"Let me birth in the place this baby was created.
Let me labor on the floors I paced in anticipation,
let me labor in the rooms of the house where I mused on sleepless nights what this moment would be like.
Let me birth with the smells of the kitchen and the faint giggles of the boy who will be this child's buddy.
Let me birth with music playing,
with my grandfather's prayer books looking down on me,
with my hair flowing,
my inhibitions gone,
the doors of my home flung wide open as if to say: I am open to this process, World.
I was made to birth this baby!"
- Mayium Bialik
Early on in Shipton's pregnancy, I felt very strongly that he needed to have the most connected birthing time possible. I could sense that he was a very spiritual being and needed a spiritual birthing time. The solidification of feelings and beliefs during birthing time is part of it.
We had 3 previously positive birthing times in the hospital. We knew what that would be like. Feeling he needed something different, we were curious to look into what our other options were.
I had read the legislation passed for the state of Idaho for the type of midwives in our area (CPM) who offer home/birth center birth when I was pregnant with the twins. With twins ruled out at 7 weeks during Shipton's pregnancy, that took care of one concern. There was wording that I still worried would rule me out of their care from previous pregnancies and so initially we didn't pursue it. I assumed I would not qualify.
But I kept having a nagging feeling that Shipton needed to be born out of the hospital.
I opened up correspondence with Krista, the midwife who ended up attending our birth. She researched about the legislation, consulted with others about the legislation and the history of the previous pregnancies (with the placenta pulling away during pregnancy) and we talked back and forth for several weeks.
Finally she offered an us an interview. We excitedly drove the 45 minutes to her office. I was a bit nervous because I didn't know what to expect. I had previously stero-typed her and other CPM's as "back woods" types of providers. I assumed she would push for us to stay home in an emergency. I also expected for her to be untrained and unskilled medically.
To my pleasant surprise, I found out she carries oxygen and anti-hemorrhagic medications. She is certified in infant and adult CPR. She is licensed. My assumptions were completely opposite from the truth! She also let me know that she does not get into the "grey area" with her Moms. Although she would love for every couple to have the birthing time they want, she does not hold onto any certain outcome as far as keeping mom/baby at home/birth center. We felt confident that she has the mom and baby as her best interest rather than worrying about statistics of transferring to the hospital or fear of lawsuits, etc.
She said she still needed to research and consult a bit before she felt comfortable taking me into her practice. We left that day hopeful and felt that she was a good fit for us.
A little over 24 hours later we had what we assumed to be part of the placenta pulled away. We were devastated for so many reasons, and although a much smaller loss than what we were anticipating with other things, the loss of homebirth was still disappointing.
As the weeks passed, we prepared for what we expected was the eminent premature birthing time of our baby. After almost two months, we received the happy news that all was well. I still assumed that because of what had happened homebirth was not an option. As I tried to visualize what it would be like to have Shipton arrive in the hospital and to rationalize to myself that it would be ok, I just felt sick. We had given birth in that hospital before and were confident that the nursing staff would be respectful of our wishes. We liked our Dr and had already had a Hypnobabies baby with him in attendance and knew that would go smoothly. We also knew how to advocate for ourselves and to ask questions and we were confident we knew how to avoid any unnecessary interventions. The more I tried to talk myself into that setting, the more strongly I knew I needed to open dialog with the midwife again. I needed to stop assuming the door was closed and ask for sure.
By this time she had partnered with another midwife, Kathy. They were actually having an open-house in a few days. I went as soon as they opened the doors and updated Krista and she had me speak with Kathy. To my great joy they didn't say no. They said they needed to do some research and get back with me. I was thrilled to have a "maybe" and that brought great peace of mind.
We spent the next 3 months going back and forth. They would call for part of my medical records and then a few weeks later I would hear the call for more information. They looked into the "fine print" of the laws and consulted with others and researched. We wanted to make sure we were making the best choice for me and my baby, as well as legally for the midwives that all was well. Finally at 32 weeks, we were contacted again and we were accepted into their care.
We were thrilled! Now it was our turn to get our ducks in a row. We interviewed Kathy and really liked her too. We crunched numbers and broke our piggy bank. :) It took a few more weeks before we were able to get our end ready, but we officially transfered care around 34 weeks. It finally happened!
