First, a caveat. This is about what my choices entering into the birth experience for my first birth experience. I have absolutely no judgements about others’ choices for their birth experiences. It is up to the person giving birth and their medical professional how they choose to deliver their baby and me and my judgement have nothing to do with it. The natural birth movement can get very preachy and it’s extremely off-putting to those who made other choices or did not have them. In conclusion, everyone has their own road, if someone else’s road is different than yours, that is their road, you are not allowed to have an opinion, THE END.
When we got final confirmation that this round was successful, the next daunting task we were faced with was choosing who would deliver this kid. This was a little nerve-wracking. I knew I didn’t want to deliver in a hospital unless it was absolutely necessary. I’ve had friends who labored in a hospital, had medical interventions and ended up with unwanted C-sections. Add a wife who spent time working at a midwifery collective in college with very strong opinions, and it was time to start looking at midwives.
I didn’t really want to labor in a hospital. I had heard enough stories about pitocin, which led to epidurals which led to C-sections, as well as horror stories about epidurals that don’t work on back labor or only take on one side of your body. Hospitals also want you to labor according to a certain timeline and, depending on the hospital, will push you to medical intervention if you go past them. I am not the best at standing up to authority and imagine I’d be even worse while trying to squeeze a baby out of me. I preferred not to deal with any of these complications, so I’d long decided that I didn’t want to labor at a hospital. I liked the idea of a birth center, but I didn’t like being kicked out 4 hours after delivery, so my best option was a home birth.
Complicating all of this was that I had recently switched to the cheaper version of my health insurance at the beginning of 2014. I had signed up for the luxury version, which offered infertility coverage, but as I discovered too late, did not extend those benefits to same sex couples, since there was nothing medically wrong with either of us. If, after a year of medical interventions, I had not been knocked up, THEN they would start covering. (This is part of another post I’ve been thinking about, which is coming eventually. Hopefully before the kid does) The cheaper version covered far less if I went out of network (60% after deductible vs. 80%) and had an out of network max that was $500 more than the higher end version. $500 is far less than we were paying in premiums and if I somehow got knocked up, of course I’d deliver in network.
Then I started looking into midwives and birth centers and realized that choices for a home birth in Maryland were few and far between. Maryland has very specific laws about home births and if I wanted to stay at home, I had two choices in the Washington, DC metro area. One of those took my insurance. Guess which one we picked! We took the tour and spoke with midwives at the final two candidates. While I really liked the one that didn’t take our insurance, cost was not to be sneezed at.
Interestingly, This American Life‘s Facebook page recently linked me to two podcasts by Longest Shortest Time, one about the author’s birth story and one interview with Ina May Gaskin, the godmother of home birth. If you have a spare hour, take a listen to both. It’s actually made me feel better about my decision to labor at home, despite some pressure from my family (this is the same family that automatically assumes I am unhealthy and eating hohos dipped in fudge because of my weight).
It’s really hard trying to plan and control for an unknown. I’m not the best at pain or being physically uncomfortable and I worry I am not going to be able to handle what’s coming. On the other hand, this is something that women have done since… well… forever. We’re going to take the classes to help through all of that. We’ll make a plan. And in the end, we’ll just have to roll with whatever comes and I’ll have to be OK with it because it’s about what’s best for me and best for my tiny parasite.