Thursday, July 3

A doctor or a midwife?

SuzyQ has patiently waited for a response to a question she raised last month: why a midwife?

I knew from the get-go that I wanted a drug-free ("natural," though some are offended by that term) delivery. The stereotypical busy, uninterested OB/GYN in a sterile white room filled with beeping machines just didn't say comfortable to me, and I knew that would be essential for relaxation. Certainly all OB/GYNs don't devalue and depersonalize the mother and her partner, but they are all medical trained and therefore more apt to prescribe medicine as the be-all, cure-all; to be preoccupied with other patients; to deliver in a hospital setting; and to order a C-section. I needed someone that said warmth, compassion, caring, understanding ... I needed someone who would be there for the whole process, not just the end of the pushing and periodic check-ups. I wanted a warm, dimly lit environment where I could play my own relaxing music (ocean waves for Bean) and it was important to not have medical equipment in the background (research has shown the mere visual or auditory suggestion of medical equipment or intervention/drugs makes for a dramatic increase in the use of it during labor).

I knew my options of midwives varied: they range from almost no scholarly background to specialized nurses or certified nurse practitioners (CNPs), which is what I selected. I wanted to avoid the hospital (too impersonal, sterile, close to medical equipment ...) but I didn't want to deliver at home (it's an apartment, I have three pets, and it's my first child so I didn't feel comfortable enough being that far away from medical help if I needed it). I looked online a bit and discovered the lucky coincidence that I live near a birthing center in Cambridge. The birthing center is an old Victorian house with waterbirthing tubs in each bedroom and it's right across from the hospital in case you need emergency attention. Perfect option, since it was a midpoint between home and hospital.

My insurance covered midwives (most do; I think midwives are generally cheaper than doctors anyway), so I picked up the phone, took a tour, meet the midwives on staff, and started going to monthly check-ups. My midwife gave me all kinds of great advice (yoga poses, Kegels, breathing, etc.) and made me feel like a human being. Not a take-a-number-have-a-seat type of setting.

If I had to do it again, I would have a midwife again and even consider a home birth. The most comfortable part of my labor experience was the time I was at home -- by far. I was in almost no pain for those eight hours and I was completely relaxed (which makes the cervix dilated go much quicker as well).

Bean's crying; gotta run. Hubby has off -- happy Fourth, everyone! Celebrate one of the few nonmaterial holidays left! -- and is making blueberry pancakes. We went for a walk in the rain earlier this morning. Love having him and baby home together.

Thanks for being patient, SuzyQ! :0)


Nadine said...

Happy 4th to you too!

SuzyQ said...

Happy Fourth! Your little bean is quite beautiful!

Thank you for getting back with my about my midwife question. We haven't quite gotten to that point in our lives (my husband and I) where we are starting our family - but we are getting there - and I am interested in your experience. Sounds like it was great - I will have to look more into it. Thanks!

Now get back to that baby! ;) Glad to see you back in bloggy land!

Jenn & Owen said...

And a belated happy Canada day.
It seems to me that your experience was pretty typical of the people I know who have had midwife-assisted births for their first child. Nobody seemed to actually stay out of the hospital. As for the insurance thing, I can only speak for the land of milk and free-medicare honey up here in the great white north, but in Alberta, where I live, midwives are only now starting to be covered by government medicare.

abbie said...

Thanks for sharing. I've been going to a nurse-midwife for my GYN for the last 8 years or so. I've gone to her since before I met my husband! I love her, the way she treats me and talks to me. I have no kids yet, but I'm certain that I want her to deliver my children. I think that most people don't totally understand that a midwife does have medical training and can have patients that aren't pregnant.

Momma Val said...

Wish I could have such a lovely birth with mine but I have come to accept the way it must be. As I read one time on some mother's blog somewhere, "Doesn't matter if they come out the window rather than through the door." I love that expression. Not the biggest deal how they come out but rather that you are blessed/lucky enough to have one at all, even if they have to take it out your ear. Breastfeeding and being able to stay at home were my biggest goals aside from conceiving and carrying successfully which were also a miracle for me. I feel very thankful for that.