At this point in my pregnancy, I only go to the doctor/midwife every four weeks. Do you know how many bad things can happen in four weeks??!! Although the time goes by quickly, I am a nervous wreck the day or two leading up to my appointment. I analyze each and every little thing- Was that just a normal stomach thing or is that a cramp? Am I gaining enough weight? Am I really feeling movement, or is that something else? It seems that virtually none of our family planning has worked the way we thought it would, so I am having a hard time believing that I am going to have a baby at the end of all this. I feel like that’s going to be taken away- like our hopes of getting pregnant 2.5 years ago, or our plans to be traveling to Africa right about now- at any given moment. Needless to say, the days before my appointments are filled with lots of conflicting emotions.
Today was my first appointment with the midwife group. I am going to go ahead and put a disclaimer on this and all subsequent posts about midwifery: Birthing decisions are as personal and unique as each baby. I believe in the empowerment of women to make decisions that are right for them. I believe that every expecting woman has the right- and the obligation- to research different birthing options so that they can make an informed decision. I believe that midwifery is the right birthing decision for me, but it might not be for you- and that’s okay. No judgement whatsoever. I will blog about this topic fairly extensively because it’s fascinating to me and because I think there is a lot of misinformation out there; please don’t misconstrue this and think I believe that midwifery is the best option in every case.
I also want to say that while I started this as an infertility and adoption blog and have tried not to stray too far from those topics, it is starting to naturally transition to an overall family/life blog. No posts about adoption means there are no updates about adoption. If you’re interested in those topics and not everything else, use the “Topics” button over on the right to guide your reading.
Pfhew. Now that we’ve gotten those out of the way, shall we get down to business?
I am going through the Midwest Midwifery group in Kansas City. They are a group of three women that operate very similiar to an OB practice in the sense that you see a different one each time so that you are familiar with whatever one is doing births on the day/night you go into labor. They have at least a couple of offices, one in Brookside and one up north- currently at North Kansas City Hospital, but moving to the Englewood Road area by Gordmans in about a month (Bonus- that’s super close to us!). They do all deliveries at Research Hospital. There are lots of midwives that do home births, but this particular group only does hospital deliveries.
I didn’t really know what to expect. I had heard great things about this group, but I had not been at all impressed with the people who answer their phones. At least 20% of me was wondering if they had actually written down the appointment time they had told me over the phone. Hoping they had, today we went to their Brookside campus. The building and lobby look like any typical doctor’s office. I got taken back fairly quickly after arriving and when I stepped into the exam room I noticed the first difference between this office and a typical OBs office- there was a bed instead of an exam table. I actually found this sort of disgusting- true, it was much more relaxed, more “homey”, and the bed seemed clean enough- but I doubt they change the sheets between each patient like they change the exam table cover-thingie (technical term).
The nurse took basic readings and then the midwife appeared in no time at all. She measured me and listened to the heartbeat. Mark and I smiled at each other as she found it right away. She said it sounded great, went over some basic things, and then invited us back to her office.
Here she went over things like no drinking, no smoking, vaccines to get, medicines that were okay to take, told me it was okay to exercise at normal levels, not to change the cat litter and so on. Nothing that I didn’t already know. Then, it was our turn to ask her questions. A lot of my questions were pretty boring- things like how the practice works, certifications, etc. It was when we got to talking about their philosophy on birth that things got really interesting.
Midwives want women to have the birth they want to have. For some women, that might mean inducing once they are full term because they are so uncomfortable. For others, that might mean a natural birth with no drugs whatsoever. Some women might want soft music and only their spouse in the room, others might want Jay-Z and the whole family there to witness the miracle of life. Some want to eat, some want massaged. Some want to walk around, some want to relax in a pool, some want to stretch across a ball. Some want epidurals, others want doulas (a labor aid), the options are really endless.
The midwives work closely with an OB group so that if a complication arises, the mother can be immediately transferred to the OB. Our midwife said that every now and then, a medical emergency happens where they have to work faster than they can talk. But the majority of the time, the midwifes will explain what is happening, explain your choices and the pros/cons of each, and then walk out of the room so that you and your partner can decide.
The goal of the midwife is to support the mother in listening to her body to deliver a healthy baby. I really, really like that. It makes me feel that my body was designed to do this- that I am capable of doing this. It makes me feel that I will be informed throughout the process and free to question why things are being done. It makes me feel very at peace with natural birth. It brings out my feminist, hippie side- the side that screams “I AM WOMAN! HEAR ME ROAR!”
Okay, that might have gone too far. Sorry.
It is still very early in my care- I realize that you can’t tell everything off of one appointment. I realize that the information I get from a midwife practice could be one-sided and that it’s up to me to research other sides. However, based on the 90 minutes we spent with the midwife today, this is an option I am very excited about!