All of my eight children were born in the hospital. Even though I do use a lot of natural remedies, eat real food, worry about BPA and hormones in milk, homebirth wasn’t something I was ready to tackle and my husband was pretty opposed for a long time, too. And I’m not absolutely opposed to any birth interventions
This baby was different. Baby A was born without any major complications. Hospitals really annoy me, especially during labor, especially when it seems the labor nurses aren’t quite listening to me. Apparently they annoyed my husband too.
We found out around Memorial Day that I was pregnant with #9, and husband started a new job in June. He was working with the same company he worked for when Baby A was born, and our insurance would kick in at 90 days, on September 1. I planned to have the same doctor, same hospital, same insurance, and would start care at the beginning of September.
August 27, there was a layoff. No insurance- and now I was 14 weeks or so along with no prenatal care.
So, we decided to try a midwife, and a homebirth, since we had to pay out of pocket. We had just let the kids Medicaid lapse over the summer, in anticipation of insurance and because it was a nightmare, and in order to get it back required a reapplication. And I was actually frightened of Medicaid OBs. Every single woman I knew who had Medicaid for pregnancy – whether friend or casual acquaintance- hated it with a passion and a good 8 out of 10 had C-sections.
I had never had a homebirth, but knew what they were about. My SIL had her babies at home; quite a few friends and moms in my homeschool group raved about them; I’ve read so many homebirth stories online. It sounded ideal.
It took a bit for me to find a midwife who wasn’t already booked for February, my due date, because I started so late. We finally found one that was a referral from a highly recommended midwife, and started prenatal care around 19 weeks.
Things went well. I didn’t click with her at first but then we warmed to each other. I passed her screening for clients, which I was nervous about because I have a history of various pregnancy maladies, including a bout with preeclampsia, several rounds of gestational diabetes, pre-term labor, PIH (pregnancy induced hypertension) and polyhydramnios with Mr X.
She accepted me as a client as I was suffering from none of those problems (yet) and assured me she had a great OB she worked with should any complications arise.
And then in the last few weeks the complications started. I mentioned I burned myself pretty badly right before Christmas. It took about 3 weeks for the skin to grow over enough that I could actually move- I was basically bedridden for most of that time. Once I was mobile again, it was terrible.
This pregnancy was kicking my butt. My legs swelled like crazy (never had that problem before). My blood pressure was up and down and back up again. I was having terrible pain right under my ribs. I was *pretty* sure it was the baby but not entirely. I started measuring big, then huge. I was measuring huge for the baby’s age and gained 4-5 pounds a week. (Currently, I’m the heaviest I’ve ever been even at 9 months pregnant. I’ve gained 45 pounds this pregnancy! And I think 60 of it is water. I can dream, right?)
At 36 weeks, I had protein in my urine (sign of preeclampsia), high blood pressure (I check it at home often), and that crazy abdominal pain. So we went to the hospital just to make sure everything was OK. It was; once we were there the blood pressure went down, they did some other tests that indicated it was not pre-eclampsia, and diagnosed a UTI.
So we went home, but scheduled an ultrasound the next day. At this point I hadn’t had one, because we had to pay cash out of pocket for it and there wasn’t really a medical reason to have one.
We found out we’re having a girl!
And we found out that once again, I have polyhydramnios- too much amniotic fluid. My abdominal pain IS the baby. She has room to swim in there and is not engaging or descending. Mostly she just rolls around and pops up under my ribs which really hurts.
The midwife referred me for a consult with the OB she works with, but assured me that no matter what he says she is willing to do a homebirth with me.
I don’t think it’s a good idea anymore. All of the sudden, my risk factors are stacking up. Mainly I’m worried about placental abruption and bleeding. It’s more common in women who have given birth to 5 or more children. More common in women with high blood pressure (mine ranges between 134-150/90). Abruption and bleeding are more common in women with polyhydramnios.
One risk factor (grand multipara, or someone who’s delivered lots of babies) I was willing to try homebirth with. THREE different risk factors and conditions? I’d rather have a doctor.
Fortunately, the OB was great. I asked around for a good OB for a second opinion and his name came up everywhere- my Houston twitter buddies, my church friends, my homeschool group, and my midwife. And he is willing to take me on as a patient at *almost* 38 weeks.
I’m okay with that. Homebirth is not a hill I’m willing to die on (literally, or figuratively). I think childbirth is natural and that homebirth is generally safe. I am glad we have modern medicine for when it’s not. I am disappointed, but not heartbroken. I’ve had all hospital births in the past, and I know what to expect. There’s no anxiety about that for me.
I should have a biophysical profile (basically, a non-stress test and an ultrasound) this week sometime, and depending on the results will probably deliver next week. The doctor wants me in the hospital before my water breaks, because when you so much fluid and the baby’s still floating, cord prolapse is a real possibility, so breaking it in a controlled way is important.
I don’t think I’m compromising, I think we are doing what is best for our family- both mom and baby. Have you ever felt judged for having a home birth- or a hospital birth?