why we switched to a midwife group

I mentioned last week that hubby and I have made the very exciting decision (for us) to switch to a local midwife group for our little Valentine baby, and I want to share with you the experience that solidified our decision and convinced us to make the switch. I’d like to say, as I always try to, that I believe everyone’s experience is different and everyone’s needs and desires are different…so what works for my husband and me may not necessarily work for you. And you could have a completely different experience with your OB than we did. So take this for what it’s worth…our experience…and then make your own discoveries, analyses, and conclusions.

My husband is completely ignored and no one introduces themselves to him, aside from our actual OB who does include him…somewhat
MIDWIFE: Makes him feel comfortable, welcomed, and asks him for his questions too…she also got him a chair to sit in during our consultation as there were initially only two in the room

One of eight doctors in the practice, none of whom we can meet except for my OB
MIDWIFE: One of two midwives (possibly three if they hire a third on that they’ve been trying to get in the group) and we will rotate between the two for each visit

About 35%, what we are told is the standard, and what is about the standard for Northside Hospital, which many woman love delivering out of in the metro Atlanta area (many women will call us crazy for leaving this hospital…but I felt crazy staying!)
MIDWIFE: About 8% of their births have to be transfered to the on-call OB for a c-section

“Well, of course you can deliver without an epidural…but we really don’t see that anymore.”
MIDWIFE: “About 90% of our patients don’t elect to have an epidural, but the option is there if you want it.”

Any, but I would have to be prone on my back at the “end”, because the doctor says that’s the “best position for [me] to be in if they encounter a problem”
MIDWIFE: Any position I want to, and they are the only hospital in Atlanta to offer water births and/or tubs to labor in

“Yes. It’s essential. Some old midwifery practices say this isn’t important, but that’s incorrect.” (By now we’re beginning to feel that anything outside the medical “norm” is ridiculed by the OBs here.)
MIDWIFE: Intermittent monitoring is all that’s required in most cases — which to me provides a very important thing — MOBILITY!

7 days. Which is funny, because my due date was pushed back 6 days in the blink of an eye after I measured behind at my first ultrasound. If six days are that easy to add on or take off my estimated delivery date, does it really make sense to only allow my baby to incubate in my belly 7 days past my due date?
MIDWIFE: Up to about 2 weeks…after 1 week after they start doing tests to ensure that everything is okay and we can let the baby keep progressing naturally

We didn’t get to ask this question. We didn’t get to ask the OB a lot of questions. We were very rushed at our appointment with them.
MIDWIFE: I can eat and drink during labor if and when I want

Didn’t get to ask
MIDWIFE: Yes (and he is actually considering it…COOL!)

Didn’t get to ask, but I am guessing yes, since I know this is pretty common

Didn’t get to ask

Didn’t get to ask
MIDWIFE: Yes and yes

Didn’t get to ask
MIDWIFE: I can’t remember the exact amount of time she said but it was NOWHERE near immediate and made me feel comfortable

Didn’t get to ask
MIDWIFE: Yes, as long as I don’t mind if it gets dirty

They do allow this, but I have heard stories about nurses and hospital staff pushing you to let them take the baby to the nursery so you can rest, etc
MIDWIFE: Yes, as long as there aren’t complications that require otherwise, which of course I understand

This is not something we asked, but I have a friend who just delivered out of Northside, and I know they pull the bottom of the bed off, you have your feet in stirrups, and they shine a pin light on your vagina
MIDWIFE: We did ask about this, and while the rooms aren’t as plush and hotel-esque as those at Northside, they do have dim lighting and absolutely do not put you in a bed with stirrups and a pin light — HURRAY!

I know this cross section of conversation between us and our former OB and us and our current midwife runs the risk of becoming a narrow view of the two types of practices, and I don’t intend it to be. This was our experience, and was one in which we walked away deciding that the midwife group would give us our best chance for having the natural, empowering, and peaceful birth that we are desiring. If you take anything away from this post, I hope it’s that you have the power to ask questions, research, and make your own informed decisions. Don’t be afraid to question your practitioner or look around if you aren’t satisfied.

I do recommend the documentary The Business of Being Born to any expectant mother. It is definitely pro midwifery/natural labor but was absolutely eye-opening to me in terms of the history and science it explained to me, and I think there’s value you can take away regardless of your beliefs on childbirth. My husband and I found it supported our inclination to switch to a low intervention practice and made us feel more empowered and informed. If you are interested in exploring a home birth, this is also an excellent resource to begin learning about that. While we did consider a home birth as well in the end we decided it was not for us for several reasons.

So we’ve made the switch. We couldn’t be happier. And we have our next appointment next Monday at 11 weeks. Can’t get here soon enough!


our first doctor visit aka yes, we are really having a baby

Last night I tossed and turned like it was the night before Christmas. All I could think about was that the day of our first doctor’s visit was finally coming, and was it morning yet, and could I possibly start getting up to get ready??? Then sunlight, sweet, sweet sunlight…began to filter in the room. I was awake for a good fifteen minutes before our alarm went off, snuggling with the cats. I had even taken my usual morning shower the night before so my routine was a lot faster. I spent the time between waking up and arriving at the doctor’s office squawking, jumping up and down, asking hubby if he was “soooo” excited, and just in general being spaztastic.

