into the OR even though I was under general (very unusual) because things were getting serious. We were both fine, thankfully.
I don't know how my delivery would have gone if I had chosen to do it outside the hospital. No one will ever know. But I feel like I got amazing care, and, though I sometimes feel like a failure for having a cesarean, I never blame my OB because he was happy to let me decide. I'm sure if the decels had gotten deeper and more persistent he would have urged me in that direction, but it didn't come to that. I'm just glad that I had the option of the section, and the team there for the both of us.