I will tell you my story, but not all at once.
To begin, I decided to give birth at home.
I came to that decision because I was employed as a childbirth educator and doula before I became pregnant. My professional work allowed me to obtain information and understand the process of birth before I experienced it. With the knowledge I had, I concluded that the best option for me when I became pregnant was to give birth at home with a licensed midwife.
So when I became pregnant, I begin interviewing midwives.
The first midwife I interviewed came highly recommended by a coworker. My coworker’s description of the care she received sounded gentle, respectful, and reasonably priced. In 2004 the midwives’ fees were $3000. She gave a $200 discount if her services were not covered by your health insurance which required you to pay out-of-pocket. This fee included all prenatal appointments, birth services, and postpartum check-ups at day one, day three, day five, two weeks, four weeks, and six weeks.
I chuckled as my coworker told me that her midwife accepted payment plans and that she was still making payments for the birth of her children. I had a good feeling about this midwife. She was not in this profession for profit. I later learned from speaking to her that she sometimes even accepted barter for her services.
As I concluded my interview with this midwife she said, “It’s your birth, I am here to help you.”
She left my condo and drove on her way. I discussed my impression of her with my husband. Then urgently phoned her before she even returned to the office to let her know we had decided to hire her as our midwife.
The deciding factor were her empowering words, “It’s your birth.”
I had no doubt that giving birth to my child would be an indescribable experience with the presence of a care provider that allowed me to own the experience.
I pushed standing in my upstairs bathroom. The midwife caught the baby and directly passed it up through my legs to my arms without checking the gender. She gave me the opportunity to check the sex organs and then announce what I discovered.
“It’s a girl”, I said.
Stunned. Surprised. Elated.
We did not know beforehand if the baby was to be a boy or girl. I had hoped it would be a girl, and had a great girl’s name waiting.
The moment of birth was a very powerful moment for me, because I was able to own that moment.
The midwife was not intrusive. She felt that is for the parent to discover the gender of their child at birth. She made sure the baby was breathing, etc., but as much as possible she did not take over that moment or take it away from me.
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