Home birth is on the rise in America and there are many options for mothers to safely deliver at home in Central Illinois! This week I want to celebrate birth by giving you an inside peek to Her Choice Midwifery Services opened by Laura Lawson. I was welcomed along to document a prenatal appointment with a repeat client who is planning her first home birth with Laura in the Spring. Below are some pictures and snippets from our time together. Laura welcomed any of my questions and was passionate in her responses.
What do you love about midwifery?
The word midwife means “with women” and that is exactly what the true essence of midwifery is about. I am hired by women to be involved in a beautiful part of their lives and their families lives. But midwifery is more than just empowering women to be their strongest in labor, supporting them when they are exhausted and ready to give up...just as the baby is ready to be birthed into this world. It is about giving women options, listening and hearing them. I walk with women as their families grow by educating, letting them make informed decisions, overseeing healthy pregnancies, counseling through miscarriages, discussing birth control options, performing annual exams, and taking care of them into their menopausal years. This is why I love midwifery! It is not a profession, it is my life, it is what I was meant to do and why I was placed on this earth.
Why did you decide to open your own home birth practice?
I contemplated venturing out on my own for a while and had talked to some other home birth midwives on how to get a practice up and running. I had been a hospital midwife for 13 years and as much as I wanted to support my patient’s in a natural birth, hospital policies and/or physicians never fully allowed the patients to get that experience regardless of their low risk or no risk pregnancies. It always felt like a battle. When the opportunity presented itself I went for it and never looked back. Opening up my own practice has been the best thing that has ever happened to me! The women I support in Bloomington IL and surrounding areas (I travel up to an hour radius outside of Bloomington-Normal) can now have the natural births they deserve.
What are the benefits of a home birth?
In my experience there are many benefits for homebirth for women and their families but I will try to give just a few reasons homebirth is a great option! First, I assist with waterbirths. The hospitals in the surrounding areas no longer offer this service. There are so many benefits to waterbirth and I am very passionate about offering this option to my clients. During homebirths, there are less interventions and therefore fewer complications for mom and baby. You are able to have who you want present, unlike at any facility where unfamiliar people walk in and out of your room and disrupt labor. You stay in the comforts of your home, deliver and never have to leave. Being in the comforts of your own home can help with concentration and relaxation during labor and aid in emotional support as well. I will then come back to your home 24-48 hours after birth to check on you and the baby. Homebirth is more peaceful. When you are at home YOU have control over the events that occur and what type of environment YOU want! As long as you remain low risk a homebirth is safe. Many people aren't aware that as a CNM (Certified Nurse Midwife), I carry medication and equipment with me should an emergency arise.
Laura also took her time during the appointment and answered all of mom's questions regarding her pregnancy, how to prepare for her upcoming home birth and even played with the couple's toddler (who Laura delivered two years ago).
Why would I not be able to deliver at home?
Home birth is safe for mother's with a low risk pregnancy so we will watch for any complications ahead of time during your prenatal care. For the safety of both you and baby we would need to transfer your care before labor if you develop pre-eclampsia or baby is in a known breech position. I will also refer patients who come to me with insulin dependent diabetes or wanting to have a primary VBAC (but she welcomes second time VBAC mamas).
Will insurance cover our home birth expenses?
Most insurance providers will cover a portion, if not all, of your home birth expenses with a certified nurse midwife! Especially since, the cost of a home birth is significantly less without interventions or additional staff. Call ahead of time to check with your insurance provider and see what kind of documentation you'll need from the office.
There was such an ease and calm in the room it felt like old friends getting together for coffee as opposed to a doctor's visit! Mom shared her thoughts with me on the care she's received from Laura in the past and why they're excited to have their next baby at home.
Why did you choose Laura to be your midwife?
We chose Laura because we felt so supported and cared for by her during our last pregnancy/labor/delivery. She never makes us feel rushed or forced to do anything. She presents us with options and her medical opinion and personal if asked. She is for me and I truly believe she wants what's best for me and my child and not at all what's convenient or easy for her. We didn't seek Laura out during our first pregnancy and kind of just stumbled into her care. It's the best thing that could have happened to us! I feel confident that I very well would have had a c-section during our last labor if it weren't for Laura and her expertise and confidence in my body's ability to do the work.
What are you most looking forward to for your home birth?
We are looking forward to the relaxed atmosphere of a home birth, the confidence of our team in us, the comfort of being in our own space, and the freedom from the pressures at the hospital. We feel that this is going to be a beautiful way to welcome our child into the world and that is so exciting to us!