Alright, probably half of you reading this think we're crazy and the other half are saying, "you go for it!" Either way you feel is ok, but as for us, we're thrilled :)
I called a midwife my cousin recommended on Monday (she had delivered my little 2nd cousin a month ago) and ended up crying on the phone because she was so wonderful and validated so much of what I was feeling and thinking and about things that happened at Eliana's birth. I felt so valued. We talked for easily 45 minutes and I never felt rushed. Then Tuesday my mom, Eliana, and I (Craig had to work late, he'll go next time) went to her house to meet her, her assistant, and her husband. I had 4 pages of questions, and not easy questions either. I was honestly intimidated to ask them so my mom kindly took over that part. I mean, who wants to start off a meeting with 'what is your death rate'? Um....yeah, awkward right? Her answer by the way was that in over 30 years of delivering babies and having delivered over 1000 babies she has NEVER had a mother or baby die and she has also never had a mother or baby permanently injured. Wow. She goes by Mif and is a calm, gentle person but understanding and has a sense of humor, too. She started doing births back when it was illegal here and midwives were radical hippies! Since then Seattle Midwifery School started and it's cleary not illegal, but my point is that she has been doing this since square one. She shared how she was VERY against home births prior to being a midwife. She had her first child at a hospital and then her 2nd in the back of a car. With the 2nd birth it was like something clicked because it was so easy and wonderful, despite being in the car, and it got her thinking, "maybe there is another way to do things." She delivered babies for about 10 years before doing a water birth and had an RN patient finally win her over. She's been doing waterbirths for the past 22 years, which is great since I am hoping to at least labor in water for pain management and possibly do a water delivery as well.
If you are looking for good questions to ask a midwife feel free to give me your email or message me on Facebook, it's just obviously too much for me to post them all here.
I was happy with every single one of her answers and pretty much just impressed. In the past 6 years she's only had 2 hospital transfers. That is incredible considering she takes on about 2 births a month. One transfer was a woman trying to VBAC her 12th (yes, 12!) pregnancy whose uterus was tired and the other was a 1st time mom with exhaustion. Everyone was fine and nobody died :)
Mif's assistant is awesome, too, and even leads a LLL (right up my alley, huh!). Her husband Jim is an old farm boy and had such a kind, gentle demeanor. I think we'll all make a good team.
After I asked all the questions there wasn't too much Mif needed to know about me. I had told her about Eliana's birth on the phone already. I told her my BP's from appointments (average 125/70) and she asked my weight gain, which is a total of 5lbs at 26 1/2 weeks. They were shocked I'd only gained that much but impressed. Woohoo! And actually I lost 1 1/2lbs between yesterday and today because as of today at my last OB appointment I'm up a total of 3 1/2 lbs (with my clothes on) :)
Mif's statement after all this was, "I think your family will be great for a homebirth". YAY! We're approved!
There is so much I can share about meeting Mif, but I'm trying to keep from writing for two hours. What I do want to share was how personal it was. We walked right in, no wait time or waiting room to deal with. She has a scale and BP cuff which we'll use at my appointments from now on. She'll do the urine sample (to check for protein) and will also check for Strep B and do the CBC blood test at the right time. She takes the samples and sends them to the lab. I get a whole hour with her at each meeting to establish a relationship, prepare for the birth, and be healthy. Want to know the hardest thing for me to wrap my head around? She actually WANTS me to call her! When I asked, "how far apart do you want my contractions before I call you?" She answered, "Um, the first one!" She wants to know everything and what my body is doing at all times. If there's mucous (sorry, TMI), she wants to know how much and what color. I can call at any time, even 2 am (I asked!) and they WANT to know how I'm doing. As soon as I was home I had follow up emails from the assistant with helpful stuff I had asked her to send me. Mif also recommended I take Calcium, Magnesium (to help prevent pre-eclampsia), Potassium (electrolytes), and Cod Liver Oil.
