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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I am wondering if anyone can give me some information regarding Illinois homebirth laws. My DH and I grew up in Illinois, but are currently living in Iowa while DH finishes Chiro. school. We had my DS in a birthing center here and it was an amazing experience. I understand that there are no birthing centers in Illinois so I am planning on having a homebirth for our next child (in the future). I have heard of Homefirst and was wondering if anyone has had any experiences with them? Do you have to have a Dr present at the birth in Illinois? I am trying to understand all of this before we move back and settle in a place that is not compatable with our views. Thanks<br><br>
Megan<br><br>
SAHM to<br>
Landon 10-23-02
 

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I don't live in IL, but I've heard that homebirth is legal, but I think they want a Dr. to attend. Which kind of defeats the purpose if you ask me!<br><br>
Ina Mae Gaskin was asked: "What are the best and worst states for a direct-entry midwife to practice in the United States today?<br><br>
IMG: The best would be: Washington, Florida, Oregon, California, New Mexico, Arizona, Arkansas, South Carolina, Alaska, Colorado, Louisiana, Montana, New Hampshire, Texas, Tennessee, and Kansas. The worst? New York, and now, Illinois."<br><br>
Here are some links that might shed a light on current events.<br><a href="http://www.geocities.com/Wellesley/5510/" target="_blank">http://www.geocities.com/Wellesley/5510/</a><br><br><a href="http://perso.wanadoo.fr/bel/action/yvonnecryns.htm" target="_blank">http://perso.wanadoo.fr/bel/action/yvonnecryns.htm</a><br><br><a href="http://homebirth.meetup.com/members/78" target="_blank">http://homebirth.meetup.com/members/78</a><br><br><br>
Uh, it's not looking too good, but I know that there are a few IL homebirth mothers around here. I'm sure some of them will respond, too.<br><br>
Best wishes!
 

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Direct entry midwifery is not illegal in Illinois, in the sense that there are no laws prohibiting it, but many of the midwives who are practicing have been charged with practicing medicine without a license or practicing nurse-midwifery without a license, or even manslaughter after poor outcomes.<br><br>
Nevertheless, there are a few underground direct entry midwives still out there. If you are looking for one, I would contact one of the support organizations like Illinois Citizens for Midwifery. You can also send a request to birthpartners.com for a midwife to contact you.<br><br>
Nurse-midwifery is in its infancy in Illinois. Many of the nurse-midwives who work in the hospital environment have just gotten privleges in the last few years and for a state with its population, there are relatively small numbers of nurse-midwives. I do not personally know of any nurse-midwives who are doing home birth as primary attendants, but they may be out there. I do not know if there are any laws on the books saying that physicians must be the primary attendants at homebirths, but the size and power of homefirst has certainly made it that way in the Chicago metro area.<br><br>
Homefirst is insanely expensive if you do not have insurance, but if you do, their services may be covered. I think that the satisfaction that clients have with them depends on their expectations. They run very much like a hospital service in that the nurses and midwives handle the beginning of the births, often with two or three different people handling your care in shifts, and then the doctor comes in at the very end. On the plus side, they have a very low transfer rate and a very, very low c-section rate. On the minus side, you are not likely to know everyone involved in your care ahead of time.<br><br>
The Mothering article was pretty accurate about Homefirst, if a bit flattering. The doctors at homefirst have been vocal about their opposition to midwife-attended homebirth, in a patronizing,<br>
"Doctors are the best trained" kind of way.<br><br>
Good luck.
 

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Hi! I had an attempted homebirth in IL in 2001...we started our prenatal care with Dr. Elvove for purely sentimental reasons (he delivered me in 77), but started to get bad vibes at about 7 months. One week before my due date, I had an awful visit and ran from his office, we then went with Homefirst. I found out that Dr. Elvove left Homefirst in the 80s because he became more conservative than they were, and of course a midwife would be even more liberal in what they find "acceptable risk". Elvove also has a dumb fad diet that he supports and sells stuff for, and frankly, it always irked me.<br><br>
About Homefirst, though they did end up transferring us I still really enjoyed my appointments with everyone I met there, and Dr. Schattauer, who attended our baby's birth, was great at the actual birth. Because we had to be in the hospital, though, we had to deal with a lot of unnecessary interventions and didn't actually have much support through labor from Homefirst (typical of any hospital birth with a Dr., he/she just won't be there much). The hospital we went to was their regular non-emergency transfer hospital, Northwestern Universities, and they were pretty much fine with not interfering with the baby, but they had me on constant fetal monitoring (despite the fact that Peri's heartbeat didn't flutter ONCE!).<br><br>
FWIW, the reasons we had a transfer were pregnancy induced hypertension (I really think it was just fear of Dr. Elvove that started to raise my bp, though, and then I just kinda stayed hypertense. Never was in a danger zone when I tested outside a Dr. office) and the fact that my water broke and labor was going sorta slow...but it was a slow leak (wish I'd known more about that at the time!) and at 12 hours after it started trickling I was 3cm, not enough for them.<br><br>
Sorry this ended up being a lot of info about my birth, but just thought it might help! There are some midwives around there too, but for our first child we felt we needed a Dr. This time we have a midwife, but not in the Chicago area.<br><br>
Good luck!
 

