News Local/State

Home Birth is Planned Gathering of Friends & Family for Towanda Couple

By Kimberlie Kranich

When 27-year-old Abbey Fish of Towanda had her first baby, Shane, in 2007, she didn’t know much about birth. Like most women, she went to the hospital to deliver. There she was given an epidural to ease her pain and the drug Pitocin to induce labor. All common hospital practices. After Shane was born, she did not see him for 12 hours because he was considered distressed.

Abbey thought there had to be a better way. She wanted to have a natural birth. So she and husband Mike, 32, who farms 1,800 acres of corn and soy beans, researched home birth. They hired a doula, or labor coach, and searched for a midwife. In Illinois, only certified nurse midwives (CNM) and doctors can legally deliver babies at home. The only two CNMs in the region were not available. And so they hired a certified professional midwife who is specially trained in delivery outside the hospital. Certified professional midwives can practice legally in 27 states. Illinois isn’t one of them.

Abbey says that having a home birth and working with a midwife throughout her pregnancy was a “different world” -- from the pre-natal care and education about birth to the actual delivery -- and one she and Mike prefer to hospital pre-natal care and delivery. Abbey’s second son, Carson, was born at home in 2010 as was her third child, daughter Scarlett, in 2012.

Abbey and Mike interview each other, in StoryCorps style, about their experience giving birth to Scarlett surrounded by their friends and family at home.