On choosing a midwife

I just wanted to share my thoughts on this because I think it was the single most important decision we made as far as having the natural birth experience we wanted. At the beginning of my pregnancy I wasn’t sure exactly the experience we wanted. I’d heard such wonderful things from women who had home births. But our HMO wouldn’t cover any of the cost, and we were looking at possibly having to move a month before the baby was born. So ultimately it just didn’t feel like the right thing to do.

On the other end of the spectrum, we could have gone a more traditional route and stuck with the ob/gyn we saw for the first 3 or 4 months of the pregnancy. I really liked her. But that office was always a zoo with a busy waiting room and cranky receptionists. And when the doctor tried to talk us out of having a doula, I knew we weren’t going to necessarily be on the same page about a lot of things.

So once we eliminated those possibilities we were left with the middle ground: find a midwife who delivers at a hospital (birth centers weren’t covered under our insurance either). Suddenly our options went from about 30 midwives to 3. I was really shocked that the options were so few. Part of that was due to the insurance issue, but part of it is that there are a lot of rules and restrictions that make it hard for midwives to work in a hospital setting in California. So we chose one of the three and started working with her (Lindy Johnson, if anyone is interested).

Right away things were different. At most the waiting room consisted of us and one other person at any given time. While I waited for her to finish her last appointment I would do my own pee test and weight check so that was done by the time we met. She never said anything about my weight, which took off a lot of pressure. But because she is an actual nurse, she paid careful attention to all the bloodwork and tests I had done outside her office. She actually caught that my thyroid numbers were off and sent me to resolve that issue, which turned out to be OK.

I love that she made a great deal of effort to include Mike in every part of the process. She assured us that there were no stupid questions. And believe me, we asked them all. The main thing, though, is that a midwife’s philosophy is all about trusting the natural process and not worrying you unnecessarily. During the last month, we didn’t have any ultrasounds, heart monitoring, cervical checks or anything else invasive. Because everything was fine.

Also, when we went to write our birth plan (which we didn’t even end up needing, ha), I didn’t even include half of the things we wanted because by having a midwife we were going to get them automatically. I’ll go over that more in my birth story later, but it was nice just to have that weight off our shoulders.

I remember towards the end of my labor, we called Lindy around 3 a.m. and she asked me if I was feeling afraid of anything at that point. It was such an important question as far as getting me to let go of anything I was holding onto, but I wonder how much it gets asked in a medical setting.

So if I had to do it over, I would absolutely choose to have a midwife again. Their model of care just makes sense to me. And after having spent 2 days in the hospital post-birth I really question whether or not I would do that again. I think a birth center would be ideal, or home if it was comfortable enough. I’d be willing to change our insurance to have the options. As long as everything is going smoothly, why mess with Mother Nature? She knows what she’s doing.