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Getting Your Homebirth Covered By An HMO
My second birth story
My second birth story
My first birth story
Letter to hospital after 1st birth
Other Links, Books & resources
1st letter to med director of IPA
2nd letter to grieveance dept of HMO
HMO grievance panel presentation
DMHC complaint letter
Thoughts after presentation to panel

Birth story of my second child, a water birth attended by a midwife at my home.

When I started thinking of having a homebirth people said I was, "nuts", "bold" and "brave" and they were worried. I don't think I'm brave. I wanted decisions for our care to be made based on what was happening with US not based on the orders on file and the routine treatment everyone automatically gets. So basically, I was choosing to avoid conflict with the hospital staff. I also considered laboring at home and going to the hospital at the end of labor. But when to go would be a guess on my part. I also thought it would be best to have someone to check the baby's heart rate while I labored. The more I researched midwifery I learned how awful the U.S. statistics for pregnancy and birth really are. The countries that have the best stats use midwives for the normal births and leave the docs for the complicated cases. Being a geeky biologist, I read the studies. Research shows the safety of homebirth, less damage to moms, less fetal distress, less respirtory problems, less infection, and much lower chance of cesarean surgery. So that's what I chose. Lucky me, I have a wonderful supportive husband who said "Whatever you want to do" Ok, now on with the story......

I had a vaginal exam on Friday afternoon (the day after my due date, which had been adjusted to my long cycle) and Amy found me to be 1 1/2 -2 cm dilated, soft,but still long. That exam unleashed contractions every 5-10 minutes apart for the next 5 hrs or so. In the car in the pouring down rain and traffic nightmare that is So. CA I thought this may turn into real labor (yea!). We finally got home. I made dinner (I ate something bland just in case) and put Corinne to bed and then at 10pm I gave up on the idea of labor and went to bed. Saturday and Sunday evening I also had ctx in the evenings, Two more nights of baked potatoes, and boring pasta for dinner, just in case.

By Monday I had decided to have my membranes stripped. At least something was happening (and I was 10-14 days overdue with the first one and had virtually no ctx)but IT WAS A HOLIDAY! Duh, that's how much I was paying attention. I was really bummed, I called anyway and talked with Marci, she and I talked about my fears and she explained homeopathy and we set up an appt. for Tuesday morning. She said she'd have Leslie (receptionist and birth asst.) sing stripper music. She said to take one dose of the cimicifuga pellets (30C) tonight and one of the callophylum doses the next morning. I had been taking red raspberry capsules to strengthen my uterus and Evening Primrose oil to help ripen my cervix.

I got my mom to come with me just in case this exam did the same thing and started ctx again, I wasn't about to risk getting stuck at the birth center with my 4 YO.
Marci got in there and said your cervix is markedly different than Friday. She said you're 4 cm and 50% effaced. WHOO HOO! she tried to strip the membranes but she said "There's not much to strip here they are already really loose." Talk about happy!

I started my last labor in the hospital with pitocin at 1 1/2cm after a whole day of cytotech and walking. Here I was almost 1/2 way done and labor hadn't even started yet.

I talked my mom into getting some grocery shopping done on the way home and then we cleaned my house. While she played with my daughter I decided to just try the

homeopathy induction even though I thought this is crap, there's nothing in here but sugar but I did it anyway, 4 cimicifuga pellets (30C) followed by 4 callophylum pellets

(30C) 15 minutes later, alternating every 15 min for 2 hours. Nothing was happening so I thought maybe it's an emotional thing and when mom leaves it'll start. Nope. So I said fine whatever. I decided we'd go out for dinner when DH got home. We went to our favorite Chinese food place and ate spicy food. Looking back I was uncomfortable there and had to actually stand up twice, I thought it was just the pressure of the baby being so
low and me needing to pee. Wrong! As we left, we told the owner "The next time we come we'll be 4!"

