Exactly the Kind of Care I Was Looking For
I grew up in a normal American home. Anytime there was a health issue, we were sent to the doctor and given meds. My mom went to the hospital for all four of her births (which ALL happened to be cesarean sections). So, when I found myself pregnant at 18, I did what any other American woman would do, right? I found an OB to care for me and my baby. I had never even heard of midwives.
A few years down the road, I had a semi-traumatic experience just after the birth, experiencing anxiety attacks for the first time in my life. I promised myself that the next time around, I would NOT deliver my baby in the hospital. I didn't know how I would accomplish that, but I knew I couldn't go back to the hospital.
So when I found myself expecting baby number three just 5 months postpartum, I was a bit concerned. I still went back to my OB and kept hiding the fact that I didn't want to deliver in the hospital. A Web site I found had mentioned getting a doula to help you through your birth, and I immediately went out and found the right one for me. I described my past births to her and my desire to take a more natural route this time around. I could tell that she was holding back from saying something she wanted to, and in place of that she encouraged me to speak with my OB about my wishes for my birth. Taking her advice, I went into my 30 week OB appt and told my doctor that I did not want constant fetal monitoring as I'd like to move around, and that I also would not want to have an IV in, but rather a hep lock. Her response to all my wishes was a firm and resounding NO.
I tell you the truth when I say I ran out of the office that day crying my eyes out. How could a doctor tell ME what I could or couldn't do during my labor and birth? I went straight home and got online to look up midwives. Prior to this day, I just thought midwives were used in other countries to catch the babies and that was it. I thought they had little to no actual medical care experience besides being there when the baby was born, then leaving immediately after. Needless to say, I spent all that day researching midwifery and found that it was EXACTLY the kind of care I was looking for! I called around to see what midwife in the area was covered under my insurance, and further, who would take a client at 30+ weeks pregnant?
At 33 weeks, I had my first ever visit with a midwife, and I was extremely pleased with the care I received. I never had to wait more than a few minutes to see her, the birth center was simply a cozy home that had two birthing rooms and an exam room along with toys for the kids to play with, and the midwife never hurried me or left my questions unanswered. When I called her at 3:00AM one morning telling her I had been having consistent mild contractions for a few hours, she didn't hesitate to tell me to come in to be checked. I was only 3cm when I arrived at 3:30AM, but the next few hours of my labor, she was very calm and gentle while suggesting different movements or that I could get into the tub if I wanted. At 7:59AM, my midwife told me to reach down and take my baby, and I did! I did it!! And my midwife and doula were there just to support me through it all without telling me what to do.
I went on to have my fourth baby at home with a different midwife, and I can't say enough about the care I have received from all the midwives who have been a part of our families' life. Barring any serious complications, I would never want to go back to an OB or hospital ever again when it comes to pregnancy and birth. My OB always saw pregnancy and birth as a medical condition to be ”handled,” while my midwives embraced the beauty of a woman and her body's ability to birth her child without interference.