homebirth in IsraelHere's my experience with homebirth in Israel: My first was a normal hospital birth with midwife on shift at Hadassah Mt. Scopus 9 years ago. I had a lovely English midwife, plus a doula I hired, plus my husband (acc. to rules, only 1 helper allowed, but they let it slide). Great birth (no drugs, epis. etc., I labored at home for 2 hours, then was in the hospital for four more), but I hated the aftercare (ignorant nurses, no rooming in at nite, stupid policies, etc.).
Baby #2 was 7 years ago at Misgav Ladach - a progressive/ controversial birthing hospital (where Mom2Five had her first two, I believe). Good midwife, better aftercare, rooming in, but still some ignorant nurses and stupid policies. Total birth time was 1 1/2 hours in labor (10 min in hospital) and I didn't even get to try the jacuzzi!
OK, so my births are way too fast and intense for any candle-gazing and meditating, so for #3 (two years ago) I considered a homebirth, for expediency sake. DH was strongly against, but the private midwife I used for pre-natal check ups was all for it. I wouldn't have had the nerve to insist, but then MISGAV LADACH CLOSED! Two weeks before my due date! Not only was it a five minute drive away, but it was the only hospital that would accept private midwives!
So 1/2 weeks before my due date when I went into labor, I still hadn't made a decision (although I pre-registered at Hadassah Ein Kerem just in case, and to make my DH hapy) but since I was early I am I FAST I just called the midwife to come over! Can't argue with a woman in labor! (We had bought the necessary supplies and arranged for a friend to come over just in case). We were worried she wouldn't arrive in time (her moshav is 60 min. for Juerusalem) but I went into labor at 2 a.m., she came at 3 a.m., and Talia was born at 4 a.m.! (and she was gone by 6 a.m. - the lucky midwife! 700$ in 3 hours!).
Now, in order to receive the maternity grant (about $350 at the time, I believe) there is/was? a law that a mother giving birth at home must report to a hospital within 24 hours with the baby to collect. So hours after brth (it was a Friday, so we had to rush) I showered, packed the big kids off to my friend's house, and went to the hospital. (They didn't quite understand what I was doing looking for the maternity wing pushing a stroller [I was too weak to hold the baby and DH was parking] but no one gave me a hard time). I got a quick check, the baby got a quick check (without giving me a hard time for refusing interventions) and all was well. The only bad part was that the baby got chilled on the way over so had to be warmed up for a few hours (in an incubator in the same room) which wouldn't have happened if we had just stayed at home and rested!! They gave us the runaround when I announced that I wanted to go home only hours after I had been admitted (I didn't want to stay over Shabbat, and I can never sleep in the hospital) but didn't say no. We got the money, my husband was reassured, and we all lived happily ever after (and Talia turned two a few weeks ago!).
So the moral of the story is, it may not be right for everyone, but it is certainly doable. If you want Ilana the midwife's phone number, PM me!