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The First Frustration with Home Birth

Looking for The Lactivist? She's retired. But you CAN still find Jen blogging. These days, she's runs A Flexible Life. Join her for life, recipes, projects and the occasional rant.

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Thus far, I've been pretty excited about the idea of a home birth. I'm a total research junkie, so it's not an issue to me in terms of "safety." I've also found a midwife that I'm very comfortable with, so it's not an issue in terms of finding a primary care provider.

While I'm totally on board with a home birth, I also feel that it's my responsibility to keep close tabs on my health and to make sure that there are no potential problems that could interfear with the home birth. That means that while I'm fine with bypassing things like the Gestational Diabetes test, I'd still like to be tested for GBS and I'd like a late ultrasound (around 30-some weeks) to make sure there are no potential previa issues.

The problem? Finding tandem care. My midwife does not do ultrasounds, most don't. She can do most of the other testing, including keeping an eye out for things like PIH and some other things that would make me high-risk. For the ultrasound, I need an OB a Family Dr or a CNM.

But none will take on a homebirther as a client because of the "high risk." Note...what they actually mean is not "high risk of home birth" but "high risk that we could get sued if something goes wrong."

I've called quite a few practices, including midwife practices, but no luck. I've even offered to sign waivers absolving them of liability. Still no luck.

I find it ironic really. Here I am trying to plan a home birth, but also making sure that I'm a good candidate for it so that my baby is safe and the Doctors and CNMs, the ones that are supposed to be helping me "protect my baby" are making it very difficult for me to do so.

My midwife did have one family doctor that she said she could refer me to, but it will likely be about an hour drive for me. I was really hoping to avoid that if I could, but it looks like I may not have a choice.

I could lie...and I'm sure I'd have no problem finding care. Then I could simply leave a few weeks before birth...but I'm not willing to lie. So that basically seems to leave me out of luck.


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  1. Anonymous Alena | 2:54 PM |  

    I don't know if you'll run into this problem or not (I hope not), but I thought I'd let you know of a problem my friend had with home birthing. Her insurance company declined to cover the costs of home birthing, even though they cover hospital births and home births are a lot cheaper. So she was out $5K of her own money. Yikes!

  2. Blogger Jennifer | 9:52 AM |  

    Yep, I'm aware that most insurance companies won't cover home birth. (Though the one we have is known as being pretty good about it.)

    My husband and I are fine with that. We'll pay out of pocket for it if we have to, it's that important to us.

    To note...even paying out of pocket for this birth...we won't be paying much more than we paid for our share of the hospital birth we had with Elnora.

    A lot depends on where you are...around here (central Ohio) home births seem to be a lot more affordable... $1500-$3000.

  3. Blogger K | 6:29 PM |  

    A friend gave me the name of an OB who takes homebrithers -- shoot me an email (I'm clickable on babycenter).


  4. Blogger Jennifer | 7:04 PM |  

    w00t! You rock Kelly. :) Email on the way.

  5. Blogger TulipGirl | 6:21 PM |  

    My sis drove down to Mexico, found a great doc there who did an ultrasound for her for about $30.

  6. Blogger Jennifer | 6:07 AM |  

    Mexico eh...I think that's only about 37 hours from here. :)

    I found a place, will post on it today. :)

  7. Anonymous Cinder | 3:00 PM |  

    I don't know if you have any of these places in your area, but there are freestanding Ultrasound clinics. They don't usually do diagnostics, but you'd likely see if there is a Previa, or if the baby has arms like Shiva, or something!

    Homebirth is awesome. I had one (unmedicated) hospital birth, 14 years ago, one homebirth 11 years ago, one homebirth Dec 2004, and will have another homebirth in July. Definitely the way to go! (Even though it's illegal here! Nope, insurance doesn't cover it and no options of tandem care!)


  8. Anonymous DragonMama | 8:17 PM |  

    I'm also in Ohio (Cleveland), hoping to have baby #2 next summer, if you could pass on some of the information about insurance reimbursement I'd really appreciate it. I'll try to see if I can find that info on your blog, or if you could send it to my Gmail account my username is DragonMama (not listing it as an email address to avoid the spambots). We have United Health right now but my hubby is a teacher and hoping to switch districts this summer (currently working for a charter school and not happy with the way things are run on the administrative end, wants to get back to public school teaching like he was when we lived in Virginia, where our son was born unmedicated but in a hospital-affiliated "freestanding" birth center, caught by a CNM). Oh, and the boy is 22mo and still happily breastfeeding 6x/day :)

    Nice to stumble upon your website. I've been wretched about updating mine.

