The Down & Dirty of Home Births: How Does a Home Birth Work? -with Kristen Cates- Certified Nurse Midwife


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(With Kristen Cates, Certified Nurse Midwife) You’re not sure a hospital birth is for you. And you keep hearing how many moms are looking into home births. But before you’d even remotely consider it, you need the low down on ‘how’ home births actually happen. The logistics & details seem intimidating. How do homebirths work? I mean seriously, how can you possibly give birth at home?

Kristen Cates, a certified nurse midwife, explains the nitty gritty details of home birth. Things like:  What supplies are needed? Who cleans up the mess? How long will my midwife stay afterwards? Can I use my bathtub for a water birth?  Where’s the ideal place to give birth in my home? I also grilled her with a lot of “midwife questions”, like “how do you know if a midwife is any good?”, “What questions would you ask a midwife if you needed to hire one?” & more.

Homebirths YourBabyBooty.comI want you to walk away from this interview with some confidence & understanding of how home births work & how you can find the best midwife to support you. I’d love if this helped you get some clarity on if home births are something you want to learn more about, or rule out. *If you like this interview, please consider sharing it on Facebook*- just click that Facebook icon to the left of here.  We’re trying to reach 1 million of the 6 million moms who’ll pregnant this year. We need your help!

Who is Kristen Cates?

Kristen Cates knew from a young age  being a midwife was her calling and passion. She’s been a certified nurse midwife (CNM) since 2004 and owns her own home birth midwifery practice, Sequoia Midwifery. She helps moms give birth in the San Francisco Bay Area.  In addition, Kristen teaches prenatal yoga, is a registered nurse, nurse practitioner and was a doula prior to becoming a full-fledged midwife. Kristen has caught over 475 babies as a primary midwife (that number is growing b/c her clients love her!!). The links Kristin talks about: Midwife alliance of north America-, Citizens for Midwifery-, AquaDoula Tub-

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KristenCates-The down & Dirty of Home Births

Sarah Blight: Okay. Hi. I’m Sarah Blight with your Baby Booty Interviews where we talk to moms, dads, and experts about the things that they’ve learned about having babies and having kids so that you can make better decisions faster. So what do you need to do to hire a midwife? If you’re planning on having a home birth, what kind of things do you need to look for in a midwife before you hire her? Also, who cleans up the mess when you have a home birth? What are the nitty-gritty details involved in having a baby birthed at home? Well today, we are talking with Kristen Cates. She is a certified nurse midwife. She has her own practice called Sequoia Midwifery and she works out of San Francisco, California. In addition being a midwife, she also is a registered nurse practitioner. She’s a prenatal yoga instructor. She used to be a doula. She’s caught hundreds of babies and she knows her stuff. So she’s going to fill us on what we need to know to hire a midwife. So thanks, Kristen, for being here today.

Kristen Cates: My pleasure.

Sarah Blight: First question, what makes a good midwife?

Kristen Cates: That’s a great question. I think that there are many good midwives and there are many different qualities that make a good midwife. I think that the ultimate thing essentially is feeling a sense of trust and safety and comfort with the person that you’re choosing. So for different women, that’s going to be a different person in terms of personality, energy that they bring, training that they have, experience that they have.

Sarah Blight: Uh-oh.

Kristen Cates: … equipment she carries, how many births she’s attended as a primary midwife. Those are all really good questions. You can even ask further questions like if she knows her own statistics of her practice like how many transports from home has she had, things like that. How many mamas that have birthed with her have had C-sections. Some midwives actually keep their own personal statistics and other ones will just kind of quote the statistics that we have as a whole group of homebirth midwives, but those are some good questions. Also asking about if they’ve had to manage complications and if so, how. Other good questions are things like how they dealt with any conflicts with clients if they’ve ever arisen or sometimes they haven’t arisen because sometimes you just are not in conflict with your clients. People have asked me that question and I’m kind of like well, that’s not really come up too much.

Sarah Blight: Uh-hum.

Kristen Cates: You know, I tend to make good relationship with the people I work with and we tend to communicate well. Because I’m partnering so much with my families in their decision making process, generally people feel really [0:02:59] [Audio glitch] heard, they feel included and so generally not very much conflict arises. Even if there is a difference of opinion, usually we can kind of figure out where the root of that difference comes from and what the best solution is. So I think starting with choosing a midwife would be there’s a lot of – the web is a really great place. There’s a lot of local directories so depending on where you live. Midwives Alliance of North American has a nationwide directory, but also there’s midwife associations for each states or region and that’s another place where you kind find listings of midwives.

