Good News on all baby fronts! The good news is all in the first paragraph of the file I’m pasting below- it became apparent that we needed to send some information on homebirth to our families so that they would not be worried about us..

Dear Family,

We are so excited to be expecting our baby Iris Amelia. Her “guess date” is March 21st but ultimately it’s up to her. Moorea’s weight gain is finally going very well, we just confirmed she does not have gestational diabetes, and also just found out the baby’s head is already low in the pelvis and unlikely to turn back up.  If Iris comes before 37 weeks or if there are any complications, we will be birthing in the hospital, but otherwise we are planning a home birth. We understand that this may be a crazy concept, or even scary for some people who may worry about the safety of Moorea and the baby. Thus, we have prepared this fact sheet to help put you at ease, assuring you all that we have thought long and hard about this choice.  We are very well educated on this subject and we have an excellent care team.

Our midwife is Felice Barnow. She’s a Certified Midwife, Doctor of Naturopathic Medicine and a Registered Nurse. She delivered Moorea’s friend Kristin’s two daughters. Felice has delivered hundreds of babies over a 30 year period. Her rate of transfer to the hospital is about 20% and the rate of her patients eventually needing a C-section is about  5%. Her back-up Midwife is Teresa Evans, with the same qualifications. We will be taking classes in Hypnobirthing, which is about deep relaxation during labor and our coach will also be the doula attending our labor, Audra Sanderhoff. Audra is a massage therapist and will be providing massage to mom and support for both parents.

 Why do we want to have a home birth?

 Because birth is not a medical condition, it’s a natural process.

Birth isn’t a sickness, illness or cancer so why not at first try to do it as nature intended?

We would like to avoid the use of unnecessary drugs and surgical procedures.

While you can have a birth plan at a hospital, all of the studies we have read and people  that we have spoken to confirm that there is pressure to abandon it as the labor progresses.

We will have more privacy, and Karolyn can participate without homophobia from hospital staff, at our home.

Moorea believes that labor will go faster and more smoothly if she is able to walk, move and change positions, and give birth squatting in a heated birthing tub instead of on her back on a hospital bed.

Moorea gets anxious in hospital settings and will be more relaxed at home.

We want to make sure the baby is not taken away from us, sucked out, rubbed too vigorously, poked and prodded or put under any harsh lights as her first introduction to life.

 Health Benefits:

The medical community has a lot to say about why a hospital birth is safer but they have never published any studies as to why it is safer. Hospital birth is definitely safer for mothers who have had before-birth pregnancy complications and are considered high-risk. There is no known added risk of birth complication if a normal low-risk mother births at home, and in fact, many studies show that the risks decrease at home.  Moorea had hyperemessis but that does not equate to high-risk, and it ended in the middle of her second trimester.

 The figures: Based on medical studies conducted in European countries like France and the Netherlands, where home birth rates are 50-80 percent of the population, compared with published numbers from American Hospitals-

Episiotomy at a hospital is 9 times greater.

Maternal hemorrhage at hospital is 3 times greater.

Newborn infection at a hospital is 4 times greater.

Maternal infection at a hospital is 5 times greater.

Emergency C-section at hospital is 9 times greater.

Maternal death at a hospital is 3 times greater.

Postpartum depression after hospital is 4 times greater (due to mothers who may have had unwanted hospital interventions and hospital policy not allowing early bonding/proper breastfeeding help).

 As soon as a mother enters the hospital, her C-section rate increases 25% on average. The eventual emergency C-section rate for attempted home births is about only 5% in the U.S. As with any major surgery, C-section carries more risk to mom and baby than a vaginal birth.  The average C-section rate, should you labor in a hospital from the beginning, is approximately 30 percent in the U.S.

 The risks of home birth:

 Many people worry that the baby could die during a homebirth. However, the maternal and infant death rates of U.S. hospitals are astonishingly high. Infant mortality in the U.S. for 2009 was 6.3 deaths out of 1000. This puts us at a ranking of 33rd in the world –we lose more babies in hospitals than all of Western Europe, Japan, Cuba, Canada, China, Korea, Singapore and Israel. In countries like the Netherlands, where birth predominantly happens at home, the infant mortality rate is only 1.9 deaths out of 1000.

 And while some women who used to birth at home in “the olden days” died during childbirth, they had unknown pre-existing medical conditions or most often died in childbirth because they already had a major disease. The World Health Organization recognizes disease as the leading cause of death in labor in underdeveloped countries- not lack of hospitals.

 What if there is a small problem at home?

Certified midwives bring everything used at the hospital for a normal birth (with the exception of some narcotics, pitocin drip and epidural anesthesia). This includes oxygen for mom and baby if needed; stitching supplies, Doppler fetal heartbeat monitor and some even bring continuous heartbeat monitoring equipment and sometimes forceps. She also brings neonatal resuscitation items like heating pad, Res-Q-Vac suction pump w/sterile tubes and mucous trap, other suction devices and emergency baby fluids and glucose. Minor to moderate postpartum hemorrhage of the mother can be dealt with at home in the same way as at the hospital: the midwife administers pitocin injection and uterine compression exactly the same way it’s done in the hospital.

What if there is a major problem at home?

 In birth, immediate emergencies are rare.  If you must have an emergency C-section in a hospital, the rule is “30 minutes decision to incision” to prepare the doctors, room and patient. If a mother needs to be transferred to a hospital after and attempted home birth, the hospital can be called and prepared to have the baby out in the same amount of time as if she were already in the hospital- as long as she lives 20 minutes or less from the hospital. We live less than fifteen minutes from two hospitals.

 In the rare occurrence the mother has a postpartum hemorrhage that doesn’t respond to regular treatment, the midwife can administer IV fluids and continue uterine compression until the mother makes it to the hospital to receive blood products or have a hysterectomy (But severe postpartum bleeding happens in less than 1 percent of mothers and is more likely during a C-section.)

In the very unlikely case that the baby has a breathing issue that does not respond to suction treatment, extra oxygen can be ventilated to the baby via “bag and mask” on the trip to the hospital to check for abnormalities that cause the breathing issue. The rate of home birth babies that transfer to the hospital is 5%-10% with no known added risk associated with the time it takes to transfer as long as she is born no more than 30 min. from the hospital.

 The American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology’s own official statement against home births is incredibly vague stating only the unusual circumstance of a possible uterine rupture in a vaginal birth after cesarean (V-Bac) and though they state that they recognize there is something wrong with this country’s high C-section rate and it needs to be fixed, their main warning against home births is that midwives can’t provide you with a C-section.

 And yes, we’re going to have a heated birthing pool to provide mom with relaxation and pain relief. Many women with previous Epidural births say that their later water-immersion was just as good as an Epidural so we’re going to give it a try. Water birth is SAFE. Babies do not breathe oxygen through the mouth or nose until a few seconds after their face touches the air and the baby will be brought immediately to the surface and into mom’s arms. There is no greater risk of eventual admission to Neonatal Intensive Care for breathing difficulty.

 If we wind up having a major complication, we will be glad there are emergency hospital services to save Moorea and the baby. However, we have been convinced by Moorea’s extensive research that normal birth is best at home-not that she’d wish to take away any woman’s right to birth at a hospital- we should all birth wherever we feel the safest.

 If you would like to read up on this some more, we have provided some links below: