Why, hello there!
I’ve been on a blogging hiatus for months now and I apologize! My excuses come in the form of being too busy, too tired, or just plain too lazy. I’ve lacked inspiration recently and didn’t have much to share. However, as I have just turned 37 weeks pregnant, I now have a bit to say!
As you probably know, I started this pregnancy with an OB/GYN. I chose to leave that practice for a home birthing midwife after I felt pressured into, what was for me, an unnecessary intervention. Considering that my son was born at 36.5 weeks, only a few days from being full-term, the OB had to recommend that I begin weekly hormone shots to prevent pre-term labor with this baby. I was skeptical considering that all due dates are predictions (not necessarily accurate!) and that my son was born perfectly healthy and at a good weight. However, when I pushed for a discussion about the shots, I was met with the standard party line of “this is what is recommended.” I didn’t like the lack of open communication (and from earlier discussions, I knew that the OB was only pushing the shots for liability reasons) so I left and found my wonderful midwife.
And wouldn’t you know, here I am at 37 weeks pregnant, still housing a full-term baby girl…and I didn’t take the “recommended” shots.
Last week was National Midwife Week so I wanted to take a few moments to jot down some of the reasons I have loved my midwife.
Open Communication – I have truly felt like I could ask my midwife anything. She has happily answered any question openly and iss never in a hurry to end an appointment. Moreover, every time there has been a “recommended” test, my midwife clearly explained the reason for it, possible complications, and alternatives. I was always asked “do you want this test?” and my answer was respected. With my first pregnancy, I assumed I had to submit to any recommended test or, deep down, I knew I’d be met with great opposition and possible rejection as a patient should I have resisted. For example, glucose testing is a standard and largely unchallenged test given during a pregnancy. However, most women aren’t aware of the risks associated with one of the main ingredients used during the test nor are they aware that there are alternative ways to do the testing. Dr. Aviva Romm has a fantastic article detailing glucose testing, if you’re interested. I was able to say, “no thanks” to the disgusting glucose test and felt confident with the information I was given so that I would be aware enough of my body to recognize if I started to develop gestational diabetes.
No Rush – At almost every doctor’s appointment I’ve attended, I have had to wait a good chunk of time to be seen. My OB appointments were no exception, sometimes waiting for over an hour, even if I arrived on time. And then the average amount of time the OB would spend with me would be FIVE minutes. Even with my favorite OB, I could tell each appointment was overly standardized and impersonal (unimportant, even) because he used the exact same jokes at every appointment. When I switched to my midwife I was blown away by the fact that she allots 90 minutes for every appointment. Before my first visit, I told my husband that there was no way I’d spend the whole time there…I was wrong! Time flew by as we casually chatted like old friends and she strategically inserted any question she needed answered into our every day conversation. Additionally, there was one time I knew I’d be late because of traffic. Rather than stressing about missing my spot or delaying other patients (I am a very punctual person), I could relax because I knew that missing a few of the 90 minutes of time devoted to me wouldn’t cause any problems.
Ownership – Prior to visiting a midwife, I always thought of myself as a patient to which a doctor could poke or prod as needed. However, my midwife has given me ownership of my body and health in our appointments. If I choose to, I am in charge of weighing myself; of testing my urine; of deciding if I want to be “checked;” of taking swabs; etc. All were procedures that were “done” on me at the OB without any discussion. It was just assumed that I’d submit to all the procedures and I assumed I had to.
Accessibility – Gone are the days of only calling the doctor during business hours; of leaving messages; or of talking with an unfamiliar nurse. My midwife is accessible to me 24/7 via phone, email, or person. Unless there’s an emergency, my preferred method of communicating is email. It has been wonderful to be able to send a quick message to my midwife whenever I have a question or need reassurance. She has repeatedly stressed to me that I should call, even in the middle of the night, if I had any concerns. I rarely called my OB (preferring to consult the Internet) because I felt bothersome and/or it was unlikely that I’d even get to talk directly to the doctor.
One last note about my awesome midwife, she gives me a massage at every visit…how many OBs will do that?!
I’m excited for Baby Girl’s arrival and to share my experience of a home birth with you. I’m confident that I’ll only have more wonderful things to add about my midwife. If you’re considering having a baby, I definitely encourage you to check out the midwives in your area to see if one might be a good fit (even if you don’t want a home birth, many deliver in birthing centers and some even in hospitals!).