Not So Selfish Medi-Cal Home Birth

Not So Selfish Medi-Cal Home Birth

Throughout my pregnancy with my fourth child I felt guilty for wanting a home birth. I wanted the peace of being at home, of not having to guess the best time to leave for the hospital and all the delays of check-in when contractions were heavy. I wanted to have more choices in labor.

Since our family had financial difficulties and was using Medi-Cal insurance (California’s Medicaid program), the costs of a hospital birth would be completely covered. However, an out-of-pocket homebirth would cost four or five thousand dollars, even with a cash discount! A homebirth felt selfish. Still, my husband and I would not stop praying for a home birth—even with the expectation that I wouldn’t have one.

Prayers without Faith

But in all my prayers, God never said no. In fact, He said yes! Fast forward to 37 weeks; I prayed, “I know it doesn’t make sense, but I really want a homebirth.”

I heard in my heart, “you will have a home birth and I will pay for it.”

But I dismissed it. “That wasn’t God. That’s just what I wanted to hear.”

Two days later, a local midwife referred me to a midwife in another county who accepted Medi-Cal: a praying, faithful midwife who trusted her prayers would be answered. “He’s a good Father.” She told me, after sharing testimony after testimony of God’s faithful provision to new moms.

Prayers with Faith

The midwife quickly connected me with a attorney who I’m sure could quote the federal regulations giving Medicaid beneficiaries the right to licensed midwifery services in her sleep. Beyond educating me, she emailed and called many officials in the Department of Health Care Services and my county health plan. She also acted as my expert witness pro-bono when I took the county health plan to court via phone within the state DHCS system.

Halfway through that two-month whirlwind of phone calls and emails to so many state and county health officials, I gave birth at home to a boy who shares his daddy’s birthday. Being at home was a huge blessing! His was my shortest labor and most peaceful birth.

Making My Case Over Speakerphone

During the phone court appearance, it came out that the county health plan had denied my request for a licensed midwife and homebirth (as well as more than a dozen other mamas) predominantly because they were not up to date on the laws! “Yes, that is what that All Plan Letter states” my attorney responded after they shared a specific policy from the Department of Health Care Services. “However, that is FOUR years old and there is a new policy which states you must pay for this homebirth to comply with state and federal law!”

By this time, I’m sure you’ve realized I won that case. My “selfish” desire for a homebirth opened the door for any pregnant woman with Medi-Cal in our county to choose a birth center or home birth with a licensed midwife! I was elated and I was humbled. I never thought God would use my desire to affect so many other women and families. Today, my case is referenced on the health plan paperwork requesting licensed midwifery services….just in case someone in their offices isn’t up to date with the laws I suppose!

God Shares My Blessings with…..Who?!

But it doesn’t end there. Around my son’s first birthday, I learned my fight to make the county health plan recognize my state and federal rights as a Medi-Cal beneficiary went further than my county’s borders. The Department of Health Care Services issued an All Plan Letter for every plan in the state of California requiring at least one licensed midwife and one certified nurse midwife on their plans. I wasn’t the only mother in the state who was fighting for these rights, but the attorney told me my case was so comprehensive, that it had an impact on that All Plan Letter. I keep a copy of that APL in my son’s baby book.

Do you have a desire like mine you just can’t shake? It might be that the desires of your heart were planted by God to bless others as well as you. Give it to Him, trust He is faithful and take courage if He gives you the go ahead.