Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Road to midwifery: Background

I get asked all of the time what led me to go with a Midwife this time around. This questions normally comes with stares of confusion and concern (ha!) and tons of other questions. Naturally, the sames reactions I once had. This will be long, but hopefully helpful to others.

About five years ago, shortly after I married my husband, my mother-in-law started teaching me more and more about natures remedies. I learned a lot about herbs, our bodies, good digestion and its affect on the body etc. In the last few years, I've become more inclined to try a natural route to fixing something in my body before calling or going to the doctor. Does that mean that is what I always do, no, sometimes you just need a doctor.

So when my OBGYN announced that I'd need a c-section with my son Kai because of his breech position, I did what every other person trusting their doctors would do...I went along with it. I late blogged about this decision **click here** That blog says several things I want to point out. First, it shows my initial disappointment about not starting to labor. Then, it shows how completely fine and in control I began to feel about the c-section. But, lastly, it shows that I realize my bonding with the baby doesn't get to begin right away. I'll never forget when I realized that....I threatened Chad's life that no one could touch the baby (besides him) before we were in the mother baby room...I told him this frantic over the phone one day (is it weird that I remember exactly where I was on the highway when this conversation took place??).

My planned C-Section went as perfectly as they could. Easy, little stress, healthy baby...But there are parts that I have never felt right about. How scared I was when they took my into the OR alone to get a spinal. I remember wanting to cry as I was hunched over thinking, "where is my husband?" How I saw Kai and took a few pictures but then he was wisked to the nursery for clean up. I remember sitting alone in the recovery room because obviously everyone wanted to see the baby and feeling alone. I remember my mom being the only one to come back and check on me while everyone was still looking at the baby. And then, the IV drugs started coming...I remember everyone in my room and me dry heaving in front of my pastor...which really hurt considering my incision. I remember the nurse trying to deal with a drugged me and a sleepy baby for a good nursing session and forcing my boob in his mouth. I "remember" the day, but its all cloudy after I left recovery. I was drugged heavily and saying odd things....which I remember saying even though they were so dumb. I remember the day, but in no way is it clear to me.

What's funny is even after all of those things I can easily remember disliking, I still always swore I'd have another c-section. Why not, was my thought.

Flash forward to 2008. It was becoming increasingly more clear that Chad and I were going to stay self-employed which means self-employed health insurance. We'd been kinda holding out on baby #2 hoping to get better insurance (you know, to cover the c-section I wanted) and, well, the full on fever hadn't hit yet. I remember the day the "I have to have another baby right now" feeling came about. It was right when I was starting to see progress with Kai's speech in April of last year. So, I started calling around to my Dr. and asking questions about prenatal care and delivery costs and then the hospital for average stay costs. See, self-employed insurance will not cover maternity care. They'll cover complications due to pregnancy, but nothing else....NICE. So glad I give them $300/month. Clearly, a c-section was not a option for me any more. I mean, I could buy a car for the going rate of a c-section. I just wanted a baby!

Going rate for an OB in my area for cash customers $3k. Average hospital stay for mom and baby after an uncomplicated delivery $3-5k. Ouch, but not impossible.

My next step was meeting with my doctor (whom I LOVE). First thing he says is, "Great, when you get pregnant will just schedule your next c-section!" Um, wait a minute? So I ask about a VBAC (vaginal birth after c-section)....his face turns, "Why would you want to do that??" Okay, this isn't the response I had wanted at all. I mean, I know I was all pro-csection, but...don't I get an option. He finally said he'd let me try, but if anything starts to go awry at first sign its another c-section....oh, and no epidural (what, are they trying to scare me here?!??!). So, we start trying to have a baby. In the mail the following month my OB drops my insurance. Bummer.

Over the summer, while talking to some friends with two young daughters, I discovered she used a midwife. Huh? But she's so young and hip (go ahead, judge, I'm being honest!). Most of the midwife users (who I all love - BTW!!) in know are my church friends (not to mention my crunchy mother-in-law), these are the first people from my outside life that have gone this direction. (not that it matters, but i think the point is I realized it wasn't just for the church going homeschool *crunchy* moms) She's starts telling me about her experiences and how great they were. She'd had a previous hospital birth and said that as nervous as she was about birthing at home (her husband was the original midwife promoter), the experience was far better with her homebirths. Then she explains birthing centers to me. Wait, there is an option that is not at home and not at a hospital?? So, a seed was laid.

Once I'm pregnant, I'm completely excited about having a vaginal birth. Getting to have that experience that I missed the time before is pumping me up. So, time to find a new OB. I choose a DO whom I had heard was much more on the natural side of things. I go in, all is going well, I announce the desire to have a VBAC and again, the tone changes.

Let me interject here, I totally get that some women are not good candidates for a VBAC. Especially those women that may have had an emergency c-section, but remember, that isn't my case...I just had a breech baby, period!

So doctor #2 says, "Well that is fine, if you'd like to try, BUT: no epidural, if you don't go into labor on your own by your due date we'll cesection you that day, and at the first sign of any distress you'll have another csection." Way to have confidence in my body people!! But, I agree.

In the meantime, I start looking for a doula. Heck, if I have to labor without an epidural I'm going to have someone trained in natural labor by my side since you know the doctor isn't going to be there during labor. While looking for a doula everything kept coming up midwives.

Ah, midwives, long skirted, no makeup-ed, hippie ladies who arrive at your home and catch your baby in the dark and leave you, right?!?! It was then that I started to reflect back to my summer conversation with a friend...maybe I should research this a little more. So, I get the name of the midwife she used and get to googling.

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