Pushing

I thought this was an interesting opinion article on the topic of midwifery.  Since Gena and I had all three of our children delivered by a midwife at home, as opposed to being in a hospital or even a birthing center, we’re convinced that this is the best option for delivering babies.  Healthiest for everyone concerned, quite frankly.  And, as the article notes, far less expensive than a typical hospital birth.

Each of our children’s births cost us $2000.  Of course, this wasn’t covered by the insurance coverage that we had at the time.  Had we opted to deliver in a hospital, it would have been covered.  But not for home births.  Not for midwives.  We had to pay for the costs out of pocket, but we budgeted for it, and God was good in providing for us.  
I wish that more people knew about and understood the role of midwife and the process of an at-home birth.  I didn’t know anything about it beforehand, but thanks to the Internet, it’s easy to become educated pretty quickly.  One of the issues that this article doesn’t deal with, is that every state has different attitudes towards midwives.  We assumed that moving to the Midwest from Phoenix, we’d find that midwifery was more common and supported.  It turned out – at least in the case of Missouri – to be just the opposite.  The closest birthing center was over two hours away.  In the end, we decided it was worth the additional time and hassle of returning to Arizona to use our midwife, Mary.  Definitely worth it.
When we’ve talked with other couples about their birthing plans, we’re careful not to come off too strongly on this topic.  There is a lot of fear around the whole birth process.  In some ways, that’s to be expected.  It’s an amazing event – particularly for the mother, and especially for first time mothers.  But more than that, our culture of Experts has convinced people that hospitals are the safest and best places to have a baby.  That the only safe way to have a baby is to let the medical professionals, the medical experts handle it. 
Never mind that the status of expert or professional can be rather arbitrary!  Despite the fact that hospitals are more crowded and busy than ever.  Despite the fact that hospitals are dangerous places for infection.  Despite the fact that, due to time constraints on the doctors, births are ‘scheduled’ and the odds of a Caesarean being performed to accommodate the doctors’ schedule are frighteningly high.  Despite the fact that hospitals generally discourage the sort of movements and positions that are most natural for the mother to deliver, opting for one of the least conducive positions, simply because it provides more control – for the doctor.  Despite the fact that episiotomies are given in up to 40% of all hospital births, primarily to expedite the birth process, rather than allowing for natura, full dilation to occur.  Despite the fact that hospitals require parents to sign consent forms which essentially require the parents to allow the hospital to do what they want to care for the child after birth – including separation from the mother and isolation in an incubator, etc.  
The main things that hospital births have going for them are coverage by insurance, the assumption that doctors know best how to deliver babies (regardless of the fact that a given doctor may have actually delivered very few babies personally), and the availability of epidurals to alleviate the pain of childbirth.
I know that many women have perfectly wonderful experiences in the hospital.  I’m glad for that.  But I’m even more happy that we decided to birth at home, and that Mary our midwife was as experienced and no-nonsense as she was.  I can’t recommend this experience strongly enough.  But, based on some of the numbers presented in this opinion piece, I may not need to recommend it.  It might become more common simply out of financial necessity!

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