As some of you may have heard, I am pregnant and expecting in May. After having gone to a doctor for my initial prenatal visits I was disappointed at the level of care I was receiving. The doctor is fairly popular around here and the office was easy to work with. The people were friendly and the process was efficient…but for me something was missing.
I wasn’t asked what I wanted, but told what was expected of me from start to finish. I didn’t have time to talk and build a relationship with the person who would deliver my baby. I was given a quick pelvic exam and we exchanged a few awkward jokes. There was nothing spiritual or intimate about the visit. I wanted more.
Not long after that I set up a visit with a midwife. When we arrived at the midwife’s office we were greeted with hugs, offered tea and made to feel at home in a comfortable space. Both she and her apprentice/assistant treated us with warmth and offered us their friendship.
We began the visit by filling out medical background paperwork. She apologized before we began saying, “I’m sorry if this feels redundant. You probably answered a lot of these questions with your doctor already. But I just want to get a good feel for your history.” What followed did NOT feel redundant at all. She filled out the entire form for me, and personally asked each question on the form. I have NEVER had a doctor take that kind of time with me. She made it clear what she wanted to know and why, and asked many clarifying questions that built trust between us. By the end I felt like she had a thorough understanding of my background and family history.
She then wanted to hear about my birth vision – how I envision myself giving birth in an ideal setting. I was able to voice my beliefs, my hopes and my fears. She listened compassionately and offered advice at all the right moments. She made it clear that they are there to support me and “hold the space” during labor so that we could honor the spiritual aspect of birth as well as the physical.
By then we had been there for almost a full hour and hadn’t even listened to the baby yet! When we got to that point, it was fun listening to the heart beat together. Both midwives reveled in the sound with us. They touched my belly and talked to the baby. They celebrated that both baby and I had strong vital signs. They never left my husband out of the experience either. He was always included in the conversation and reminded of the important role he is playing in this pregnancy. We all shared what felt like a special moment of awe and appreciation for the life forming inside my belly.
We left feeling elated. I am so confident in my decision to give birth outside of a hospital, with the support of my midwives. I am looking forward to this beautifully feminine and powerful experience. I am grateful that I found these women and that my husband is so supportive and involved.
I encourage women who are pregnant to explore their options to find what feels right to them. Birth is an intimate and important moment for women and it is our right to do it in a way that makes us feels safe and comfortable.
Please feel free to share your birth stories or ask questions! Thank you for allowing me to share my excitement with you!