We went home watched a little TV put the kid to bed at 8pm and then it started! I was having contractions that hurt in the front around 9 we started timing them and they were about 1-3 minutes apart but lasted only 35-1 min 10 sec each. I got the diarrhea and started feeling nauseous around 9:30. I had a few more ctx 1 min apart and Ed said "I'm calling the midwives!" They said they'd be over. I think just calling them slowed me down. We had been told that they wanted to be there when my water broke and if I waited until then she thought she wouldn't make it. We did a little reorganizing and Ed started thinking of filling the birthing pool I'd rented from, I told him to wait a while, I didn't want to get in too early, but I told him to crank up the water heater. When they showed up, they watched a bit and then told me something to the effect of you haven't had any ctx since we got here that I would count but we can check you then wait and check in an hour or so, and then make decisions." WHAT! I couldn't believe it. I had all the signs of labor and I was already hurting like hell and she thought I wasn't in active labor??? huh? She had said call when they were consistently strong. They were and I was already in "labor land" (out of it) so I wasn't really able to articulate what I thought. I thought: "You're nuts! I'll have this baby in 5 hrs". I did let her check me and I was 5 cm and 90% effaced. They started filling the tub in my craft room and she set me up with my birth ball and Ed in the living room and turned off the lights to let us do our thing. After a while she talked me into getting into the pool saying this may be an early labor use of the tub to maintain my energy .. (another HUH??! from me. Arraghhh!!!...). After the birth she told me it didn't take long after she got there for her to see that I really started getting "good ctx". I told her so. I spent most of the time in the tub hanging on the edge with the midwife (Amy)and her asst. (Kenya) and Ed pouring water on my back (that felt good) unfortunately the tub didn't help with the pain as much as I'd hoped. Labor hurts, but it's not unbearable. The pain this time was all in the lower front of my belly and there really wasn't much to do about it. I think it was a mental thing. Last time I had back labor and at least Ed could push on my back and that helped. Amy said "gee if we'd known you preferred back labor we would've left the baby posterior." I couldn't believe I would consider my pitocin back labor pain equivalent to my "natural" home water labor but I think I do. I'll have to check my records to see exactly how close the ctx were. I totally lost track of how long and what time all this was but I was checked again in the tub and told I was a "good 7"-- Big mistake, I should have skipped that exam cause then all I could think was "oh no here comes transition." I never really gave vag exams much thought, I was b-strep negative this time and I was sure I was progressing well. Then my water broke with a pop. It was clear. We decided to put in more water. After Ed turned on the water I got the great idea to hold the hose to squirt water on my back. I tried and quickly caused a splash that showered Amy and Ed! OOPS! I didn't know that hose had that much pressure!

The ctx really seemed more variable this time. There were more double and triple peakers. I wanted that belly pain gone. I laid down in the tub at one point trying to move it to my back. I asked a few times what time it was and why was this taking so long. I said "I'm almost done right?" and they said yes and encouraged me. They started trying to get me to drink juice or some soda, something with sugar in it for energy. I tried the juice but it was yuck. I would have tried some Coke but Ed didn't know that and I couldn't tell him. I got out of the tub and went to the bathroom to pee. I had a few ctx outside and then sat on my birth ball for a few then I got back in the tub. The pushing contractions I kept waiting for didn't really materialize. I wanted them to change. I don't know if I even had more than 1 pushing ctx. I remember feeling rectal pressure and saying so. I pushed once and felt this tennis ball sized thing lock into my bones (I think it was my bones) with a sound in my head that sounded like a bank vault closing. I didn't think it was that big and I knew it couldn't possibly be stuck My first kid felt like a big coconut. I asked her,again, why this was taking so long. Amy offered to check me. I said no. I was going to wait for that urge to push even if she said I was 10 cm. I think that's why so many women end up pushing for hours, They start too soon. Amy said ok and that maybe a more upright position would help. I got up on my knees at the edge of the pool had a ctx and started huffing and saying "front". She had told me that I needed to tell her front or back, when I felt the pressure or burning so she could support the tissues so I wouldn't tear. She reached down and Ed said she said "I have the head right here- it's crowning." With that next ctx (I was huffing and puffing, not pushing)the baby shot out like a giant fish I felt it swim/kick out. She was great at supporting what needed supporting and staying the heck out of what didn't. I didn't feel her there at all. I had thought I would catch, or at least feel, the baby as it was born. Ed also was supposed to help catch. But it happened so fast all I could do was huff "front" and he was still outside the pool. He said the baby actually shot out and went to the end of the cord like a hyper dog on a leash.

I think the tub REALLY helped at the end. I didn't feel any burning ring of fire and I was saying "front" just because I was paranoid that I would tear the scar tissue from my last tears. Peri-urethral tears aren't fun. The baby was perfect and shot out (they said in a 10 min second stage) I had no damage at all. and no swelling even. It was 1:55 am (5 hrs! - just like I thought :) ). We soaked a while, while I held the baby. I looked and it was a girl. I checked again to be sure. Our Abbey!!
There was some discussion about my bleeding, but I didn't catch what it was. A minute later I asked Amy if she wanted me to get out and she said "no need, it's not
getting worse. How do you feel?" I said perfect. Ed got our 4 YO daughter up. She'd slept through the whole thing. She came in and kissed me and touched her baby sister. Talk about excited!

