Bruss and I are so excited to be welcoming our fourth child
in October 2011. We had been going back
and forth about adding to our family and decided to leave it in God’s
hands. He answered our prayers with a
pregnancy and we are delighted to be preparing for our first homebirth this
fall. God-willing, our pregnancy will
continue to go smoothly and our growing child will be delivered safely into our
It is a dream come true for me to have a homebirth. I am so excited at the prospect of being
surrounded by the people we love and the familiar warmth of our home as we
welcome our child. As a young woman, I
never imagined that I would have a baby at 38 years of age – however I am
embracing the experience.
When I attend Birth Circle meetings, I am an adamant
advocate for informed hospital births.
You can go and hear horror stories about hospital experiences. Usually there is a backstory of unsupportive
care providers, couples or coaches that were not adequately informed about their
choices or that did not attend a good natural childbirth preparation
I feel it is my place to inform
expecting moms at these meetings that it is possible to have good hospital
outcomes. Here are some things that are conducive to a positive hospital experience: ample preparation that includes a comprehensive course such as The Bradley Method®, lots of reading and research to form your own opinion on the myriad of options, testing and procedures, a care
provider that believes in natural childbirth (as opposed to the ones who just
give you lip service to collect your fee), a well written birth plan that has your care providers stamp of approval (literally), and a confident coach who has the
support of an assistant coach such as a trained family member or doula.
Part of the issue is that most husbands believe that
hospitals are the safest places for their wives to have babies – it is what we
are taught in our society. They don't know that you can't just walk in without support and/or preparation and expect to have an intervention-free birth. Given the
choice between starting a fight and going with the flow, most wives give in and
strive to have their hospital birth as close to natural as possible in a
As life would have it, just last year I made a comment at a
meeting about how some of us just had to learn how to have good hospital
births. I said given the fact that my
husband, being an engineer and set in his ways, would never see his way clear
to a homebirth, we would have to continue to beat the odds and keep having good
We have had three good to great hospital outcomes and like "good patients", we
went back to our obstetrician’s office to start prenatal care with this
pregnancy. There were two factors that
changed our plan. First of all, I met
with an OB in the practice whom we have never used before. He scared me by telling me that since I am an older mom, I would have
to go in every week after 32 weeks gestation to do a non-stress test and
confirm that there was no danger of “fetal demise”.
I left the office crying. There are two things I believe (this is an
opinion) about constant examinations – (1) the process exerts pressure and causes
stress on parents and (2) if you are hooked up to a monitor long enough, you
will probably hear or see something that would cause concern if it is taken out
Secondly, we have switched to individual insurance coverage
since for the first time in our married lives, Bruss and I are both
self-employed. We did not think to ask
about maternity coverage when we enrolled in our new program – a human
resources person had always handled coverage for us. Little did we know that when you have individual
insurance, maternity coverage is a separate rider. As we were already pregnant, it was too late
to add it onto our care plan; so we are now self-pay patients wherever we go
and seek non-emergency maternity services.
We did the math and figured out that midwifery care is 1/3
of the cost of OB care for prenatal plus hospital fees for labor and
delivery. The only benefit of going the
hospital route is that when you are self-pay, they want you out of there within
24 hours after delivery. The one thing I
always wanted in our hospital plan before would come true now that we didn’t
have maternity coverage! (When you have
insurance, they charge more and therefore earn more the longer you stay.)
Being a practical man, he could not ignore the dollars and cents
aspect of our situation. Bruss agreed to look at
midwifery care since it was the most cost effective. He told me to pick my top three midwives and
we would interview them and then make a decision.
I asked our local Bradley Method® teachers who they have
used and would recommend. Two of those
made our list. The third midwife was one
that I met and respected from our interactions and her contributions at Birth
Circle meetings. I could not believe
that my dream might actually be coming true!
Bruss prepared a list of questions and off we went to our
first interview. The midwife impressed
Bruss and that was it! He was committed
to having a homebirth and he told me to cancel the other interviews because he
liked this midwife. Thank you, Marinah,
for making such a good impression and for taking the time to answer his
questions thoughtfully and thoroughly.
And then the fear kicked in:
Oh my gosh – we were really going to have a homebirth! Could we do it? Could we have a baby out of the hospital? I am going to be 38 when this baby is born –
would we have a healthy pregnancy? Would
everything go as well as we hoped? What
if something happened? What were we
going to tell our family?
It was time to take a deep breath and go back to my source
of strength. I prayed to God to calm my
fears and let me cast all my cares on him.
As my favorite verse says, “I have plans to prosper you and not to harm
you... I have plans to give you hope and a future.” (Jeremiah 29:11). What could be more fulfilling of this promise
than the promise and the hope of a new life?
We just did our mid-pregnancy ultrasound and our prayers
continue to be answered. Our baby is
strong and healthy, the placenta is in the right place, and the umbilical cord
is well attached. God has been merciful
and He has shown us that things are low-risk so that we can continue to prepare
for our homebirth.
I continue to pray every day. As most of us pregnant moms can testify,
pregnancy can be fraught with worry. Am
I eating well? Is the baby okay? Did I just do something that could hurt the
baby? I strive to turn these fears over
in prayer and focus on the positive things that I can do: follow the Brewer diet, continue with weekly
chiropractic care, exercise to prepare my body for our labor, and make wise decisions
when it comes to daily activities.
We are so grateful for the opportunity to be able to involve
our children as much or as little as they want to be in the birth. I will write more about how we are preparing
them in another post; and my fellow Bradley teacher, Rachel Davis, will be
sharing a four-part in-depth sibling preparation series this fall.
In the meantime, we will have to take our own advice as
Bradley Method® instructors. Now that we
are 22 weeks into our pregnancy, it is time for me to start acting like a
student! I am a pescatarian, so I will be
tracking my protein faithfully to ensure that I am getting 80 – 100 grams of
protein per day, I am doing my Kegel exercises, I am squatting to strengthen and
stretch my perineum, and I am exercising for stamina and targeting the
childbirth muscles (back, belly and bottom).
The next step is for Bruss and I to start doing regular relaxation
practice since he wants to go it alone without a doula! Yikes…I’ll keep you posted!
included on this site is for informational purposes only.
It is not intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical
advice. The reader should always consult her or his healthcare provider to
determine the appropriateness of the information for their own situation. This blog contains information about our classes available in
Chandler, AZ and Payson, AZ and is not the official website of The Bradley Method®. The views contained on this blog do not necessarily reflect those of The Bradley Method® or the American Academy
of Husband-Coached Childbirth®.