On a personal note, I had a midwife throughout my entire pregnancy and present at my birth. In my town, our regional medical center works with an entire staff of midwives, with their office right next to the main hospital. It was truly an ideal situation, and know I even use the midwives for the gynecology services as well.
I’ve alway had serious anxiety around doctor’s and hospitals, so my first thought when I became pregnant was that I need to research alternative forms of medicine during my pregnancy and birth. I’m a huge advocate for natural births and no medical intervention, so my choice between a midwife and a traditional doctor was a no-brainer for me. Although at first, I allowed outside opinions to influence my choice. Due to this, I initially went to a popular obstetrician in our town. I was immediately uncomfortable upon entering the building. The waiting room was full of women, and the front desk personnel were all rude and seemed stressed out. Not an ideal situation for a first time pregnant woman who was already feeling anxious about everything anyway. At the end of the appointment, I received a folder FULL of papers, pamphlets, and so many unnecessary things. Information overload. Half of the things in there did not even pertain to me in anyway. And then I happened upon a paper, and this little paper made my decision for me: “Dear valued patient.” Dear valued patient? Really? I have a name, my child has a name, I am a human being. Not just another number in your computer.
That’s when I decided I needed a more personalized experience. At first I saw an independent midwife…and she lived about an hour away from me. I loved her, but I didn’t like the idea of her being that far away from me. The family I was nannying for at the time referred me to the midwives association of our town. Upon my first visit, I was already 20 weeks pregnant (I’m not kidding when I say I was super picky about what I wanted). I fell in love with the practice. There were five midwives, as opposed to the TEN doctors from the first practice. I met every single one, and they took the time to ask personal questions and really get to know where I was coming from, and how I wanted my pregnancy and birth to go. I was ready to have my baby with them.
So then the time came. Around 4am on October 16th, I felt strong contractions…which immediately became active labor. I called my midwife panicking, for the woman who was so adamant about natural birthing procedures was now yelling, “I don’t care what I said before, I need drugs.” My baby daddy and I hi-tail it to the hospital, arriving around 6:30am. My midwife checked me out and pronounced me 8cm dilated. Yeah, sh** was moving fast. Even though things were going quickly, my midwife was the epitome of calm. I swear she was a doula and midwife all wrapped into one. Quiet and sweet, coaxing me along in a calming “yogi” voice. The only time she touched me was to check Athena’s heartbeat as she made her way down. At 8:30am…my midwife literally caught Athena as she made her way into this world. Midwives are often nicknames “baby-catchers,” and truthfully so. She knew that I wanted no medical intervention, and talked me out of any drugs, and I could not have been more grateful to her. I went from wanting a home birth with an independent midwife, to having a hospital birth with a practicing midwife from an association. My birth was an empowering experience, and I truly have my midwife to thank for that.
A few more things to take into consideration: a midwife is only a good choice if you are a low-risk pregnancy and plan on having a drug free birth. If you are a high risk, most midwifery practices will not accept you as a patient, as most midwives do not perform C-sections. Midwives are also advocates of a natural birth, so if you know you want an epidural, it might also be in your best interest to see a traditional doctor. I’m not here to convince someone either way, I’m simply here to share my story with everyone in the hopes that it may help a future mother make an important decision. Birth is sacred and beautiful and every mother has the right to be heard and appreciated during this intense and life-changing process.