We waited for the placenta to come. After a while I decided to get out and everyone helped us out of the tub (Abbey and I were still attached and the cord was a short one (about 16-18"). I moved to the bed and we waited some more for the placenta, I finally gave birth to that by squatting on the bed over the bowl. It came out with a huge "sploot splat! splash" into the bowl. It was LOUD! and it surprised everyone. There was a big clot behind it so it was hanging it up a bit. Amy couldn't be sure that there wasn't a piece of membrane still inside me. She suggested I take methergine pills just in case. She said it's not worth risking an infection. That was fine with me. Abbey had one wet lung for a while, while I was waiting for the placenta they thumped on her back a bit with the bulb sucker. After a while I said you can suction her if you have to and they said No it's not necessary, its just one and just from her quick
passage she didn't get squeezed enough is all. Her color was great and everything else was fine, they gave her some blow by oxygen while her daddy held her just as a precaution.

What a difference! Everyone was very calm and no one used scare tactics to freak us out or did anything unnecessary to my baby. It was wonderful! They followed my birth plan completely. She was 8lbs 9 oz and had a 14" head. (7mm bigger than her older sister). Her sister cut the cord (she also saw me deliver that messy placenta and it didn't phaze her at all). We have the best picture of them together a few minutes after I got out of the tub. Amy and Kenya left us alone so that we could get to know each other, while they did charting in the other room. Abbey nursed for about an hour.
Then we started cleaning up. Ed fished out the clots out of the pool and started emptying it. Amy cleaned the toys out of the bath so I could take a shower. Kenya hung out with my daughters. She was just great with them.

On the practical side, we never even used the heaters that came with the pool. It stayed hot enough and it even warmed the rest of the room, by the end it was a sauna in there. I had been a bit worried about the heat from our wall heater not reaching back into that room. I do wish Ed had gotten in with me or that we had put in more water, there was like an extra foot of depth that we didn't use at all. I'd also recommend that women make a list of the foods and drinks that they might want to eat during labor because my husband didn't know, I guess I never told him. I couldn't during labor.

They cleaned up the room, threw the laundry in the washer, and then took us into our room and did the newborn exam. We declined the mandatory antibiotic eye ointment, (yes you can do that, just ask for a decline form)and the vitamin K since her birth was trauma free. No one had any problem or gave us any grief for those decisions either. Abbey's breathing was a bit fast 70/min (normal is 40-60/min). Amy told us why and then offered to stay with us, she said they could take turns staying up with her so we could get some sleep. Because if we didn't get to sleep now, before the sun came up, we'd be screwed.
She was right. Corinne now needed "containing" of her exuberance. After the exam we put her to bed and what a miracle she went to sleep! We felt it was fine for them to leave, since we were already doing the "treatment" for fast breathing (keep her warm, and nurse alot.)
Amy gave me the pills she wanted me to take. That's one good thing about a CNM (Certified Nurse Midwife), they can prescribe medications & she had them with her so Ed didn't have to leave to go to a pharmacy. They tucked us into bed, thanked me for letting them come over, and told me "No laundry! go to sleep!" then they left. Of course then all I could think of was the blood stains setting.... and I was starving! I got up and got some food and threw the soap in the washer and started it. Then I did actually get to sleep. Another miracle. It is really hard to sleep after something so exciting!

Amy called that morning, and again in the evening, and once a day for the next two days to see how things were going, then Kenya came on Sat and did my homevisit, she checked me and Abbey and stayed two hours. We talked too. She works as an OB nurse at the hospital where Corinne was born and she said this baby would have gotten the same exact treatment that Corinne got (mostly a whisking away and unnecessary blood testing) because that's the policy. Over 8 lbs = tough luck, no matter how the baby is actually doing, or what the parents want. The immediate washing also would have cooled her off and made the breathing thing worse. Plus, the separation from me would've meant delayed nursing.
No one told me how crappy I would feel postpartum with my first. I had a 9 lb baby and the next day I had only lost 8 lbs. I was so swollen due to the Pitocin. My labia were swollen to the size of kielbasa sausages, I had tears to my urethra and up both sides of my vagina, tons of stitches and the bleeding lasted for 6 weeks. We were estatic but sore: hubby with back pain and I, with crotch. Both of us were overwhelmed with hospital sounds/annoyances, bad food, and lack of sleep. On our video tape you can see me looking more and more like hell the longer I stay there. They don't allow you to bring
a hair dryer or a curling iron even.
I am so happy I chose to have a homebirth! I can't believe the difference in the care. They CARE !! Or in how I feel. Recovery from childbirth ya right, basically it's just regaining lost sleep. I feel fine! There is NO swelling, no tears, no stitches or anything! It
blows me away, especially with how fast she came out. My bleeding this time lasted a week. If I have another baby we know we'll do it like this again. I'll tell anyone about it. Most women don't even know they have choices in birth. YOU DO!