November 4, 2013

Week 37 and full-term!

Week 37
October 29 - November 3

My little pumpkin!
How appropriate that I have a pumpkin during this Fall season.
This week was wonderful. Baby has dropped some more and I have such an appetite. I can eat so much! I also have a surge of energy that I did not have last week. I have been going into work every day this week and leaving a little early to get some extra rest at home. But staying busy has been great. I have even had energy to get a few random projects done around the house. Between 15 minute cat naps when I get home from work, Michael massaging my back, bouncing on the yoga ball and lots of baths - I am feeling pretty good this week.
I can't believe I forgot to write about the most exciting news from last week...twins having babies! :) It's one of those things that growing up seemed like a dream of ours. I never anticipated it being a reality. Lauren lives across the street, is married to my husband's close friend, and now we are having babies 6 months apart. There was definitely some time to process the surprise of it all, but I am so excited to share in this journey with her. 
Because we are now full term (I still can't believe it!), Michael got Genevieve's car seat installed. Driving around with our baby's car seat has definitely helped us process how soon she arrives. 

I have loved sharing with 'the world' our home birth decision.
It has opened doors for me to talk to people about this choice and to answer all their questions.
Of course, the most common one is always about safety and risk. I addressed most of this in my blog about why we are choosing a home birth but I will recap.
-We have a trained medical professional midwife who is prepared for any hiccup that might come our way, including tearing, drop in baby's heart rate, my need for oxygen, mal-positioned baby, etc.
-Our midwife is providing one-on-one care and knows what natural childbirth looks like. If she sees anything different than the norm, we will take the appropriate steps.
-We live 8 minutes from Vanderbilt Medical Center and have a back-up plan if needed.
And ultimately, we have no fears about laboring and birthing at home.

I thought I would take the time to answer the other most popular questions I am asked. Enjoy :)
Common Home Birth Questions:
1. Is it messy?
This is probably the second most common question. How do you clean everything up? Is it really messy? No, it really isn't. We have a nice supply of towels, old sheets, a cover for the bed and more chux pads than I can count. Our midwife, her assistant and our family will take care of any necessary clean up. Some even say their house is cleaner after the birth!

The plan is to birth in a birth tub. Unless you are familiar with water births, you might have a lot of questions about the logistics. Unfortunately, our bathtub is not a wonderful Jacuzzi tub. You need the tub to be pretty deep for the water to actually offer some pain relief. So we are renting a tub. It is a glorified blow-up pool with a sterile liner and handles. The walls are really thick to keep it insulated and we will throw a cover on top to keep the water warm if I want a break from laboring in the tub. We have an electric pump to blow it up. We also bought a hose to fill the tub using our kitchen sink. After the birth, the tub will drained using a sump pump and a hose draining into the bathtub. The liner will be removed and everything put away. Easy peasy. We did a test run to see how long it takes to blow up and fill up. And now we are ready!
2. Who will be attending?
That is entirely up to us!  Of course, we will have our midwife and midwife assistant. We will also have my best friend and our doula - Karlie. She is there to offer support to Michael so he isn't the sole support for me. Of course, he is my number one, but having a doula is invaluable! Labor can last many many hours and partners need support too.
My mom and mother-in-law will be our go-to people for all the errands we will have from a food run, setting up the tub, making the bed, etc. They are also the "mom-energy" we so greatly want at our birth. My sister and other dear friend Natalie will be there for the birth as well, offering support and simply participating in the moment. 
It's important that our birth team is flexible. They know what is expected of them, they know that at any given moment I might want them to leave, and most importantly they support our decision to have a home birth. This is essential! You cannot have someone at your home birth who is terrified the entire time. The mom will feel it! 

3. What supplies do you need?
There are a lot of supplies at a hospital birth that moms don't even think about. Our midwife provided us a detailed list of everything we would need to gather as well as a website to order our birth kit. 

The kit includes - a TON of chux pads, gloves, peri bottle, bulb syringe, gauze, straws, povidone iodine solution, cord ring, drop clothes, a bed cover, etc.
The supplies I gathered included - sheets I don't care about, towels, receiving blankets, newborn hats, a bowl for the placenta ;) , trash bags, paper towels, etc. 

Our midwife will then bring her supplies, including - Doppler for monitoring the baby's heartbeat, blood pressure cuff to monitor my blood pressure, stethoscope, oxygen tank if I need it, pitocin in case of hemorrhaging, suturing tools in case of a tear, IV name a few. 

4. How much does it cost? 
The cost for a home birth varies depending on the part of the country.
-In Nashville, the global fee for a home birth is about $3,500. This includes all prenatal care, the actual birth, an assistant, and postpartum care. 
-Then there are lab fees for blood work, glucose screening for gestational diabetes, and the group B strep screening. Our 18 week anatomy scan was $150 and our follow-up scan for placenta previa at 34 weeks was $50.  
-We also included the birth tub rental and placenta encapsulation (that's for another blog post ;)

That put us at a grand total right over $4,000. 

Most insurance companies will not cover home birth with a CPM (Certified Professional Midwives), they typically only cover a CNM (Certified Nurse Midwives). Some companies will cover the blood work and ultrasounds, though. We were really lucky to have an 'insurance company' or rather a medical sharing program called Samaritan Ministries that is covering the entire cost. But the cost of the birth is definitely something to consider because for most people it will be out of pocket. 

5. What about all the newborn procedures? 
Our midwife walked us through each procedure, the pros and cons and lots of resources to help us make decisions. She can perform most of them - vitamin k shot, eye ointment, and the PCV screening. 
If we want the Hepatitis B vaccine, we can get it from our pediatrician. The newborn hearing screening will be done by going into the hospital or walk-in-clinic around the same time Genevieve has her first newborn appointment with our family practitioner. 

The paperwork for Genevieve's birth certificate will be filled out before our midwife leaves and she will send it all in for us. 

We won't have access to an on-call lactation consultant like you would in a hospital, but our midwife won't leave until we have had our first feeding. She will also be back the following day,  48 hours later, 2 weeks, 4 weeks and 6 weeks later to check up on me and baby.We have also created a list of resources, family, support groups, etc. that we can contact if we have issues in the breastfeeding department. It is so important that if you plan on breastfeeding, and you are having difficulty, to get help right away! 

I have received so many other questions but these were the ones I got the most. Hopefully this sheds some light to the home birth world!
Check out - How Big is a Placenta Bowl for more home birth questions answered! 

Sweet Genevieve,
It's November and so beautiful outside. Fall is such a beautiful time of year. The leaves are changing color and I am feeling the magnitude of change we are about to experience in our family. The cool air makes me so excited to snuggle you up. We will just nest and cocoon through the Winter and 're-emerge' during the Spring. Your dad and I are really holding those first few moments, days and weeks as sacred bonding time. You know us to some extent but we cannot wait to connect with you earth-side. The first time we set our eyes on you I know it will be like meeting an old friend. You have become so familiar to us, in some ways we feel like we already know you. But goodness, the moment we hold you for the first time will be treasured forever. 
I am so happy that we made it full-term! You have everything you need to enter this world. But I know the timing isn't up to me. I am learning to let go of control, as I have had to during this entire process. You are already teaching me to be a mom! Each day brings me one step closer to you. 
We are ready for you!


  1. Wow, how amazing. I have always wondering about the financial costs of home births because that is something I want for my future babies. It sounds like you are wonderfully prepared for your girl's arrival. How glorious and beautiful! It is such a pleasure to follow along with your blog journey of this. :) Lord be near you!

  2. I am so interested in home births so I'm soaking up all this info, thanks! What an exciting time for you!