Sarah Blight: Okay.

Kristen Cates: As well as kind of local word of mouth is another great way, talking to other mamas who’d had home births and if they enjoyed their experience with their midwife. That’s a good way to kind of go about finding them.

Sarah Blight: Okay.

Kristen Cates: But then there’s definitely questions that you want to ask when once you’re interviewing your midwife.

Sarah Blight: Okay.

Kristen Cates: Potential midwife.

Sarah Blight: Potential. So are there times when you as a midwife have met with someone and you just feel like it’s not going to be a workable situation? Just you kind of feel from your end that the personalities aren’t meshing. Are there times when that happens?

Kristen Cates: That’s a great question. I feel like when I’m interviewing families, definitely they are more interviewing me, but I am certainly interviewing them because I also want to feel like it’s a good fit and then I can meet their needs.

Sarah Blight: Yeah.

Kristen Cates: So I’ve definitely interviewed with people where I’ve gotten [0:04:26] [Audio glitch] for them, and that can be something as simple as yeah, just personality quirks or I don’t have children and so some women really feel more connected to a midwife who’s already had children or who’s even a grandmother. So that’s something that can be a place where there’s not a fit. Or for me actually the two biggest questions I ask when interviewing is what people’s process was for choosing homebirth so that I kind of understand where they’re coming from. Are they coming to homebirth because they’ve had really horrible experiences in the past in the hospital or are they coming to homebirth – you know, there’s all different reasons why people choose homebirth. So it’s important for me to know why. [0:05:08] Then the other question I always ask potential clients are if we start off at home but there’s something that arises where I would recommend going to the hospital, how would you feel about that and would you follow my lead and my instructions in that regard. I would say that if someone said no, then I probably wouldn’t want to work with them.

Sarah Blight: Yeah.

Kristen Cates: Because safety is the biggest priority and the experience after that, you know, process but safety first. So I want to feel like people I’m working with are going to trust me to be their guide in that regard.

Sarah Blight: Okay. So how do you establish trust with your clients and clients with you?

Kristen Cates: Yeah. I think that the nature of homebirth being more time intensive where we get to spend – you know, I go to people’s homes so first of all that just creates a lot of familiarity and intimacy that you don’t have when clients are coming to you in an office setting. And then I spend one to three hours doing prenatal visits.

Sarah Blight: Wow.

Kristen Cates: So depending on what the stage of the pregnancy is and whatever individual needs are coming up in that moment. So if can imagine how much relationship you can build in one to two three hours versus 10 or 15 minutes –

Sarah Blight: Yeah.

Kristen Cates: — a lot of relationship gets build, a lot of intimacy and familiarity and then from that I think trust just naturally grows through that relationship building.

Sarah Blight: Yeah. I think most women are probably lucky to see their doctor for an hour total during their whole pregnancy.

Kristen Cates: Yeah, exactly.

Sarah Blight: Yeah.

Kristen Cates: They may spend 10 hours in the waiting during their pregnancy they they’re bonded with the receptionist and the magazine.

Sarah Blight: Yeah. [Laughs]

Kristen Cates: And they’re not bonded with their OB.

Sarah Blight: Exactly. And that’s not going to help get baby out.

Kristen Cates: No.

Sarah Blight: I mean those magazines are great entertainment, not going to help baby get out.

Kristen Cates: Exactly.

Sarah Blight: Okay. So we talked a little bit about questions, let’s get back to that for a second.

Kristen Cates: Yeah.

Sarah Blight: Question asking is the number one way to kind of dig to the core and find out if you’re compatible. Essentially, you’re dating your potential midwife. You’re trying to figure out if you guys mesh, if it’s a reciprocated relationship. So what would you say are the top three questions that you should for sure ask your potential midwife before you hire her?

Kristen Cates: Uh-hum. Yeah. I think it is important to ask he about her training and experience at attending births. I personally think it’s important to ask why they became a midwife, kind of understand their story of becoming a midwife because then you know kind of where, how they came to the work, what their intentions are, where they’re coming from and I think that helps you know if there’s alignment in personality and energy and kind of why you’re choosing homebirth.

Sarah Blight: Uh-hum.

Kristen Cates: And then a third question, a top question, I’m trying to think of like the top questions that people ask me.

