Two weeks ago Philip and I decided that we were going to follow our instincts and change from our original OBGYN to Nurse-Midwife to finally a Midwife, meaning we would also be choosing to have our baby at home instead of in a hospital or birthing center. Once I made the call the set up the appointment I finally felt at peace with the decision of our care provider. Let me explain a bit of the journey...
With our first appointment around 8 weeks we met with an OBGYN. He was incredibly nice and funny, though you could tell his run-down was very routine. He gave us a very brief introduction of how they usually speak in terms of weeks verses months and how he recommended reading, 'what to expect when you're expecting.' After his shpeel he asked if we had any questions, of which I thought, well what should I be asking? This is my first baby, give me something that I need to ask about! How is this going to go, what do I need to know? I felt so lost and uninformed besides the fact that I had already downloaded the 'what to expect' app and a few others that gave a week by week progress, I really didn't know what to ask or what to expect. We spent about 5-8 minutes in his office talking and about another 5 or so in the exam room where he gave me my first ultrasound, saw the heartbeat and did the measurements to determine the due date.
Once the May 30th due date was determined he then sent us off to the lab to do blood work saying he would also have a prescription for pre-natal vitamins ready and gave us a little bag full of expired baby magazines and a bunch of ads and coupons that would expire before the baby was even due. Within the time frame of about a half an hour we met the front desk attendant, a nurse who took my pee sample, a nurse who weighed me, a Doctor who talked for 10 minutes with me and a phlebotomist who took my blood. I felt good and comfortable with the Doctor, yet a little unsettled and disheveled to and fro. We left with the bag of old magazines in hand but he'd forgotten to give us the prescription for prenatal vitamins. Uh.. ok? That's comforting! What else might he have forgotten? I had so many questions I didn't know I had and yet wasn't sure who or when to ask. I didn't want to wait a month until our next appointment to find answers. So I went home and read up a bit about the differences as far as my options for caregivers, the differences between OB's, nurse-midvives, midwives, and doulas and how typically with an OB many women felt rushed through the appointment. I was obviously no exception.
I've known since I was young that I always wanted to and admired those who've given birth naturally, or un-medicated. I had a natural inclination to believe that our bodies have been made for this and that somehow, someway, it doesn't have to be as terrifying and dramatic as on TV or the movies. The film '9 months' with Julianne Moore and Hugh Grant is particularly engrained in my mind with her yelling and screaming out of pain and the blood vessel in her forehead popping out when she's pushing. I just can't imagine Mary, the mother of Christ, have such an experience. With all of this in mind and with the research I'd been doing about hospitals, birthing centers and home births, it just seemed like many things I've heard about were going against what my ideal birth would be. I watched a few videos of home water-births using different relaxation methods and compared that to a natural hospital birth with no particular relaxation method used and the use of a tub only for labor but the actual birth on a bed, a way I originally thought birth had to be done. The comparison was vastly different and I decided that we should start looking into other options. We began figuring out our insurance, what they would cover, who they would cover, what the different costs were, and how we were wanting to go about all of this.
I discovered in the same offices as my OB there was also a nurse-midwife group available. With this option we decided to take a step away from the OB option and made an appointment with the nurse-midwife group, knowing they would likely have more time and be more informative as well as more along the lines of my ideal of having a natural birth. She spent a more reasonable amount of time with us, answering more questions that had come up since I had become more informed, and knowing now that I did in fact have questions I wanted to know their answer to. I asked about the option of having a water birth and she explained that they had tubs in the hospitals that were available upon request but that they were not allowed to let you give birth in the water. Once you dilated to a certain degree they would have you get out and birth in a laying position on the bed. She also informed us that if necessary they can do an induction starting at 39 weeks and will induce if you go over 41 weeks. All of these things did not particularly resinate with me. I felt as though, yes this feels like a good option, but I still had some hesitation and desires for an un-induced water birth that were not met.
Still attending to insurance and cost dynamics we, well particularly I, felt that we might just have to end up sticking with the nurse-midwife group a little uneasy but with hope that I could work with them requesting to not be induced and I'd look for other non-medicated ways like acupuncture to promote labor if needs be. I'd met another girl who was pregnant and also desiring a natural birth who had a specific birth plan who was on the same page as far as her desires for a natural un-induced birth and she inspired me to continue down our path and that we would know what is best for us. I knew I would be able to completely lock down a decision once we got more information when we would enroll in birthing classes.
Back story: I served in my singles ward Relief Society presidency with a girl who became a really good friend. After our meetings together or visits with girls in our ward we would often end up talking about a myriad of things. Surprise, surprise, we're women. ;) We once got on the conversation of child birth and how her mom taught birthing classes that promote natural, comfortable childbirth. Neither of us were even dating anyone at the time or had any marriage prospects, yet here we were speaking as two married women would. She told me how both her sister's had had their children at home and were entirely relaxed during their labors. Yes please! I knew already immediately that if or when I got married and had kids I most definitely would be taking her class. So just a short while later we both found ourselves in serious relationships and ended up getting married about 3 weeks apart. Cool eh?
