Sunday, March 4, 2012

The Midwife, The Anesthesiologist, And Me

The Midwife: Part One

My sister wanted to know what it was like to have a midwife deliver Heather.  This post is my attempt at telling her what it was like. I am in no way telling you that you should have a midwife, but if it sounds like something you'd be interested in then go for it.  If not, I support you in whatever you choose.

Heather was delivered by my midwife, JoAnn.  It was magical.  She will never deliver another baby for me.  That was her decision, not mine.  And I'm not taking it personally.  But I think I'm getting ahead of myself.

The only image I had of midwives a few years ago was that of a wrinkly, bent old woman whose medical advice consisted of telling you to bite a stick of wood when the pain was bad.  Then when I was in the middle of my pregnancy with Hallie, Devin and I moved to the Netherlands.  I was at the grocery store with the wife of Devin's boss, she was helping me figure out what to buy, and I asked her about doctors too.  It was my first pregnancy and I was nervous.  She asked why I needed an ob/gyn, and perhaps seeing me glance at my obviously baby-laden belly she explained that in the Netherlands the only women who go to an ob/gyn are high risk pregnancies.  She told me that she would find me a good midwife.  I tried to dispel images of me shrieking through a mouthful of stick and told her that would be great.

And, as it turned out, I really really liked that midwife.  Her office was clean, sparkly, and she was neat and efficient.  Her English wasn't perfect so I'm sure a few things were lost in translation, but she was confident and that made me feel confident.  We were only in the Netherlands for a few months, but I think their "I am Woman Hear Me Roar" attitude when it came to giving birth really sank in, and has kind of stayed with me.

We moved  back to Indiana and the ob I had was, well, since I can't say anything nice best I don't say much at all.  We moved to Illinois and the doctor I had there for Hanna's birth was fine, but my experience at that hospital was pretty abysmal, and has left a bitter taste in my mouth for iv's.

That brings us to last summer.  I was pregnant, but we weren't telling people yet, not even my mom.  I was at the pool with Hallie and Hanna and some friends.  While the girls were swimming, the moms were talking.  I don't remember how the conversation evolved, but I must have said something telling because my friend Torrie turned eagle eyes on me and said, "You're pregnant, aren't you?" I still hadn't found a doctor, so I admitted I was and asked their opinion.  My friend Natalie piped up enthusiastically, raving about her midwife (Technically she is a certified nurse midwife).  It sounded good to me, and off I went to my first appointment.

At the first appointment we sat in her office and discussed my previous pregnancies, labors and deliveries.  What I liked about them, what I didn't like, my hopes and dreams for this one.  Then we went into the examining room and she did all the normal doctor-y stuff.  She said everything looked great and a beautiful relationship was born.

The following appointments were either 15 minutes (ob-1) or 30 minutes (ob-2) long, depending on what we needed to discuss.  She would tell me at the previous appointment which one I needed to schedule for the subsequent.  At each appointment she would ask questions about how I was feeling, take my  blood pressure, weight, and a sample of urine.  Then she would measure my belly, and we'd listen to the heartbeat.  Then we'd have a few things to discuss and I'd go home.  So easy. So fast.  So simple.  So non-invasive.


  1. I am interested in hearing more about this. I switched obs in the 3rd trimester, and what you describe your appointments like is how they were with him.

  2. I am so glad you had a great experience!
    Sorry you couldn't go IV-free. Maybe next time :)

  3. Thanks, Ames! I can't wait to hear about Parts two and three.

    And I wish I had had someone to instill me with "woman hear me roar" pregnancy vibes. (Other than you, of course!)

  4. Ha, ah yes, I remember...We were talking about running and you hesitated for just a moment too long. ;) Wow, that really doesn't feel like it was that long ago! Glad you had a good experience!

  5. My jealousy rages! If I am blessed to have another child, I know I will do whatever it takes to have a midwife. Normalizing birth and breastfeeding is essential to improve the infant mortality rate in the united states, and midwives go a long way in helping with that process.