Friday, June 15, 2012

Functional Friday No. 30

Newborn exam performed on the bed, near mama.

As a follow up to last week's Functional Friday post I wanted to share the importance and function of a midwife.  Now many midwives are employed by hospitals and are a great option for a birthing woman, however this post is going to focus on home birthing Midwives and their function in a healthy pregnancy.

You know what an O.B. does right? Well, a midwife does that, AND MORE (and less).

I was visiting with my midwife and we were talking about Midwifery and Doulas and O.B.s and the whole lot of choices you have while pregnant.  And what it comes down to is you should choose whoever YOU feel best with because not a whole lot actually changes birth, you can eat better and do more or less but ultimately the outcome isn't going to change all that much, the thing that will change is how your pregnancy and delivery were handled and how YOU felt about them.

I, personally, do not like waiting HOURS to see my doctor.  Our first visit to the ob for my 1st ultrasound with my daughter was a 3.5 hour long process.  All I wanted was to get the ultrasound.  I knew I wanted a home birth and thought a doctor would know of midwives {they didn't, shocking} and wanted to make sure everything looked "right".  But after one appointment, I knew I didn't want to see nurse after nurse and wait for my doctor for hours, only to see the doctor for a few freaking minutes!

My midwife appointments were so much more.  We talked about my concerns, fears, and anxiety about birth, and she talked me through those issues. Part therapy, part healthy prenatal care.  She would give me nutritional advice, she would rub my feet, she would feel my tummy and listen with a fetoscope {no ultrasonic waves bouncing off my baby, I regret the first ultrasound very much, now that I'm more informed}.  The whole appointment would be about 30 minutes to an hour and ALL of it was with my midwife and her assistant, I NEVER waited more than 5 minutes to see her. She would meet with us after hours, after 5pm when Husband was able to join us.  He never missed work for an appointment with her, unlike the ob where he had to take the whole day off work!

For delivery, I called MY midwife, and she was at my house.  I didn't have to wait for my doctor to be on call to have him or her deliver my baby.  I know that doesn't bother some people, but when you have a midwife, you build a relationship.  So, naturally, you want that person to be the one with you in labor.  And while many friends have great obs, they are not guaranteed to have that doctor deliver their baby.  It could be a stranger! Granted that stranger may have an MD or CNM they are still a stranger, they don't know anything about my birth plan, nothing of my partner and mine's relationship, nor my personal faith or beliefs.

OBs are often directed through hospital policy.  Midwifes are directed by household policy.  My house, my rules.  With a midwife there is no threat of failure to progress leading to a C-section.  If a serious medical issue occurred my midwife would have gone to the hospital with me.  She would advocate for me.  A stranger or ob may be fearful of malpractice or their boss and therefore choose an option that is not in the best interest of the mother and baby, rather the best interests of the hospital or him/herself.  With a midwife, I'm the boss.  She listens to me, and wants me and the baby to be happy and healthy.  This is where the "less" from above comes into play.  A midwife will not use an electronic fetal heart monitor, they will use their ears.  They will listen with a fetoscope or Doppler device {slight ultrasonic waves}, if approved by the parents, to hear the baby's heart.  The baby doesn't just stop if something's wrong, they will give warning signs.  One warning might be the lack of increased heart rate during a contraction, the baby is saving energy so he or she doesn't increase his or her heart rate during a contraction, that's a warning sign.  You don't have to be hooked up to a machine to know something isn't right.  I prefer no machines and instead a well trained midwife with common sense.

Also, many obs will only catch a baby with a mother laying on her back, they are not usually trained on diverse birthing positions.  Midwifes are trained on how to catch a baby in whatever position the mom feels most comfortable in.  And while this may not seem like a big deal to someone who is not in labor, I can assure you; once you find a comfortable position as a laboring woman, god herself could not move you.  I promise.

Another advantage to choosing a midwife was the fact I didn't have to have an I.V..  I hate needles and the thought of pushing a baby with a needle in my hand made me anxious.  So, I choose the safe alternative.  A midwife.  I knew women had birthed for thousands of years without an I.V. and that I could too.  Now, if you're into having I.V.s, being in a unfamiliar environment, surrounded by strangers and being asked to undress in front of said strangers, then by all means an OB and hospital birth are probably the place for you, but as for me, I'll choose my home, germ free, and safe with the help of a Midwife.
Cord Cutting Ceremony, involving the whole family, usually not an option in a hospital setting.

Just my thoughts and a little something to think about when considering how you want to welcome your baby into this world.  I was talking to my brother in law about the subject, and these were his thoughts, When you go on vacation, you can get there a lot of ways; planes, trains, driving, first class, coach; when you get there, you get there.  Sometimes you're greeted with refreshments and loving arms, other times harsh custom agents and sometimes {god forbid} thieves.  The point is you're still on vacation.  Same for birth.  The baby will get here.  It's just a matter of how you feel on the journey and the welcome team you choose for his or her arrival, that's what makes it a good experience or a difficult one.

And that's what the function of a midwife is. She's more and less an O.B...


but she IS the primary care provider for prenatal mamas and the primary care provider for brand new {first few hours} baby, and postpartum mama, which is sort of what an O.B. is... sort of!

Did I leave something out, or imply too much? leave a comment below with your thoughts on midwifery care.

Thanks for reading,

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