A couple of major decisions a woman will face when she prepares to give birth are where and how to have the baby. Many Mommies to Be prefer the hospital while some opt for a home delivery. If a woman chooses home birth, she will likely hire a Midwife.
Fresno Mom Mari Lynch says, “Well my husband was born at home. And his brother and sister were born at home, as well. That’s the main reason we were interested in first place.”
After a lot of research, Mari and her husband Garrett did have their first child at home. They’ve elected to have their second baby at home, as well. The Lynch’s will deliver the baby with help from a midwife.
Detrah Hele is a Licensed Midwife who works in the Central Valley. She says, “Midwives nowadays, are part of the healthcare professional team. We can do Well Woman Care. We can monitor women during the pregnancy, childbirth, postpartum period. To be licensed in California, you need to do three years postsecondary schooling. And there’s a midwifery school in El Paso, Texas. It’s one of the oldest and most established. And that’s where I went to school.”
Hele says she has been involved in about one hundred home births. A midwives education stresses that pregnancy and birth are normal, healthy events until proven otherwise. “There are things that we need do to like monitor the baby’s heart tones, we take the mom’s vitals throughout the labor process. But mostly we are cognizant that mom is working. We don’t want to interrupt the process.”
Comfort is key. Midwives will support the pregnant woman, while letting nature take its course. Detrah says, “We follow her around. We take our cues from her. If we feel like there is a suggestion that we can make to have a more positive outcome, we’ll make suggestions.
Mari describes her first experience with a home birth as empowering. “Yeah. I feel like I pushed the baby out by myself. You know what I mean, no equipment, but your own power. So, I liked that.”
Detrah says a Midwife carries tools with her to help the birth process along and to prepare for any emergencies. “We carry oxygen. We carry things that could control bleeding postpartum if there’s a problem with that. So we have those things.”
In order to have a home birth with a Midwife, it is required that a woman be low-risk for pregnancy and birth complications. If there are complications the midwife will seek medical help. “If during labor, something starts going out of normal, we talk about it. Sometimes we have to transport to the hospital, ‘cause the safety of the mom and the baby is the most important.”
Midwives will tell you, they don’t carry narcotics to a home birth for pain relief. There are alternative methods of pain relief, including the use of: herbs, massage and water. “Sometimes towards the end of active labor, transition when it starts getting rough, we put ‘em in water, somehow. Warm water, either the shower or the bathtub. It just helps take the edge off.”
For couples who choose home birth, water birth is an option. According to Detrah, “If you get ‘em in too early it’s so comfortable they will slow down their labor. But once labor is cooking along pretty good and they need to get in water, we’ll get ‘em in. And if they end up birthing in there, that’s fine. It’s safe. Babies don’t drown.”
The Midwife will stay with the Mom through the entire labor process. “I do know in a home birth setting when a woman calls and says she is in labor, your midwife comes and will stay until it’s done regardless of the time.”
According to the March of Dimes, the average cost of a normal hospital birth in the U.S. is $8,800. In comparison, home birth may be significantly easier on your pocketbook. Detrah says, “If a person was to pay out of pocket in the Valley its right around $3-thousand dollars that we ask for a birth. Fortunately, most insurance will pay for a licensed care provider.”
Families say they really enjoy control over the process and freedom of movement. Mari says, “It’s really comfortable.” Cause you don’t have to lay down on a bed. You can move around. You can get in a position you feel most comfortable with.” Garrett adds, “I was able to be with my wife the whole time. I was able to give her foods and massage and be there for her the whole time. The whole experience was great.”
And if a husband or significant other expresses a desire to be involved they are usually more than welcome. Garrett says, “When he was born, initially I caught him. Then, my wife got on the ground and I was able to hand the baby to her and I held her from behind and she held the baby in her hands. We were just able to have that moment together.”
Garrett and Mari had their second child shortly after our interview. Their newborn’s name is Zachary. He came into this world with a splash! Garrett and Mari tell us little Zach was born in a birthing pool at four in the morning. He was 21 inches long and weighed 7 pounds, 6 ounces. Our congratulations to the Lynch family!