The Midwife Difference

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First Baby: No Midwife

December of 2015 brought the excitement of our first pregnancy. As soon as I found out we were expecting, I did the normal things that follow. I scheduled my first appointment with my OB. Eight weeks was the first time they would see me and I waited with elation, anxiety, and fear. We couldn’t wait to hear the heartbeat, see the first ultrasound, and ensure that our baby was healthy. Our regular doctor’s visits came and went. We were never asked about a birth plan. I just assumed that we would advocate for ourselves when the time came. My doctor provided adequate care but there was never more than the “textbook” healthcare.

During labor, my doctor was only in the room as I pushed. This didn’t really bother me, because I hadn’t come to rely on my doctor as a support system. After my son was born our doctor said his congratulations and left. An OB in training who assisted leading up to the birth did the aftercare while in the hospital. If I’m being honest none of this would have led me to choose a different route, but what ensued in the next six weeks would.

Textbook medical care

We had a brand new baby, for the first time, which for many people is terrifying. When you add in lack of sleep and lack of knowing what you are doing, you don’t need people to add to your anxiety.

While at the hospital we had two things said to us, by nursing staff, that still makes me cringe today. Our first unwanted information was about the length of our hospital stay. My nurse on call during one of our routine vital checks told us all about her sister that had a beautiful baby. Her sister refused to stay the 48 hours and the baby ended up with whooping cough and died. I am not a naive person, I fully recognize that things like this happen. As a new mother I didn’t need to be motivated by fear, I was already scared enough.

The second was related to all new mother’s favorite topic, breastfeeding. While having our vitals checked, our nurse made a comment about how common it is for women to have a clot if they choose not to breastfeed. She continued on to say that women can bleed out and die within a matter of minutes following birth. At this point, I wanted my doctor, or any doctor, to come in and assure me that I was not going to die within a matter of minutes and that my baby did not have whooping cough, and his little sounds, sneezes, and cries were all normal. No one came and the fear that I felt in that hospital lasted for several months beyond our sons birth.

Finally, home. 

We arrived home with our bundle of joy and, as many of you know, it was no walk in the park. If it could go wrong, it did go wrong. A clot the size of a grapefruit, mastitis, thrush for both of us, milk blister; and through all of this I felt like I was begging my doctor to please see me but instead got, “Oh thrush, you don’t need to come in for that, we’ll just write you a script.” Now, I understand their time is valuable but so is my physical and mental health. At my six week check up I was a stressed out mess. I made a decision that I was going to find better care if we did this again.

Our first family photo with Walter, almost 24 hours after he was born.

Second Baby: Midwife

Fast forward eight months later and we were expecting again. I knew two things, I was determined to find them. A better hospital, and a better doctor. Through the referral of a friend, I ended up heading to a Midwife.

While I loved my Midwife, I would say it is not for everyone. Almost every appointment was a minimum of an hour, we talked through many scenarios and postpartum care. A birth plan was made, and at every appointment, we checked in and updated it as due date approached.

At 41 weeks I went into labor with baby boy number two. With the help of my Midwife, via phone, I labored at home for eight hours. I arrived at the hospital dilated to a seven.

When my Midwife arrived she was constant in ensuring things were going the way I wanted. My Midwife rocked with me, she let me rest, she rushed back into the room when my husband said the baby was coming. She didn’t even try to put all her scrubs on (yes he came that quickly when he was ready), she brought me back in when I was panicking, and when she handed that baby to me. The first thing she did was reach for my phone to take some pictures of our family. Best of all, she stuck around long enough to ensure we were all doing well, and then reminded me that she would see us in three weeks.

Our first photo of Arlo, in his first moments after birth.

The postpartum difference

Postpartum appointments rolled around and my Midwife saw me at three weeks and six weeks. We talked about the anxiety I was having, what was normal and what was not. She did screening for PPD at both appointments and helped with breastfeeding. My three-week appointment lasted almost an hour and a half, she answered all my questions, and not once did I feel like a burden.

If you are looking for a more personal route for your prenatal and postpartum care I highly encourage you to look into a midwife. If you are unhappy with your current care, make a change. I learned that there is better prenatal and postpartum care out there. It has made an enormous difference in how I’ve cared for my second child and myself. 

1 COMMENT

  1. I would love to have a midwife or a doula but can not afford one. I do love my nurses at St Joe in Pontiac though.

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