Birth, Pregnancy

What Home Birth Taught Me

I have been blessed to give birth eight times. Seven have been in the hospital. This is true not because I was ever afraid of birth or concerned for the safety of myself or the baby, with the exception of the last birth. Babies one through six were born in the hospital – one using an OB.

I have been blessed to locate doctors who, for the most part, trusted the natural process of birth. I have, thankfully, never faced what women are facing today when they sign up with a doctor and choose a hospital birth without first making absolutely sure that these choices fit their unique situation.

You see in 2006 I was due to have baby seven and we did not have insurance (by choice). I called the local hospitals to find out what the out-of-pocket expense was going to be and was shocked to find out that a completely unmedicated, vaginal birth was going to cost between $6,000 and $10,000 depending on which hospital we chose. Why would giving birth cost so much?

My husband did some research and brought home a list of home-birth midwives for me to call. He had talked with a number of his engineer buddies who confessed to having home-births because it was inexpensive and the risk to mother and baby was low. We called and discovered that the remainder of the pregnancy along with birth and postpartum care was going to cost $1,800 – that’s it! No brainer, right?

Because I did not fear the process it was exciting to think about having a baby at home. To finally have someone come to me was very appealing. We had a GREAT experience and knew we wanted to do that again. The entire process was far more calm and relaxing then leaving home for the hospital had ever been.

The challange came after the birth as I realized that I could no longer teach about natural birth in the hospital because I had discovered first hand that there is nothing natural about leaving home to give birth in the hospital. Birth is not an illness it is a physiologic event that the female body was specifically designed for.

Now I teach about making choices based on the woman’s unique situation. This might require that she give birth in the hospital as was the case with baby eight. Multiple blood clots the size of quarters were found in both of my lungs at 28-weeks gestation. I had four doctors tell me I shouldn’t have lived and I began taking 45,000 units of heparin and would do so until the birth and then switch to coumadin for the first three months postpartum. The risk of postpartum hemorrhage was higher so the possible need for emergency care was higher. Birth in the hospital was a good choice.

I have been cleared for a home birth should I be blessed to carry another baby and am praying for that opportunity again….

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