So this post is a bit overdue, but last week I mentioned that I made the switch from doctor to midwife at 29 weeks, and holy cow, do I wish I had done it sooner!
Let me make one thing perfectly clear - I made the choice that was right for me. Would I recommend a midwife to all of you? Of course! Would I judge you for choosing a doctor instead? Of course not. I did what was best for me, and you should do what's best for you.
For those of you who are pregnant now, thinking about having kids soon, or are just curious, let me tell you why I chose to switch from a hospital and doctor to my midwife and birthing center.
2. Support and individualized care. My midwife has made an effort to get to know me and what I want. She spent an hour just talking to me and getting to know me at my first appointment, and encouraged me to ask questions about pregnancy, labor, and delivery. When I was with a doctor, I spent maybe an hour total with her in six appointments - questions weren't ever really encouraged, and it wasn't very personal.
My midwife will be with me for the entirety of my labor and delivery. She will not just show up to catch my baby. Because of this, I will not need as many vaginal exams. When the doctor isn't present, the nurses have to check how dilated you are, because that's all the doctor has to go off. Because my midwife will be by my side the entire time, it is very likely that she will not need to check me - she'll be able to monitor in other ways to help me know when to push. More importantly, she will be there to support me through the difficult (but rewarding!) process of giving birth.
3. Birthing options. This has more to do with going to a birthing center rather than a standard hospital. My "birthing center" is actually inside a hospital, which is pretty much a win-win (especially if things don't go perfectly). I want a natural water birth - the hospital I was originally going to give birth at does not allow water births, and has a 95% epidural rate. The nurses there are not as experienced with natural childbirth, and they tend to push the epidural. In addition to not wanting an epidural, I don't want to be induced (both epidurals and induction increase a person's chances of needing a c-section). If I didn't want a water birth, birthing centers offer lots of different options, and are much more flexible than hospitals.
4. It's less invasive. Like I said before - my midwife would not have done an unnecessary trans-vaginal ultrasound, she will not measure me at my weekly appointments (those start at 36 weeks), and she will not measure me during labor. As someone who doesn't exactly love showing my nether regions to the world, I really appreciate this approach.
5. She'll be there, no matter what. This is specific to my midwife, but if you can find a midwife like her, do it!! She will come as soon as I go into the hospital, even if she's not on call. Whether she's just finished a 12 hour shift, or just gone to bed at one in the morning, all I have to do is call and she will be there. Amazing, right?!
Moral of the story: I chose a midwife because I wanted someone who will support me and my choice to have a natural waterbirth. I wanted someone who would be open to alternative pain management methods, someone who doesn't push inducement, and someone who understands that this is my birth and my baby.