So when I found out I was preggo I was itching to talk to her more about her mom's classes but we hadn't yet announced it. Once it came time to announce I sent off my email to her asking her for everything I needed to get into these classes.
We've been in the classes for three weeks now (Jan 13th) and are so enthralled in all that we are learning and how well it meshes with the way we feel about birth. I know it sounds cheesy but it's been quite the journey and taking the classes had already lead us to making our decision about what will be best for us.
Last week we just felt that we should try meeting with a midwife to see how we felt about the option. I knew that having a midwife would give me all the options I was looking for but my only hesitation has been that we aren't exactly sure where we will be living in May. Our place is a bit snug for adding a new member into our family and our contract ends in April when the semester is over. With all theses factors I had a hard time envisioning giving birth at home when... well we don't know where home will be. Not that we'll be homeless, but you know, feeling at home in a home would help. All of this aside I still really felt that we should look into it.
I got a reference from the instructor of our class and also had a referral from a friend Phil knew in his choir who's training to be a midwife. Both said that she had a great reputation and would be a good fit for us. So I called her up! In the few minutes I spoke to her I already felt peace and excitement starting to fill me. We set up an appointment and she emailed us all her information. Phil and I talked about the costs and knew that we would be capable of making it work and that it would be significantly cheaper than any other option, even with insurance. I spend the weekend praying to know that the option we were choosing to take was right for us and we both felt a peace. Not only that but on Monday morning when we woke up we turned to each other and said nearly at the same time, "I just had a dream about the birth and that it went really well." Bing! Confirmation! I just love how revelation works!
So here we are. We had our appointment with her last Wednesday (the 9th). She spent nearly two hours with us, asking us a lot of questions, getting to know us, helping us get to know her and her assistant. She personally asked us all the questions you would see on the form you fill out at a doctors appointment but asked even more questions about my mother's birthing history. It felt really comforting knowing that she wanted to know as much as possible and she wanted it to be personal. After she had asked all of the questions she turned and said, "so now, can I meet your baby?" She put her hand on my belly asking if it was alright if she talked to the baby and told the baby, I'm going to be the one helping your mom on your birthday and she's going to bring you here every month and I will be pushing around in your space a little bit but it's ok because I'm just seeing how you are doing. (Something along those lines) I must be turning into a sap because I thought it was so cute! She gave me a two month supply of food based pre-natal vitamins along with a list of information on a variety of resources like additional birthing classes, doulas, more info on natural childbirth, acupuncture etc. She also gave me a nutrition plan and went through the supplements that I'm already taking and had me add in a few that I should add. I'd never felt so informed and cared for. It was not even comparable to my appointment with the OB or nurse midwife.
I'm so excited for this baby. Just in the last few months I've really been brought on a little journey. I started out overwhelmed and unprepared. I didn't really expect to get pregnant and when I found out I was it really threw me for a loop. In all the advice anyone ever gave us it was, "DON'T HAVE A BABY WITHIN THE FIRST YEAR!" or "A baby just changes everything!" "You can't do all that fun stuff once you have kids" or "Oh man! Just wait until you have kids." It actually became really unsettling for me and when I found that 'it worked' and I was pregnant my thoughts were filled with fear! Along the lines of "Ahhh! we just barely got married! Now-a-days everyone waits at least a year! What's everyone going to say?! I've got so much school ahead of me! Will anyone be excited or more just as shocked as I am? What are we thinking?!"
I was in denial for a good half of the first month, not ready to accept it, not feeling like it was real or something that would happen to me, I've only ever seen everyone around me do it, but me? No way! And with all of the advice that sounded more like warning bells I had a really difficult time wanted to accept it. I was absolutely not myself and nearly depressed about it (must-a been the hormones.) Oh, but thank goodness this process is a nine month one because slowly and with all of our experiences finding the right caregiver I've truly come to peace and know that it really has been the right time for me and the right time for us. I'm more ready than I gave myself credit for and I really have been desiring and waiting for this for a long time and I found a guy who's even more excited and gung-ho about it than I had let myself be. I over time was feeling more capable and accepting of it. And now Philip comes home to find me researching and reading all about birth and every time we are around each other I'm talking about my discoveries and telling him what the baby is doing this week. I've become incredibly passionate about it. It's been an incredible bonding tool for us! I'm finally beyond thrilled! (Sheesh! it took me a while!)
P.S. We find out tomorrow (Jan 14th) what we're having!! Yahoo! I think it's a boy.