This is a borderline “Mommy Blog” post, please feel free to ignore. (It also got a little longer than originally anticipated.)
So Alycia at Habitual Homebody (another blogger, and blog, I am a pretty big fan of) wrote about the documentary The Business of Being Born the other day. This got me thinking: I’m pregnant, I’ve watched (and loved) TBoBB and I am going the route of midwife and doula instead of doctor – these things are very important to me and I should talk about them!
Why a midwife?
Well, several reasons:
- My doctor, a ridiculously adorable little Irish gentleman I adore, doesn’t “do babies” anymore. (He actually recommended I go with a midwife and then recommended the midwifery partnership I am currently under the care of.)
- I want to say that 95% of the women I know, locally (friends in other cities/provinces have gone with doctors), have had midwifery experiences. They rave about these experiences.
- This is how I figure it: doctors study pregnancy and delivery for a chapter out of their lives (I’m trivializing it, I understand that – it’s just to make a point). With all of the things they have to learn before they can practice, childbirth is not their main operation. Midwives, on the other hand, spend their entire education studying pregnancy, labour and delivery and the postpartum life of mothers, fathers and babies. This is absolutely their thing.
- I know exactly who will be attending the birth of my son. I actually have two midwives – they work as a partnership. One or the other of them will be in the delivery room with me. I have met with both of them, many times, through my appointments and check ups. There will be no substitutes (and no resident doctors).
- I will have midwifery care throughout my labour. They are there when serious labour starts and they stay until after the baby is born. They do not come, at the last minute, to “catch the baby.”
- My appointments are exactly as long as I need them to be. Our first meeting with the midwife took the better part of an hour. We were there on time, she took us in as soon as we arrived, and we chatted, about her getting-to-know-you questions and ours. Subsequent appointments, until recently (because we’re really just waiting for things to start happening at this point), have been at least fifteen minutes, usually closer to twenty-five. There is no waiting in a doctor’s office for twenty minutes (despite your early arrival) for a three-and-a-half minute appointment.
- Informed choice. Everything is outlined to you, from gestational diabetes tests to the dose of oxytocin given to you after you deliver your precious baby to help with the delivery of the placenta, and you have the choice of accepting these tests and procedures, or not accepting them. While I am certain that there are doctors who follow the same informed choice route, I am not confident that all of them do.
I am certain that I could come up with a few more reasons why I’ve chosen the midwife route, but these are the most important.
Why a doula?
For those of you who are unfamiliar with the term, this article sums the role of a doula up with considerably more finesse than I ever could: I’m not sure… Do I need a doula?
I have a very good friend who is a practising doula. I have been exposed to what she does for a number of years. That said, until a few weeks ago, even knowing what I know, I didn’t think I needed I doula.
The prenatal classes that my husband and I took were lead by a local doula with many hundreds of births under her belt. It was awesome! Now this doula, far beyond her wonderful prenatal classes and what we learned (the stages of labour, positions to take in labour, methods of remaining calm, what we could expect from the process of labour and delivery – including what we may be offered during labour and postpartum in terms of procedures and drugs – and breastfeeding techniques…to name a few things), showed herself to be a shining example of an advocate for pregnant women and families going through the birthing process. That, and she definitely brings The Sass, which is always important. After I asked her if she had the space to take me on as a client I told her: “I didn’t know I needed a doula until I met you.”
We could do it alone, folks. My midwives are amazing and my husband is the most phenomenal partner I will ever know, things would go smoothly without a doula there. Having said that? I feel so much more confident going into this experience with this “birth team” I have chosen. I don’t need a doula. But, at the same time? I need a doula.
Hospital or home birth?
This is always a fun conversation. Most of the people we have talked about midwifery care with ask: “are you having a home birth?” They always accompany that question with a look of complete insecurity and discomfort.
No, I am not having a home birth. I am very lucky to live where I live (BC, Canada). Not only do I have the choice of midwife or doctor as covered in my medical services plan, but the doctors, nurses and administrative staff of our hospital is very supportive and respectful of our midwife community. They have a great relationship. So yes, I will be delivering (if all goes according to plan) in the amazing maternity wing of our hospital.
Plus side? The “midwife room” in the delivery wing? HUGE birthing pool. That would be pretty skookum.
Am I against doctor care for pregnancy and delivery?
Absolutely not! Doctors are amazing people and I completely support the choice to go with your doctor for pregnancy, labour and delivery and postpartum needs. For me, it wasn’t the right choice. Your pregnancy, your comfort. That, above all, is what is important. If you’re more comfortable with your doctor and midwives make you leery, that is awesome. Great decision. Do what is best for you and that amazing little person you’re growing (or planning to grow).
What are my thoughts on pain-dulling interventions and cesarean sections?
I am not interested in any of them, but I understand, accept and support them entirely. If I have to have an epidural to get through a delivery that isn’t going the way I’d like, I’ll do it. If things take an unexpected turn and cesarean is the only way out? Bring it on. Ultimately, I would prefer a drug and surgery free delivery, but I am not opposed to them at all. It’s your birth, do what you need to do.
Not once did I think I would ever get this into the ins and outs of pregnancy. I still know virtually nothing, but I know that I have very strong beliefs about you. You (and your baby) are the most important part of this adventure. If you feel that your concerns and desires are coming second, question it. If you don’t like the answers, move on. Pregnancy should not ever be about discomfort, fear or worry. It is a pretty amazing thing and even labour and delivery are not things to worry too much about. It’s going to happen anyway, chances are it won’t tickle, but at the end of the day you get a baby and that’s a pretty great deal as far as I’m concerned. (And hey? Women have been doing this since there have been women to do this. I figure it’s only as big a deal as you make it. My philosophy: it is what it is.)
The single most important part of this process for me is the tiny person (of Doom) I get to meet soon. As long as I can get us through this and he’s healthy? At the end of the day, there is nothing more important.