When I got home and was going over all the questions and answers with Craig I started crying when I told him about them wanting me to keep in touch and call often. It's just refreshing. I matter. They care about me and the baby. I find myself crying a lot lately. This is all so close to my heart and it's like my first birth experience scarred my heart and now I'm finding healing and closure to the pain and a new chapter is beginning. I see how God has used so many things (including the horrible 1st birth experience) to prepare us for this new chapter. Craig sees it too and has been filled with emotion over how different this new chapter is and how right it feels for us. I like the word Providence. It means divine guidance or care: God conceived as the power. It's not luck or coincidence, it's God working behind the scenes to orchestrate this beautiful symphony.
The issue in all this to me was how to tell my OB. It honestly scared the crap out of me and made me want to crawl in a hole. I love Dr. Quimby. She is a wonderful OB. I respect her and have enjoyed getting to know her. But the bottom line is that when I think about what really matters to me in my birth experience and what I truly want out of it- it's a home birth. So I prayed last night and this morning and went to my apt planning to tell her. We did my glucose and anemia blood work, bp, weight, and then I went to the exam room. She came in and we did the normal stuff. Then I broke the news with much trepidation, "I've decided to do a home birth." She answered, "oh, ok." And not in a judgemental, 'you're a weirdo and I think your baby will be born brain damaged' kind of way but in a 'oh, wow, that's a big decision but I totally respect your decision and don't hate you for it' kind of way. Talk about relief. She was so kind I immediately started crying (seeing a pattern with the tears here?) and thanked her for being so gracious and told I really, really like her and I was so afraid to tell her because I didn't want to never be able to see her again. She said if something happens and I need to be transferred she'd be happy to be my dr and I can see her anytime for anything and she wants me to bring in the baby :) Dr. Quimby is amazing and how she handled my change of plans just confirms what a great person and dr she is. I told her I know the AMA and ACOG are strongly against homebirths and she's probably not supposed to say anything good about them, but she just said that really depends on the physician (meaning she didn't plan to be a jerk about it). She asked who my midwife was and just wanted to make sure I had someone experienced. I'm so glad she is still my gynecologist and that our relationship is not severed.
I thought you all might want to know some of the more interesting questions and answers from my midwife interview:
How many births have you done? Over 1000 (100 even before finished schooling)
What is your death rate, for both mother and baby? 0
What is your permanent injury rate for both mother and baby? 0
What is your transfer rate? 2 in the last 6 years
Have you ever dealt with a major bleed? Yes, every time it was controlled and everyone was fine. The worst bleed she ever saw was on a transfer patient AFTER they were transferred and went through a D&C at the hospital
Do you encourage family/father participation? Absolutely. "The less I can do the more successful the birth is". She wants the husband and wife to be a team and allow the woman's body to do what it needs to do. She is there to support, provide safety, and make sure the baby is healthy.
What are your expectations of me during pregnancy? Stretching, exercising and taking care of my body. Exluding white's-sugars, breads, and milk to keep from having a too big baby. She recommends prenatal chiropractic and massage.
How do I reach you? Are you available 24 hours a day? She wants to be on the same page at all times; especially when in 'the zone' (37 weeks and later). She'd rather be at my house a day too long than a minute too late. She will come when I want her there, doesn't matter how long she is there for. She gave me her cell phone number and home number and the same for her assistant. They are always available.
Do you provide postpartum visits in the early days after birth? Usually 3; within 24 hours, at 3-5 days, at 5-7 days.
Have you handled complications such as hemorrhage, cord around the baby's neck, or the baby not breathing spontaneously? Yes, all of those, everything worked out good. Both Mif and her assistant are certified in Neonatal Resusitation.
What medical complications require transport to the hospital? Prolapsed cord, non-reassuring fetal heart tones, major blood loss, and high blood pressure.
What is included in your fee? prenatal care, newborn assessment (PKU, etc), labor and delivery, breastfeeding support, postpartum care,etc
What happens if I go overdue? At a time that Mif and I agree is right we will do a biophysical profile and possibly non-stress test on the baby. 42 weeks is not the magic number for induction- we will give my body as much time as we can if the baby is still strong and healthy
Wowza, right?! So cool :)