Had my 28 week appointment with the midwife today, we're on every 2 week appointments now (til 36 weeks I think).
The appointment started with me weighing myself and taking my BP when I first got there and then going to the bathroom, peeing in a cup, and doing the glucose/protein test strip. Today was the first day I've done all that stuff myself versus being at the OB's and them doing it all. It was actually pretty cool to be more involved and know exactly what's going on. My mom said it was like that when she had my sister and me with midwives. Part of the model of midwifery care is that mothers are not just a number or 'part of the process' but actually are the process. It's about empowering women to know their bodies and take an active role in the pregnancy and birth process.
Then we went to a bedroom with a bed and an ultrasound machine next to it. She felt my tummy to see where the baby was and knew exactly where to put the doppler. She literally put the doppler right on the baby's heartbeat. I've never heard the heartbeat so quickly, it always took 20 seconds or more to find the heartbeat at the Dr's. Not with Mif- she knows by feeling where the baby is and just confirms by doppler. SO cool. She said she learned back before ultrasounds and technology and she never wants to lose the ability to go by feeling. We were impressed. Then she measured the height of the fundus and I was measuring 34 weeks. She checked and double checked and made sure she was just measuring baby, not me. She said maybe I had a lot of amniotic fluid throwing off the measurement. I told her the dr and ultrasound tech have never mentioned a word about it, but my belly has always felt big for size this pregnancy. Then she did an ultrasound and confirmed there is extra fluid in there. I asked if that was an issue and she said it's better to have a little too much than too little. The concerns to watch with extra fluid are 1) is the baby swallowing? and 2) are there two functioning kidneys? She will call the OB's office to see if they checked these in the last ultrasound otherwise we'll see how I'm measuring in 2 weeks and possibly order an ultrasound to have those things checked- just to be extra careful. Isn't it weird that the tech didn't mention the extra fluid at the ultrasound I had 1 month ago and paid $300 for? And I know from hauling this belly around that it had this much fluid back then, too. Again, it's impressive that Mif notices all this stuff and tells me about it and keeps me aware of what my body is doing. My experience with an OB practice feels like preparing for a baby in the dark. This is like someone turned the lights on.
During the ultrasound today she explained everything we were seeing, like where the placenta was on the screen and where it was in my belly. She paused so we could see the baby's ribs going in and out for 'breathing', we watched the baby's legs and feet kicking like crazy, she showed us the umbilical cord 'outlet', the heartbeat several times, etc. I've had 5 ultrasounds with an ultrasound tech between Eliana and this baby and they never took the time to explain anything like Mif did today, even though each ultrasound cost me $300! With Mif it's part of my overall care fee, meaning I won't get a fatty 'radiology' bill from today. With the ultrasound techs I had to ask, "is that the head?" "Is that the leg?" and they would always answer but it was like I was inconveniencing them a little. What I always wanted to say was, "I waited 1 hour in the waiting room to come in here for an appointment I scheduled 3 weeks ago and this is my baby on the screen and I'm paying you $300.....do you think you could tell me what I'm looking at?" Mif loves babies, no doubt about it. When the baby was kicking and kicking her little feet and legs Mif was just as amused as we were.
Mif is spunky and kind and so at ease with everything. She does her work instinctively, she's a pro. It's so refreshing to know what's going on and have things explained. At the Ob's, I had to ask what my weight and BP were and urine stuff to write in my book and one of the nurses didn't like to tell that info. I told Dr. Quimby I was having issues getting that answered by the one nurse and I never had that nurse again :) I mean, come on, tell me my freakin' weight, right? So weird to keep it secretive. Women should know what their weight, bp, and glucose/protein is. How do you know if there's an issue if no one is keeping you up on things. How do you know what your personal normal bp is if no one ever tells you? It's just another huge difference between care at a practice and one-on-one with a midwife. A midwife wants you to be on top of things.
Some people approach birth a little bit like how I approach the Biblical End Times, "it's kinda hard to understand it all and I think I'd just like to take it as it comes!" However, with birth it is possible to understand and know what's going on. It doesn't have to be scary or mystical or impossible to comprehend. There is SO much that women can take back into their own hands and in doing so gain knowledge and respect for the whole process and what our amazing bodies can do. You do have options and you do have a say! The patient before me was 37 weeks and will be doing a HVBAC (home vaginal birth after cesarean) :) So cool. She has a little boy that was a c-sect and she'll definitely have a different experience this time around, which is so exciting for her.
I hope that by blogging about all this, if nothing else I can get the wheels turning in some of you women to think about what you want, what matters to you, and just what your choices are in general. Knowledge is power, truly. I think the more research someone does about homebirth, the less fears and worry there are. The fears most people have about homebirth are from lack of knowledge. Definitely not from being dumb, please don't think that's what I'm saying. I was clueless myself before I started this journey and I know I am not dumb! :) So, if you think you want a homebirth or midwife experience at some point, do some research, read some books, you'll be amazed what you find and how beautiful the birth experience can be.