We did not get the traditional midwifery care because of transferring so late; however, we were already doing prenatal exercises and good nutrition on our own. We were grateful that the midwives had confidence in taking us into their care so late.
The trust is so important for a home/birth center birth. That was one area that because of coming so late was initially lacking. I had a great trust growing experience at 34 weeks. To spare being long-winded, I was able to give the midwifery model of care a test run. The midwife was able to offer interventions where an OB wouldn't have been able to. It hit a point where she had done all she could and was still concerned, She was unwilling to push any farther. I was able to get the care I needed at the hospital. That really deepened my trust in the midwifery model of care and also the midwives. They were going to fiercely advocate for me, even if that meant transferring care for me to have what I/my baby needed.
Side note: we made the decision to do every "crunchy" thing we had heard about. Why not? We will be doing some upcoming posts to share what we did, why we did them, and our reviews.
Were we able to achieve our goal of connection? We think so. It was such a peaceful birth. Our midwives and her assistants were there as life guards as we planned. Our birthing time was intervention free. It was allowed to flow and give Shipton and our family the experience we needed. He was brought gently into our arms and the connection and love we gave him in utero was continued as he joined our family earthside. We brought him into our arms calmly, peacefully, and consciously.
Other thoughts about homebirth: Holy smokes it was amazing! The poem at the beginning of this post sums up my thoughts well. It was a beautiful experience to spend all of my birthing time and for Shipton's arrival to be in our home. Anyone who knows me well knows I am a home body. Although I enjoy traveling, I love to come home and for most of my time to spent here. Having established a home of my own and being the heart of that home has been such a joy for me. Home is the place I have poured my heart and soul in establishing as a safe haven and a refuge. This is the place I have spent years establishing as a home of joy and love and a happy and protected space for children to learn and grow. I am the guardian of our home and it was natural for birthing time to be within these same walls.
I also loved not having to worry about "when to go to the hospital." In hindsight, we probably would have likely had Shipton in the car or at home any way because we would not have gone to the hospital until I was pushing. :) We loved that everyone came to us. I also wasn't sure if I would be left with a big mess to clean up. They were fantastic about cleaning up after themselves. They even washed as much of the laundry as they could. Mark had one last batch to start after they left. I was really impressed.
It was also wonderful as mentioned to have every choice possible. Some of the choices such as water birth and cord burning would have otherwise been impossible because of inavailability in our area had we not chosen home birth. It would have been much more difficult for the kids to witness his birth in the hospital setting.
Postpartum was nice. It did require more help from Mark than our other births, but it was wonderful to be in our own bed, to not be woken up for vital signs during the night, and the only crying babies we heard were the cries of Shipton. I was able to receive better rest than those sleepless nights at the hospital with the other 3 and to be able to recover in my own home.
I also receive more in-depth post-partum care from the midwives. Unless otherwise needed, they provide a 24 hour home visit, a 1 week appointment, a 2 week appointment, and a 6 week appointment. With my other babies I was seen in the hospital when the Dr made rounds and before being discharged, but those were quick visits. My visits with the midwives typically last an hour and they are asking holistic questions. With my last 3 babies, after I left the hospital, I didn't have another appointment until 6 weeks. I was even able to text the midwife a few extra questions and she even brought me some nipple cream. It's been nice to have the extra support!
We really enjoyed dreaming and planning for it. It was like a huge birthday party and we were able to set everything up exactly how we wanted it and to assign and delegate and let those in attendance know what we wanted/needed them to do. We had so much fun setting up the Christmas lights and hanging the banner. We felt all of the empty picture frames we had filled with the kids' drawings of Shipton were more meaningful as we anticipated his arrival while pacing these same floors. It was different than what we were used to. The midwives were asking us what we wanted them to do rather than us asking "permission" of the Dr. I loved questions such as "what are your plans for your placenta," etc. It was such a fun shift for us.
Homebirth is a fabulous option for low-risk Mama's and babies and we are pleased with our choice and would never go back!
For any interested in Southeast Idaho, our midwives' website is HERE