Posted by: Ingrid | July 30, 2011

Midwives, prenatals, and homebirth

On Thursday I had my 28 week visit with my midwife, followed by a most welcome prenatal massage.  I was so relaxed I almost caught myself snoring at the end.  Embarrassing!

I have been amazed at how uneventful and unremarkable my prenatal visits have been the second time through.  I guess the first round of pregnancy you really can’t help being worried and high strung and wondering if that little bit of feta cheese that you ate on your salad is going to cause problems with the baby.  This time I feel pretty comfortable with what is happening and what I should be doing.  There just aren’t a lot of questions and in a lot of ways, the appointments, while slightly anticlimactic, are just what they should be.  I’m checking in and we’re making sure everything is ok.  Check the blood pressure, check how the baby is lying, check the heart beat.  The fact that I have only one more appointment in Ypsilanti, where the office is, makes it feel like things are progressing.  At that point, my midwife and her assistant get to make the trek to me for the next 6 plus prenatal appointments and the birth.

I did mention at some point that we are doing a home birth, right?  If not, consider it mentioned.

My experience with the hospital during Isaac’s birth (even though we are in a different state now) was enough to make me not want to go back to a hospital for a birth ever again, if I could help it.  That meant that a month after moving I was checking into midwives and birth centers because I wanted to know that there was something there if I suddenly got pregnant at two months postpartum.  I had friends tell me, when I’d interviewed and booked my midwife, that I was “so brave” to be doing a home birth.  In reality, I feel like it would take more effort and courage (and be a whole lot more stressful) if I were planning to give birth in a hospital.  Don’t get me wrong.  I’m so thankful that medical professionals and hospitals and C-sections are available when there are problems, but if I have the option I would rather stay home.

I have been meaning to jot down thoughts for a few months now, but since I haven’t, here are a couple of things I have noticed and appreciate about the experience with a midwife and the prospect of a home birth.

1.  I don’t have to interrupt labor to drive to a hospital.  This was painful and a horrible experience last time around, both the drive and the actual triage experience once we arrived.  I like the thought of labor being all in one piece and not broken up by travel, new people, and disruptions.

2.  I actually get the chance to ask questions.  Too bad I don’t really have any this time around!  I remember trying to fire off my list of questions as my 10 minute appointment with my doctor was winding down and she was edging towards the door.  It’s nice to have the time and space to talk and not feel like a burden or inconvenience.

3.  We can pick and choose the tests we do.  We opted for the mid- pregnancy ultrasound and initial bloodwork, but only will do the glucose testing if it seems necessary.  Also, there is no peeing in cups at every appointment.  I don’t miss that part at all.

4.  No scales involved.  In fact, my midwife doesn’t even check in as to the weight I’ve gained.  We talk about nutrition but the focus is on the individual and not a particular number that you should or shouldn’t see.  If I hadn’t gained weight at all or if I had a lot of weight gain and swelling we might talk, but if things are progressing nicely, weight gain is a non-issue.

5.  The concept of pregnancy and birth feels so… normal.  It’s taken for granted that as a woman, my body is made to give birth.  This is very reassuring and it feels more like being cared for and less like having a condition “managed”.

6.  I have control over the environment, my activities, and my body during labor.  This is perhaps the biggest thing for me.  This is my labor and my birth.  I don’t want to be “allowed” to move when I’m told I can.  I don’t want to be hooked to a monitor on my back.  I don’t want nurses disapproving and getting me to sign paperwork when I walk in and refuse an IV.  I want to have a baby.  And I want to do it as much on my terms as I possibly can.

7.  I can use a birth pool!  I still remember the day I took at class at Kaiser and saw a  door marked Labor Pool.  I was so excited until I discovered that it was a room where worker’s were supposed to gather in case of emergency.  In other words, the room where the laborers pool.  I am really excited to have the birth pool option this time around.

8.  From the side of me that loves saving money, homebirth is by far the better option.  I think a typical hospital birth would be around $10,000-$15,000 and a good chunk of that would have to come out of pocket.  The fee for everything with my midwife is less than $2,000 for all visits and the birth.

9.  There are 6 postpartum visits!  And five of them will be at our home.  Six visits!  Part of me thinks that’s crazy but part of me loves the care and focus that’s put on the time after the birth.  There is so much that happens in those first six weeks that I’m glad to have those visits set in place.

10.  I love the comfort aspect of it all.  The longer prenatals are helping develop a feeling of security and comfort with our midwife.  And during the birth and labor I can be in a familiar place surrounded by familiar things and people.  I know what to expect and I can prepare, knowing what I am working with.

In fact, I think the only part I will miss about a hospital birth is the two days of care they give, bringing food and taking the baby to measure and such.  I liked that part (except not the fact that the nurses would come in at 2 am for vital signs).  But maybe Isaac will be ready to make me breakfast in bed by the time he’s 26 months old, right? 🙂

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Responses

  1. Love it. If/when I ever get pregnant, I’m a total fan of the mid-wife experience (esp up here as they are very regulated in BC)…and the more I read of other’s labour stories, the more I like the idea of a home birth…would just have to talk hubby into it 🙂

  2. this post makes me happy. 🙂 i’m excited for you as you go through this adventure! do you think you’ll keep isaac at home, or have someone watch him, so you and clint can focus on the baby rothell birth?

  3. I don’t think most moms get two days anymore!

  4. Wow! While reading this blog, I felt like it was me talking, bc our view points on birth the second time around and our experience in the hospital is very similar in the area of our feelings about it. Great choice with the home birth and using a NMW. As an RN and having used a NMW myself and labored in water the first time around, I know you’re making the right decision for yourself. Congrats on baby number 2 and this experience:)


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