Sarah Blight: Y.

Kristen Cates: That I always think oh, those are good questions, you know? Well definitely asking about the finances actually is important because you need to know if it’s feasible. You need to know how does her billing work, can she bill insurance. Usually, midwives charge global fees so asking how much the fee and all that. So generally speaking that is a significant part of people’s decision making for home birth.

Sarah Blight: Okay. So if I’m sitting there and I’m interviewing a prospective midwife, my husband and I — by the way if you do have a spouse or someone or a birth support that will be there with you, it’s probably a good idea to have them in on this meeting, wouldn’t you agree?

Kristen Cates: Absolutely.

Sarah Blight: To kind of have everyone, making sure everyone kind of gels together and stuff like that?

Kristen Cates: Yeah.

Sarah Blight: Okay. So I’m sitting there with my spouse and we’re interviewing this –

Kristen Cates: Kids are good to have too. Like it depends on the age but I mean you know, if you feel like you wouldn’t be able to focus at all because the stage of development that your child is at is just like running all over the place, needing everyone’s attention in the room. But it’s kind of you get a feel for like, oh, this is my family how does this person work with my whole family.

Sarah Blight: Oh, I like that.

Kristen Cates: It’s not like your toddler is not going to be in the prenatal visits or you know.

Sarah Blight: Yeah.

Kristen Cates: Things. Yeah.

Sarah Blight: I like that, that’s a very good point. Okay. So the family is hanging out, we’re chatting it up with the midwife, the prospective midwife, are there any kind of red flags that should kind of be raised if certain responses are given by the midwife? Are there anything that you would say, oh, this should be kind of something that you should be leery of?

Kristen Cates: That’s a good question. I mean I kind of understand where your question is coming from, but it’s interesting because of my perspective like I’m surrounded by incredibly skilled, talented, trained midwives in my community like countless ones. Like if you live in San Francisco Bay Area, you could literally interview 20 awesome midwives and you just choose based on like, oh, we vibe well together. So when you’re in –

Sarah Blight: Lucky, lucky, lucky.

Kristen Cates: Exactly.

Sarah Blight: Yeah. 

Kristen Cates: So I totally understand where your question is coming from just based on being in different communities and also that there is kind of a public concern about like in general are midwives safe. So I’ve not really thought about this question because I obviously as a midwife kind of believe in other midwives and don’t really think about anyone out there like practicing in a way that’s very unsafe. But I think if someone doesn’t really have training that they can speak of and they don’t carry equipment and they don’t believe in like any sort of monitoring or any sort of yes, standard kind of medical practices at all then unless that’s what you’re wanting that would maybe be a red flag.

Sarah Blight: Okay.

Kristen Cates: But I honestly think — I often encourage families and especially women in particular to really learn how to trust your intuition and your gut.

Sarah Blight: Yeah.

Kristen Cates: So I think the biggest red flag is honestly if something just doesn’t feel right in your gut, you know, then that would be the biggest red flag, honestly more than anything someone would say or not say. But yeah, I think most people who are putting themselves out there and midwives are well trained, they’re recognizing the huge responsibility that they’re taking on and the trust that people are engendering in them and so generally speaking I’m not aware of that many midwives anywhere in the country that are kind of pulling a shingle out when they really shouldn’t be. Sarah Blight: Okay. Kristen Cates: I’m not saying that there aren’t.

Sarah Blight: Right.

Kristen Cates: But it’s not really in my awareness so much.

Sarah Blight: Okay. Oops I’m frozen awesome. Okay.

Kristen Cates: Does that help?

Sarah Blight: Okay, I’m back. Yes. No, I think that’s really good. I really like what you said about trusting your intuition. That’s something that I’ve talked a lot about. I think it’s really important that sometimes we just get that feeling in our gut and because we don’t have a real reason for it, you know, we have a tendency to write it off. Like oh, we’re just being whatever. I think that’s why it’s good to have your family in on this meeting too because you kind of get their take too like did you kind of feel like that was weird and did that not seem right to you, you know, she didn’t seem to answer of our questions, maybe that’s weird. But I also like the whole idea of just making sure that you really feel comfortable with this person. Because personality I think really is important and feeling trust and just feeling line you can be yourself. This is a very important and intimate moment. I think that’s really good advice as well because she can –

Kristen Cates: Yeah. It’s almost like a litmus test is how do you feel in this person’s presence, you know.

