On Choosing a Midwife*

A while ago I promised to write a post about my decision to see a midwife instead of an obstetrician.

I’ve had it rattling around in my head for weeks, but I felt I couldn’t properly write about my decision and the experience thus far until I had actually met my midwife.

But let’s back up a little, shall we?

As soon as I announced my pregnancy to my family in early June, my sister immediately encouraged me to contact a midwife. I was still trying to wrap my head around the idea that there was a baby inside me, let alone the part where it would actually come out.

If you remember, my perfect little nephew was born last February. It was Peeah’s second child, and with this pregnancy she decided to try having a midwife at the birth instead of an OB, which she had with Pingo. Both she and her husband said the experience was very different.

It was much  better.

Her only concern was that where she lives, it’s extremely difficult to get a midwife. She needed to call almost as soon as she found out that she was pregnant to be able to get a space, as unlike an OB, you (ideally) have your midwife’s complete focus on the day of the birth.

Which naturally means they can’t take on as many clients.

Anyway. When she initially suggested that I start calling to save a space with a midwife in my area, I wasn’t ready. In fact, it took me another 10 weeks  to really feel ready to start planning and preparing for the wee-bean’s grand entrance into the world.

So, I went to the master: Google.

I really hadn’t thought about much by this point, but I did know one thing for sure: I wanted to have this baby in a hospital. And not just any hospital, I wanted it to be at mine.

After some searching I found out that there were two large midwife groups in my region. After doing a little digging, I learned that one of the groups had privileges at my hospital. I read through their profiles and decided to make the call.

Luckily for me, they had a space on my due date. They gave me a date for a meet-and-greet, and told me I could make my final decision after an information session.

I had been discussing options with the Hubster, and throughout this entire pregnancy he has just wanted me to make decisions that will make me feel comfortable with the experience. As soon as I told him that I was considering a midwife, he was completely on board… and we went to the first information session together.

That first night was just a basic introduction to midwifery services, and why more and more people are opting to have a midwife instead of an OB at their birth. The information presented wasn’t new to me, so at the end of the session I felt ready to commit and was ready to make my first appointment.

As it turned out, the woman who had done the presentation ended up becoming my secondary midwife.

With this group, each woman is assigned to a primary midwife. For the most part, this midwife will complete most of your prenatal check-ups and spend several weeks developing a relationship with you. But, as babies are not always predictable, sometimes situations arise where your primary midwife is already at a birth when you go into labor. In that instance, your secondary midwife steps in.

So, I was thrilled to have already met my secondary, but I was more than ready to meet my primary midwife. Unfortunately, she was on holidays during the time I needed to have my next appointment, but it gave me an opportunity to get to know my secondary midwife a little better.

My first appointment was last month. I really wasn’t sure what to expect, so I arrived early and sat in the cozy waiting room while I waited to go in. Until this point I had been seeing my family doctor for all my prenatal check-ups, and I was hoping for the same standard of care I had received from my doctor (whom I really, really like).

My secondary (Coleen*) immediately put me at ease. She began by telling me about her background (18 years as an RN before switching to midwifery) and we spent most of my appointment going over my medical history and talking about how I was feeling. I didn’t feel rushed, and really liked her friendly, professional manner. Most of visit was spent in discussion, and before I left she checked my blood pressure, belly measurements and the baby’s heartbeat.

And that was that.

Do I regret waiting so long to begin my midwife appointments? No. For me, I needed the continuity and familiarity of my doctor as I navigated through the early months of my pregnancy. But did I have anything to fear about the midwives? Absolutely not.

After my first visit I scheduled my next appointment where I knew I’d finally meet Olivia*, my primary midwife: the woman who would deliver my baby.

I’m not going to lie, I was a bit anxious. I was worried that we wouldn’t get along, or that I’d get the wrong “vibe” from her and wouldn’t feel comfortable enough with her to go through this experience.

I couldn’t have been more wrong. She’s young-ish (early thirties), very professional and very nice. I was immediately impressed with her easy-going and soft-spoken demeanor–she made it clear that I was in complete control of everything to do with my pregnancy, and that she was there to guide and support me. She took her time and spent almost an hour reviewing my history, how I’m feeling, and gave me options on tests I can have done. I left the office feeling reassured that everything was on track and that I’m not doing so badly at this whole pregnancy thing.

So, even though I’ve only just met her, I feel confident that I made the right choice. I have absolutely nothing against OBs, I’ve just heard stories and experiences from people I know that initially made me lean toward having a midwife, and meeting Olivia confirmed my choice.

I love that the office feels warm, and comfortable.

I love that I feel like I am in control–I don’t feel like I’m being pressured to make certain decisions.

I love knowing that I can have the baby in my hospital, so that should anything go wrong, I have every option available to me.

I love knowing that Olivia will be with me every step of the way through my labor and delivery.

I love that with a midwife I can be released from the hospital 4 hours after the birth if I choose, instead of 24 hours.

I love knowing that after the birth, Olivia will come and do my initial check-ups in my home so I don’t have to go out.

Mostly I love that I am already meeting with and developing a relationship with the person who is going to deliver our daughter.

So far: midwife = win!

 

 

 

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