I’ve been promising this post for a while now, so I’m actually sitting down to write it while my trim dries. This is the last trim that needs to be painted before our guests arrive. Yay! Only the powder room is left to be painted (before our guests arrive, not in the whole house). And it’s small. Yay!
Eons ago I got sick with a kidney infection, okay, it was back in 2005. Or 2006. That doesn’t matter. Anyway, it was my first time where I might have been admitted to a hospital because I was sick. But, I refused to go. Instead I insisted my boyfriend (OccDoc) who was a brand new intern on an internal medicine rotation and just got off a horrendous over night call would take care of me. What a lucky guy. I probably should have just sucked it up and went to the hospital, but everything turned out fine and now my kidneys are just peachy keen. That was when OccDoc and I had the talk about how I dislike hospitals and doctors in general. As a group. I actually like most of my doctors once I get to know them, and obviously I like OccDoc.
Fast forward a few years to when we started talking about getting pregnant, like ’08. We had some pretty intense conversations about how we wanted the birth of our child to go down. At the time we didn’t realize how damn hard it would be to actually get to the point of needing to worry about birthing a child since getting pregnant was an enormous hurdle for us. Anyway, we’re kind of cart before the horse people I guess. We started interviewing birth professionals before we started trying to get pregnant. We wanted our team in place so we could hit the ground running. Oh, I laugh at myself some times.
We knew based on my dislike of hospitals that we’d prefer to not give birth in a hospital if possible. Obviously if I need a c-section or go in to labor early or any number of things on my long ass checklist of bad shit that could happen would mean we’ll be going to the hospital. But, in a perfect world (you know, ours, LOL) we’d prefer not to birth at a hospital. Plus, we’re friends with a lot of OBs, and they’re people, too. They want to be home for dinner, they go on dates, they have lives and can’t wait around all day for a slow labor. And OccDoc has worked on enough L & D floors to know he doesn’t really want to go back there for various reasons.
A birth center was our next logical choice. OccDoc and I looked at a birth center 3 moves ago, and we really liked it. OccDoc, of course, asked the midwives about a million difficult questions about things that could go wrong and how they remedied the problems. He was happy with all of their answers (apparently they passed his test).
Next up was to interview a home birth midwife, again back in, I think, 2009 was when we met Brianna. Have you ever instantly clicked with someone who was going to inspect your vagina? Well, I did. Brianna was one of those people who just radiated kindness and a sort of hypnotic grace from her core. Beautiful person inside and out. Again, OccDoc asked a million questions and she passed. I started seeing her for well woman exams while we tried to get pregnant. Most of my appointments were run of the mill stuff like pap smears and stuff like that, but they lasted 45 minutes since we would talk about all aspects of women’s health. I really feel like I’ve never had better, more comprehensive care. Tricare paid for the lab aspects of my visits, but they didn’t cover Brianna’s time, so we paid $50 out-of-pocket for the well woman exams. I saw her for over 2 years; she was killed in a car accident just before we started fertility treatments. I still well up thinking about her and how wonderful she was at her job and how many lives she’s touched. Hers was a big loss for a lot of people.
After seeing Brianna, we knew home birth was the right choice for us; we just needed to get pregnant. Then infertility hit us like a ton of bricks. Now that our baby’s conception had so much medical intervention we yearned for a simple, as little intervention as possible birth so at least one aspect of having a baby wouldn’t be ruled by doctors, medicine schedules, and done in a clinic/hospital under such harsh lighting. When we finally got pregnant and moved, we quickly began looking for a new home birth midwife out here (they book up FAST). We found someone we both liked and are comfortable with. My midwife is about my mom’s age and has been a home birth midwife for 14 years. She’s very experienced and we can tell that she is well-respected in the area because a lot of healthcare professionals either know her or know of her work. Our appointments are pleasant and very patient (me) centered. She knows our infertility history and is very accommodating for us. Whether it’s a good idea or not, she did an ultrasound pretty much every appointment in the first and second trimester just so we could relax a bit. Until week 28 I saw her every 3 weeks starting at week 11 – all her patients see her that often. Now I go every 2 weeks (I think like everyone else under an OB’s care does), and I think at week 37 we’ll do weekly appointments.
I know home birth isn’t for everyone, just like I know a planned hospital birth just isn’t for me. We’ve done A LOT of research and a home birth attended by an experienced midwife is just as safe as giving birth in the hospital. We’ll have 2 midwives at our birth because my midwife always brings her back-up to all the births. I feel like the patient, me, is a lot more involved with home birth, like I have a lot more responsibility to make sure things go well. For instance, the baby is ROP (posterior) right now, and I’m supposed to be doing exercises and not lounging around, i.e. reclining, to entice him to move to a more optimal position for birth. Yeah, so you know my new couch, I’m not supposed to be sitting on it until the baby gets his act together. If that doesn’t work then I will head to the chiropractor to start working on the positioning with him. I’m only 28 weeks and figure the baby will probably shift around when he feels like it, but I’m doing my exercises and we’ll see if he’s moved by my next appointment on Monday (and like can’t they just move again? So I really don’t see the point in worrying too much about it now, but midwife’s orders). I also have a pretty long reading list in addition to our childbirth education class that is mandatory (we get to the pick the class, but we need to complete one before 37 weeks in order to work with our midwife). And my midwife is pretty strict; she will risk your ass out of her practice if she senses anything weird is going on. If you cross over into high-risk territory you’re out, well, you’ll just see the OB. If you aren’t doing what you’re supposed to be doing I think she kicks you out, too. Like there was one girl who drank slurpies all the time and had high glucose readings all the time – she got kicked out and sent to the OB. The midwife thinks the girl was secretly nervous about home birth and sabotaging her pregnancy/setting herself up for failure. She went on to have a complication-free hospital birth. Like I said, home birth isn’t for everyone, but if you’re open to it and willing to work at having a healthy pregnancy then maybe check into it.
The other thing I really like are my appointments. The midwife works around our schedule and all of our appointments are at 5 PM so OccDoc can attend. Our appointments last about 60 – 75 minutes depending on how much information we have to cover. How long I wait depends on how early I arrive. I usually get there about 10 minutes early and have to wait 10 minutes. The one time I saw my OB I had to be there 30 minutes early to do paperwork, then ended up waiting 2 hours to see the doctor for 5 minutes (AND I MISSED LUNCH THAT DAY). The fact that my midwife has an OB who is her back-up also speaks volumes for her reputation, not many midwives have a dedicated back-up OB. I think my midwife schedules 2 or 3 births a month, actually I think it’s 2, so she never has to ‘chose’ between two laboring mom-to-bes.
Now, obviously I haven’t given birth before or yet, so I can’t write a post on how home birth actually is to experience, like if I made a good decision or not. But, for now, I feel like we’ve made the right decision for us. I know giving birth is hard, duh, to say the least, and we feel like if we’re in an environment where OccDoc and I call the shots (within reason) that we’re comfortable in then it will be more pleasant. If that makes any sense. Oh man, I feel like I’m just rambling at this point. Are you guys curious about anything related to home birth? I might not know the answer, but I can ask my midwife when I see her on Monday. Did you consider home birth if you’re pregnant or have had a kid before? Do you want to see more posts on home birth that are hopefully a little better thought-out than this one? I can’t make any promises but I can try.