Birth Odds & Ends Wrap-Up

Below are a few more details about our home birth that I thought I should take a moment to document. More specifically, I’m trying to think of any miscellaneous pregnancy and/or birth decisions and procedures that we might have approached or done differently than the norm, sometimes because of the home birth scenario, and sometimes just because we’re different. 🙂 Here is what I could think of!

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My awesome midwife, Bill, doing paperwork after the birth!

  • Circumcision – when it came down to it, apparently Charlie had read my email, agreed with my thoughts on the subject, and just not bothered to talk to me about it. LOL. Men...
    • When his parents stopped by a few hours after Harvey’s birth, I overheard his Dad asking him if/when we were circumcising him. Charlie replied something along the lines of “oh ya, we’re not doing that.” Simple as that, end of story. *Happy Dance* His Mom was a little weirded out by it, Charlie proceeded to teasingly ask her if it was going to affect her ability to change diapers when she watched him, and after she sputtered and said she hadn’t thought about it, we all just dropped it. 🙂
  •  PKU test – PKU tests are routinely done in the US within the first couple of days of life with a follow up at 7-10 days old (or a urine test is done if the baby is 6+ weeks old).
    • We declined the initial test because PKU test results are more likely to be correct if the blood sample is taken after the baby has been drinking milk or formula for at least 48 hours (and my milk didn’t come in until 48 hours, so we felt it was an unnecessary heel prick to do the 1st test), but it is an important test, so we did do the PKU test at 6.5 days old when Bill was here for our 1 week check-up, and everything came back normal!
    • For more information on this test, click here.  
  • Hearing Test – since we didn’t deliver in a hospital, we obviously didn’t do the standard hearing test before discharge. However, there is a local organization that does children’s hearing screenings for free, so we visited them when Harvey was about 3 weeks old.
    • With infants they can test 2 of 3 of the standard criteria, and he passed with flying colors (he had normal ear drum mobility & he passed the otoacoustic emissions test, which is a screening of the cochlea/hearing organ function only). Because of his age, they obviously couldn’t test if the signals are being passed to his brain (aka – raise your right hand when you hear a beep on the right side), but at least all of physical stuff is there and working!
    • This wasn’t something I was hugely concerned about, but a blog friend just had her son diagnosed with pretty severe hearing loss at just a few months old, so it was on my mind as something I wanted to have checked out for peace of mind and early intervention if necessary.
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Our midwife’s assistant (and wife), Karen. She was the main record keeper during active labor, and she would periodically record my blood pressure, temp, & heart rate, and they’d also check fetal heart tones.

  • Bilirubin test (aka – checking for jaundice) – We didn’t do it.
    • Severe jaundice can be dangerous for a baby, but Harvey was not lethargic, was eating well, had plenty of wet & dirty diapers, and wasn’t super orange, so we weren’t worried about it. Around 4 days old he got a little yellow in the eyes (a possible sign of high biliruben, so we just made sure to get him lots of time in the sun for Vitamin D (we stripped him down to his diaper and laid him in the sunlight on our living room floor every day), kept nursing on demand to help his system keep flushing things out, and kept a close eye on things. My midwife also did home checks at 1 day, 3 days, and 7 days postpartum to make sure he and I were doing well.
  • Taking temperature (of Mom & baby)
    • Bill & Karen monitored both of our temperatures during labor and in the first 90 minutes postpartum, but then they were gone, so it was important for us to keep checking & recording mine and Harvey’s temps. I can’t find my sheet that gave guidelines for how often to check and such, but I think it was around every 3-4 hours that we were checking in those first 48 hours.

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  • Rhogam Shot (for Mom) – as I mentioned in my birth decisions post, I am A neg Rh- blood type. This means I needed to have the rhogam shot (thermisol free) immediately post delivery to protect the baby in any future pregnancies that might occur. This is something my midwife was able to administer while I was laying in bed in my own home (it’s just a shot in your buttocks/hip area) and he gave me a card for proof that I’ve gotten it. Easy peasy! 

That’s all I can think of for now! I just have to reiterate how amazing it was to be able to take care of everything in the comfort of our own home. Birth is so cool.

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If you’re curious about how we handled any other routine procedures that you had done in a hospital birth, feel free to ask me in the comments!

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12 comments

  1. I had been wondering what the outcome on the circumcision debate in your house was going to be- thrilled that C came around! And I’m glad that you did do the newborn screen- I know some people decline it all together because they think it’s not necessary, but the test not only tests for PKU but many other “hidden” diseases that can be very, very serious very early if not caught. I’m assuming you also declined the Vitamin K and eye ointment? I tried to decline those, but having a hospital birth in TX made it almost impossible. Sigh. Again, so glad you were able to take ownership of every part of H’s birth. I showed your birth story to my SIL and she thought it was AMAZING!

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    1. I, too, was thrilled Charlie came around regarding the circumcision decision. 🙂

      Bill definitely emphasized how important it was to do the PKU test b/c of the variety of diseases it checks for. It’s a pretty non-invasive test for what it can tell you! I (and my midwife) just didn’t see the point in doing it twice.

      No Vitamin K or eye ointment, no. We ended up doing the VitK with Stella b/c she had a large hematoma on her head after delivery from being banged around in my pelvis crooked for 2 hrs, but she didn’t get the eye ointment either. At my hospital, I had to be tested for gonorrhea and chlamydia around 36 weeks to prove that I was “clean” and then they would let you decline the eye ointment. For Harvey’s birth, it was a simple sheet I signed just declining both treatments.

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  2. I’m glad you wrote this, particularly about the hearing test (which was something I was thinking about, but didn’t want to actually ask). Before Alex was born, I didn’t even realize the hearing test was mandated hospital protocol. Now, it’s something I think about every single day.

    Again, so glad your birth experience was everything you wanted. That makes me very happy!

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    1. Agreed – I never would have thought about it if it wasn’t for you and Alex! I definitely breathed a sigh of relief to know that everything was working fine in his ears. I’ve learned so much from your story.

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  3. My absolute favourite part of the home birth experience (outside of the birthing) was having the tests and procedures done on my own bed. Made it much less medical and much more loving and caring than my hospital experience. You mentioned the home check ups on a previous post, and I just loved that aspect of home birth / midwifery model of care (in our respective regions) so much. Forgive me if you’ve mentioned it, but did they weigh him in the bag + fish scale apparatus? I loved that too! Made it feel so earthy somehow.

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    1. Ya, it was very nice to do everything at home in my own bed! (or really, in our guest bed, hahaha!)

      Nope, he had a standard scale like you’d see at the doctor’s office. I was kinda bummed about that because I was looking forward to that bag + fish scale picture! LOL

      http://scovfam.wordpress.com/harvey-month-by-month/

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  4. lparsons15 · · Reply

    So glad that everything went the way you had envisioned! Seems like an amazing experience!

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    1. It totally was. 🙂 I wish that for everyone – an amazing experience that they feel good about!

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  5. I laughed out loud at the first bullet. It’s amazing how differently men and women think about/handle things (in general).

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  6. Why did you refuse vit K? Isn’t it good for the babies?

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    1. Vitamin K shots are given post-delivery to assist the infant with his/her blood clotting capabilities. We did end up giving Stella the shot b/c of the bruising on her head (we wanted to make sure that clotted correctly), but we didn’t feel it was necessary with Harvey. I don’t like that it’s synthetic, and I’m not a fan of how huge the dose is in the shot (at least 100x higher than the RDA for infants). The other option is an oral dose, but it’s not as effective as the shot because the baby’s body can’t yet process it correctly.

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