Read about why we chose a home birth HERE.
I announced last week that we were planning a home birth for baby #5, after 4 hospital births! We are so genuinely excited and we’re hoping for a really redemptive experience. Some of the most common questions I’ve been getting is how to even go about planning a home birth. A lot of people are saying they wouldn’t even know where to start looking for a midwife, they don’t know if they need both a midwife and a doula, they don’t know if they should do a home birth vs birthing center, and they aren’t sure if they’ll be able to afford it. The process is way easier than you might think, and for us- choosing a midwife and doula was less than a 4 day process.
Before I begin, let me remind y’all that I am NOT a medical expert, and I am NEW to this whole thing. These answers are based solely on experience and opinion.
How We Chose Our Doula & Midwife
The first thing I did, when I knew I for sure wanted a home birth, was I reached out to several women on Instagram that I knew had experience in this arena. I asked who they recommended, and immediately reached out to those midwives asking to set up a call. I also scheduled a call with Phoenix Valley Birth & Baby (a follower had recommended this page on Instagram as a resource). On that call, I asked about a million questions and they gave me as many resources as I possibly needed. They have a master list of local midwives and birthing centers on their website, and the woman I talked to talked me through each midwife. It was such an amazing call, because 1) it was free, 2) I got so many questions answered and 3) all they care about is making sure you have all the resources you need! SO, so amazing and I highly recommend reaching out to them if you’re local and considering a home birth! It was also awesome, because towards the end of the call, I asked the lady what her place in home birth was… was she a doula or midwife? Has she given birth at home? Etc. She said she was a doula (Heaven Sent Doula) and told me her personal home birth stories. I felt such a connection to her through the phone call, by the end I told her… well, I think I want to hire you as my doula! (Which we did.) She also recommended a midwife that I already had a call set up with the following day.
The following day I had several calls with midwives, but the one I really connected with was Aurora Midwifery (the one that had been suggested by a personal friend of mine AND Phoenix valley birth & baby). After two days of phone calls, I decided to go with her! She answered all my questions (and Anthony’s questions about safety & mess) and made me feel so confident in my decision to birth at home.
How We Chose Between Home Birth & Birthing Center
During my consultations, I asked what the difference was between a birthing center and a home birth. Anthony felt much more comfortable with a birthing center (because of mess, our small apartment, etc) and several of my friends (who, for the record, had birthed in hospitals) said that birthing centers were safer.
The only difference safety wise between a home birth and birthing center is that birthing centers are legally required to be within 5 miles of a hospital, in case of emergencies. As far as oxygen, hemorrhaging meds, resuscitation, etc… the midwife brings EVERYTHING we could possibly need for any situation. Since our apartment is less than 10 minutes away from our local hospital, this made me feel confident in choosing a home birth.
The other thing, is that with a birthing center, you labor mostly at home and as it gets closer to “pushing time”, you transfer to the center. Both my midwife and doula said that a home birth would probably be best for me, since I usually push less than ten minutes and they don’t want my baby making it’s way into the world in my van! LOL.
Ultimately, it’s completely your decision and I have heard magical birth stories from women who chose to use a birthing center. It’s my belief that you can’t go wrong either way!
Why We Chose To Hire Both A Midwife AND Doula
The answer for this one is easy. A midwife is similar to your OB. She does your pre and postnatal visits. She shows up when your contractions are much closer together, she makes sure you and baby are safe as you give birth, she helps your baby safely enter the world. She can administer medication, IVs, anything you might need as you deliver and recover. She is your MEDICAL SUPPORT. A doula is your NON-MEDICAL SUPPORT. They are there are soon as you feel like “this is it”. They help you breathe through your contractions, they help position your body, they apply pressure and massage to counter the pain, they coach your husband as you labor. Some people choose to just have a midwife, but since this is my first natural birth, I really wanted a doula there to help support Anthony, baby and I through this process.
What About The Cost?
The answer to this is so personal to each person and experience. Since we are self-employed, our medical insurance is pretty expensive. To give birth at a hospital, we have to pay $8,000 out of pocket before insurance kicks in. Midwife care starts around $3,500+ and doula support starts around $900. Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, a lot of midwives and doulas are offering discounts to help moms with the cost of switching last minute to home birth. For us, birthing at home is significantly cheaper than a hospital birth. I know everyone’s situation, finances, insurance costs are completely different, so this answer is just ours personally.
ALL of the resources you need are literally at your fingertips. We made all of these decisions from home, through google searches, Instagram and phone calls (during a freaking pandemic). We are so excited about our journey and can’t wait to keep sharing it with you guys!