On Home Birth vs Hospital Birth (for me)

(A personal post…)

I have so much on my mind. Hop on the coaster with me as I write out these jumbled thoughts.

I am so inspired by other midwives. I read a great interview with Rachel Reed, a midwife in Aussie on the Sunshine Coast. She is a home birth midwife and one of the few in the entire country. She says,

Maternity care needs to focus on what women want and on evidence based, humane practice. Midwives need to embrace their core purpose which is to be ‘with woman’ and stop trying to gain status through aligning themselves with medicine. We need to rebuild our own body of knowledge based on women’s experiences, and underpinned by a deep understanding of birth physiology.

What a powerful statement! Being a midwife is not about the other midwives you meet or work with, it’s about being with women in their most vulnerable, precarious state. I feel so blessed that I am on this road and will join midwives like herself whom I can channel positive energy and encouragement from. I know of several midwives who work in our hospital but I have not had a chance to get to know them or ask questions.

On that note, we (as in my husband and I) are planning on our 2nd baby. (Happy Dance!) This means I have been researching everything I can on the one and only birth center in Colorado, Mountain Midwifery, and home birth midwives in my area. First off, I did not realize that home birth midwives in Colorado are ALL CPMs, Certified Professional Midwives. This took me back for a moment. I respect the knowledge and education any midwife gains, whether she is a CPM or CNM. However, I have never been comfortable with the idea of a CPM at my birth. Go ahead, scold me for being judgmental. I only judged for a moment until I read the true definition of a CPM and what the Colorado requirements are for one to practice home birth in Colorado:

Registered Midwives are professionals trained exclusively in midwifery through academics and apprenticeship, by direct-entry. These “Direct-Entry Midwives” are licensed to practice homebirth in Colorado. Only Registered Midwives are specifically trained to serve the homebirth population in Colorado. The majority of midwives worldwide are direct-entry midwives.

As you can tell, I am still learning. There is such a huge scope for midwives and as I’ve said before, I am not planning on becoming a home birth midwife, though I support home births and the midwives who attend them 100%. I felt better after I read on and more comfortable and began a search into the CPMs in my area as well.

During my search, I called Mountain Midwifery to get some clarity on their financial information. I also called my insurance company beforehand to find out what they covered. My insurance is through the hospital and is self-funded, meaning that the rules do not apply to someone like myself wanting a birth in a birth center. The law states that a fully-funded insurer cannot deny my right or coverage to birth in a birth center. That being said, my insurance does not cover a home birth or birth at the center. :::headdesk::: I was defeated! But I called anyway to find out exactly how much we’d be paying as a self-pay patient in the center: $4500, give or take a bit. WOWOWOO!! Really?! Defeated again.

I knew then that the birth center was out of the question and my emotions toyed with me as I battled over the “this is worth it” and “how will I get the birth I want in a hospital” thoughts. I also knew that home birth midwives charge $1000-3000. They do accept insurances and most reimburse you but mine won’t. So I’m screwed there too. I wish I could say we’d save up and make it work, but we have other obligations and needs for our families. Today, I have been letting my mind accept that our birth will take place at the hospital, the same we delivered in the first time. This is not a bad thing. We had a great experience and the NICU is incredible. We never imagined we’d need it but we did and walked away with nothing but good thoughts.

The trouble I’m having is what I know now about the inner workings of the nurses and what our hospital requires. I have seen the looks on the faces, the eye rolls, and general annoyance they have with certain patients, especially those who are choosing to birth outside of their (the nurses/hospital) idea of what birth should be like. I get that. Some of these nurses have been in L&D for years and have a very set way and frame of mind as to what labor and birth should look like. However, I really believe in continuing education, especially in the birthing world and wish the newer knowledge surrounding birth was more accepted. For example, the fact that ALL low risk births in England are attended by a midwife and only if a complication arises and a patient is high risk does an OB get involved. I really believe in revolutionizing this part of our hospitals thinking but have no idea how or when the change will come.

Until then, I will, both as a patient and student, continue to educate myself on my birth choices and what I want for our next hospital birth.  I’m just glad to say that my reasoning for not having a home birth is no longer based on the fear of something bad happening (as it was for a long time). Thank you to many birth warriors out there for curbing that fear and allowing me to become more in touch with what my body is capable of.

Happy Hump Day!

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