Sarah Blight: Yeah.

Kristen Cates: Do you feel like are they kind of nervous and fidgety, does that make you feel more nervous, do you feel kind of a sense of calm or peace or grounded sometimes even more so. Actually, it’s really sweet. I have clients who are due in their window right now and their due date is officially July 6th, but we just had a prenatal visit two days ago and as I was leaving, you know, we’re hugging goodbye and she’s like you know it’s so nice when you come here because it always warms our whole home.

Sarah Blight: That’s amazing.

Kristen Cates: It was such a sweet thing for her to say and I was like wow I’m glad she has that feeling about me when I come into her home. Of course, she’s going to be able to open and birth her baby more easily if that’s the feeling she gets when I’m in her presence versus some other feeling.

Sarah Blight: That is a really nice compliment.

Kristen Cates: It takes time.

Sarah Blight: Yeah.

Kristen Cates: Yeah. I mean I’ve been working with her since May so it’s not like we met yesterday so it does take time to build that. But I think that’s really important just the quality of how you feel around somebody.

Sarah Blight: Okay. So let’s move on real quick. We had talked to you before, we kind of covered in another interview the safety about home birth and things like that. In that interview, we did cover this question but I kind of want to go back to it real quick is what’s the difference when you’re kind of asking for qualifications between a certified nurse midwife, a CNM and then a CPM, which is a certified professional midwife? Can you just give us the real quick brief synopsis?

Kristen Cates: Sure. Totally. So the biggest difference is the N part, the nurse.

Sarah Blight: Okay.

Kristen Cates: So certified nurse midwives are registered nurses and certified professional midwives aren’t necessarily registered nurses. They might actually be nurses who then went through midwifery training where they didn’t become certified nurse midwife. But I would say the majority are not nurses –

Sarah Blight: Okay.

Kristen Cates: — for certified professional midwives. But both classifications of midwives have to have the specialty training of midwifery, pass similar exams or the same exam and then… So the base of knowledge of midwifery is really the same, the difference is the broader training, like full training in nursing versus not.

Sarah Blight: Okay. Okay.

Kristen Cates: And then the other distinction from there is the location of where you work. So in this country in the US if you’re a certified nurse midwife, you can work in a hospital, home, or birth center and if you are a certified professional midwife, pretty much you won’t be able to get hospital privileges that I’m aware of any community. So it’s really the CPMs are kind of the specialists of home and birth center birth.

Sarah Blight: Okay.

Kristen Cates: Whereas a lot of nurse midwives work in a hospital.

Sarah Blight: So that is an important question to ask, not all midwives are homebirth midwives.

Kristen Cates: Right.

Sarah Blight: So if you Google midwives in your area, some of them that pop up may just work in hospitals or birthing centers, some may work at home, so that is a question that you should ask.

Kristen Cates: Yeah, it’s a great question. Uh-hum.

Sarah Blight: Okay. All right. Let’s move on to the nitty-gritty logistics. I’m a logistics person, I want to know how this is all going to happen.

Kristen Cates: Yeah.

Sarah Blight: And as someone who is considering having a homebirth, I want to know all right, baby comes out, we all know there’s a lot of fluid going around, going down, coming out. Who cleans up the mess, where should a baby be born in your house?

Kristen Cates: Uh-hum.

Sarah Blight: Is there a specific room that’s good? What happens – okay, I have lots of questions.

Kristen Cates: Yeah.

Sarah Blight: So let’s just start with the first one, who cleans up the mess, Kristen?

Kristen Cates: [Laughs] These are great questions. So actually I clean up a lot of the mess.

Sarah Blight: Okay.

Kristen Cates: As does the second midwife who is there with me.

Sarah Blight: Okay.

Kristen Cates: As does like other support people who are generally there.

Sarah Blight: Okay.

Kristen Cates: So it’s definitely not the birthing mama’s job to clean up the mess by any means. [Laughs]

Sarah Blight: Or her husband necessarily?

Kristen Cates: Or her husband, no.

Sarah Blight: Okay.

Kristen Cates: I mean if you rent a birthing tub or you have one, often the partners will totally help with like disassembling the tub and you know.

Sarah Blight: Yeah.

Kristen Cates: And they kind of want to anyway because you know.

Sarah Blight: Yeah. Kristen Cates: Men in particular are rather task oriented.

Sarah Blight: Fix it. Yes.