  9. Anonymous HomebirtherX3 | 8:59 AM |  

    Did you see the research about a higher prevelance of left-handedness in babies who had been exposed to u/s in utero?


  10. Anonymous Anonymous | 9:04 AM |  

    Here's a better link


  11. Blogger Marlene | 12:12 AM |  

    Problem is... CPM's are not able to get licensed in OH and those things you mention, your midwife can't do without a license. All the CNM's (who are licensed) are obligated to **** ** to their back up ob's, none of whom will support homebirth in OH. To be part of the remedy for this situation join Ohio Friends of Midwives in finding a sponsor for our midwifery bill. I am in mid-So. OH I know doctors in Athens, Portsmouth and here in Jackson, as well as one across the river in Point Pleasant, WV who would be glad to accomodate your requests. I'm sure that if there's that many in this area, there must be others around the state too. there are some up in Cols too. Driving an hour doesn't seem an unreasonable distance to drive for a supportive doctor!Good luck!

  12. Blogger Jennifer | 12:21 PM |  


    On the off chance that you read this, can you please email me direct (jennifer at thelactivist dot com).

    I know someone trying to find a homebirth midwife in the Jackson, Ohio area...they need someone in the next month as they are 33 weeks along.

  13. Anonymous Anonymous | 9:07 PM |  

    I'm several months late for this particular loop, but hope that you'll read this...since I just came across your blog. I'm a new midwife serving mid-Ohio, currently finishing up my CPM requirements and building a client base of my own. I have had great success so far billing insurance co's for my home birthers. I'd be glad to speak with you about it further, if you'd like. I'm just building a website: www.freewebs.com/inspiredhealth or you can write me directly at:
    tspears1@neo.rr.com Hope to hear from you soon! Many blessings to all you homebirthers, Tricia Spears, Midwife

  14. Anonymous Anonymous | 5:50 PM |  

    I'm interested to know where you all stand on the use of OB doctors when it goes wrong at home and you end up in the ER at the mercy of a physician who knows nothing about you. You hear of so many cases where home births go wrong and the baby dies as a result. For most that is not the case, but in the age of gestational diabetes, gestational hypertension, and all around bigger babies, there is a higher incidence of shoulder dystocia, CPD, etc. Why take the chance?

  15. Blogger The Lactivist | 6:18 PM |  

    Anonymous #14, I'd encourage you to read up on some non-biased studies of home birth outcomes.

    You may be surprised to learn that a low-risk mother is actually MORE likely to come out of a home birth without serious injury or death and that the baby is EQUALLY likely as a hospital birthed baby to be born healthy.

    There are actually lower instances of shoulder dystocia at home than there are in the hospital, primarily because SD is less common in an unmedicated mother who is fre to move about and labor in multiple positions.

    Those who plan home births do not eschew doctors when doctors are necessary. A dear friend of mine planned a home birth but ended up in the hospital at 33 weeks due to a bleeding previa. She went in at the first sign of a problem, just as she would have had she been planning a hospital birth. The baby was born via c-section at 34 weeks gestation and after a brief stay in the NICU, went home with the mom.

    Also, I'd be curious to know how you "hear of home birthing babies dying all the time" since less than 2% of births in the U.S. are planned home births and only a very TINY percentage of those result in an infant death.

  16. Anonymous Anonymous | 5:17 PM |  

    The Lactivist is really out to question your statement, 'anonymous' ! Thank goodness, because I've never encountered evidence to suggest your statement has a shred of truth to it. So, please site your source if you are going to post to the public comments that are outrageous.

  17. Blogger Autumn | 8:36 PM |  

    So this post is super old, but I wanted to comment on what Anonymous #14 said.

    Just because you have a relationship with an OB doesn't mean they'll make it in time for your deliver anyway. I did not have an extremely short labor, I was at the hospital for almost three hours, and my OB didn't make it. I was at the mercy of a resident, and you know what, I think I liked him better than my OB anyway.

  18. Anonymous Renegade Midwife | 5:14 AM |  

    I would like to help. I was a direct entry midwife for a long time and got my CNM when my kids got older. I do home births in WV and some in central Ohio. I have a lovely back up doc who is happy to do ultrasound and will bill the insurance company if you have one. Finding a placenta location is a very simple ultrasound, but you can also find out if the baby is vertex at that time too, or gender if you want to. Have your midwife contact me or you can and I can get you an appointment. If she is in the Athens area, she and I probably know each other already. I will be at the Birth Circle Fair in Athens on May 9th. Delphine Silvermoon is my name. You can google me and find my website if you want more info.

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