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The Chicago-area Homebirth Meetup Group Message Board Homebirth FAQs › In Need of a Homebirth Midwife—suggestions?

In Need of a Homebirth Midwife—suggestions?

A former member
Post #: 1
Hi there! I am currently 18w1d pregnant, baby girl is due October 5, 2009.

My husband and I are seriously considering a homebirth, but would feel much more comfortable doing so with a certified midwife with several years of experience with homebirths (CNMs with water birth experience a major bonus) and privileges to a local hospital if anything were to go wrong. Naturally—our only concern is the chance that something terrible could happen in delivery.

We begin Bradley Classes in June and plan on having Juli Walter act as our Doula.

We currently have Blue Cross Blue Shield, PPO, but are willing to pay out of pocket. We are located on the northside of Chicago (near Loyola).

At this point, we are so overwhelmed with decisions, that any suggestions are helpful!

Thank you in advance!
AB smile
Venessa T
user 7599308
Chicago, IL
Post #: 1,235
Jennifer Gagnon at A Woman's Place and Sarah Simmons (I think her practice is called New Life Midwifery) are both CNMs on the North side. I suggest that you make appointments with them both and see if your personalities & ideas about birth are a good fit.
Venessa T
user 7599308
Chicago, IL
Post #: 1,236
I also want to quickly add that I know A Woman's Place has hospital privileges and I am pretty sure that Sarah Simmons does as well. Illinois law requires CNMs to have back-up OBs. You can ask them about that, too.

As far as something terrible happening, a couple of things to keep in mind are that
1) natural birth is a very slow process and true emergencies don't happen very often. IOW, if something goes wrong, an attentive midwife, who only has one woman to care for (YOU!) will likely see it coming ahead of time and get you to the hospital before it becomes a serious emergency and

b) even in the hospital, the average "decision to incision" time is 30 minutes. Which is how long it would take you get to the hospital from home anyway. Your midwife would probably call ahead and they would be waiting for you. Again, talk to the MWs about this when you are interviewing... even the best midwives have transfer experience and can talk more about how that would work.

Hospital c-sections that are not scheduled in advance are considered "emergencies." Most of them are done for "failure to progress" or babies that are "too big" or "overdue" or mothers that are "too small." Those scenarios are generally not frightening so don't let the c-section rates scare you into thinking that birth emergencies are always right around the corner. They are not. :)

Also, congrats on your pregnancy!!!!
user 9548498
Elgin, IL
Post #: 1
Hillary Keiser just opened a new home birth practice in Oak Park, and she is highly experience with water birth. Better still, she's in network with Blue Cross Blue Shield. smile

Her website is

We're having our second with her in November, and have had a lovely experience so far. Best of luck!
A former member
Post #: 2
Thank you, Sarah. We have plans to meet with her in early June. Excellent to know you've had a great experience with her, as well.

This will be your second homebirth, then?
A former member
Post #: 3
Hi, Vanessa—Thank you very much for your input (and the congrats! smile). The more research we do, the more relaxed we become. And the more we speak to others with experience with homebirth, the more it affirms our initial intuition.

Now if we just can get over the pesky hump of having to explain our "granola plans" with our extended family. wink
user 3007501
Oak Park, IL
Post #: 135
We are also using Hillary for our October baby and we couldn't be happier. She is so kind and caring. Her knowledge and wisdom is wonderful.
Jo Anne L.
Evanston, IL
Post #: 123
It is a common misconception that babies often get too big to be born. This not a big concern in out-of-hospital birth as mothers can move their bodies and eat and drink to keep their strength up during labor. It is commonly used in hospital birth as the lack of understanding of the birth process abounds. It is possible that the epidural renders a woman unable to push and baby size is blamed. Ultrasounds are not a good predictor of size of baby and the ability of mom to get baby out. I have heard of small women having big babies at home and not having problems. There is no way to know how much a mother can open her body before birth. I believe that babies know how big to get. Did you know that it is the baby that initiates labor through hormonal secretions? I find that just fascinating.

As for, something happening, during birth most complications are evident during pregnancy and so you would risk out of having a home birth in most cases. If there is a true emergency is it best to be in a hospital or at home? I prefer to trust Mother Nature. It is unrealistic to expect all babies to live and be perfect though amazingly most are healthy. Even the medical system realizes that babies can be transfered. They do this on a regular basis from one hospital to another.

There are many things to consider when making the decision to have a home birth. I believe the benefits out weigh the risks. There are many things we do not have control over in life. Birth is one of them. It is all about letting go.

If you are interested in a private birth options consultation let me know. We can compare and contrast the different options available to you in Illinois. Families feel much more confident and comfortable with their choices after they meet with me. If you have any questions please go to or feel free to call me at 847-733-8050.

Peace on earth begins with birth and body work.

Jo Anne Lindberg MEd ABT
President & Founder
Five Element Shiatsu
1555 Sherman Avenue #175
Evanston, IL 60201
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