Kristen Cates: But I know it’s a generalization that I’m putting out into the web.

Sarah Blight: That’s okay. We understand.

Kristen Cates: Yeah.

Sarah Blight: There are exceptions.

Kristen Cates: Yeah. And then there are things that we do in advance in planning to try to not have the mess be just as chaotic as you can imagine. So I recommend that my clients will put sheets on their bed and then like a plastic or like a rubber sheet on top of the set of sheets and then another set of sheets.

Sarah Blight: Okay.

Kristen Cates: So that the top set of sheets if they do birth in their bed is like the birth sheets. We know they’re going to get wet, we know they’re going to have amniotic fluid and blood and possibly poop and other things on them. So after the birth, we’re going to take those off and the rubber or plastic has kept the bottom sheets dry and clean.

Sarah Blight: Okay.

Kristen Cates: So we take that off.

Sarah Blight: Uh-hum.

Kristen Cates: And kind of put them either directly in the laundry even. Like usually one of the first things we do at a birth team meeting is like okay, where’s the washer and dryer so that we’re aware of where it is and you know–

Sarah Blight: Uh-hum.

Kristen Cates: – aside from other things. So things are going in the washer usually kind of right away or if not right away pretty soon after. Now you have clean postpartum sheets that are going to get dirty but at least they’re not birth sheets.

Sarah Blight: Okay.

Kristen Cates: And we’ll also get those disposable – we call them chuck’s pads but they’re like big disposable maternity pads that we’d also put down underneath you.

Sarah Blight: Okay.

Kristen Cates: Because it’ll be normal to have blood flowing out postpartum. So that goes on top of the clean dry sheets.

Sarah Blight: Okay.

Kristen Cates: And then if you birth in the tub, the tub obviously contains everything and then it’s a matter of emptying the tub, which doesn’t have to happen immediately, it can even happen the next day. So that kind of depends on where the tub is set up. There’s a pump to empty the tub–

Sarah Blight: Okay, okay.

Kristen Cates: — water so you don’t have to like bail it all out.

Sarah Blight: [Laughs] Yeah.

Kristen Cates: And then if you clean the tub, you’re not expected to like clean it perfectly. Like the person you rent it from has to deal with like cleaning and disinfecting and getting it ready for another family.

Sarah Blight: Okay.

Kristen Cates: And then in terms of like so where to birth in the house.

Sarah Blight: Yeah.

Kristen Cates: It’s kind of good to birth in a place where you can create a womb like feeling.

Sarah Blight: Okay.

Kristen Cates: Like kind of cave like feelings so it’s nice to be able to have a place that the blinds close or the curtains close so that if you do want that really quiet dark space, you have it. But it’s also really nice to have areas that are more open or where you can have fresh air and sunlight depending on how long the process is. You know, if you see a couple of sunrises and sunsets during your labor processes, you’re going to want some different environments. But if it’s kind of like, oh, labor just started and you’re about to be crowning then you probably don’t even care whether it’s in your front porch or your bedroom or the kitchen table.

Sarah Blight: Right. [Laughter] Well I’m sure you’ve seen a lot of different places where people have given birth.

Kristen Cates: Yeah. Even over the toilet.

Sarah Blight: Yeah. I hear actually that’s a pretty popular place that just all kind of gets going right there.

Kristen Cates: Yeah, yeah.

Sarah Blight: Wow. Okay. So if you want to have a birth, a water birth, which I hear is fabulous and I hope I’m able to have one day because I think it sounds amazing, how do people get a water birth at home?

Kristen Cates: Yeah. So I mean that will be a good question to ask, interviewing midwife is to ask her to if she have experience attending water births.

Sarah Blight: Okay.

Kristen Cates: And then some midwives actually have tubs that they rent to their clients, I don’t but there are. In our community, there are kind of countless tub rentals.

Sarah Blight: Okay.

Kristen Cates: People who rent tubs. And so Aqua Doula is the name of the tub that is most commonly rented.

Sarah Blight: Okay.

Kristen Cates: It’s A-Q-U-A D-O-U-L-A.

Sarah Blight: Okay.

Kristen Cates: Those are also the tubs that we had in the hospital where I worked in Davies.

Sarah Blight: Okay.

Kristen Cates: So they’re like turquoise, big, round tubs and they have a plug in heater which is a benefit of them because if you do have a long labor process, you don’t want to have to use gallons and gallons and gallons of water, you know, –

Sarah Blight: That was my next question. Is this an eco-friendly water birthing scenario or not, okay.

