I had a great ob doctor for my first two deliveries. He wasn’t quick on the interventions, and I liked his balanced approach. Even before all the debate about get-the-flu-vaccine-or-not, he recommended against it, because there wasn’t enough testing down on preggo mamas and babies.
Then we moved and I got pregnant with baby #3. Rather than try to find a new ob and have to muddle through all their philosophies, I decided to investigate the midwife route. It helped that Samaritan’s Ministries, our version of health insurance, would waive our out-of-pocket if we used a midwife/birthing center. I started asking around and quickly came across a birthing center that seemed like it would be a great fit.
I definitely had some preconceived ideas about midwives before we started our natural living journey. (No offense to all the midwives out there, I was just uneducated!) My impression of midwives was really limited to the Amish fiction stories that I’d read. I pictured the midwife arriving, using boiling water and scissors, and tying sheets to a bed post to turn a baby if needed. Funny, huh? I was sure they knew their stuff, but that their knowledge was limited to oh, the mid-1950′s. Wrong!
Midwives actually go through very intensive training, including board certification! I’ve been really impressed with the medical knowledge and experience the midwives have at the birthing center. My particular midwife has been delivering babies for a lot of years! She knows her medical stuff AND she approaches it from a more natural viewpoint. We talk about avoiding toxins, essential oils, and herbs at my appointments as well as do more ‘normal’ ob check-up things like listen to the baby’s heartbeat – SUCH a beautiful sound!! (and discuss how I should gain less weight in this coming month. <G>)
I’m actually looking forward to the delivery. If you’d talked to me oh, a week ago, that was NOT the case at all! My deliveries with the first two babies were fine, in that everyone came out healthy, but it was really just something to be endured. I was still so shaken up from S’s delivery that I cried on her first birthday, just from the memories. The short version is that my labor went really quickly (a couple of hours from start to finish) and there was zippo time for the pain meds I’d wanted. She came out, nice and healthy, but I had no coping skills for how to do anything to relieve any of the pain.
While you could fit what I know about natural delivery in a thimble at the moment, I have hope that it can go better than just grit-my-teeth and muscle through it! My adrenaline was sky-high with S’s birth and I was definitely in “fight” mode. I’d like to learn how to release those nice endorphin friends instead. My friend and neighbor is a nurse midwife, and she is starting to talk to me about places to massage/squeeze to help release pressure during contractions, water birth, and other fun topics like that.
The Birthing Center
The birthing center itself is set up to be a peaceful place. Peaceful. Ahh. Not bright white lights, laying flat on the bed.
Doesn’t that look like a nice place to deliver? What you don’t see at first glance (or even second) is the medical equipment that is at the ready, just in case. While they can (and do!) transfer mamas to a hospital if need be, they’re equipped to handle a fair amount of things themselves. Several recent studies conducted on birthing centers found that they are safe and provide good outcomes for moms and babies.
Have you had experience with a midwife? Would you consider that route for your next delivery?