Hello and happy March everyone. This time last year, we all were preparing to be shutdown as the Coronavirus was taking hold of the world. It was also the time that I was preparing to photograph a home birth in North Hollywood. It was a tense time for everyone around. Would she feel comfortable? Had I self quarantined enough? Would I be allowed to drive down the road with the curfew in place? All very real worries.
It has been one year now and things haven’t really settled down that much. The birth world has been hit especially hard. Not only are birth photographers and doulas being denied access to hospitals to be with their clients, but even family members themselves have been denied entrance. Taking this down time, I reflected on the reality of the situation, studied to become a certified doula (almost there!!) and took some time to read some thought provoking books about what constitutes a good birth, maternal care in America and what women really want.
I honestly don’t see hospitals easing up on the number of people present at delivery time especially in the metropolis that is Los Angeles. This begs the question, will home birth be on the rise?
Planning your homebirth
So you have decided, after much thought about what a good birth means to you, that a home birth is the way to go. The first thing is to find a trained health care provider. This could mean a certified nurse-midwife, a certified midwife, a midwife whose education meets specific standards or a doctor practicing obstetrics within an integrated and regulated health system.
I have worked around Catherine at Home Birth Services of Los Angeles. She is very calm, knowledgeable and very kind. I have also heard wonderful things about Heart to Home Midwifery and GraceFull Birth. Depending on your insurance, often times the cost of having a midwife is covered, but of course check not only with your insurance, but with the midwife you would like to use. While having a homebirth can be empowering, financial hardship is not.
The second thing is do make a birth plan. You can do this yourself or if you choose to have a doula present, she can help. How will you control pain? Will you labor in a birth tub? What supplies for a home birth will you need? Talking to your chosen midwife can help with these questions.
Prepare for a hospital transfer. Discuss the signs and/or symptoms that might necessitate a hospital transfer. How does this coordinate with your birth plan?
Who will be in the birth space? Keeping in mind the need to have calm, security and connectivity, will there be a doula in addition to a midwife? Will there be a birth photographer? Your other children? Your mother or just you and your partner and the midwife?
This mother had her partner, sister in law, mother in law, midwife, student midwife and me, the birth photographer. That seems like a lot, right? It wasn’t. It was every bit as intimate, warm and connected as if it were just her and her partner.
Being a birth photographer is wonderful. However, becoming a doula has given me a whole new perspective that I can go on and on about (obviously!!). Please feel free to check out this homebirth during COVID.