Friday, January 18, 2013

Why we chose a midwife

When I first got married I was far from "crunchy". I LOVED my Hormonal BC and thoughts it was the best thing for my body. If you'd have asked my mother and sister, I was the polar opposite of how I think today in so many ways.
Years have gone by (7+ to be a bit more exact) and I've learned things. My road to crunch-ville has been slow and is still ongoing. I learn more each day. I thought some might wonder how I got to where I am today. And I wanted to share. 

About 7 months before we got pregnant I started feeling really convicted about how my BC worked. I had originally gone on it before getting married due to really bad menstrual cycles. I had migraines, my body was irregular, cramps that made me cry and want to curl up and die. I am sure there are women out there that have it harder, and some who don't. We each have our own crosses to bear. This is not a competition. This is just my story.
Any who the meds made it better. My cycle was predictable and easier. My migraines where better and I felt better. Then I got married and I thought "well I don't even have to think about BC, it's taken care of! What a relief!"
So anyways I did some reading on how the meds worked. I read that they made my uterus basically "less likely" to allow an egg fertilized or otherwise to implant and grow. I also read that it made my cervical mucus thicker and harder for sperm to pass through.
There is some research that shows that due to these things an egg can't possibly get fertilized in the first place, but it's a very small amount of research. I became uneasy.

I'll be honest I do not know where life begins. And this isn't a debate on when that happens. For me Once I know I'm pregnant regardless of how small the baby is, it's a baby. It's not a fetus, or an embryo. It's a baby. A life. And I want it with my whole heart. The idea that I could have been pregnant before even if it was a slim possibility and not allowed my body to give the life a place to grow made me sick. I cried, I was very upset.
Now as a christian I believe my husband is the spiritual leader of our home. I also believe I gave my body to him when we got married. And he gave his to me. As a result of that, and because he IS my best friend and the person who's opinion matters most I had to have a discussion with him before I went "off" the BC.
It took me explaining my reading, and a lot of praying for both of us. We came to the decision together to leave BC pills behind.
We where very careful and I charted my basal body temp and charted to keep track of my fertility. And within a month of trying we got pregnant! I was so excited! I immediately called my OBGYN who'd prescribed the BC for me. I liked her. I wanted a Female DR. And at this point the only "crunchy" thing I did was go see a chiropractor for my back and migraines.
I was nervous. This is where my list comes in. 

1.) I am a person not a number
I went in and had to fill out millions of pieces of paperwork. Not just for the dr though. For the various companies that wanted to send me samples and such. Fine I like free stuff as much as the next person. And while I was planning to breastfeed for simple and pure economics I liked the bag the formula company had sitting on the counter to show what you "got" when you gave birth and headed home. 
I had to see a "pregnancy Educator" first. And she was cold and pushy. Gave me tons of pamphlets which leads to number 2. 

2.) I do not want to be pushed into interventions I don't want when other options exist
I was open to pain meds at this point. But I KNEW I did NOT want an epidural. I am scared of needles. Having one in my arm when I give blood makes my blood pressure go up, makes me nauseated, and dizzy.
I can handle anything else but NOT an Epi.
"Well they aren't really all that bad! It's not a big needle you know. And it helps SO Much. Here let me send you home with a pamphlet to read over!" </shoves pamphlet in bag of "goodies">

After waiting for what seemed like forever for an appointment that should have been 1.5 hours (took nearly 3) I was sick of it. I was fed up. That night I was reading my Birth board on What To Expect and seeing these other mom's mention how well their first appointment went made me decide something was missing.
We decided we'd switch to another OBGYN. I called my friends, Got a recommendation and was planning to make an appointment.

That weekend we went to whole foods. It's in a VERY busy area so we rarely go. But we went. I can't remember why at this point. While there I picked up a local holistic free magazine called "Awakenings". I was flipping through it and saw an add in the back for a midwife. What was special about this add was it was for a midwife I'd known very well and forgotten about. Her name is Susan Smart. And she taught a few of our classes in Co-op. (yes I was home schooled! And proud of it.) She was practicing then too and I remembered thinking it was weird but also being intrigued  Of course back then the idea of sex was gross and also weird so not really valid. lol

I decided to look into midwives. And doula's and the whole nine yards. I watched "the business of being born," I read blogs about home births, birth center births, unassisted birth. I watched videos on youtube, and anywhere else I could find. And then I found water birth. My mind was made up that's when I realized I'd been leaving a critical part of my thinking process out of this equation. 

3.) My body is not broken let me labor as I needI am fearfully and wonderfully made! My God can supply all my needs! I am not broken! And isn't he able to provide me with someone who is skilled to care for me and my baby? Isn't he the one who formed my womb? Isn't he the one who gave women the ability to give birth? I do not want to be put on a hospitals time table. I want to give birth and labor as I need. and I won't know how that is till I get there!

