What kind of training do you have? — I have taken a state approved course in midwifery through the Association of Texas Midwives and I have completed an apprenticeship of at least 18 months with an approved preceptor. During my apprenticeship, I had to attend at least 30 births, and be the primary midwife for an additional 20 births under the supervision of my preceptor. I also had to complete a certain number of other clinical skills as well. To maintain my licensure, I am required to take continuing education classes each year. Since becoming a licensed midwife I have attended more than 200 births.
What areas / towns do you serve? — I basically serve the entire northeast Texas area — Texarakana and New Boston, Mt. Pleasant, Mt. Vernon, Winnsboro, Daingerfield, Linden, Atlanta, Marshall, Jefferson, Longview, Gilmer, and all points in between.
Do you accept insurance? — I can file insurance claims with most companies, however, only a few are easy to get reimbursement from. At your consultation or first prenatal, insurance eligibility can be checked for a $25 fee. I ask that you pay the portion of my fee that you are responsible for based on your deductible and copay, and then I will file one “global” bill with your insurance company after your last postpartum visit.
If you prefer, I will gladly give you the detailed billing receipts that you need to file claims with your insurance company yourself. Most companies have a form that you fill out and fax or mail to them to file a claim for health care that you paid for out-of-pocket. You may be able to get reimbursed for your expenses more quickly with this method. I am also happy to work with Christian sharing plans (they are a pleasure to do business with and I highly recommend them!).
Most insurance companies (even those that won’t pay for a licensed midwife’s services) will at least pay for the lab work that is done and for a sonogram. If you have any questions about insurance, please ask at your consultation.
Do you accept Medicaid? — Medicaid will not pay for a home birth or the services of a licensed midwife in Texas. Medicaid will pay for necessary lab work and sonograms. If you truly desire a natural, home birth, I have a sliding scale fee based on income for families at or below poverty level. Please speak to me and we will try to work out a payment plan that is mutually agreeable.
Is home birth safe? — When the mother has cared for herself well during her pregnancy and she is at low risk of developing complications, AND she is served by a well-trained birth attendant, then yes, home birth is safe. Of course, there is nothing that is perfectly safe, not even a hospital birth. Do your research. Studies have shown that home birth for normal, healthy women is just as safe as birth in the hospital.
What if something goes wrong? — There are only a few things that could go wrong that would constitute a true emergency. I carry pitocin, methergine, and oxygen to be used in these situations and would immediately transport the mother/baby to the closest hospital while giving emergency care, or I would give care until EMS arrived to transport the mother/baby. The most common reason for non-emergency transfer to the hospital is “failure to progress.”
What if I need something for the pain? — If you really feel that you need pain medication during labor, you will need to be transferred to the hospital. All pain medications have side effects for you and the baby that necessitate medical supervision and care. However, remember that during a home birth you are able to move around, eat, drink, bathe, and rest where you are most comfortable. You are not confined to a room or a bed and you can work with your contractions. You might just surprise yourself and find that the contractions are quite manageable under these circumstances!
Do you do VBACs? — Before agreeing to do a VBAC, I will require a copy of the surgical report on your c-section. Both the outer and inner incisions must be low transverse. I will also look at the reason(s) why the cesarean was done. I prefer that you live within 30 minutes of a hospital (if you don’t, talk to me and we may be able to arrange an alternative). (Have you been denied a VBAC by a doctor or hospital? See this site.)
Do you do waterbirths? — Yes. You can rent or buy a birth tub from various places online, you can use a Rubbermaid water trough (really!) or a deep garden tub if you have one. Once the baby is born, I immediately lift it up out of the water into your arms so he can take his first breath..
What if someone goes into labor at the same time as I do? — Yes, this does happen occasionally. It depends on where both of you are in your labors. I always try to bring an assistant with me to a birth, so I might be able to leave to check on the other person if they are nearby. Or, more likely, I would call another midwife to go check on the other person and attend the birth if I couldn’t make it. I do try to limit the number of clients I take so that this sort of thing doesn’t happen.
Do you have other midwives that you work with? — I have backup arrangements with a couple of other midwives in the area. I also have at least one midwife who comes to births with me to help me out when I need it. I may also have apprentices who assist me in giving care to my clients during prenatal visits and births.
What do you think are the greatest benefits of midwifery care and home birth? — A midwife takes more time to get to know you and your family during your visits. The care is very personal and individualized. Birth at home is much more comfortable because you are with people you know and trust in a place that you are familiar with. You don’t have to pack a bag and go anywhere, and after the birth you can all snuggle up in bed and take a well deserved rest! You also won’t be exposed to all those very nasty, drug-resistant germs and bacteria that you’ll find in hospitals. Your body has already built a resistance to the germs in your own home, and you’ll pass it on to your baby while nursing.