I met my new midwife yesterday

She came to my house. Yes, that’s how she operates: house calls. And let me tell you, I love it. We sat in the living room. We talked. She got herself up to date on my pregnancy. She gave me some organic pregnancy tea. She had me lie back on the couch and then we all – all, except for Jenny who wanted to be outside and Bill who had to chase her down – listened to the baby’s heartbeat. She palpated my womb and explained to the kids that she could feel the baby’s leg, the baby’s back, the baby’s head.

They were absolutely fascinated. I forget that for all my pregnancies where I would go by myself to the doctor or midwife that they wouldn’t get to do this. Not only was it educational for them, I could see their eyes light up as this woman made the baby’s life very real to them. They were able to do some of the pre-birth bonding that I take for granted, since I do it every time, like right now, that I feel the little squirms and kicks of this child.

So, that was great. But then she even drew my blood right there at the dining room table (with two of my kids covering their ears as they watched?) and administer a shot of RhoGAM I needed. If I could only find a family practitioner who made house calls…this was just simply my best experience at a medical appointment.

We went over her list of dos and don’ts – no TUMS for heartburn because she’s noticed calcification on placentas (fortunately, I’m not having that problem this time), eat lots of protein, try eating more bananas since I’m starting to get leg cramps at night. We talked about a birth plan – five prior labors and deliveries and never once a serious discussion about a birth plan, initiated by the caregiver. We talked about the three hospitals she can use, and her preferred one, which is an hour away.

And we talked about home birth. Surprisingly, Bill is pretty open to that whole idea. My mom, though, seems a bit skeptical, thinking possibly that they are overrated having had one herself. Of course my mom’s home birth was the kind of home birth that nobody would ever want: three sleeping children, husband hundreds of miles from home, family only maybe 15 or 20 minutes away, but too far away to get there before the baby did. No, I wouldn’t want to deliver my own child, if that’s what a home birth meant.

I’m on the fence about the whole thing. I’ll pre-register at the hospital, but I’m keeping an open mind on delivering at home. And if a home birth is to a hospital birth as a house call is to going to the doctor’s office, I’m already sold.

15 thoughts on “I met my new midwife yesterday

  1. Michelle,I probably delivered around 200 babies during my medical career. I’ve been the pitcher on four of those and the catcher on the rest. From my perspective, you have to be clear on how you define home birth. I have physician friends who delivered at home. But that meant they brought in portable oxygen, suction equipment, etc into their home. This was not a throwback to just boiling hot water and coaxing a baby out. When things go wrong during childbirth, they go wrong in a hurry. My concern is that you have the means to respond to the medical needs in a timely fashion. Personally, I like the comfortable hospital birthing room with emergency care just down the hall.

  2. And that’s why the hospital she recommends is the one an hour away – it has all the best emergency equipment. We did go over the very long list of reasons she would opt to go to the hospital, including a final catch-all of “because she thinks it’s the best thing to do,” and also a maternal catch-all of “the patient wants to.” I asked specifically about transport: ambulance or POV, and she said she’s mostly decided early on to head to the hospital using a POV. If she felt it necessary, an ambulance would be called and there are emergency rooms in the immediate area. She’s former military, former head-nurse, cautiously optimistic. My first child was less than one minute away from being an emergency c-section – I know how quickly things go sour. But she doesn’t strike me as the type who would try to handle it herself out of pride and at the expense of a successful delivery.

  3. I had a planned home birth, and it probably saved my daughter’s life, since I would never have been able to get to the hospital on time and the birth was complicated by shoulder dystocia and there is no way I could have got her out on my own. My man was in town, and the midwife was closer… If things would have gotten worse, I could have been in trouble, but in that particular situation, it was the best thing. If I manage to convince my man to have an other child, I’ll definitely have an other home birth, since I tend to have fast labours… I just hope I won’t have an other 10pounder, though! 😉And quite frankly, I’d prefer my kids to be asleep when I give birth… caring alone for a not quite 3 year old in a labour that progress rapidly isn’t fun at all lol 😉 I wont tell you that my choice is the best for you, but trust your instinct.

  4. I’m a bit jealous…David won’t even consider a home birth. I think it would be absolutely lovely, since that’s where I want to be anyway. I’m glad you have such a lovely midwife, and I must ask…this is covered by Tricare? Why? Shortage of OB’s at the local MTF? Basically, HOW DID YOU GET TRICARE TO PAY FOR A MIDWIFE?????

