What is a homebirth? I know that many of my friends are not clear on all the particulars and some of you out there may harbor many gross misconceptions so let me illucidate for you.
A homebirth is when a woman chooses to have her baby at home instead of a hospital or birth center. The birth is supervised by a medical professional, in my case a Certified Midwife.
First, Homebirth it is NOT the same as “Freebirthing” which is a woman having a baby at home with no supervised medical care. I won’t go into detail about freebirthing except to say that, while I can understand the desire to do things “My way” I cannot support the choice for lack of medical supervision. I’m too well aware of complications that can arrise during birth that cannot be dealt with if you don’t have the correct experience but that could be easily rectified with the right knowledge. I’ve come to understand that there are other reasons to freebirth including the financial inability to hire medical help (more on that later concerning our homebirth) or an emergency situation which prevents supervision from being available. However, a planned homebirth is not the same as freebirthing and I wanted to make that distinction clear.
Okay, so homebirthing in Connecticut is not the same as in all other states because laws differ state by state. There are many people who have done more research on the subject than I have but as far as I know it’s not illegal to have a child at home in any state in some places, however, it is illegal to assist in a homebirth. Midwives who practice in those states are working under the law. If they need to transfer their patients to the hospital (which happens in about 4% of most midwife attended homebirths) they cannot admit their role and possibly can’t even enter the hospital for fear of legal action. In Connecticut having a midwife at a homebirth is neither legal nor illegal. It hovers somewhere in between, not fully accepted but not completely forbidden either.
There are many Nurse Midwives (CNMs) who practice within OB practices. I’ve met a few of these, some I really liked and some I didn’t. They are commonly reffered to as MEDwives by the homebirth community because their philosophies and how they practice aligns with their Obstetrical counterparts instead of those who share their midwifery roots. Per hapse they didn’t start out that way, perhapse they once believed that birth was a natural and uncomplicated process in which they were meant to be assistants instead of choreographer but after a while the medicalization of birth takes over. The midwives you meet in an OB are nothing like the midwives who practice homebirth, plain and simple.
I’m currently rereading the memoirs of a midwife in California who practiced from the 80s-90s. She entered midwifery school after becoming seriously frustrated at doctors who believed that normal birth was a retrospective diagnosis, meaning doctors did not believe birth was a “normal” process until it was all over and they could look back at it and make the diagnosis. Midwives believe the opposite: birth is a normal process that occasionally has complications. Haha, when you think about it that’s exactly what conception is, pretty normal most of the time but occasionally with complications (insert whatever visual you want to here).