I started looking for midwives in the area as soon as we found out we were pregnant. I'd decided I wanted a natural birth and the best way to do that was to have a midwife. I assumed I would hire one who would be with me at the hospital. Well, lo and behold, midwives in Idaho aren't given hospital privileges.
So, I found two midwives who both practiced about 40 minutes away. I looked at their web sites and realized that in order to have a midwife, I was going to have to birth at home. I'd already looked into the possibility so decided to book some appointments with the midwives to decide who I wanted as my primary. They usually assist each other during births as long as one of their own clients doesn't need them.
After I decided on a midwife, we scheduled prenatal appointments. Because Nancy had three clients in Lewiston, she scheduled all of us for the same day, around the same times. So, all my appointments have been done at my house on Tuesdays during my lunch hour. Which means I've missed very little work because of the pregnancy and I don't have to travel very far!
The appointments last about an hour and include blood pressure and pulse checks, urinalysis, listening to the baby, feeling baby's position, measuring my uterus, checking for swelling, going over dietary needs and then talking about any concerns or questions I have.
I had one obstetrician appointment this pregnancy. Nancy requires that her clients meet with an OB in their area in case they have to transfer care. That one appointment was THE MOST stressful doctor's appointment I think I've ever had. Even Dave felt stressed and pressured and she wasn't even talking to him! The doctor pushed the HIV test even after I had told her twice that we didn't need one. She told me that there were some people in Texas who had contracted HIV from their dentist... (if I could do an eye roll emoticon right here, I would.) Her eyes practically shot out of her head when I said I didn't want an internal exam.
I know there are people who have natural hospital births with an OB. But they are never guaranteed. And I didn't want to have to fight at every.single.appointment for a natural experience. Doctors don't like it when you decline internal checks (internals increase the risk of infection and can cause premature rupture of the water bag, also, they don't actually tell you anything about the progress since things can change SO quickly in real labor), decline the gestational diabetes test (that sugary drink cannot be good for mom or baby, there are other signs that can warn of GD), decline using a doppler at every appointment or getting more than one ultrasound (ultrasound waves have NOT been proven safe for use during pregnancy), etc. Decling all these things has to make the doctor feel like they aren't "managing" the pregnancy. Which is exactly what I didn't want a doctor doing!
I didn't want to have to fight over every aspect of my birth plan- no constant fetal monitoring, the ability to walk and move during labor, no pain medications offered, being able to eat and drink as I wanted, having the lights dimmed, having as few people as possible come into my room, not having internal checks, etc. And, then, after fighting over all that in the office before birth, having to fight with every single nurse who came in thinking she/ he could examine me whenever they wanted and fight with whatever on call doctor I end up with about not breaking my water, not doing internals, not having monitoring, being able to birth standing up, etc.
It was wonderful when I asked Nancy, "How often do you do internal checks?" and she responded, "I prefer not to do them and won't during labor unless you request one." When I decline a procedure or test, she says okay and moves on. It's wonderful when I can tell her that I looked into the eye ointment or Vitamin K or circumcision and decided against it. She doesn't try to scare me into having these things done. She doesn't try to push anything.
She's only been adamant about one thing. She said she will not waiver on this one point except in the case of an emergency. She requires that the mom hold the baby skin to skin for the first two hours after birth. :) Which I am completely okay with! This is wonderful bonding time and encourages breastfeeding, it also ensures that baby's body temperature regulates (did you know that a mother's body temperature changes to accomodate her baby's? i.e. if baby has a fever, mom's body temperature will cool down and if baby is cold, mom's body temperature will go up). Those hospital incubators can't do that!
Midwives give the birth experience back to the mother and families. Nancy will be there to assist and help in case she is needed. More than likely, Dave will be the one to pull our little boy out of the water and hand him to me. More than likely, he'll be the one cutting the umbilical cord (after the cord has stopped pulsing- another decision we would have to fight for in the hospital.) I will be able to give birth where I feel most comfortable- no one will be telling me that I need to lie down and put my legs in stirrups (which, according to studies, -and common sense- is the WORST way to give birth.)
During the birth Nancy will check my blood pressure, pulse and listen for baby's heartbeat intermittently. She'll make sure I get plenty of fluids and food to keep my strength up. She'll do a newborn exam and make sure I don't bleed too much. She'll make sure the placenta comes out in one piece and is healthy. She'll stay for at least three hours after the birth to make sure breastfeeding is established, things are cleaned up and that mom and baby are still doing well. In the six weeks following the birth, she'll come for at least four checkups to make sure things are still going well. She's a lactation consultant so she'll be able to help with any breastfeeding issues we have.
Needless to say after this massively long post, Dave and I are very happy we've chosen a midwife.
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