  5. I guess my last hospital experience was bad enough for Bill, too, that he’s willing to avoid a repeat.This is my third Tricare midwife in three different states. Here, the MTF doesn’t do obstetrics, so they refer you out. I was pleasantly surprised to see that the midwife I had already found was listed. So, I’m on Tricare Prime, and she’s my referred civilian provider.At Fort Belvoir, their MTF does do obstetrics and they have at least two midwives who work at the hopital. In fact, unless you have complications, you can’t even go to the doctors for your OB care, although you can ask for the doc on duty to deliver you when it’s time. A neighbor of mine who had a high-risk pregnancy and who knew she would have to have a c-section did not get to see a doctor until her third trimester.Before that (with Jenny), I went on Tricare Standard and could go to any doctor or midwife I wanted and it was all covered. I think I paid a $50 co-pay for the hospital…maybe.I thought I would have to go on Tricare Standard for this one, but I’m happy I don’t. What made the last L&D so bad? There was a pre-determined birth plan for everyone: you go in, they determine that you are in labor, they hook you up to monitors, administer an epidural, break your water, and, if necessary, give you pitocin to get that baby out of you in a most expeditious way. If you object to any part of that plan, they label you “difficult and uncooperative” and tell you that you can leave the hospital if you don’t want to do it their way. It was a miserable birth, and then it continued into my stay where they wouldn’t let me leave the hospital because I was Group B strep positive, even though I’d had 2 doses of antibiotics and even though I had never ever been made to stay for that in any of my other deliveries (without having had 2 doses of antibiotics), and despite the fact that I lived a half mile away and could come back the next day if they felt it was truly necessary. My truly good midwife was on vacation and would have been an advocate for me in all of this had she been there, so I don’t blame her, I blame the department as a whole for their bizarre rules and archaic procedures.

  6. Oh, MICHELLE! All I can say is, “Wow!”How awesome that you’ve found such an amazing midwife, and how wonderful that your kids get the opportunity to be so involved in this experience!

  7. Thank you for sharing. Something to remember…for next time. 😉

  8. Oh my goodness, I LOVE the sounds of this.I homebirthed, email me if you want more info.

  9. Michelle, I have to disagree with catholic mom, no a labor going wrong can be spotted miles away and it can be adverted by a good midwife. But enough on that. I was all gun ho, “hospitals are best and the safest”, yada yada during my first delivery. What occured during Peter’s birth was nothing but horrific. It was much like what you described above. I see red everything I hear the word pitocin. I will never go back. I’ve delivered both my girls myself…I caught them both…John was gone for both…and I labored at home, start to finish, no interventions, unhindered, unfetted with, and it was 100% better, far safer, and so much healthier for me and the girls.What a blessing indeed have the options you do. Please read my first homebirth story at: http://www.lauriefremgen.com/stories/charlotte.html Research it more, do what you feel is the best. But, as you can see, I’m cheering for the homebirth.

  10. Susanna, I can’t wait to read your story. You tough chick. Did you get up and return to your job in the fields harvesting the crops afterwards? Geez.Everybody approaches life from different angles – and everybody has different experiences which shape their attitudes. I have friends who have worked ERs, and they were the most protective parents I knew – having seen every possible way children could injure themselves. Although I think a home birth would be good for me, I know it’s not the best answer for everyone. I know you are a nurse, but many in the medical profession are more comfortable with the knowledge that emergency help is right there just in case. I’m sure that many OBs feel that certain procedures are “safest” just like many doctors think most vaccines are good or think that any diagnostic test is worthwhile.

  11. Heehee, I love all the comments when someone says the magic word “homebirth”. I used to think it would be a horrible idea, but now I think it would be sort of okay. Of course, that is providing that I would have a ’round the clock nurse staff at my beck and call for at least 3 days, 4 baths a day, and NO screaming, fighting, hungry children around for those three days. Oh, and a maid to clean up after me and the mess that giving birth and the “after stuff” that occurs. So, then I’m back to just going to a hosp. because all that other stuff would NEVER be available without hugely imposing on my family. I had a “natural” delivery, and some induced, and epidurals. The best was Mari (the littlest) who was induced. It was controlled, peaceful, painless (epidural worked wonders!), and grace-filled. I am going to try to replicate that one with this one. Same doctor, same hosp.. After she was born, I said for the first time, “I can’t wait to do THAT again!”. So, here we are again!

  12. I worked as a nurse in the E.R. for good bit of time myself, so count me as one of “those” friends. None of it comforts me now. It’s all about prospective. Yes, I did take up my plow and pushed it on, and you do to, clearly…running at 4am every morning. You’re tougher than you think.

  13. That is AWESOME, Michelle! And though I could never do a home birth myself (that whole history in the family thing), I think WOW to read it here. Glad your midwife rocks too! Kansas, it seems, is agreeing with you. :)))

  14. I love the internet! I’ve bumped into your blog from several different angles. I find myself also pregnant with my sixth child and looking for information about Tricare and midwives (and I heartily recommend a homebirth…I know it’s been months since this post, but it ain’t October, yet!!).So, are there any buzzwords I should use or not use when contacting Tricare? The last time I tried to get Tricare to cover a homebirth, I got a flat out “no” and didn’t think to challenge it. I later learned that the answer really is “yes”, but I don’t know it that’s really true or not.Thanks!Sandyone

  15. Sandyone,The reason Tricare gives you the run around is because the laws are different from state to state…and midwives are different from state to state. In many states, midwives must work under the umbrella of a doctor, and some doctors won’t allow home births. If you can find a midwife who does home births, you should be able to get Tricare to cover you under Tricare Standard (you may have to pay the midwife and then get reimbursed from Tricare). I’m lucky that mind is covered under Tricare Prime. Good luck!

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