Why Our Family Chose a Midwife

Saturday, July 11, 2015

PHOTO BY ALEX WHITE PHOTOGRAPHY
Midwives are not the right choice for everyone, but if you are healthy and having a normal pregnancy it's an option you should definitely explore. This is about MY PERSONAL experience and I'm in no way telling anyone it's what they should do Using a midwife instead of an obstetrician was absolutely the right choice for our family.

I started researching my options when we were trying to get pregnant. I found The Business of Being BornEvidence Based Birth, and Birth Without Fear to be extremely helpful resources. These were the choices I came up with: 
  • Obstetrician in a hospital
  • Midwife in a hospital birth center
  • Midwife in a free standing birth center
    ^^^there is a difference between a hospital birth center and a free standing birth center
  • Midwife at home
  • I do know that some women choose a midwife for prenatal care and an obstetrician for delivery, but this was not an option I explored.
  • UC or Unassisted Childbirth
These choices aren't available everywhere as birth laws are done on a state level. You will need to find out what is available in your area.

We ruled out an obstetrician pretty quickly, and hospital midwives right after that. I did quite a bit of research within the local natural birth community, and talked to many midwives on the phone. By the time we were interviewing I was fairly set on a home birth, but Bryan wasn't super comfortable with the idea. We interviewed two midwives at a local birth center (who also did home births), and one midwife who offered only home birth service.  We ultimately chose the home birth only midwife (Sandra).

Birth is a natural, safe, and normal life event. When you interview a midwife she will also be interviewing you to make sure you are a candidate for midwife care. If you are not healthy or are having a high-risk pregnancy a midwife will not take you on as a patient.

Midwives offer evidence-based care. This could be a post all its own. Researching evidence-based care is what convinced my husband that this was our best choice. There are so many things that happen in a hospital that go against research evidence. Inductions, unnecessary medications like Pitocin, having moms labor on their backs, watching the clock, early umbilical cord clamping, taking baby away from mom for unnecessary procedures, and the list goes on and on and on.

Midwives give personal attention and respectful care. This is a major selling factor for midwife care. There is just no comparing a prenatal appointment with a midwife and one with an OBGYN. The care during birth is also hugely different. I say this NOT to convince you that OBs are bad. Their job is just different. 

My midwife was the one at all of my prenatal appointments, which, by the way, were at my house. She was the one responding to my phone calls and texts, even in the middle of the night. She knew me, she knew my husband, and she knew our anxieties. 

Birth outcomes are better with midwife care. Ask your OBGYN what their cesarean rate what last year. Search online and find out what your state's cesarean rate is, and also your hospital's. The rates are ridiculously high. Last I checked Texas's rate was somewhere around 35%. That means a third of all births are done surgically! That's absurd. My midwife's transfer rate - transfer, meaning they transferred to OB care but didn't necessarily end up with a cesarean - is only 9%.

No one "let" me do anything. One thing I cannot stand is hearing someone say, "oh my doctor won't let me do xyz" or my doctor said they might let me try to xyz." YOU are in charge of your body, your pregnancy, and your birth. They are there to GUIDE you and offer medical ADVICE. Even in the hospital! The doctors and nurses may be required to pressure you to do certain things but you are NOT under any obligation to comply! My midwife guided me and respected my choices.

At the end of the day, we felt confident. There was never any bullying or condescending remarks. I received proactive care rather than reactive. (Meaning, there was a strong focus on health/diet/exercise and things were handled with holistic medicine.) I felt empowered! And through that I was able to let go of anxiety and fear.

I'm working on writing our birth story. I can't wait to share my experience. Stay tuned.

11 comments :

  1. Thanks for sharing! I really want to try for a VBAC and I've been contemplating a mid wide it a doula. It's crazy to me how high the % is for cesareans.

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    1. A doula should be a requirement for VBACs! You can actually do it at home too. (HVBAC) But that's not for everyone. :) Just be careful with your choice of OB. It's common for them to do a bait and switch. They say they will "let" you try for a VBAC and then at 39 weeks it's all inductions and cesareans. You really need a good support system!

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  2. We're big advocates of home birth and have no regrets with our first (except an inexperienced midwife who was a bit overbearing). We are planning another home birth this fall - with a seasoned midwife. I look forward to the rest of your story. :)

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    1. I'm sure your midwife greatly affects the experience. That's such a bummer. But, on the upside of things your experience helped her learn and she'll do better for the next family. :) Are there many to choose from where y'all are?

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  3. We used a midwife for our daughter. =) At first it was because I wanted to do things more naturally, but as the pregnancy progressed I just didn't care as much. I did like how the midwife was very personal with me and helped with any questions I had, and was open to any kind of birth I wanted.

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    1. So glad you had a positive experience with your midwife? Where did you labor?

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  4. Having a midwife is about the only option I haven't been able to do with any of my pregnancies, so I'm a little jealous. I've had 2 scheduled c-sections, 2 VBACs, and one emergency c-section. With the complications I've gone through with my babies, a midwife birth just wasn't in the cards for me.

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    1. That's awesome that you were able to do 2 VBACs with an OBGYN! Did you have a doula for any of those?

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  5. wow I am only 21 so haven't thought much about childbirth but I never knew there were so many options. I literally had no idea there was so much to consider or that you even had choice in how you had your child delivered!
    I will definitely be revisiting this page when it comes to me having children!!

    withloveamrit♥

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  6. Thanks for sharing. I had a midwife at a hospital for my second birth and loved the intimate experience it gave me compared to my first birth, which was still great, but had a totally different feel with a doctor. There are so many choices to make about how you want to help your baby arrive and so many women do not even know there are other options so I'm so glad you are sharing your reasons! thanks again.

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  7. Thank you for sharing! This is great information for someone considering a midwife!

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Be kind. I'm just a mom behind a computer wearing yoga pants with unwashed hair. -k

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