I recently sat down with Cassie Applegate, Certified Nurse-Midwife, to ask her a few questions about her midwifery practice in the Black Hills region. As a childbirth educator and homebirth mom myself, I have found there to be a lot of misinformation within the media and general public surrounding the topic. Hopefully you'll find this post informative and possibly even inspiring. It's good to know all your options when it comes to the birth of your baby.
BHBBC: What inspired you to become a midwife?
BHBBC: Why do you practice out-of-hospital? Why homebirth?
Cassie: I love being out-of-hospital. I worked in the hospital for nearly 6.5 years, and while I believe you can have beautiful empowering births in the hospital, it can definitely be a lot harder. Being at a woman’s home you are an invited guest into their space. They get to be in control in their own environment, and usually labor and birth goes so much more smoothly without interruptions.
BHBBC: How long have you been a nurse-midwife?
Cassie: I have been a Certified Nurse Midwife for 4.5 years. I did my clinical rotation while getting my master’s in one freestanding birth center and several hospitals. After I received my Master’s of Science and passed my midwifery boards, I worked as a CNM (Certified Nurse-Midwife) in the hospital/private OB/midwife practice for 2 years prior to starting my homebirth practice 2.5 years ago.
BHBBC: How many births have you been to?
Cassie: Good question! As a CNM, I have attended approximately 200 births, and as an L&D nurse prior to that, I attended around 200 as well. So, 400 in total!
BHBBC: Do you have children? If so, were they born at home?
Cassie: Yes, I have two beautiful boys. Neither one of them were born at home! I wanted to have my first at home with a midwife, but could not find a homebirth midwife that “fit.” Instead we had him at a freestanding birth center in Denver. My second was a hospital waterbirth with a wonderful group of midwives.
BHBBC: Many people are afraid of the “what ifs” in regards to having a baby at home. What do you say to that? Is homebirth safe?
BHBBC: Do you work with the hospital and/or local OBs? If someone needs to transfer to the hospital, do you stay with them?
Cassie: Yes, we are working on building strong relationships with the hospital and local OBs. I have had great experiences thus far. I do not currently have privileges at the hospital, so if we need to transfer they will transfer to an on-call OB. I will call and give report, transfer records, and stay as long as my client wants me to.
BHBBC: Some people are afraid of homebirth because they want to be near a NICU. How do you handle emergencies with the baby?
BHBBC: Do you take insurance? How much does a homebirth cost?
Cassie: I am not currently in-network with insurance. Homebirth costs around $5,000 with payments made at each visit, if needed. After the birth, I can provide my families with an itemized statement if they would like to attempt reimbursement from their insurance company.
BHBBC: What is the biggest baby you’ve ever caught?
Cassie: 10 and a half pounds!
BHBBC: What is the craziest birth you’ve attended?
Cassie: I can’t think of the craziest birth I’ve ever attended, but the most beautiful birth was the first baby I caught as a student midwife. The baby was born en caul (with the amniotic sac intact) in a gentle waterbirth. Will never forget it!
BHBBC: If you could give just one bit of advice to an expecting couple, what would it be?
Cassie: Listen do your intuition. This is your baby and your birth. Do your research. Don’t be afraid to ask questions, and don’t be afraid to transfer care if you do not feel supported.
We appreciate Cassie taking the time to share a bit about herself and her practice. If you have more questions about homebirth or Cassie's practice, she can be reached at Appletree Midwifery or on Facebook.
Birth Boot Camp teaches a childbirth class specific to couples planning a homebirth. The next 4-week series begins Tuesday, Feb 5, 2019. To register, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
This blog is written by Mallory and Donna - at Black Hills Birth Boot Camp. Expect birthy topics, parenting triumphs and trials, and community resources and interviews. Have a topic idea you’d like us to address? Drop us a note!