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A Rave About Midwives

by Amelia on May 21, 2009
category: Labor and Delivery,Pregnancy

1289283711_1d68423a87 I had my first prenatal appointment today with the midwife group that I see.  The birth center is downtown which is about 35 minutes from where we live.  As I was driving I got teary because I knew that when I got to the appointment I would feel very cared for.  I wouldn’t have to put on a positive, faith-filled front. I knew I could let my guard down and share my concerns and worries.  I wasn’t toting all the kids with me so I wouldn’t have to play mommy either.  It felt nice that I wouldn’t have to reciprocate any questions.  I had the luxury of going somewhere that was just for me.  

It sounds sort of selfish, I know.  It felt more like I was going to a counseling appointment than a prenatal appointment.  I have a lot on my plate right now.  We are downsizing in a MAJOR way, selling more things than we are keeping, and moving across the country back to Texas before moving to England later this summer. And we just moved up our leave date to Texas by about 11 days so the pressure to finish all that needs to be done has gone up a new notches. There are so many details that float through my head on an hourly basis it is exhausting.  I’ve been sick with a cold and sinus problems for the past 2 weeks–sometimes feeling okay and sometimes laid out on the couch.  I’m mindful of keeping the stress of the 2 upcoming moves as little as possible for all the kids.  And hubby and I are having a lot of conversations about all the details and trying to communicate well about them (a.k.a not argue and take the stress out on each other).

I walked into the appointment and was purely thankful because I knew that the midwife I was seeing was “with me”.  Midwife means with woman. And she is for me. One of the first things she said was, “I have a lot of things to ask, but first is there anything that you would like to talk about…any concerns or questions?”  There was no hurry, no pressed time.  She was all ears about any questions I had.  I did have a small list.  I’ve been having a little spotting the past few days so I wanted to talk about that.  I told her that although I have been thankful for much less nausea this pregnancy it did have me concerned because it has been so different from my last 3 pregnancies.  I mentioned that I don’t want to have another (almost) 12 lb. baby and would like some direction on what to do about that.  I also needed some guidance on what I could do with all the sinus headaches I’ve been having for the past week.  Even though I had my last baby with the group, she looked at my file and looked over any concerns about my last pregnancies and/or health issues.  We went through my health history together and I was free to share any new thoughts that came up during our conversation.  Through all of our conversation, she was very encouraging and reassuring.  I never felt stupid for asking questions and I never felt like I needed to rush.

3036272286_0336e0c399_m She asked me if I was comfortable with getting an ultrasound to help me feel better about how the baby is doing.  I agreed and made an appointment for early next week.  We tried to listen to the heartbeat but since I am still in my 10th week I knew it would be a slim shot.  We didn’t get to hear it but I knew it wasn’t something to worry about.   She did an exam to check my cervix and make sure it was closed and to look and see if there was any old/new blood.  As she did the exam she walked me through the whole thing (even though I totally know what to expect).  I still appreciate it because she is respecting me as a woman/mother.  We set up an another appointment right before we move even though it is a few days earlier than it would normally be.  I don’t think I’ll have prenatal care again until we get to England so having one more appointment just to check on me seemed important.  They will have my file ready so I can take it to England with me.  She was very encouraging about the prenatal care I will get in England.  She worked with a midwife who was trained in England, so is familiar with the system and how it works.  

Even though I am a birth teacher and I know a lot of information about pregnancy and birth, I still need to be cared for.  I don’t mean to imply that my husband doesn’t take care of me or look out for me, or that my friends and family don’t care. It’s just that there are many different hats I wear as a wife, friend, daughter, sister, mother etc.  Do you know what I mean?

I left my appointment feeling relaxed, uplifted and cared for.  And that is how it should be!  I love midwifery care! I love that one of the values of midwifery care is to look at my whole person–not just the baby growing inside me.  I find that I appreciate it more, the more children I have!  There are many women who choose midwifery care (from Certified Nurse Midwives-CNMs) even though they want epidurals during their labors or need to have c-sections for one reason or another.  You don’t have to be earthy-birthy to love the personalized care you often get from midwives.  Their job is to be “with woman” and to care for her where she is–not make her super granola.  

I’m sure that many of you have had similar experiences with ob/gyns but I have heard many, many stories where that is not the case.  I just like to throw out an alternative for anyone who might be looking for something different, who might need some extra attention during pregnancy and motherhood.  Midwives are wonderful and I hope that anyone who has been comtemplating switching practices might consider the midwifery model of care.  Most CNMs also do well-woman visits too!  

So what do you think?  Does that kind of care sound appealing to you?  What extras do you need when you are pregnant? Would you ever try going to a midwife?  Why or why not?

3 Responses to A Rave About Midwives

  • Comment by Amanda
    May 21, 2009 @ 8:30 am

    Thanks for sharing your story Amelia! I was so sad when I had last appointment with my birth center a few weeks ago. The owner-midwife who delivered my baby gave me a big hug when I left. I agree it felt more like a counseling session when I went and I never felt stupid for asking any questions. I also liked too that I never felt rushed. Especially at my last appt, because they schedule extra time for the last appointment. My birth center does annual exams, so I am happy that I get to go back every year until I have my next one.

    I think it is a great point that you can have a midwife, no matter what type of delivery you are having. Some midwives work in an OB/GYN office and that can be a very happy medium for some folks.

  • Gravatar
    Comment by Amy
    May 21, 2009 @ 2:49 pm

    I broke down in tears when I left my last appointment with my midwife (at the 6 week post-partum check). She had become such a great friend and I always looked forward to our visits (aka. appointments that lasted 1-2 hours!) After my 3rd I secretly hoped for a 4th baby (which we did have), just so I’d be able to see her again :) She was the most caring person – very motherly, very knowledgeable, and so compassionate. I won’t be going to a regular OB/GYN ever again! (if I can help it :) ) Thanks for the post. It brought back great memories!

  • Gravatar
    Comment by Hayley
    May 21, 2009 @ 10:11 pm

    I wish I had the care of a midwife during my last pregnancy and birth. We had a difficult delivery and while my husband was in the room, we were both new to the experience. I wish someone was there that could have been our voice, someone who could have made sure my baby and I had the care we needed. The nurses weren’t assertive enough to get the doctors in the room and because of it my baby spent too much time in my birth canal. She ended up in NICU because for 9 days due to what I believe could have been avoided had we had the care we needed, when we needed it. A midwife would have understood that and not been afraid to voice it. My daughter is 3 and healthy now, thank the Lord.

    If you are not in a position to DEMAND the care you need, get a midwife. You shouldn’t have to fight for the safe delivery of your baby.

    Thanks for the article.

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