Childbirth can look scary and overwhelming to any mom to be, whether you have had a baby before or not. Chances are if you are reading this you are pregnant and wanting to know, “where is the best place to have your Baby delivery?” I had a Home Birth with a midwife for my first two babies and a Hospital Birth with a midwife for my third baby. So, if you are looking for someone’s personal experience with both options you have come to the right place.
The Definition of a Home Birth: an instance of giving birth at Home rather than in a Hospital.
For my first two babies, we didn’t have insurance and we couldn’t afford going to the hospital for the baby delivery so we decided to try a home birth. We had a hard time finding a midwife for a at home birth in our area, apparently they are few and far between. We finally did find one about an hour from our home. This midwife was available over my due date so we decided we will go ahead and plan a home birth with her
*Home Birth – Pregnancy Checkup*
-scheduling and Location
I met with the midwife the next week at her home. She had a cute little office off of the main part of the house. I felt very welcome in her home and it felt nothing like a stuffy doctor’s office. I felt like I was just visiting a friend for the evening. I worked in the town where the Midwife lived and she was very willing to schedule my check ups around my work hours. I never had to take off work for the visits.
*Home Birth – Paperwork*
– Cost and Decisions
The Midwife walked me through all the paperwork involved and was very up front about what everything would cost. She did not accept insurance which was not a problem for us because we didn’t have any. The cost of everything she did for us from start to finish was $2000 which was due by my 35 week check up. I’m sure cost varies with different midwives but this was her price for us. Far more affordable than a Hospital Birth without Insurance.
There were some things about the baby delivery we had the option to accept or decline and the Midwife had all the right paperwork to sign off on if we weren’t interested. She never came across pushy if there was something I chose to skip if I saw it as unnecessary. She was required to tell me what everything was for and why it is done but it was my choice to accept or decline.
*Home Birth – Birth Plan*
The Midwife helped me decide what all I wanted included in my birth plan. She had no requirements for birth positions nor was she picky about eating while I was in labor. When I asked about a water birth she said it is just fine if that’s the way I want to go. She basically left it up to me and what would make me most comfortable.
*Home Birth – Blood Tests*
The Midwife showed me how and where to schedule my blood tests. It all seemed very simple with her there to guide me. She even went in with me to the office where they did it. The blood tests were not included in the price she gave us so you can expect to pay for the that on top of her total, I’m guessing most midwives would do it this way.
*Home Birth – Ultrasound*
One thing that a Home Birth Midwife does not include is an ultrasound. We wanted to know the gender of our babies. And of course, we wanted to make sure they have the right number of fingers and toes, in other words, we wanted to make sure they were healthy. There are some Ultrasound Centers where they do ultrasounds to find out the babies’ gender, but they don’t take all the babies’ measurements like they would at a pregnancy center. This Ultrasound cost around $300.
*Home Birth – 35 Weeks Pregnant*
– Home Visits and Birth Supplies
When I reached 35 weeks in my pregnancy she started coming out to our home for weekly checkups to get a feel for where we live and what she would need to do to prepare. Right around this time is when she showed me a website where I could order birth supplies so we could get that in the mail before it was time for the Baby Delivery. The birth supplies cost around $50.
*Home Birth – The Midwife’s Assistant*
Also around 35 weeks she introduced me to her assistant that she brought along to all her Baby Deliveries. The assistant came along for a couple of Home visits before my baby was born so I could meet her and get used to her as well. She was so friendly and made me feel even more at ease with the idea of two professionals to help with the birth.
*Home Birth – Pain Relief*
A Home birth Midwife does not have access to pain relief medications like the hospitals have. My midwife recommended laboring in the tub to help relieve some of the pain and my husband massaged my lower back when it got bad. I also tried moving around and changing my positions, but I had to do it all natural, medication free. If you want pain relief options then this isn’t for you.
*Home Birth – The Baby Delivery*
I had my first baby delivery four days early. My labor started at 3 o’clock in the morning and we called the midwife around 7 o’clock, four hours later. She asked how it was going, how far apart my contractions were, and she told us she is preparing to start the hour drive to our home. She arrived about two hours later around 9 o’ clock. I labored on into the afternoon while my husband, the Midwife and her assistant brought me things like a cool cloth for my forehead and when I chose to labor in the tub they kept the water hot by boiling water on the stove and pouring it slowly into my bath water.
Not far into the afternoon I was to the point of pushing, he was almost here and we ran into a slight problem. The baby was stuck and stuck good. No matter how I pushed I could not budge him and my contractions were stopping. It was as if my body was giving up, like the job was done. This was my Midwife‘s first time performing an epesiotomy but she did what she had to do. Let me tell you, the relief and joy and overwhelming emotions when your baby is born is real, there is nothing else like it.
My second Baby Delivery was uneventful and short. Dylan was born 3.5 hours after my labor started, about an hour after the Midwife arrived. I ended up having a water birth and that went very well. The first thing I said when he was born was, “that was easy!” I think because my first birth was so long and difficult I was surprised at the speed of the second birth.
