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Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Switching to Midwifery

Inspired by other mamas, like this one in Forest Park.

I have been saying I want to talk about my switch to midwifery care for quite some time, but the truth is that I'm not quite sure where to start and it is quite emotional for me. For that reason, I'll just start typing and sharing and hope that this all comes together to make sense and shed some light on the differences between typical MD care and midwifery care from what I've experienced so far.

Really, I should start at the beginning, at the day I looked down to see a positive message coming from my home pregnancy test. We had been hoping to become pregnant, yet it was still a surprise and I was eager to have the news confirmed. I had always heard you should get a blood test for confirmation, so I quickly dialed up my school clinic to schedule one. With a quick testing of my blood they were able to confirm my pregnancy, but said my hormone levels were low for where I should be (should being an arbitrary thing seeing as how I told them from the get-go that my cycles do not fall into their 28 day model). They had me come back for another and urged me to hurry to an OB-Gyn while giving off a very negative vibe that my pregnancy was not viable, words that are hard for me to even type. I knew things were probably fine since I knew my body did not fit so neatly into their charts, but being in such a vulnerable and unsure state I was filled with worry regardless. A moment that should have been filled with so much joy now had a dark cloud hanging over it.

At their urging I looked up what providers my insurance would work with and quickly made an appointment with one where they ordered an early ultrasound for dating purposes. Again, it was too early to see anything beyond a yolk sack and they ordered a follow-up ultrasound for three days later to try again. Knowing in my heart that three days was not going to give us much room for growth or peace of mind I called to reschedule for three weeks out. Those three weeks were emotionally trying as they had filled me with so much unnecessary worry, but I knew I needed to give our baby time to grow and to show themselves, and, as I suspected, at that next ultrasound little one was at 8 weeks and 3 days, was very clearly doing just fine. They were able to give us a due date of September 19 at that time.

But, their ability to inflict worry did not end there, without looking at the charts for our next appointment they continued to go off the inaccurate dates they had assigned me and broke out the doppler to search for a heartbeat. Again, a moment that should have been filled with joy at it's first happening was dreadful as they were unable to find one, not because it wasn't there, but because it was too early and they hadn't updated their information. Again, I knew things were fine and it was simply too early, but sitting with my stomach bare, covered with gel, and having someone search for a sound I was longing to hear, well, it was all a bit too much. With all of the uncertainty and fear they had made a part of my life up to this point I just couldn't believe they were doing this too. We finished our appointment and made the next, but upon leaving the office tears filled my eyes, as they had in the past, and would in the future. I knew we needed to switch to a different model of care but with E working full time and me going to school full-time while also working 16-20 hours a week at my internship it was really hard to find time to do anything, so we continued on at the OB-Gyn with plans to switch to a midwife just as soon as my schedule slowed down and we could figure things out.

Time ticked by and we continued our appointments, traveling to a hospital I would often sit waiting long past my appointment time and then barely have any face-to-face time with the actual doctor, but soon it was time for our halfway there ultrasound where we would get to see our little one in all their glory, make sure everything was okay and get to find out if there was a mister or misses hiding out in there, so that helped to keep me moving forward. That appointment came with it's own set of obstacles, but was worth it to find out we were having a little girl and that everything looked okay. While she seemed good and healthy they said my placenta was riding a little low, but seemed on the right track to continue it's upward ascent, yet I should still take pelvic rest and come back for another follow-up ultrasound in six or so weeks. Again we continued our appointments but with my school schedule slowing down a bit we were able to start looking for midwives as well. Many e-mails were sent back and forth until we finally found a midwife partnership that seemed to be just what we were looking for. They happened to only have one opening available for September due dates and it was ours if we wanted it. For the first time in my pregnancy I finally felt relief and excitement about the care we would be receiving. We still had a couple of obstacles to wade through before making a complete switch, but my eyes were filled with hope and joy for the first time, rather than tears and I was excited to see what was in store for us.

To be continued...Come back soon for more about how we made the switch and how our experiences have changed since then. 

19 comments:

  1. Oh, I am so sorry you had a rough start! I'm looking forward to reading the rest of your experience.

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  2. I'm sorry the beginning of your pregnancy was so stressful! No one deserves that, especially when she knows what's going on, timing-wise. It is beyond ridiculous that care providers insist on using the 28-day cycle model, even when a woman KNOWS it doesn't fit her. I mean...HELLO! I realize that not every single woman is in touch with her cycle to the point of knowing exactly when she ovulates, for instance, but some people DO know.

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  3. i'm glad you made the switch! everyone should feel comfortable with their gyno, and should definitely not feel rushed through any of their appointments!