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I am currently using Homefirst for this pregnancy. I've been seeing Dr. Rosi and can't say enough good about him. While the cost is a concern (we're still not sure if insurance will cover it), I also feel like it's a way better solution than going to a regular OB.<br><br>
They also seem to be one of the few practices in the area that are willing to touch an HBAC. I know Dr. Elvove wouldn't consider it, even if I was willing to go there. I have had close friends use him, and do not think we would have a good personality match.<br><br>
Because I am planning an HBAC, I am feeling more comfortable with a Dr. than a midwife attending. It's a purely irrational psychological thing, though. I am also planning on having a doula present.<br><br>
I never realized that homebirth was such a difficult thing in this state, until I started really investigating it for myself. I feel very fortunate to have found a practice that really fits my needs at the moment.<br><br><br>
Good luck!<br><br><br>
Bec
 

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Although there is no specific statute in IL law which either prohibits or regulates direct-entry midwifery, it is now (since a recent IL Supreme Court decision) considered to be "illegal by judicial interpretation". Physicians, of course, may attend homebirths, and there are a handful of CNMs in the Chicago area who attend homebirths as well.<br><br>
IL is rapidly becoming almost legendary for its ongoing persecution/prosecution of direct-entry midwives. Although a handful continue to practice throughout the state, they do so in constant state of fear.<br><br>
Valerie, one of IL's prosecuted midwives
 

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Hi.<br>
We lived in Bloomington-Normal for about a year. I would say it is easy enough to find a lay midwife to assist your birth in Illinois (at least where we were) if you aren't comfortable with a doctor there. I knew one woman from LLL and church who when we left was planning a homebirth. It is all kind of hush hush whisper whisper to find a midwife but if you are sincere you can find one.<br>
I found it disgusting and plain wrong how hostile it was there. This poor woman had to hide the fact that she was having a homebirth from everyone because prying church members or LLL members might "turn her in". <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/angry.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="angry"> We had to whisper about it in the corridors. Grrrr...it made me so mad having to so hush hush. I sure was proud to be from Colorado where I had a perfectly legal homebirth with a perfectly legal midwife. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/orngbiggrin.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="orange big grin"><br>
Ok, sorry, I kind of ranted. So I would tell you the atmosphere there is not friendly to midwife assisted homebirth but it is still possible if you are willing to go completely against the flow.<br>
Beth
 

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I'm currently seeing Homefirst for my first pregnancy. I've met with several great doctors, and my last appt was with a CNM. I love her - she's now my first choice of birth attendants. They've told us they have about a 7% transfer rate (most of those are decided before labor starts), more like 10% with first time births.<br><br>
So far I'd say my experience has been very good - I'll have to let you know in a few months how it all turns out.<br><br>
I've contacted several other CNMs and one DEM. I've heard about the prosecution of midwives in the state, and I was surprised that so many choices were available to me. I'm in the city, though. Birthlink.com is a very helpful resource - probably focused on Chicago but it might have contacts in other areas of the state, too.
 

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I don't know anything about Homefirst- I from downstate but i had a trying time finding a lay midwife. It took me about 3 months. I had to know someone who knew the midwife and then they had to 'recommend' me. Its implied that if anything goes wrong that she was just my doula waiting with me at home till the last minute to go to the hospital. I did find a midwife up near Chicago through one of the midwife websites. Midwives are not allowed to attend homebirths that i know of and only hospital births if they are certified. Doctors can attend homebirths but good luck finding one downstate!
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
First of all let me say thank you to all of you for taking your time to respond to me. I am really freaking out though! I did not know that Illinois was so harsh about home births. My DH is about to become a Chiropractor so I really don't think having a Dr. at a birth would be an option for us, the whole idea of them coming in at the last moment really irks me. And I did everything possible to stay away from that with the birth of my son. We are sopposed to move back to Illinois in the next 6 months or so and I am seriously having doubts about it. Is it crazy not to want to move to a state because of issues like this? It is not only this but also the vaccination laws that has me concerned. We were thinking about moving to Colorado and now that is seeming like a better idea. Am I overreacting to all of this?<br><br>
Megan
 

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Where in IL are you planning to live? The truth is that there ARE midwives out there attending homebirths...it is just a matter of knowing where they are. If you can let me know where you will be living, perhaps I can help you find one..<br><br>
Valerie
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
We are not real sure where we are going to settle, but it will be around Aurora, Batavia area. We are from a small town near there but my DH is looking to open a practice in North Aurora. Any help you could give me would be greatly appreciated. I am not pregnant yet but would like to know ahead of time what my options would be. I think my DH is going to kill me for questioning the move again, but Illinois just seems to be so far away from our lifestyle and the decisions we have made for our first preg/birth etc.<br><br>
Megan
 

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Ah..but you know, there is a TERRIFIC CNM/former DEM who lives in St. Charles and attends homebirths. You would be in great hands <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="smile"><br><br>
Valerie
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Valerie if you would be willing to share who the CNM is I would appreciate it. You can also email me off list if you prefer or pm me.<br><br>
I am getting hopeful now that I will be able to have a good experience in Illinois.<br><br>
thanks<br>
Megan<br><a href="mailto:[email protected]">[email protected]</a>
 

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I just wanted to add, I live in IL and there are TONS of very good direct entry MWs where I live. I didn't know of any for 23 years, and then I asked and *bam* more than I ever dreamed of to choose from!<br><br>
There are four separate groups around me, and I live in the middle of no where. I think it is really just knowing where to look- LLL groups and churches did it for me.<br><br>
PM me if you like!<br><img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="smile"><br><br>
P.S. I know some CNMs too, and even a great AP HBing doctor!
 
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