Friday, February 5, 2010

Why I Switched to a Midwife

For those of you who've been following my blog, you'll know I've been having doubts over the last couple months about my choice of hospitals and healthcare providers, and have been looking at other options. After asking around my community and online, I decided to look at my options in the next county over, which means a change in hospitals, pediatricians, and care providers.

After a few interviews and facility tours, I decided that I would be much more comfortable with both the hospital and the pediatrician there, which left the biggie - the midwife or doctor that will be delivering my baby. I met with a midwife who came highly recommended both by local women I talked to in person and online, and by reviews on by women who'd seen here at a previous practice in a much larger city. Long story short, I will be transferring my care.

I'm sure some people would like to know why I'd "change everything" this close to my due date, so I'll go through a few of the reasons. The main thing though, was just following my heart - I was becoming increasingly uncomfortable with the way my care was going and just had a gut feeling that something wasn't quite right with the path I was on. The last straw was when my OB mentioned starting cervical checks at my next appointment [35 weeks], and said something about "loosening the membranes" while he was doing that. I asked if he meant sweeping/stripping, and reminded him I wouldn't even be full term, and he said something along the lines of  "well, sometimes things take time to work, and big women have big babies, so you'll want him out as soon as possible". I'm not sure if I was more pissed about the fact that he'd strip without explaining what it was and getting my consent first, or that he was all about an early induction just because I'm a fat chick [which I could just see leading into another one of those "necessary c-sections" for obese mothers], but I know it was time to get the heck out of there before that appointment came.

He also basically told me 2/3 of my birth plan was too difficult and unrealistic, and I should just listen to the nurses and "plan on having a healthy baby". He said I could ask for whatever I wanted, but he would not sign anything, and they would probably just follow hospital policy to "be on the safe side". Even though another doctor in his practice had verbally OK'd several things in my birth plan, he pretty much said it would depend on which doctor out of the 4 was on call as to what they'd "allow", and he didn't want to make any waves. He even told me with the waterbirth, which was one of the first things I'd asked about, that one provider allowed labor in water but was not "going to get down on the floor", so I'd have to get out during transition and get on the bed, and one of the others would want me in the bed and in stirrups as soon as he showed up because he didn't deliver in "non-standard" positions. So much for all the things we'd discussed, and that I had been assured were OK over the past few months. Of course, he was in such a hurry, I practically had to block the door just to get straight answers to these few questions before he left the room.

When I met the midwife, it was such a huge difference. For one, our first conversation took place in a private office with chairs, not while I was half naked in a paper gown. Also, she didn't seem rushed, and took time to ask about me, why I wanted that type of birth, and what my expectations and experiences were. I feel like if my OB had done that, we'd have known straight off that it wasn't going to work out. When I mentioned the birth plan issue, she asked if I had a copy, and said everything looked fine to her, and would be OK at the local hospital, which she said was much more laid back about birth and following the mother's wishes. She has done a lot of waterbirths and natural/unmedicated births, and the the backup OB at the practice is also very hands-off and is fine with both. She encouraged me to meet him just in case he is on-call and she's gone when I deliver, but also said to have the hospital call her cell phone if she's not there when I do go into labor, because she does try to make an effort to be there at least in time for the birth. She also said the the cervical checks are up to me, as long as they find the position of the baby [if he stays the way he's been, you can tell from the outside], and that there is no real reason to do them before labor, and only during labor if there's a decision to be made [ie, if I decide I want an epidural or augmentation - if I'm at 8+cm, there's no point], and that she will try to explain everything she's doing and to ask questions if I have any. Again though, the main reason I'm switching is just instinct and the overall vibe I got from her, like birth is just natural and something we're working together on, not some big procedure where I'm expected to be scared and give up all control.


  1. Hi, I'm stopping by from SITS! I just wanted to share a bit of comment love.♥

    I am the mother of three girls, ages 23, 17 and 15. I'm not old, I just had them all when I was really, really young. :0) LOL! I think it is really awesome that more and more women are taking control of THEIR birthing experience. I wish there had been more options available when I had mine.

    I have been reading a blog that you might be interested in. 'That Wife' is a first time mom who plans to have a home birth if everything goes OK. She has REALLY done a lot of research and has a lot of information to share. Here is the link to her blog:

    Well, good luck with the rest of your pregnancy. I pray you have a safe and easy delivery and a beautiful, healthy baby. :0)

    Have a great weekend!

    Teresa <><

  2. I am so glad to hear about this choice! I wish I had really taken charge of my care with my first pregnancy and been brave enough to switch providers when I started to loath the OB I constantly saw at the practice I went to!

    I am so excited to see how your birth turns out!

    Stoppin' by from SITS!

  3. Hi! Stopping by from SITS and yes, good for you to choose the best for yourself and baby! I switched gynaes & birth hospital until I found the best one 3 mths before I delivered.

    If you're free, drop by and read my posts:

    Happy SITS Saturday Sharefest!

  4. Thanks for the comments. I just found "That Wife" a few days ago, and have enjoyed the blog; I'll be checking out Jenny's blog now, too. I'm just so glad to be pregnant in a time when there are more options, and the internet makes it so easy to research them and share experiences.

    btw, Danielle, your blog & tweets have also been very helpful, and I'll be posting a link to your upcoming show on Congenital Heart Defect awareness later this morning.

  5. Yes, you should always follow your instinct that's for sure.

    Happy SITS Saturday Sharefest!

  6. I'm really sorry about your experience with your doctor. In that case, I'd have switched, too. I can't believe how lucky I've been with mine.

    Also, looking at your birth plan, I can't imagine what he finds unreasonable. I mean, you even have caveats in there acknowledging that you know things may not play out exactly like you want. Try to be a better woman (passive, awe-struck by male authority, self-doubting) in the future, yeah?

    I'm totally snatching the "please remind me that epidurals exist before it's too late" clause, btw.

  7. Holly, I'm just glad they pulled that stuff early enough that I did have time to look into other options. It seems like a lot of times it happens either at the birth or one of the very last appointments.

    I think he found the idea of anything other than staying in bed on my back unreasonable, because he was sort of shaking his head at some of the recommendations the hospital's own childbirth class gave.

    Also, feel free to "snatch" the epidural clause. That's something I was surprised not to find in any of the sample birth plans - something that said remind me I have options, just don't try to force them on me.

  8. You made a great choice to go with the midwife who will listen to you about your birth plan! I find it extremely criminal for a doctor to inform you that he/she will not get on the floor for your convenience during YOUR labor/birth. I also find it crazy that doctors today are still trying to force women to give birth in a "non-standard" positions. Who the hell are they to decide the position that you are in during your labor and birth?? Have you watched the movie "The Business of Being Born?" If not, you should! It is a great movie about how medical interventions CAUSE problems, not prevent them. (It is available on Netflix) Best of wishes to you!


    Mom of 3 kids ages 22, 18 and 12. I had them at home with a midwife because I am a rebel and did not want to be told how to give birth to my own children!


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