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  4. Sarah, I can't see any comments or responses to my previous comments. I want to share some info with you about my awesome experience with an OB/GYN today. Maybe I'll email you!

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  5. Sarah, I can't see any comments or responses to my previous comments. I want to share some info with you about my awesome experience with an OB/GYN today. Maybe I'll email you!

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  6. So sorry you had a rough start with your pregnancy and care, but I am so happy to hear you made the switch. Many women don't and end up feeling that stress for the entire pregnancy. Looking forward to reading more about your journey.

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  7. Ahh, so weird. I wonder what's up? Definitely feel free to email me at any time! :)

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  8. Thanks for the kindness. It's been really crazy up until the past month. It's so crazy that my totally low-risk and healthy pregnancy can come with so much stress. I can't even imagine if something was actually wrong. It definitely helps to write it out and work through my feelings though.

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  9. Most definitely! Thanks friend.

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  10. Thanks so much. I hope it only continues to get better from here.

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  11. I know, right?! It's so crazy that with my pregnancy actually being normal and my having no real problems so far that there could still be so much stress and craziness. Can I just say how infuriating it was that EACH time I went they had to reconfigure my dates and act all confused? Just change the charts for goodness sakes! Anyway, our midwives are absolutely amazing and while we're still getting to know them and only just getting started it's already been a million times better for us and for the kind of experience I need. I'm sure you understand.

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  12. Pregnancy can be both a scary and wonderful thing, can't it. I have had so many ups and downs throughout both of my pregnancy. Thankfully the current one seems to be on the up and up. I use midwives and I did for my first pregnancy too so I have no experience with OBs. The thing I did like about my midwives with my last pregnancy was during the actual birth they were great about letting me hold the baby right away and for a long time. I'm not sure if it would have been the same case if I went the doctor route.

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  13. While the beginning of my care at an OB was not as stressful as this (oh, I feel for you), we made a similar switch recently that I also wrote about. I had the exact same feeling of relief and calm after we finally made the decision, and I'm continuing to feel more confident about it now that I have seen our midwife for a routine appointment. I'm glad that you were able to find the type of care that you want, I know how important that is!

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  14. It definitely can. Everyone talks about the happy good stuff, but you hardly hear about the scary aspect, so sometimes it's nice to just get it all our and realize you're not alone. I'm glad you are on the up and up with this pregnancy and happy to hear of another using midwives as well. It's really such a different kind of experience and one I am thankful to now have. And yes on the holding baby! That is something that was so important to E and I both. I like the slower pace with midwifery. Everyone is kept safe and checked on, but nothing is unnecessarily rushed along and I really appreciate that.

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  15. I'm happy for you that is was less stressful and I really don't think or know that this is typical, but it sure wasn't fun! I'd love to read what you wrote about your experience, do you have a link to it?


    And I feel you on feeling more confident after having a routine appointment. We switched pretty far along and I'm still getting into our new rhythm and getting to know our midwives but feel so much calmer and relieved already. It's such a wonderful thing.

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  16. So much unneeded stress! I've found that OBs are great for medical stuff (Felix ended up being delivered by an OB since I needed forceps and she was wonderful) but not so good for just regular pregnancy care. Like you I started out in the regular hospital system then switched to a lovely midwife. I think some people might enjoy that extra level of medical attention but for me, I didn't see pregnancy as an illness and just wanted really non-invasive care. I was lucky to get into a popular birth centre program that ran alongside the hospital here in my third trimester, but next time I think I will save the money and hire my own private midwife so I can have that care right from the start.


    I hope the rest of your pregnancy with the midwives is much less stressful!

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  17. This is more about having freedom to choose the kind of care that you want, but I'm sure I'll continue to write about my experience with midwifery in particular as well. I was glad that we were able to make the switch fairly early on, I'm sure it would have been more stressful later. I'm glad that you are feeling good about it, I hope it continues to go well!http://www.abuninmyoven.com/2012/07/choices.html

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  18. It definitely is a bit stressful making the switch later on, but definitely worth it! :) Thanks for the link, I can't wait to hop over and read.

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  19. Definitely unneeded stress. And yes yes yes. I have nothing against OBs at all. I think there is a place for medicine and a place for us to be left alone and also a place for us all just to have the right to make those decisions regarding our care in the first place. I wish midwifery were embraced more largely, but regardless, I am glad to have found our wonderful midwives and be able to work with them. At the same time, definitely glad for medicine if it's needed, no doubt about that! :)


    Thanks so much for your support and encouragement.

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