126 Cornish St.
(Country Rd 15)
Sherman, NY 14781

Birth Stories

Matthew's birth story

Whiles most insurance companies will cover a home birth , some couples have to work extra hard to get the authorization through. Leah and Mike wrote numerous letters and had to make multiple phone calls to get their home birth authorized.  The approval came at last, only a few weeks before their baby was born, an excellent testament that it is possible to get home birth paid for, even with the most challenging of situations..

The birth story of Matthew Anthony, Kaleida’s first homebirth!

Mike and I were just saying goodnight to my mom, who had stopped over I think to drop something off.  I heaved myself off the couch to see her to the door, but got only halfway there.  Gee, I don’t think that was a bathroom accident, I thought.  Those were common enough in the last trimester of my third pregnancy, but that didn’t feel quite right.  Hmmm.  “Guys, I think my water just broke.  I’m going to the bathroom.”  I waddle in to check, silently panicking that if I go into labor with my mom here she will want to stay.  (I love my mom, but she is by nature a nervous person, and I just wanted to call her to come meet her new grandchild in a happy and calm place.)  A few minutes later, I waddle out of the bathroom.  “Yep, my water broke.  I’m calling Jen.  Mom, I’m okay, I’ll call you when the baby gets here.  Mike, could you grab some more towels?”  Ahh, that was smoother than I could have hoped.  Mom went dancing out the door, Mike grabbed some of our supplies (towels and catch pads were on our list), and I called my midwife.  She said she would be on her way shortly, which still meant about a 2 hour wait as she lived something of a distance from us.  Not to worry, I thought, contractions haven’t even star… oh, maybe they have.  I sat in my living room, watching a movie, breathing through contractions.  Mike topped off tidying our house – we had just finished cleaning the week before, so we knew we were ready.   All I had to do now was try to relax, wait for Jen, and get ready to meet my new little one.

This was how labor pains began, but certainly not the story of Matthew’s birth.  His birth began, for his parents at any rate, with the conscious decision we made to birth him at home. Four months before physical labor began, the process started with a simple letter to our insurance company, seeking  pre-authorization for an out-of network homebirth.  In our state, the law protects maternity care.  A mother can choose her caregiver. Should she choose a homebirth and her insurance carrier does not have an in-network homebirth midwife, one must be covered out of network.  We had copies of the legislation stapled to our letter, and felt very confident that our insurance – a very good one – would give us no trouble.  The first refusal came to us several weeks later, but we were assured that this was a normal part of the ‘game’.  We resubmitted our request with plenty of confidence that this time all would process and we could move on.  Then came the next refusal, this one specifying to us that ours was a ‘contractual denial’, and their hands were tied.  Hmm.  Mike spoke with the Human Resources department at his work, and they didn’t understand the problem; we would be saving the company and had proceeded in a very cautious, safe manner.  They called our insurance for us, and began a several-month-long ping-pong match.  Let me tell you, those HR folk were angels!  No matter how annoying or emotional I was, or as persistent our calls to them, they kept looking into things, asking questions, and advocating for us.  I was an emotional wreck.  I knew that I was not okay birthing in a hospital again.  Please do not mistake this for malice against the hospital system; thank God we have it, it has saved lives and is so needed.  It just wasn’t for us this time.  But I digress.  

At long last, we unearthed the disconnect between Mike’s employer and the insurance carrier: a simple misunderstanding of policy, which needed clarification, but was not going to prohibit our homebirth.  My husband works for a wonderful, private health care provider in our area, and I now know that they truly do champion progressive healthcare as they say they do!  The company, and specifically the HR personnel, worked very hard to give us a safe homebirth, which is something they do not offer themselves.  They did it because they stood by their affirmation of choices in maternity care.  And that brings me back to the moment at hand, my labor with Matthew.

 I don’t remember too much.  I watched my movie, Jen got there at some point, as did her assistant.  I labored through Leno, but by the time Jimmy Fallon went on I could no longer concentrate on television.  Contractions got stronger, and let me tell you, it felt great to make some noise!  I commented in between contractions that I thought anyone attempting ‘silent birth’ was nuts – this led to much ripping on Tom Cruise, which helped to break my frustration.  I just couldn’tget into a good laboring position.  After a little bit, Jen suggested I try going back into the bathroom – I had progressed well sitting on the toilet, and maybe that position would help.  Mike and I slowly made our way in there, but I no sooner had sat down than I stood right back up, pushing quite involuntarily!  Mike ran back to the living room, returning right away with Jen, and within two minutes, a sweet, slimy baby was looking up at me.  “It’s a boy!”  We hadn’t found out the sex, and it was so worth the surprise!  I was so smitten, I barely noticed all the people standing in my bathroom, the noise we were making, or my daughter calling from the top of the stairs.  Mike went to get her, and she came right in to meet her new brother.  We woke our older son, and he came bleary-eyed out of his room too to pay his respects (it was 1:30am, after all!).  Somewhere in the glorious mess of it all, I made my way back to the living room and onto the couch (which was well-covered, but still).  Jen checked out the baby and me, her assistant cleaned my bathroom, and the kids ran around yelling about their new baby

A few hours, or a lifetime by our count, later, we all went to sleep in our own beds, Matthew too in his new co-sleeper next to his parents.  We were never separated, sharing all the first moments as a complete family.  THIS was what we had been after.  This warm, safe place, where we could share and heal and grow into our new family, together, as a whole.  As for the difficult process during my pregnancy, I remember much of it, but would never do it differently.  It was worth the fight.  And our Matthew is the most secure and loved baby you will ever meet for it.