Kristen Cates: Great question.

Sarah Blight: [Laughs]

Kristen Cates: Well, you know, I’m always trying to find like more ways to green midwifery because you do, you use a lot of like plastic gloves and –

Sarah Blight: Yeah.

Kristen Cates: — disposable things so definitely try to do things like in a way that you are minimizing the waste.

Sarah Blight: Yeah.

Kristen Cates: But certainly there is waste.

Sarah Blight: Yeah.

Kristen Cates: But, yeah, if you use the Aqua Doulas and they have a plug-in heater then you can keep the temperature pretty stable without having to waste more water than what’s in there which is a significant amount of water.

Sarah Blight: Is it possible to give birth in your own regular own bathtub?

Kristen Cates: Great question, it is. It kind of depends how deep it is.

Sarah Blight: Okay.

Kristen Cates: You know, if you have one of those on the shallow side tubs that your belly isn’t even under the water at all when you’re in the tub, that’s not really going to be – you’re not going to get the benefits of the water really.

Sarah Blight: Okay.

Kristen Cates: But it’s not that you couldn’t birth in there. Your midwife would have to be flexible and okay with like whatever position she would need to be in to be able to facilitate and help the baby come out so it kind of depends on the setup of your bathroom.

Sarah Blight: Okay.

Kristen Cates: And the depth of your tub I would say. Most people do the tub rentals because the depth of the water. If you can’t have like your belly and your breasts submerged and you don’t really get the full benefit of the relaxation from the warm water.

Sarah Blight: Okay.

Kristen Cates: You know, you’re kind of not getting the full benefits of the water.

Sarah Blight: Okay. And also maybe another thing because I’ve been watching enough of these videos that your spouse or birthing partner or a whole family can just jump on in the tub with you if you have a big enough tub which –

Kristen Cates: They sure can.

Sarah Blight: Which can provide nice support and probably wouldn’t be possible if you’re in a tiny little tub in your bathroom. [Laughs]

Kristen Cates: Yeah, not so much.

Sarah Blight: Yeah.

Kristen Cates: Unless you have like a deep, big Jacuzzi built in then, yeah, definitely don’t rent the Aqua Doula. But yeah, I’ve found that especially with first-time moms but you know that the partner in the tub can be a really great support, almost like a birth chair to kind of hold on to. I’ve seen that be just a really beautiful way to welcome a baby in and feel that really close intimacy with your partner helping you help your baby out.

Sarah Blight: Okay. One more question about the birthing tub.

Kristen Cates: Yeah?

Sarah Blight: Can you give birth in a hot tub?

Kristen Cates: Well that’s a good question.

Sarah Blight: Or should you, maybe the question is should you give birth in a hot tub?

Kristen Cates: It kind of depends.

Sarah Blight: Okay.

Kristen Cates: If you could clean it out. I wouldn’t recommend doing it with any chemicals in it and not if it wasn’t like really well cleaned out and even running through like cleaner through the jets and stuff.

Sarah Blight: Okay.

Kristen Cates: Because you know, how like bacteria can be in the jets.

Sarah Blight: Yeah.

Kristen Cates: And if you were able to really control the temperature. You don’t want – I mean the birthing tub should really be about 98 to 100 degrees.

Sarah Blight: Okay.

Kristen Cates: You don’t really want it any warmer than that. You probably don’t want any cooler than that.

Sarah Blight: Okay.

Kristen Cates: So I mean most hot tubs you can set the temperature but it would be – I would say it might even be more work to get your hot tub ready than to just rent an Aqua Doula but not impossible.

Sarah Blight: Okay.

Kristen Cates: Definitely not impossible.

Sarah Blight: Okay.

Kristen Cates: But you’d want to just [0:23:49] [Indiscernible]. And then the other piece would be would you feel comfortable outside, how close are your neighbors, you know.

Sarah Blight: Yeah.

Kristen Cates: And do they even want to be part of the process or do you want more privacy in having your tub inside.

Sarah Blight: That is an excellent point. That is a great point.

Kristen Cates: Yeah.

Sarah Blight: Okay. One more question, because unfortunately we’re almost out of time.

Kristen Cates: Yeah.

Sarah Blight: About where do you get – so if I hire you as my midwife, do I need to buy like those big old pads you were talking about and the rubber sheets and all that stuff? Where do I get those supplies?

