We went to a home birth information session tonight at the midwives' office. Two couples shared their own experiences going through a home birth with a group of about a dozen couples. It was really quite neat to hear first hand from some recent parents how the home birth experience was. They shared their stories and then answered any questions. They even spent some time mingling with the group informally and answering more questions one on one.
The midwives also had all of their equipment out on a table for everyone to see. They went through what all the items were and what they might be used for during a home birth. It was really quite amazing how much stuff they have (They joked that they don't have any trunk space left for anything else - We believe them). They carry enough oxygen to go to Toronto and back (each). They can basically do anything that a hospital can do short of intubating a baby. It was also nice to see some of the equipment in action (the suction device for example) and understand why it might be used instead of wondering what all this stuff is when you get to delivery time.
They also handed out a very thorough study on home births including how many had issues, what those issues were and how that all compared to non-home births. All in all it was very reassuring to see some concrete numbers showing down to the individual that home births are not really any more risky and hospital births assuming the right basic conditions are met. If you are a good candidate for a home birth it really does seem to make sense as an option due to the less intrusive and stressful environment.