For anyone considering a home birth, I’d like to share a few things I learned from my home birth with my second son, Dashiell. It’s not right for everyone, but if you’re planning a home birth, here are five things I learned during my experience. And the last one is the most important!
Despite the fact that it was done this way throughout the majority of history, giving birth at home is looked upon as reckless nowadays. You’ll find yourself having to defend your choice often. You’ll be the recipient of dozens of birth horror stories. You’ll doubt your choice.
Those romantic visions of a water birth will become decidedly less romantic when you wake up every morning to the sight of an industrial-sized blue blow-up tub. Since you don’t know when you will go into labor, you have to set the tub up in advance so it will be ready when you need it and it takes up a large amount of space. There will also be a long length of hose, a tub liner, a pile of towels, and a large box of various items that the midwives will need. None of which will do anything to enhance your interior decor.
This means you will need an adapter. Which means you will need to go to the hardware store. Which means you will spend a length of time standing in the plumbing aisle staring in befuddlement at hose adapters. And even if you ask someone for help, they will be equally befuddled because honestly, who needs a garden hose in their bathroom?! Just assume you will make a minimum of three trips to the hardware store before you find the right parts.
You know how birth is kind of messy? Well now it’s kind of messy all up in your house. The good news? Your midwives will clean up for you. And at least there’s now a cute baby to take your mind off the mess.
After your baby is in your arms and the happy glow has started to subside and sleep deprivation has set in, there are practical matters to be attended to: birth certificate, social security card, and health insurance. The steps you have to take after a home birth are different than those you would take if your baby was born in a hospital, and nobody in the midwife world seems to be very well acquainted with them. You may also have to drive to various locations to administer some of the post-natal tests that other babies receive in the hospital because your midwife or pediatrician may not be allowed to perform those themselves.
On the official paperwork side of things, if you have a hospital birth, you’ll go to the Hall of Records a month later, pay a fee and your baby’s birth certificate will be mailed to you. If you have a home birth, here are the steps that will need to happen:
1. The attending midwife will sign a certificate confirming that your baby was born at home.
2. Call your insurance company and let them know the baby was born.
3. See your pediatrician and get a SECOND certificate of proof of birth.
4. Make an appointment with the county Health Department, NOT the Hall of Records.
5. Show up at your health department appointment in person WITH your baby, both proof of birth papers and a piece of mail with your home address on it. Fill out a bunch of paperwork, pay a fee, then you’ll leave with your baby’s birth certificate.
6. Make a copy of the birth certificate to mail to your insurance provider to prove that your baby exists.
Have you had a home birth or ever consider having one? Share your comments with us below! We’d love to hear from you.