“Why Not Home?”

As a doula, I kind of get to exist with my feet in all the birthing worlds….I see how things work in home births, at birth centers, and in hospitals. I’ve had times where I was beyond glad that medical intervention was available, and times when I was grateful for calm midwives who let a mother’s body do its thing with as little interference as possible. I dearly love our local midwives and think they’re fantastic, and I have immense respect for the knowledge and training of an obstetrician.

The concept behind the documentary “Why Not Home?” was a marvelous blending of those two “birthy” worlds. Jessica Moore, the director and producer, is a Family Nurse Practitioner who chose a homebirth for herself, and then, as she quietly whispered to a few co-workers that she was going in an unconventional direction, found that this was a growing trend. She made this movie to explore the reasons why medical professionals might, themselves, choose to have a less-medically influenced birth. The whole thing was fascinating.

I loved the variety of stories that she told through the film; homebirths that almost weren’t, births that started at home but chose to transfer to a hospital, births that went well but then a baby needed a little extra medical attention, births that just were birth at its simplest. She got into a ton of statistics, studies, angles from birth professionals who were influencing things on a global level, and those who were personally impacted and so decided to become students. It’s just fun. And there is so much gentle, affirming humanity about the whole thing. If you can watch it, do. If you can’t, at least download the Discussion Guide, and read it. It’s still full of some great information.

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And now that I’ve given you a review of this thing, I want to tell you why I got to see it.

Snohomish Midwives, some of those aforementioned favorite local midwives, was hosting a viewing of this documentary at our library. They wanted to put together a panel of birth professionals for a Q & A session afterwards, and they invited me to a part of that panel.

Oh, the angst over what to wear started early. And I wasn’t done with that even when I arrived. In a rather embarrassing moment, as I was still pulling blouses and skirts out of my closet, my daughter had to tell me that the current outfit was fine, I was out of time, and we had to go. Ah, well.

Getting to be a part of that group was awesome, and I learned a few absolutely fantastic things:

*When “ranking” the different counties in Washington state by number of Community Births (which means a birth outside of the hospital, whether at home or birth center), Snohomish is #2. I am so proud of our county. What a very cool thing to excel in!

*Melissa Denmark, of Snohomish Midwives, travels all over the state talking to hospitals, emergency response personnel, and pretty much anyone else she can get in front of, about the safety of home birth. I’ve always admired her, and hearing about this whole other side of her work raised my admiration up by several notches.

*Jamie George, an absolutely wonderful hospital-based midwife, was recently promoted to the head of the maternity section of Providence. In Melissa’s words, she “RUNS Providence!”

*Providence is realizing that insurance companies are going to start looking at hospitals with an eye for the best track record, and that continuous labor support (cough, cough doulacare) is instrumental to lowering the statistics for cesarean births and other, lesser, but still expensive, interventions. There may be some conversations starting about Providence in Everett having their own in-house doula program. You can bet I handed off my phone number when I heard that. There are pros and cons to a hospital-based doula program, and I’m not 100% sure I want to work for a hospital, but I AM 100% sure that I want in on those conversations.

*This was the tenth anniversary of the very good work that Snohomish Midwives had been doing, and they commissioned the most delicious cake with almond buttercream frosting and raspberry filling. It was a sweet end to a very, very lovely evening.

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