MD opted for homebirth with midwife
I had my first child in the middle of my medical school training. I was, perhaps, a different sort of medical school student in that I wanted to help people stay healthy and promote the body's natural healing capacities and functions. That said, I chose a midwife at a birth center for my care--I understood that my body was made to give birth and that the process wouldn't require a surgeon. I loved my midwife. She was an older, experienced woman who made me feel competent and capable. However, when my water broke one day before 36 weeks, I was told to go to the hospital where a midwife from the practice would attend me. Though I will refrain from all the details, let's just say that the hospital experience with a young, callous midwife from the practice was very disempowering and fear-motivated--I wasn't listened to, wasn't trusted to follow my instincts, and was threatened with episiotomy when I didn't push (without urge to do so). In less than 3 hours start-to-finish, I had a healthy, beautiful boy, but then spent the first three hours separated from him due to an interior, 7cm tear that had to be repaired in the OR after my natural, vaginal delivery. When I got pregnant with our second child, I was a family medicine resident. I did deliveries at our hospital all the time, I tried to do all the things that weren't done for me--listen, support, calm, reassure--but, was often undermined by others at the hospital (it was just the fear-based, surgical model they had learned). So, when deciding where to deliver, I felt so confused. I wasn't going to deliver at my residency institution or any hospital after what happened the first go round, so I started looking into home birth options at the suggestion of a resident-friend. That was my best decision ever! My midwife learned all about me. She knew what made me tick, knew my fears, knew what would motivate me, and knew how to best interact with my family. I read Birthing From Within and Ina May's Guide to Childbirth and felt the empowerment and reassurance I needed to prepare me (and my husband) for home birth. When the day of my second son's birth came, it was perfect! We walked outside on a crisp fall morning, labored in the shower, and then labored in the birthing tub set up in our nursery. With two gentle midwives present, I had a peaceful, intuitive water birth. Some colleagues called me selfish and cavalier to do this, but they were wrong...I did the best thing for my baby and my body. After this experience, I traveled to The Farm to learn from Ina May and her fellow midwives and then tried to bring more of what I so value to the care of my own patients. I am currently at home after graduating from residency and after the gentle, peaceful birth my third baby. I'm thinking about how to possibly work with midwives as an MD who has sought to learn more about natural childbirth and breastfeeding. I am forever grateful to my home birth midwife for her trust in my body and her loving care.