As of today, I am 34 weeks pregnant, which leaves 6ish more weeks to go before BabyRox is no longer my womb-mate. He might come earlier, he might come later, but sometime in November we will have a living, breathing, tiny little human creature to care for, to stare at, to take pictures of, and to love, love love. Naturally, most of my brain-space these days is dedicated to preparing for BabyRox’s arrival. And since I’m so obviously pregnant (although I do like to tell people that no, I just really really like doughnuts. and beer), I get lots of questions about where/how I plan to give birth. Now, if there’s one constant about labor and delivery that is true for pretty much all births, it’s this: plans are nice, but ultimately you have to surrender to what is and what needs to happen – sometimes that’s a C-section, sometimes that’s an epidural after a very, very long labor, sometimes it’s having a baby at home when you didn’t plan on it because the baby wanted out NOW.
So yes, we have a plan – or rather a vision of how – and where – we’d like our birth experience to be. And we have a back-up plan in case the original vision needs to shift. But that doesn’t mean either plan will pan out. I’m very aware of this. Still, with 6ish weeks to go before my son’s birthday, I’m choosing to focus my attention on *my* ideal birth experience. I’ve had the years before getting pregnant, and the 34 weeks leading up til today, to consider all the possibilities and understand the various situations we might encounter during labor and delivery. I’m informed and prepared. But I do think there’s merit in focusing on what you WANT to happen. Understand what could happen, surrender to the process, but in the meantime – my thoughts and energy will be focused on preparing for the birth I envision. And like I’ve said before, that birth is a homebirth. With an awesome midwife, a fantastic doula, and a confident, supportive husband.
When people eye my big ‘ol belly-of-baby and ask me where I’m delivering, and I say “At home!,” I get a variety of reactions ranging from “Wow, that’s great! My friend did that.” to “OMG I could never do that – what if you want an epidural?” to “I’m sorry, WHERE? Is that allowed?” And once I respond to the initial reaction, there are usually questions that follow. So I thought I’d answer some of them here, in case you, too, were wondering about the whole homebirth thing. There are also tons of websites, blogs, and forums that answer many of the basic questions about homebirth – so I’m going to cover just a few of the most common questions I get here.
1. Does insurance cover this? Probably not. We’re paying out of pocket and will file a claim for reimbursement. My midwife has had some success with some insurance companies reimbursing some costs. We’re not getting our hopes up. However, depending on your insurance coverage and out-of-pocket maximum, a hospital birth that is covered by insurance often costs you about the same as paying completely out-of-pocket for prenatal care, delivery, and postpartum care with a homebirth midwife. I will also say that if you really want a homebirth, but are worried about affording it, talk to the midwife – many are willing to work out flexible payment plans.
2. What about the mess? It’s true, birth can be pretty messy. We’ll have a waterproof mattress cover on our bed, topped in some cheap sheets I got at a Kmart going-out-of-business sale. I bought a bunch of towels at Goodwill for super cheap, too. Our birth kit comes with several types of underpads and plastic sheeting, as well, for strategic placement around our home. And we’re buying a ginormous bottle of hydrogen peroxide to clean up any stains that might get on the carpet. Since I’ll have the option of delivering in the birthing tub, there might not even be all that much to clean up.
3. Are you scared? Nope. I’m really looking forward to labor! And, of course, the actual birth. I have confidence in my birth team to guide me safely through this new terrain, and confidence in myself to labor and deliver without the use of drugs. This could easily be the most intense experience of my life, and with any intense experience, there is immense opportunity for growth, for discovering unexplored parts of myself, and for connecting with my partner in a new and deep way. It’s exciting stuff! Additionally, I am way more comfortable in my own home. I look forward to welcoming our child in our own space – with the sounds and smells and people he’s been around throughout his gestation. I am thankful we’ll be able to hop into our very own bed and snuggle as soon as we become a family of three (well, five really – cuz we love our two cats!). This does not mean that I think all women should have a homebirth. Or that you can’t have an amazing, intense, transformative birth experience if you get an epidural or have a C-section. This is just the type of birth that I want for myself and my family – the type of birth that I feel safest and most comfortable with – my ideal way to welcome my child into the world.
I will say that all my prior research has helped immensely… as well as all that time I spent wandering around Asia and meditating. Seriously. Learning about birth, about the many tests, interventions, potential complications, etc. has helped me make empowered, informed choices and select experienced care providers. If I didn’t KNOW what to expect, or what turns my labor could take, I would probably be more fearful or anxious. And the wandering around and meditating has helped me a.) learn to go with the flow and deal with whatever situation presents itself, and b.) maintain a deeply relaxed state in spite of external distractions and discomfort. These two skills, along with my knowledge of the body’s physiological responses during labor, take away the fear that labor will be some horribly painful, miserable experience. And reading/watching positive birth stories reinforces my belief that birth can be an amazing and enjoyable experience. So for these next few weeks, that’s what I’m focusing on! BabyRox joining us peacefully in the comfort of our own home. Woohoo!
Got more questions? Ask away!