Posted by: Ingrid | February 23, 2016

Birthing plans in a rural landscape

With baby number four I thought that it would be semi-easy to find something I was happy with in terms of delivery options since I know what I want and have done this before.  I needed someplace that would take my insurance and give the option of water birth, my one absolutely non-negotiable.  (Though I suppose with that comes the fact that I will eat and drink when I please, don’t want to be monitored while in the water, no epidural, etc.)  Pretty much I just want a big cushy tub full of warm water, someone competent to monitor me but not get in the way, and the chance to then be with the baby (not at home) for the first day or so, preferably close to where we live so that the other kids can see their new sibling.

To get what I want in total, is seeming a complete impossibility given our rural location.  Today I finally made the call to transfer care to a hospital in Denver, the only place that will allow water birth within about 3 hours of us, but I will either have to endure a 2 hour car ride while in labor or hang out in the Denver area with all of my children around my due date.  And heaven forbid I misjudge my labor because then I’m looking at giving birth on the 76 in rush hour traffic.  Since I am the type to not want to “cry wolf”, I am trying now to psyche myself up for the fact that we may get to the hospital and have to have a date night instead because the baby isn’t ready to make his appearance.  I keep telling myself that this is preferable to giving birth in our van because I was afraid to leave for the hospital too soon.

We have a hospital ten minutes away and I have been perfectly satisfied with my prenatal care.  But the hospital doesn’t even have normal bathtubs, let alone do they want to entertain someone giving birth in water.  I could waltz in for a C-section if I needed to or request an epidural, but a large tub of water and minimal monitoring is something that will require a long drive.  Even though transferring care at 32 weeks will only mean a few appointments with a four hour round trip, it is still discouraging to see how difficult it is to get something so simple.

For a while I tried to be creative, thinking of ways to patch together the birth I want with minimal driving, a hospital stay, and a large birthing tub.  But in reality I know that my best bet is to make the drive to midwives who are prepared for and comfortable with the kind of birth I want.  But it irks me that a uncomplicated healthy birth can’t be had with any ease and that it won’t be a simple process to get the kids down to see their new little brother once he makes his arrival (unless my dad wants to wrangle a minivan, three children, the in-van DVD player, and Denver traffic).  It has been interesting to learn during this pregnancy how being in a rural area impacts birthing options.  In the “we have no bathtubs” conversation with my current provider I also learned that the reason they don’t allow VBAC’s at the hospital is because they don’t have enough blood stored and it would take too long to fly someone to the nearest facility if something went wrong.  I never considered that as a reason for a provider not allowing a VBAC (Though the skeptic in me wonders if they would actually change that policy even if they had enough blood).

Once again I am finding that the more pregnant I get the more “hippy-ish” I feel. (Though not enough to turn down the opportunity to schedule an ultrasound for next week after measuring 3 weeks behind at today’s appointment.  This has happened every pregnancy and by now I think of it as more pre-baby pictures and an opportunity to keep the doctor from stressing out.) Yes, I am grateful for modern medicine and the fact that there are things that can be done in worst case scenarios and yes, I know that liability is a concern of every medical facility.  But for goodness sake, for those of us who have healthy and uncomplicated pregnancies, could we make it a little easier to get a simple birth?



  1. You can count and kill cows on your way to Denver. And look for mer-moos. Sorry this is such a process.

    • I like that idea better than focusing on contractions!

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