Home Birth?

Some of you may know that our newest family addition Mercy Adoniyah was born at home.  (Check my wife’s blog for the birth announcement and story.) Growing up in the US, home births are fairly rare, and I’m sure many people are taken aback to think that we would actually choose to give birth at home.  Why would we do that?  Isn’t it dangerous?  What about the safety of the baby?

I wish I could easily enumerate these questions and answer them independently, but the answers are all interwoven.  Personally, I would say the primary philosophical notion that swayed my support is the belief that being pregnant is not an illness.  Does anyone else think it’s ironic that pregnancy is the only reason healthy people willingly check themselves into hospitals?  There is the pregnant mother, about to bring life into the world, and she is surrounded by illness, injury, and death.  Correct me if I’m wrong, but I highly doubt any pregnant woman actually LIKES the hospital.  The gross juxtaposition of new life and the pains of the fallen world are startling.  It’s not the environment I hope for my child to first experience.

On top of the philosophical reason, there’s the financial reason.  Interestingly, Medi-Cal, would not fund a VBAC (*ahem* natural Birth After Cesarean) delivery of the baby (approximately $5000 for home birth or 10-15k in the hospital) but they would fund a repeat C-Section delivery (approximately $30,000).  Why?  There are old statistics that show that repeat C-Sections are less risky for the mother and baby than a VBAC.  This data has shaped countless insurance and hospital policies.  There’s a problem, though – the data’s old and flawed.  The latest data from the US and also the rest of the industrialized world is showing that a VBAC after 1 C-Section in a low-risk pregnancy is actually statistically safer for both the mother and the child.  If we had let the State of California pay for this delivery, we would have had another C-Section.  That puts our family in a tight spot if we get pregnant while we are missionaries in Moldova.  Since there are relatively few doctors who would perform a VBAC after 2 C-Sections, I would be in the situation of either:

  1. Allowing a Moldovan surgeon perform surgery on my wife and child OR
  2. Pay for flights for my whole family back to the states and then pay out-of-pocket for a C-Section. (>$40,000 including air fare).
We decided that the better investment in medical costs would be to pay the affordable amount now, and pray that we could have a natural delivery in country if necessary.
The third main reason was the experience.  When Addy was born, Marie wanted to give birth naturally with our midwife (and/or our doctor).  Unfortunately for our plans, Addy decided to come on the night after Thanksgiving, 2008.  Both the midwives and our doctor were not on call.  Instead, we had a doctor we’d never met before come in and tell us that the baby was scaring her, and we had to have an emergency C-Section.

Just because it wasn’t our plans, doesn’t mean we weren’t happy with our baby!  The most important thing is to have a healthy mom and a healthy baby, and we are happy to live in an area where a C-Section is even possible.  However, as we looked back on the situation and the medical chart, it seemed that Marie might have undergone some unnecessary surgery.  So, we decided to try it all-natural again, this time at home with our doctor.

All I can say is that it went perfectly, and Marie is awesome.  Mercy was the same weight as Addy, and only 1″ shorter!  Needless to say, if we get pregnant in Moldova, we aren’t near as scared as we would have been.

So, having Mercy at home was a great experience, and we are grateful to God that everything went perfectly :)

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