As it turns out, Griffin hadn't been posterior after all. He's just big: 10 pounds, 4 ounces, and 22 inches. Cara measures his head and chest and listens to his heart and lungs. She also takes his temperature, checks his genitalia, and examines his mouth for a cleft palate. She notes his reflexes, takes his pulse, applies eye ointment, and gives him an Apgar rating. Griffin scores nine out of 10.
One Week Later
Griffin leaves home for the first time, for a checkup by a pediatrician. "He's perfect," the doctor exclaims. His parents are nothing short of exuberant. "The experience of his birth was absolutely phenomenal," Kristin says. "There's nothing so wonderful as having your own baby right there in your own bed."
Reflecting on the birth, the midwives acknowledge that several factors made this case atypical: the baby's size, Kristin's stalled labor, and the use of painkilling medication. In fact, if Kristin hadn't been so determined to deliver at home, they might have transferred her to the hospital.
Kristin credits Glenn, Cara, Debra and Miriam with helping her make it through. "I really trusted the people who were taking care of me," she says. "It also helped to be reminded that the pain I was in was happening for a very good reason. Even just hanging onto Glenn helped make me feel less isolated.
"We went through a labor that had a lot of glitches," Glenn adds. "But it was worth it." Would they have a home birth again? "Absolutely," they say in unison.
What You Should Know
If you're considering home birth, keep in mind that only women in excellent health who have had uncomplicated pregnancies make the best candidates for home birth. (Home birth isn't recommended for multiple births, premature deliveries, or babies in the breech position.)
Be sure to check with your health insurance before deciding on trying a home birth. Home births undertaken with professional midwives are legal in most states but may not be covered by all health plans. Laws regarding midwives vary, so it's best to know your state's restrictions before committing to a home birth.
According to a 1998 study published in Obstetrics and Gynecology, qualified practitioners can carry out successful home births, but backup plans should be in place should there be a need to transfer to a hospital.