I recently did a post about my upcoming Home Birth.  Readers had the opportunity to ask my Midwife and I questions they had about the Home/Natural birth experience…

I always knew I wanted four children.  Since as far back as I can remember.  

I always knew I wanted natural childbirth, since as far back as I can remember.  

When I heard about Home Birth – YEARS before finding myself blessed with pregnancy – well, it was a no-brainer.  It sounded like a fantastic idea.  I was in my early twenties and people just laughed at me when I would try to speak knowledgeably about the subject.  No matter how much I had read.  It drove me crazy… you know, those early twenties when you just want to be taken seriously?  (As if a collegiate Civil War expert on some campus today fought in the actual Battle of Gettysburg for crying out loud!)  What sounded better than being in the comfort and atmosphere of your own home, surrounded with only the people you choose to have present, no irritating nurses checking on you every ten minutes, no wires, beeps, monitors and such… 
I’ve had crazy birth experiences (aren’t ours all a bit “crazy”?) from IV’s hanging from my crystal chandelier, to going LITERALLY out of my way to avoid a C-Section, almost punching a doctor, threatening a nurse to the point that I think she feared for her life (and mine), to hubby delivering a baby on the bath room floor with the midwife on speakerphone…  Don’t get me started on the pre-birth prep… garlic, floating, and I even tried castor oil and vodka…All that and only three births so far.  Seven weeks til the next!  I may share my birth stories… what do you think?  
In the meantime, here are the questions that were directed my way… I spoke with Midwife Debbie today and she is working on answering your submissions.

Greta said…
I’m days from giving birth to my first baby, and the plan is to do a natural hospital birth. I’m nervous but really excited!!! What is your best piece of advice for managing the pain naturally while in a hospital? I need all the help I can get. 🙂

l could not resist, being such a birth junkie so I wrote Greta a crazy lengthy email since she said she was days away… I have not heard back from her, I hope all went well.  Briefly, my best advice for managing pain is relaxing.  Stay as limp and relaxed during a contraction as you possibly can, letting it “do it’s thang”.  I myself slowly exhale and go as relaxed as I can -like what it takes to float on your back in a pool, which is by the way is my OPPOSITE natural reaction to pain but it’s how I practice weeks before the birth.  You also have to practice with pain too – I do the whole “ice cube” trick.  (Found in the slightly creepy/weird but very helpful Birthing from Within.)  Does everyone know what the ice cube trick is???  I think it’s they best way to test how you do when there is pain around that you want to escape.  Some think it’s stupid, I think it’s a good idea.
Oh, I like I tell everyone on their way to the hospital – STAY OFF YOUR BACK.

A-la-Parisienne wrote…
If we ever have another child, I told my husband and my mother that I would like to have the baby at home-not in the hospital. The main reason is that my husband is self-employed and our insurance does not cover maternity at all! Unfortunately, in the USA, it costs thousands dollars to have a baby in a hospital. I have two questions: about how much money did your pregnancy and delivery of Juliette cost? Sounds rude to ask, but I would like to compare the costs. Did you take Juliette to a pediatrician to have her hearing and other diagnostics checked after she was born? Also, my mother asked me about complications during delivery. If some dire emergency happened mid-delivery, what would happen?

Mandy, we have no maternity either.  We pay everything out of pocket.  Juliette was about $3,200.00, that includes all prenatal visits, delivery and post-pardum check up by a nurse (for Mom and Baby).  Some midwives will barter too so be sure to ask (if hubby is handy).  I think we might have paid a little more for some lab work too.  Amélie was about $4,200.00 with another midwife two years earlier, she was in the city (of Chicago) so maybe that is why she was more expensive but I have friends in Michigan who swear by midwives that only pay $1,200.00 so I think it all depends on the education and region of your midwife.   Now keep in mind, these are Certified Nurse Midwives in the state of Illinois.  There are other, I suppose “illegal” kinds that probably do a great job too but I have always gone the “legal route” – if you can believe that!
I did take Juliette to a Pediatrician after she was born but not ’cause I wanted to.  It had something to do with legal paperwork and the PKU test that my midwife required.  Something like that, I can’t quite recall.  They looked in her eyes and ears, moved her legs around and said, “OK, we’ll see you in six weeks for vaccinations”  (“Yeah right” I muttered under my breath!)  I don’t take my kids to the pediatrician.  She hasn’t been back since!  The midwife does the apgar and all that “stuff” when the baby is born and the nurse comes a day or two later and checks out the baby too.  It’s all very proper but in the privacy and comfort of your own home.  Who wants to run to the Pediatrician, in and out of a car, up and down stairs with fresh stitches??? If you know what I mean???
As far as emergencies…
Midwives come prepared for complications and always have on hand the local hospital information.  At about 37 weeks mine gives me the thumbs up (thankfully not so far the thumbs down) for a Home Birth approval.  The fact is most births are low risk and can be done at home.  A midwife carefully accesses this though.  Good midwives are not anti-intervention for the sake of being anti-intervention.  The come with oxygen and a whole host of medical goods – they don’t just walk in with hot towels –which I know is what our Mothers think before we win them over to the idea.

Kate had questions for the midwife too and from me she wanted to know…
I too would love to know how you do pain management. With this being my first, I’m a wee bit scared.

Kate, everyone is different in their reasons for wanting a natural birth.  I am intrigued by the “rite of passage” aspect and experiencing everything myself.  I am also kind of ornery, and think to myself – “This isn’t going to kill you.  You CAN do this.”  It’s crazy empowering.  Just crazy!

Kate also said…
And because I have no shame I’d love to know more realistically how long you bleed after when you’re at home (I’ll be headed home within 5 hours after giving birth at the center), what is your best advice for preparing your nipples to breastfeed (my mother was telling me tonight that I needed to begin toughening them up, but seeing as how none of us were breastfed more than a week I wasn’t listening much), and if you take teas or herbal supplements to help with anything.

OK, as far as bleeding.  Since you asked.  With my first I bleed for about 8 weeks but I was under A LOT of stress as he was born with a heart condition and I was in and out of the P.I.C.U. those first two months.  I would stop bleeding and then the drama would start and I would start up again.  With the second two births it really slowed down after a couple weeks but would ramp up again if I would over do it.  I think it was totally done by three or four weeks.  Just CHILL the first seven days, especially, especially if it’s your first baby – get someone to dote on you, NO stairs for the first few days, then just ONCE a day.   Just sit in bed like princess.  If you do that, no matter how good you feel, how much you want to get around, you will get such a jump on healing it’s not even funny.  I’m all about the healing because I want to start working out again at 6 weeks, 10 minutes if you know what I mean.
There are great teas but most of them have anis in them which is a no go for me… icky.

I have no idea how you could “toughen” the girls up.  Honestly.  I have been nursing in some way, shape or form for the last six years and there is NOTHING like the havoc a darling newborn reeks on your girls.  It’s horrible, especially when they are learning to latch on with out creating “lipstick boob.”  (Lipstick boob is when your nipple takes the slanted shape of a stick of lipstick – if it does this, baby has got it wrong.  Gently detach and start again.)  Nursing ROCKS but you may have to fight for it and it’s easy to get discouraged by the pain.  Look into nip creams and keep the book/bible “The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding” by your side for the first few weeks.  Nursing is it’s own set of blog posts!

Thank you for all your great comments to the previous post on the subject – so many Home Birthers – fabulous!

If this has prompted further questions you can shoot me an email at angelovesparis@gmail.com
I hope to have Midwife Debbie’s answers back soon!