So, my doctor delivers out of what is considered by many the best hospital for deliveries in the metro area. So it might come as a surprise to many that I am a little nervous about delivering out of there. The c-section rate, for one, is really high — hovering around 30% or so…but I think that may be common for any of the hospitals around here now. I also don’t think they’re very open to the idea of natural childbirth. Now don’t get me wrong…I think you have the right to have whateeeever kind of childbirth experience you want — and I am not saying I will never say I want an epidural, but at this point I am thinking I want to to try go it au naturel. Will they support that? I’m just not sure if that’s the vibe I get.

We arrive at the office and go to the first waiting room, where we sign in and are given a first trimester pregnancy journal. This already makes me nervous because I feel like (even though I have taken three home tests) nothing has been confirmed yet, and dammit, if you give me a journal then I will be even more sad if you tell me I’m not really pregnant!

Then we go to the second waiting room. I pee in a cup and fill out another form.

Then we go to a side room, my blood pressure is taken, and I am weighed. By the way, their scale always puts me a pound or two over what I weigh myself at home. Hrmph. But anyways…

Then we go to a third waiting room.

I am not kidding you. This is a baby factory, folks. By this point, hubby can’t really believe that we are in a third waiting room, and we are gawking at the sheer amount of items on the end tables and walls that were obviously put there by pharmaceutical salespeople (although I’m sure that’s common in just about any doctor’s office.)

Finally we are taken into an exam room, where a nurse starts flipping through a booklet of information for us, talking a million miles a minute. “Now this is the form you fill out and send to the hospital by 20 weeks so they can get you registered this is your Cliff’s Notes-like book for pregnancy this is your packet that shows you everything you can and cannot eat, take, do if you have questions about sex, exercise, diet just look in here and the doctor will be in soon.”

Whoa…what are we doing at today’s appointment? I ask.

A pelvic exam, she says, along with three other run-on sentences before running out of the exam room. I guess they want me to read through that book and not really ask them the questions I brought in? Sure feels like that, anyway. Also, no one has even said hello to my husband since we arrived.

The nurse leaves, and I put a cloth wrap around my now naked bottom half (this feels slightly awkward with my husband sitting in the chair next to me, although I do have a changing area.) Then we wait again, and we joke about how this is really the FOURTH waiting room, and how hubby should take his pants off and put a cloth around his bottom half for when the doctor walks in. That really cracks me up.


She’s here.

She is the one saving grace of this practice. She is friendly, and sincere, and shakes both of our hands and congratulates us. She’s the first person who has introduced herself to my husband or made him feel welcome all morning. I finally break in and ask the question I’ve been wanting to ask all morning as people have handed us booklets and talked about my due date (still estimated at February 9):

“Did you confirm it?”

“Oh, yes, yes, yes! You’re pregnant.”

She then goes through her spiel, and she definitely lets us ask questions, but the answers feel kind of stock. Like…they are open to natural childbirth, but “really don’t have many people wanting that anymore.” She also tells me they will let me go only seven days past my due date before inducing, and that they require continuous fetal monitoring. I also learn that she or one of the other eight doctors in the practice could deliver me, but that I won’t have an opportunity to meet the other docs, largely because many of them practice out of other locations.

I am then given a quick pelvic exam with hubby in the room (slightly awkward, but no biggie…most awkward part was when the nurse started explaining to me another pamphlet about genetic testing I can have done at 12 weeks and how if I want it I need to get preapproval from my insurance company now…all while the doc’s fingers are…well, you know.)

Doc says my uterus feels larger, like it should, but that it feels I may even be a little farther along than I originally thought. Now that would be interesting, although I can’t imagine it would be by much. We schedule my ultrasound for next Tuesday and she says we will know much more exactly then.

So now I have another day to look forward to…next Tuesday. Not too far away, I think, and I am happy for that. But I also start to wonder why this baby factory didn’t just schedule my first appointment around the first ultrasound? More visits=more money for them? I don’t want to sound jaded, but it seemed to me they are running a highly efficient business and that is their top priority.

We may be looking into another practice at another local hospital that seems to be more open to natural childbirth and less interventions. I think we will explore a midwife practice. We are not ready yet to say we are definitely making a switch but I will say we are highly likely to be exploring our options and then we will reassess again.

What were your experiences with a midwifery or a traditional hospital birth?Did any of you decide to switch providers after feeling like just a number on a form or a cow in a herd?

i can has monday?

I’ve never looked forward to a Monday in my life, but I’m looking forward to this one so very much. We have our first appointment at 8:30 am, and I hope all goes well. I would literally skip this weekend and go straight into the next work week if I could. I am so excited!

I hope you all have a wonderful weekend and Father’s Day. Talk to you Monday!