We just celebrated two birthdays this past week: our oldest child and our youngest child. The memories of their births are getting fuzzy (which is why I wrote every detail down in the days following each one), but the hero of each story remains. It is quite possible that I wouldn’t have had such great experiences each time, if I didn’t have my midwives. While we got some flack at the time for choosing a midwife over a doctor, it was SO worth it!
During our first birth, our primary midwife, Diane, came to the house and stayed with us through my entire labour, since it was our first. Through the afternoon and evening, she kept an eye on us. When the pains became stronger, we were allowed to labour in our own bed, with Diane and by this time, a secondary midwife, sitting on floor in the dark at the foot of our bed. We were able to stay at home for as long as possible, only heading to the hospital when my water broke, for our planned hospital birth.
With the second birth, we had moved and one of the midwives lived a few houses away. She popped over a few times to check on my progress, and when it came time, set up at our kitchen table with the secondary midwife while I did circles from the kitchen to the living room and back again.
By the time we had the third, our local birthing unit was closed down. Our midwives traveled down the highway to meet us at a hospital about an hour away. They got me past the desire for an epidural (an epidural was never part of my plan), by telling me the anesthesiologist was busy (he really was), and then diverting my attention.
I made it through three births with no medication (just some laughing gas) and have my midwives to thank for those wonderful experiences. They weren’t perfect, of course, but they were pretty close!
Here’s why I always recommend midwives:
Our midwives allowed longer for appointments. An OB would have booked me for 5-10 minute appointments, likely double-booking each spot. Our midwives allowed 45 minutes for each appointment, giving us lots of opportunities to ask questions and address concerns.
Our midwives gave more choices. For every step, they always made sure we knew that everything was our decision. From blood sugar testing to ultrasounds, we knew that we had the right to say yes or no, and that nothing was mandatory.
Our midwives fostered a relationship. They took the time to get to know us and make sure that both of us (my husband included!) were comfortable with each of them – our Primary, our Secondary, and the two back-up midwives. They asked questions and got to know us as individuals – where we worked, what we did for fun, and our family support.
Our midwives delivered our babies at the hospital. We could have chosen to give birth at home, but the idea of that mess stressed me out too much. But that was okay, because our midwives had privileges at our hospital.
Our midwives visited our house before and after each birth. They came to the house beforehand to make sure that we had our supplies ready, and then they came following each birth for our post-birth check-ups. An OB would not have done that.
Our midwives treated the entire process with dignity. The one thing you really lose during the process of childbirth is your dignity. They always made sure I wasn’t exposed unnecessarily during labour and birth, and only did examinations when it was necessary. They explained everything before doing it, and allowed me to choose when they did it (or explained why it had to be done right away).
Our midwives allowed my husband to be as involved as he wanted. They stepped into the background when he was the support I needed.
Our midwives were an essential part of how well our birth experiences went, and even though we didn’t give birth at home, they were amazing and allowed us to feel like we were in control of the entire process.
What experiences have you had with midwives?
Would you recommend a midwife for someone who is expecting?