Kristen Cates: Yeah, good question. So there is something called a birth kit that most midwifes have their clients order.

Sarah Blight: Okay.

Kristen Cates: And there’s maybe a handful of companies around the country where the midwife will set up her customized birth kit. So mine is with Baby Birth and Beyond.

Sarah Blight: Okay.

Kristen Cates: Which I think is a company in the Midwest. So I’ve already selected like the pads and the different things I think you need for the labor process and for postpartum.

Sarah Blight: Okay.

Kristen Cates: Mine is about $55 I think and that’s like a ballpark. I’d say generally it’s $45 to $60 depending on what different midwives put in their birth kit. That’s not necessarily every single thing that you need. But I go through with my clients, I give them a list of the supply list and then we go through what’s in the box that you’re going to order and then what are things that you may want to additionally order from Baby Birth and Beyond or what might be cheaper just from the local pharmacy. Like I recommend having big bottles of hydrogen peroxide because that’s another way you keep the house not totally messy. [0:25:26]

Sarah Blight: Okay.

Kristen Cates: Hydrogen peroxide gets blood out if you put it on pretty soon after the blood gets on something.

Sarah Blight: Okay.

Kristen Cates: So usually like we’re having big, a few big bottles of hydrogen peroxide. That way also you can just pour it on towels if you get blood on towels and sheets and stuff like that. Sarah Blight: Oh, I like that tip. That’s a good tip. Kristen Cates: Yeah. Sarah Blight: With the hydrogen peroxide, okay. Perfect. So these are things that your chosen midwife should lead you and educate you along the way. So if you hire a midwife — Kristen Cates: Absolutely.

Sarah Blight: — and they’re basically not kind of informing and educating and asking you questions and answering your questions, it’s not a match in heaven right?

Kristen Cates: I would agree, yeah, yeah.

Sarah Blight: Okay.

Kristen Cates: Because I feel like your homebirth midwife like a big part of that role is helping you prepare logistically for birthing at home –

Sarah Blight: Okay.

Kristen Cates: — since it’s not something we do so commonly.

Sarah Blight: Right.

Kristen Cates: And most people need to be fully educated about that. So it’s like you’re doing the healthcare, you’re doing the relationship building as a midwife but you’re also really helping people prepare logistically so that – you know, I even help people, we walk around and where would be the best place for the tub, you know, where and then really thinking about like safety issues as well. Do you have a lot of stairs in your house, if we did need to go the hospital and really thinking through all of the logistical pieces like you were asking about but even just the more safety related ones.

Sarah Blight: Okay. I just thought of one more question that I have to ask.

Kristen Cates: Yeah.

Sarah Blight: This could go on for a really long time but I promise this is my last one. Okay.

Kristen Cates: Oh, no it’s fine.

Sarah Blight: How long do you stick around after baby is born?

Kristen Cates: Yeah. So I would say on average about four to six hours.

Sarah Blight: Oh, wow, okay.

Kristen Cates: It could be a little bit less and it could be a little bit more just depending. But yeah, you know, so that there’s time to do the cleanup to help facilitate bonding and breastfeeding if that’s the mama’s choice and also just to make sure that you’re medically pretty stable before I leave. I come back the next day so it’s not like I leave you –

Sarah Blight: Okay.

Kristen Cates: — for a long period of time–

Sarah Blight: Yeah.

Kristen Cates: –anyway. But yeah, I kind of like my families to be all tucked in.

Sarah Blight: Yeah.

Kristen Cates: And feel like they’re not going to need me half an hour later to turn around and come right back so.

Sarah Blight: Okay.

Kristen Cates: I usually stay for a while.

Sarah Blight: Okay. That is amazing. Well we are totally out of time, Kristen. Thanks so much for being our go-to midwife question-answering woman. I really appreciate it. If you guys, you viewers have any other questions or comments that you would like please let us know in the comment section underneath this post. I will also add, check out the links underneath. I will make sure we have links to the things we talked about today and if you’re in the San Francisco Area, check out Kristen and ask her those questions that she suggested because she might be midwife for you so. Thanks for joining us and we will see you next time. [0:28:19] End of Audio


  • Mary Sinclair

    Great interview. Thanks for posting. Really important that couples have access to as much knowledge as possible.

    • yourbabybooty

      Thanks Mary. We totally agree!!