*Home Birth – Postpartum*
After we had our babies it was so nice to be in the comfort of our own home that first night. The midwife went home and there were no Nurses constantly interrupting my sleep at night. My mom stayed with us the first little while till we adjusted to our new little person. The midwife came out a few times in the next week to check that the baby and I were doing well. She also did a 6 weeks postpartum checkup on both the baby and me so I did not need to get a pediatrician for the baby until after that.
All in all we felt like our Home birth experience was great and we would probably have done the same for our third if we could have gotten insurance for it.
The definition of a Hospital Birth: an instance of giving birth at a Hospital rather than at home.
*Hospital Birth – Insurance*
For our third baby we were finally able to get Medicaid Insurance so we decided to try the hospital birth and see what that is like. Our Insurance covered all of the pregnancy checkups and the whole hospital stay otherwise a hospital birth would have cost too much for us.
*Hospital Birth – Pregnancy Checkups*
I found a Pregnancy Center that has midwives instead of Doctors. I had heard that they encourage doing things as natural as possible and that was more the way I wanted to go. I am scared of all things unnatural so medications and an IV in my arm were things I was trying to avoid. I had an hour drive to the Pregnancy Center for my checkups and I had to find a babysitter for my older two boys every time I went in.
*Hospital Birth – Blood Tests and Ultrasounds*
I loved it that the blood tests and the ultrasound were all taken care of there at the Pregnancy center. Everything was organized and simple and all I had to do was show up. The Ultrasound lady took measurements and checked for anything abnormal. They assured us that everything looks good. She told us we were having another healthy boy and we did not have to get another ultrasound for the rest of the pregnancy. They took my blood there at the center to test it and that all came back normal too.
*Hospital Birth – 35 Weeks Pregnant*
Once I reached 35 weeks pregnant I had to start going in for a checkup every week and that got to be a little much. Having to get a babysitter every week for just a short checkup was a little overwhelming, although it was comforting seeing that everything was fine when I went in. I was just used to having the midwife come to my home when I was this miserably far along.
*Hospital Birth – Birth Plan*
I put together a birth plan at one of my checkups but when I went in to have the baby the ladies that were helping me for the first couple hours had not seen it and were not following it. I had asked for no students to be in my room during my labor and they had one there, she was even the one who put the IV in my arm. But they did apologize for it once they got around to reading my birth plan and I tried not to let it bother me.
I had also asked that I not be given pitosin at any point during or after the labor. Right after the baby was born one nurse came across like I was bleeding too much, So of course I said yes give me pitosin to stop the bleeding. After she left the room I asked one of the other nurses if my bleeding was normal and she said yes its fine. THAT irritated me but there was nothing I could do about it so I let it go. Basically, my point is, with a hospital birth it is very hard to pull off a completely natural birth. But, if you like the medication way of doing things then that is what you are looking for.
*Hospital Birth – The Baby Delivery*
I once again went into labor in the middle of the night for my third baby, it all started with my water breaking while I was sleeping. I had tested positive for Group B Strep ( a bacteria I was apparently a carrier of) so they asked me to come in to the hospital right away so they could give me antibiotics while I was in labor to hopefully keep the baby from getting the bacteria.So much for not wanting an IV in my arm.
The trip there wasn’t too bad because my labor wasn’t too intense yet at that point.
Once we got there it was question after question after question, I just wanted to be left alone. How can they possibly need all that information and why right then. I wondered why they don’t ask all those questions after the baby was born. What I didn’t know was I was going to get interrupted by nurses and doctors often the entire duration of my stay.
I was happy with how they let me move around in the room and they even said I’m welcome to wander the halls if I felt like it. They did not allow a water birth but they did let me take a bath to help relieve the pain.
The midwife and the nurses were really good at coaching me through the pushing process. Every thing went well and we were soon holding our new little person. I had the baby around 12:30 pm that day.
*Hospital Birth – Busy Midwife*
I kept feeling like the midwife had no time for me during the labor. I kept asking for her and she wouldn’t come in. They told me later that 11 other women had come in that morning to give birth. I really was missing the one on one I had gotten with my midwife during my home births. But I did have help from the nurses so I was not being completely neglected.
*Hospital Birth – Emergency Backup*
I did not get any medication for the pain during birth but it was nice knowing I had that option. Also, knowing they had what they needed there if something went wrong was comforting. With our home births we did not have the things available to quickly help if something went wrong. We would have had an emergency trip to the hospital.
*Hospital Birth – Postpartum Care*
After we went home I ended up going back to the hospital three times that first week because the baby’s jaundice level was high and they wanted to watch it. I also had to go in to see his pediatrician twice that week, once to set him up as a patient and the second time for a weight check. Not being able to stay at home and rest was overwhelming. Ended up, 5 visits later, he was perfectly fine and I was exhausted from an hour trip to Lynchburg every day his first week. I really wonder how they expect the moms to recover properly with all the unnecessary ( in my opinion) appointments for baby.
So, having experienced both a home birth and a hospital birth its hard to say which one is the better option. I would definitely prefer a home birth. My baby’s deliveries have always gone well, natural with no complications. If it wasn’t so I would probably choose a hospital birth, because they are better prepared if things go wrong.