Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Midwhiffery: The Midwife Ramblings

First off, did you know that midwifery is pronounced "mid-WHIFF-ery"? After my midwife said it that way I started trying to remember if I had said "midwifery" in my conversations with her, because I had probably said it wrong. We English majors don't like to say words wrong.

And now to the ramblings:

I started my search for a midwife with Melissa, the midwife my sister-in-law used for her home birth. We walked in and I felt like her waiting room was a secret tool to psychoanalyze us...are we the sort of couple that chooses the birthing ball, the beanbag, the shiny leather sofa, or stools? Austin and I sat upright in the sofa, (Yes, analyze that--we are not super natural people.) I was feeling really nervous, and yet a little powerful--I didn't know you could interview your healthcare provider...I always thought you just looked online and then went in for an appointment and hoped for the best.

With this appointment, Austin thought Melissa and her assistant were nice but trying to hold back their fanaticism, (although he later admitted they might have just been passionate about what they do) he asked some questions about his main concern, insurance, then he was super bored. The whole interview was an interesting experience to me, not only because I was the one actually having the baby, but because normally if I want out of tests or question why things are done a certain way, I feel like I'm an inconvenience to my health care providers--rocking the boat, so to speak. Here I felt like I would be out of place if I wanted every standard pregnancy test available without asking what it was and what the point of it was. I felt like I was welcome, my questions were welcome, and I could totally see myself giving birth with these women standing by. They ended the appointment by giving me a little plastic model baby the size of the baby I was currently carrying, which Sammy immediately appropriated when we got home, dubbing it "Peach Baby" and locking it in her treasure box.

Picking a midwife is kind of a big deal when you're doing a home birth. She is there all the time, from exstensive prenatal care to labor to postnatal baby and mom care, not just dropping in for 10 minute appointments and (hopefully) showing up to catch the baby. I called my sister-in-law to ask for some advice for interviewing, and she said, "The first thing to do is to make sure the midwife isn't crazy." That seemed a little broad to me, but the more I thought about it the more I saw the truth there: make sure your midwife is ready and willing to send you to the doctor if you have risk factors, make sure she has a good track record, make sure her world view dovetails nicely with yours, etc.

So back to my first interview: I felt like I could give birth very confidently with Melissa, but is using the first midwife you interview like buying the first house you look at? It seemed precipitous. Austin was rooting for me to give birth with a midwife in the hospital to save him thousands of dollars, so we also went and interviewed with a midwife associated with the local hospital. I didn't like that she charged me 25 dollars for the meet-and-greet first off, (normally they are free with midwifes) but I tried to keep an open mind. She was like a lesser version of Melissa. She was very nice, but didn't inspire quite the same confidence. Also, even though the hospital she's associated with bills itself as natural-friendly, the more she talked about how I just have to deal with the hospital procedures, try to ignore them, try to get through them as fast as possible, and oh yes--how they won't let her bring a birthing pool in, the more I realized that I just can't have the birth I want in a hospital, no matter how natural-friendly. Sorry, Austin.

After that, I wondered if I should interview more midwifes, just so I was doing my due diligence and not buying the first house. I googled "Midwife Red Flags" to see if I had missed something important in my interview with Melissa, and the more I read about all the things a midwife could do wrong, the more I felt like my midwife was a rock star based on the information I had about her. After prayer and birth stories and conversations that helped me know my decision was right for me, I let Melissa know I wanted to use her as my midwife. I immediately felt like a rock star myself when she sent me a ton of information: what books to read, food to eat, what all the prenatal and infant tests mean, labor positions, etc. You know the sort of care that Angelina Jolie must get when she goes in to her health care provider for prenatal care? I felt like Angelina Jolie. I suddenly viewed my previous health care providers with scorn, and vowed to never return to a practice where I'm not treated like a Very Important Person.

Thus ends the ramblings for now. Before I decided on birthing at home, I knew I wanted a midwife no matter where I had my baby because I needed a lot of physical, mental, and emotional support throughout pregnancy and labor. I had heard that I could get that with a midwife, and it looks like it's true!


Job and Rachael said...

Awesome! Good for you, I think that's an awesome way to go. I am excited to hear more about how the experience goes for you as I would like to do something similar someday.

Rebecca and Cody said...

I am so excited for you!! I am so glad that so many of my family members are pioneering, so that I can have lots of support and knowledge when it is my turn :)

K La said...

Meanwhile, here in CA, all I can find are the crazy kind of midwifes. Maybe I'll come live in UT for four or five months...

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