Also in this morning’s paper was the article “No doctor, no midwife — women go it alone” on “freebirthing”. It is quite a heartwarming article–you feel for the mother after the medical interventions of the first two births. Child three was at a birthing centre with a midwife, but for child four they decided to go it alone at home–as the title of the article says–with “no doctor, no midwife”.
I know that homebirthing midwives are hard to come by and expensive these days. Put that down to a lack of vocational direction for young people who may be called to this profession and ridiculous insurance premiums for homebirthing midwives–but I think it is sensible to have at least an experienced midwife about the place for a home birth.
Both our girls are homebirthed in our bedroom–in a waterpool no less. Picture below taken a few minutes after Mia’s birth with Maddy and grandad present. For Maddy we had two midwives and a doctor on order–but she turned up so quickly that only the first midwife made it to the birth, and when the second one arrived she rang the doctor to say he wasn’t needed.
So for the second one we decided we would just go with the midwifes. All went well except that Mia didn’t start breathing straight away–she only took her first gasp when one of the midwives–growing concerned–took her out of the comfort and security of Cathy’s arms in the pool. But they had all the gear (oxygen etc.) there for an emergency, which meant that if any emergency had arisen, they would have been able to deal with most of the immediate dangers there at hand while waiting for medical backup.
Cathy and I can highly recommend the homebirth alternative (I was converted after Maddy’s birth–a little unsure before then). The only advantage I could see in total “freebirthing” is that you end up saving on the cost. But there are health insurance companies out there that cover home births (not many, but they’re there). Our experience has taught us to value the work of midwives and believe that it is probably sensible to have people of experience and sensitivity around to help if you can. Besides, they do all the immediate care for the baby required, and also give afterbirth care in the week following, help with breast feeding etc., and psychological support for both Mum and Dad.