- Posted by Leah
So you had a homebirth… everything went great! You are enjoying bonding with your new baby. But…you can’t stay home forever. So what happens after the birth? I guess that’s a little different for everyone, but most folks will need to file a birth certificate, get a postpartum checkup, and visit the pediatrician. Here’s our story:
Two days after the birth, our awesome midwife came back to check on me and Jonah. All was well, except for a little jaundice… instructions were to keep breastfeeding and stick him by the window to get some sunlight.
A week after the birth, we took Jonah to the pediatrician. We had to remind them a few times that we had a homebirth, because several nurses asked for his discharge papers and wanted to know why we needed a PKU done – had the hospital one come back abnormal? Nope. He was born at home. We had made sure to find a homebirth-friendly pediatrician beforehand, too. She was fine with us having a homebirth – it’s just not common, so doctor’s office protocol is geared towards babies born in hospitals. Jonah got his newborn screen at the lab next door – more explaining the whole homebirth thing! – and was checked out by the pediatrician, and we headed back home.
We also needed to get him a birth certificate and social security card. If you give birth in a hospital, they do all the paperwork there. If you give birth at home, get ready to fill out a bunch of forms! And get them notarized! We had to have two witnesses of the birth sign a notarized form, we had to submit my prenatal records, which were also notarized, and we had to fill out a long form at the Vital Records office. Then 4 weeks later we finally got a birth certificate. When you file for the birth certificate, you can also check a box requesting issuance of a social security card, so at least that’s one less department you have to visit.
Just to make things a tad more complicated, we were also applying for insurance during this time… and since we are self-employed, there’s no HR team to help out. That was not a fun process, especially because they kept asking for Jonah’s birth certificate, which we were still waiting on because it was taking a while to process. So we were able to submit a form from the midwife and another form from the pediatrician instead of the birth certificate in order to get the insurance application moved along. But yet again, it reminded me how uncommon homebirth is – the insurance company didn’t have any protocol in place for what to do… I was the one to suggest sending in forms from the midwife and doctor. They also asked me to include a signed letter stating that I gave birth at home and the birth certificate was in process. I offered to send in a photo of my son, and one of me giving birth, but they said that wouldn’t be necessary.
All in all, it wasn’t too much of a hassle – getting Jonah insured was the most annoying part of everything we needed to do after the birth. Just expect to have to remind people multiple times that you gave birth at home.