4.) I was created to give birth
I believe God created my Body perfectly. And that my birth would/will happen the way it should. I want to treat that body and baby's temporary home without meds and without interventions. I read that normal first births can last for DAYS! And if in a hospital Dr's will push interventions to speed the process along.
It won't be said that way OF COURSE. It will be, "You seem tired why don't we give you an epi so you can rest? Or well your waters been broken for 12 hours so your risk of infection is higher. We should do a Csection so you and baby are ok."
No thank you! Not for me. 

So we made an appointment with Mrs. Smart. After talking with her on the phone and learning the difference between a midwife and a doula and knowing I couldn't have a water birth in the hospital (to much risk to their insurance companies) I knew what I wanted. And hubby was on board.
We toured the birth center she works with, Discussed likely hood of complications, common tests, how treatment at home works, etc. 

5.) I wanted natural methods for treating common pregnancy ailments
I'm not crunchy at this point. But am one who knows that anything done to mom's body can affect baby. As such I don't even paint my nails or color my hair during pregnancy. I feel extremely guilty if I wear makeup or drink a caffeinated beverage (even though studies show a tiny bit is ok and can even be calming!)
So when my midwife told me that I could use papaya for my heartburn, (and it tasted like candy) and B6 for my nausea (and they worked) I was so excited! Something that was good for my body and helped!

6.) Cost !$$$$
I am a thrifty Cheapskate at heart. This is a major part of why I wanted to breastfeed. All the perks for mom and baby where just plus sides. And though my view on that has changed now that's why I wanted to originally. And I also wanted to Cloth Diaper for the same reason.
When I learned that in many cases a NORMAL uncomplicated Vaginal birth in the hospital with no epi's or anything fancy can be over 10,000.00 I was shocked! Then add in the epi, anesthesiologist, doctor's fees, and oh what if something does go wrong? Then what? More cost.
I"m young and Healthy and as long as tests show I stay that way there was no reason not to have a home birth. 

7.) Safer than a hospital birth
My midwife showed us a printout form a study that the British Medical Journal did and it was way safer. Mostly because, there are no big "interventions" to speed the process up.
Now that is not true for everyone. 

8.)  Trained in normal childbirth
There are certain cases where home birth isn't safer. Such as if the mom has Pre E, or GD, or is VERY VERY past due or VERY early.
The midwife herself can make a huge difference too. In my area there is one midwife that I do not know many people who recommend  Her rate of transfers to the hospital are alarming and simply put, if she'd not taken the patient or done things different when signs of complication arose this might not be the case. 
It can also depend on your midwives experience and if she works with an OBGYN.
My Midwife works with an OB form North Carolina who comes down to check her and the others she works with to basically provide peer reviews. If he recommends a change they listen because he is wise. Peer reviews happen in Mental health practice and in my opinion should happen in all forms of medicine but that's another story.
So tests are preformed at every checkup. The midwife has you weigh yourself, takes a urine sample, and asks questions about your eating habits. and overall health and state. You do a GD test, and can opt for ultrasounds, or not, Group be Strep or Not, And if you want the other tests preformed in utero they can write a order for you to have them at the hospital.
A good midwife carry's oxygen, And some meds and herbs with her to help with common ailments like hemorrhaging  and tearing. I was given pitocin after birth as a precaution to prevent post pardum hemorrhage. And an herb to help deliver the placenta quickly. 

9.) Sharing my faith
I remember being very upset and nervous about one test. And my Midwife could tell I was upset. She asked me what was wrong and if I needed to talk about anything. (common for our visits as midwifes treat the whole person not just the pregnancy) I shared my fears with her and broke down in tears. (YEAH hormones) She listened then asked me softly, "would you like me to pray with you about it?"
There are midwives in all faiths, or even atheists. Just like Doctors. Finding one who Meshes with you and your beliefs is so important. Asking little question like what faith do you practice? And how do you encourage mom in labor can make all the difference in a home birth. You have to trust your midwife completely.
I remember all my doubts and fears melting away with those simple words. And that was it. It was ok. 

10.) Bedside manor (is not having a rotating OBGYN)
This reason is small but something that bothers me about many OBGYN practices. I don't like the fact that I am building up a relationship with mostly one person but he/she might not be working when my baby is born. So guess what doctor B, C or D, might deliver your baby instead. So you have to rotate which doctor you see t the practice.
Maybe you choose Dr A because they share your ideals about birth but Dr D doesn't. What happens if he is on call when you give birth. Maybe Dr B makes you nervous, or you plain don't like Dr C. Sorry they're on call to deliver your wonderful bundle of joy.
with a midwife you have that one person, and her helper/s. That's it. You develop a relationship. they work their hardest to give you the birth you want so long as baby is safe. And while you might not get to deliver in the water like you wanted (Me) baby is born with the person you wanted there. 

These are just a few of the reasons we choose a midwife. I'm sure hubs will remind me of other's later. But I wanted to share since some might wonder how I came down my crunchy path. :) I can't wait to have our next one and do it all over again! 

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