Gratitude bestows reverence, allowing us to encounter everyday epiphanies, those transcendent moments of awe that change forever how we experience life and the world. --John Milton

Monday, March 16, 2015

Birth Costs: Think Outside the Box

Anticipating a second baby, we decided to save, rather than pay monthly insurance. Then during the first trimester, we re-evaluated our birthing options. I was ready to rearrange the budget to be able to deliver at the birth center again, but pondered other possibilities.

What would a home birth cost? How much does a home midwife charge? I called around. How much is a birth kit? How much does a doula charge? Could I do check-ups at a birth center and deliver at home? Can I get a backup OBGYN?

Perhaps I've learned that there are more possibilities than it might seem at first. My husband and I considered and re-considered. Talked to friends, researched the internet, called service providers.

Money was just one of several considerations, but in the end we settled on check-ups at a birth center with a home delivery attended by a doula.

The current system (especially in some states) may encourage a one-size-fits-all birth. But I've found that it's possible to choose a different way.

Different is hard. vulnerable. When our financial choices don't make sense to family and friends. When service providers raise eyebrows. When the system bucks us off. When we doubt our choices.

Different is risky. But maybe sameness just feels safe. Maybe living is risky.

Different is also affordable. It looks like we can't afford it. But what if ... we had one flip phone instead of two smart phones? or cut off internet service? or moved into an RV? These are the type of questions the Cowboy and I ask. I'm serious. It's an exercise in contentment. It's a chance to see what our priorities are.

For a practical example, here's our budget and then actual expenses for our son's birth.

COSTS
BUDGETED
ACTUAL
PRENATAL VISITS (including one ultrasound and blood work)
$1000
$1421
DOULA
$400
$360
PLANE TICKET FOR MOM
$400
$0
BIRTH SUPPLIES (including pool)
$200
$201
TOTAL
$2000
$1982

We were very fortunate to meet our budget. We had also talked about how we would cover any unplanned expenses. Perhaps something here is helpful?

What financial birth choices have you made? How have you found you could do something for less money (example: we used a large kiddie pool $40 rather than a birth pool $200)?





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