As many of you know our son, lil’ SPF was born nearly a year ago here at home. We had a beautiful birthing experience and we consider ourselves very lucky that all went well and I am healthy and happy and so is lil’ SPF.
Now that I have had several months to reflect on the whole experience (and now have some time to write this follow up) I want to share with you why SPF and I still believe that choosing a midwife was a financially sound decision and a better overall experience for myself as a first time mother.
Financially sound decision:
As I mentioned in my first post on midwifery, using a midwife in Canada does not cost you more than using an OB to see you through your pregnancy. However I do believe that using a midwife, particularly for a home birth is a better use of my tax dollars.
It’s cheaper to have a baby at home! There are many expenses you can avoid if you have a midwife and a homebirth.
First: food. Once you are in labour you are not allowed to eat anything if you are in a hospital. At home it’s up to you. I personally, did not want to eat. I did take in a lot of fluids however. If you are in the hospital…well let’s face it, how many people are going to pack a thermos and juice boxes in their overnight bags? More likely they will be hitting up the cafeteria and vending machines to keep momma hydrated.
A week or so before I had lil’ SPF I made a big batch of labourade (like Gatorade but homemade so no artificial ingredients and the only source of sugar is honey). This is a great thing to drink to keep you hydrated while labouring as well as keep your electrolytes at normal levels. SPF always kept my glass full of ice cubes of labourade in juice or water.
Once you have given birth, whether you are in the hospital or at home, you can and will want to eat food…lots of it! Of course hospitals have food for Momma and maybe even for her partner but what if you don’t like it? Or you have special dietary requirements? At home, you can stock the fridge and pantry ahead of time with healthy snacks and meals you love. For instance I made sure we had yogurt, granola, bread, eggs and nuts at home.
Second: transportation. If you are at home there is no anxious/exciting car ride to the hospital, be it 5 minutes or 50 minutes away. You stay put and the midwives come to you. You do not have to worry about paying for parking and gas money. Your friends and family also will not have to pay for parking if they come visit your home. Of course if you are not driving it’s a greener choice too, less carbon dioxide in the atmosphere! If you stay at home you also do not have to worry about inclement weather which is not fun to think about when you have a belly looming in front of you and cannot see your feet touching the icy or slippery path in front of you.
Third: accommodations: Hospital rooms do have a cost. You can stay in the ward where there will be several other mums and babies, in a semi private room with one other mum and baby or a private room. SPF and I had decided that if we did end up at the hospital we would go for a private room because that meant that SPF could stay in the room with me and lil’ SPF, not an option for first two rooms.
Our insurance covered about half of the $240/day for the private room. The thing to remember though is that no matter what room you choose ahead of time it really does depend on availability. So if lots of babies decide to be born on the same day and you are the last to arrive you will have to contend with what’s left. If you stay home, no extra cost, you were going to make that mortgage payment anyway!
In honour of full disclosure there are some costs to a home birth that you would not have in the hospital, but I still think they are minimal in comparison. You and your partner must have these supplies at the ready:
- plastic sheets for the bed (we used large plastic drop cloths which SPF wrapped the bed in),
- sheets to give birth on (i.e. sheets you really don’t care getting soiled-I got a set at a second hand store for $10),
- room heater (we already had one),
- garbage bags (had those),
- lots of receiving blankets (got them at a second hand store), (see list)
Finally, if you have a homebirth, you are not only personally saving money but saving your fellow taxpayers money as well. Births outside of hospital cost one third what they do in hospital (CBC Radio news March 20th 2012).