All About Home Birth

We have been asked lots of great questions about our decision to have a home birth with Willow. I thought it might be nice to document them all in one location for anyone considering it for themselves.

Our Why

“Why?” or “What made you decide that?” are probably the most common questions we have received. And I get it, for some this is a really odd decision so I love the opportunity to explain why it made the most sense to us.

First, I don’t love hospitals. For some people, having a baby at the hospital makes them feel the most confident that they will receive quality care and I unfortunately feel the opposite. There are lots of scary statistics I could share, specifically about the treatment of minority women during birth that validate this fear for me but that’s not what I want to share here.

Second, I knew I wanted to try an unmedicated birth and while some hospitals support this, not all are as accommodating of mothers wishes and I didn’t want to fight health care policies while in labor.

Lastly, a home birth gave us the freedom and accessibility I felt we needed in our prenatal care. We opted for minimal testing compared to what would have been expected in traditional care. All testing was optional and was thoroughly explained by our midwife so we could make an informed decision that worked best for us.

Our midwife was also always just a text away. I didn’t Google a thing in this pregnancy which gave us so much peace. With this being our first baby I was curious about a lot of things and also worries about a lot. Her gentle approach to education and availability to answer all the questions that came up really put us at ease.

How does it work?

So our midwife, Katie, has met with us in our home for all of our prenatal appointments. Our appointments consist of baby’s measurements, a check of my blood pressure, a urine sample test and a check of baby’s heart rate and positioning. We then go through any and all questions that I have and she shares a bit about that will happen soon or what I can expect in the coming weeks. Most appointments were about an hour and I never felt like I couldn’t have more time if I needed it.

When the time comes for labor I will text or call Katie as soon as I feel like I might be in labor. We will have a conversation about when I would like her to come. There is no hard and fast rule about how long or far apart contractions need to be for her to make her way to us. It is based on how comfortable we are handling it on our own and when we would like her support. I will have the option of a birth tub that will be inflated in our living room. Katie provides the tub and a list of other things that would be helpful to have. All of our supplies are purchased and ready to go. Once Willow is here, Katie will help with birth certificate papers and clean up and also visit a few more times to make sure everything is going well. This relational approach to health care has been worth every penny.

Which brings us to money. Unfortunately, home births are not covered by insurance. This was a huge headache for us we made our decision in the early weeks of pregnancy but I found that the out of pocket cost was not marginally different from an insurance covered-hospital birth. I interviewed three or four midwives trying to gauge price and services and while they were all fairly close in price in the Cincinnati, Dayton area, the deciding factor for us was my connection with the midwife and where prenatal visits were held. One of the people we interviewed held all prenatal visits in her home that ended up being an hour away from us! There was no way that was going to work! Katie was the perfect fit in proximity and connection.

“What happens in the event of an emergency?”

In the event that something goes wrong with me or with Willow we call 911 and are both transported to the hospital. Obviously we hope this doesn’t happen but I am certainly not against seeking more help if needed.

“Are you nervous? I couldn’t do it!”

Not at all! I am so excited! One of my friends once told me, before I was pregnant, that there is no ribbon for not getting an epidural and I feel the same way about a home birth. It was the best decision for our family but all birth is natural and beautiful! I felt funny at first sharing our plan and was surprised by how many people asked where we were delivering! I didn’t want to sound like I thought I was “too good” for a hospital birth. Or that my husband and I were living this privileged life in which we wanted to avoid social birth norms. Really it was the opposite. Home birth wasn’t astronomically more expensive than a hospital birth and in perspective of the world, home birth is the social norm. I am excited to give birth like woman have since the beginning.

Again, home birth was the best decision for our family and I know that it’s not for everyone! If you are considering this option for your family or if you are just curious and have other questions, please ask! I love talking home birth and I can’t wait to share our birth experience once Willow decides to make her appearance.