Cost of a Home Birth

Tomorrow, I’ll pay the balance we owe our doula and Michael Ryan’s birth will be paid in full. Here’s a break-down of what a home birth cost in our particular situation:

Midwife fee (including a first time mom’s fee for extra assistants and mileage for a 72-hour home visit) $2900.00

Blood work at 12 weeks $100.00

Various supplements and herbs $100.00

Birth kit $110.00

Doula fee $500.00

Bradley Method Classes $350.00

Travel to Bradley classes (60 miles each way) $200.00 (!)

Travel to Chattanooga for prenatal visits $420.00 (!)

That comes to $4660.00. We were able to access $1900.00 from an insurance policy to pay towards the birth, making our out of pocket costs $2770.00 since February.  One cost I wasn’t expecting and didn’t calculate in the beginning was all the gas we’ve purchased while traveling to and from classes and appointments. That’s added  over $600.00.

We still may have to pay for a hotel room in Tennessee for a night or two, depending on the length of my labor.  I’ve also got at least one more major trip to Wal Mart for snacks, batteries, supplies, etc. to use during the birth. My midwife has encouraged me to visit a chiropractor several times. I haven’t yet because I’ve met none of my health insurance deductible and would be paying entirely out of pocket. If baby has any positioning issues or I begin to feel a little off kilter in the next few weeks, that might be another expense to consider. Of course, if I should require transport to the hospital for any reason, we would have a massive medical bill to attend to. That’s a factor we took into consideration when we decided to pursue midwifery care and a home birth.

An uncomplicated vaginal birth in a hospital (assuming I could make it without an epidural), would cost roughly $6000.00, depending on the hospital we chose to go to.With a C-section rate hovering close to 40% here in Alabama, the reality of a much higher medical bill for an operative delivery must also be considered. Also, these numbers do not include any prenatal care.

I include this balance not because I feel we found a bargain in home birth or because I feel that the cheaper route is better when it comes to something as important as the safe and healthy delivery of a child. I include this information because I feel that I have received much better care for a lower cost. A lower cost that my insurance company refuses to pay. From a highly trained and skilled care providers who is not allowed to practice in my home state, partly, in my opinion, because her less expensive and higher quality of services would pose competition to (literally) lawfully imposed hospital births.

8th Month Update

We’ve reached week thirty-two. The hot Alabama summer is keeping me indoors with condensation on the window panes and ice water always in hand. Michael Ryan is growing big and strong with bony knees and elbows and several cases of the hiccups each day. I am continually in awe of God’s grace during this pregnancy. We’ve had not one single bump in the road. Although there’s still a ways to go, what a blessing it has been to be able to enjoy wholeheartedly the first eight months of growing a baby.

I started bi-weekly visits to my midwife about a month ago. Yesterday’s appointment went well as usual, with lots of focus on the quickly approaching birth. Our boy is still head down, all of my and his vitals are still normal, and I’ve gained twenty-two pounds so far. Carolyn and I talked extensively about the supplements and herbs I’ve been taking and will add to my regimen in upcoming weeks. I’m on daily doses of Rainbow Lite Prenatal Vitamins with Probiotics, fish oil with vitamin D3, Vitamin C, D-Mannose, a skullcap tincture for my slight difficultly sleeping, lots of fresh garlic, and I’ll be adding alfalfa tablets and red raspberry leaf tablets in a week or so. We also discussed my one pregnancy-induced ache/pain. It seems I’ve developed gestational carpel tunnel syndrome. If my only problem at eight months is that I have trouble hooking my bra in the morning because my wrists are sore, I think I’m doing just fine 🙂

I’ve been putting off finding a doctor for our boy because I knew it would be quite a struggle. I was right. This morning I called six local pediatricians/ family practitioners. None were willing to conduct an interview before the baby’s birth (apparently interviewing potential pediatricians is yet another myth of the baby book), only two were accepting new patients, and only one didn’t object to delay ed/ selective vaccinations or bawk at my revelation that the child would be born in an out-of-hospital setting. I guess we’ll give him a try…

I fluctuate almost hourly between feeling like my due date is right around the corner and forever and ever away. Technically, I’ll be full-term in about a month. That’s very soon. Realistically, I could have another nine weeks to go. Either way, I’ve got lots of cleaning, shopping, organizing, and planning still to be done.

Summertime Instagram-O-Rama

My last Instagram-o-rama post was on April 17th. If I wait another two months until the next, there’s a good chance it’ll be dominated by baby shower photos and shots of baby toes, lips, and eyelashes. Fair warning.

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A family photo for the Fourth of July

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And another showing how large our boy is getting.

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Since my thesis is on hiatus, I’ve been working a little. Hoping this here six year old Toshiba lasts just a little longer.

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Twenty weeks at Dry Tortugas on the left.  Thirty weeks on the right.

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Precious, sleepy Geoff

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Not a great deal of concern about energy conservation at this point. Seventy-two during the day and sixty-nine at night with all fans on helicopter speed.

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Lovely rainbow beans that have done marvelously. I’ve frozen around twenty quarts.

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First batch of homemade dill pickles.

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Fresh-baked zucchini bread for snacking and freezing. For this batch I used mostly molasses instead of sugar and it was wonderful.

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The garden goodness I experience every day.

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Sweet bird house my dad got me for my birthday that looks like a miniature version of our house.

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I’m 24!

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Every pregnant woman should purchase an exercise ball as soon as she gets a pink plus sign. 

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On my last trip to Chattanooga for a prenatal appointment, I stopped at a rest area and ill-advisedly got a Cherry Coke. Subconsciously, I knew I shouldn’t be drinking it and dropped the entire can all over myself and my car.

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Summertime toes that, so far, haven’t become swollen.