Monday, October 21, 2013

Midwives are Awesome!

Just got back from the birth center for another prenatal checkup. Today was very exciting for me because I got to be seen by Jennifer - the midwife who caught Julee when she was born! I knew that this week was a strange one at the office with many of the full-time midwives out of town. I had been scheduled with a perfectly lovely lady who had also been around when Julee was born and oversaw my post-partum care. My appointment was originally for Thursday, but then I thought to get in touch with Jennifer to see if she was going to be seeing any mamas this week. She was! I was able to get an appointment with her for this morning and was very happy that I did.

First, let me explain something...."catching babies." Maybe this is weird for you, and I get that. You're probably more used to an OB "delivering" babies. The Midwife Model of Care is much more women-centric, and when it comes to labor and birth, the mom is the one who does the work. She delivers her own baby. It's a very personal effort, one that no midwife or doctor can do for the woman. That said, a woman needs help and support when giving birth, and definitely needs someone who can react to a desperate need or emergency. Not to mention that when pushing a person out of her body, it's really quite a load off if the woman can focus her efforts on the pushing and not have to also worry about her baby hitting the floor or just floating away in the water. Hence...."catching babies." The mom delivers. The midwife catches and then does a quick alley-oop to mama. That, of course, is not all a midwife does, but that's why that terminology is used.

So yes, Jennifer "caught" Julee and then passed her to me, and she has since been dedicated to staying in touch. That's what SO COOL about midwives. You just don't get that kind of relationship with a doctor. To most OBs, pregnancy is a medical issue with all sorts of problems that need to be monitored, and his or her role is to ensure that the baby comes out safely. They're really pretty good at that, to be honest. It may not be the mom's most ideal birth experience, but the babies come out alive and safe (though some people would even argue about the definitions of those things). A woman can totally love her doctor - heck, I did when Lily Mae was born! Dr. F was awesome! He respected me and took great care of me. I had a really good experience, and after she was born, he even went the extra mile to check on me for the following few days and arranged for a special room for me at the hospital so that I wouldn't have to leave my little preemie's side after I was discharged. So I'm not at all suggesting that OBs are somehow of "lesser value" than midwives. Don't even go there. I'm not. What I AM saying is that midwives have a better understanding of what goes on in the heart of a woman during pregnancy and birth. They care, deeply, about a mom and her baby and the entire process of that baby coming into the world. They spend real, quality time with women and take steps to get to know them during pregnancy. They are sensitive, caring, and oh my goodness they are WISE women. They fully know what they're doing, and they care about earning a mother's trust (because that's a really big part of the puzzle). Not only that, but it doesn't end once the baby is born. A midwife may not remember all the details of every birth, but she was present in mind, body, and spirit. Her investment in the process is not just for a paycheck, and it's not just for the moment of the birth. It's long-term. She wants to see the mom and baby bond. She wants to see the family grow and thrive together. She is passionate about life and how it comes about. I just really think midwives are amazing. Jennifer was a student at the time I went into labor, and she is now a fully certified midwife. She was around 7 months pregnant when I had Julee, and we have been connected ever since. We keep up with each other on Facebook and Instagram, and we've gotten our girls together for a playdate (which I hope happens again soon!). She's a really cool chick who, even though we don't hang out all the time, I'd call my friend. Dr. F was a nice man and a good doctor, but he is not, and would never be, my friend. I feel hugely blessed to live so close to a birth center and be able to have this experience in my life. I'll never stop singing the praises of midwives! Maybe I'll even be one someday. I could see it happening.

So anyway! Wow! I didn't really expect to go into all of that. Ah well. My vitals were good, my weight gain is slowing, and my belly is right on track. The labs from my glucose test came back great (glucose measured a 90) and Jennifer said I had some great lookin' blood. Haha. My iron levels were great and I'm told to just keep doing what I'm doing (but it wouldn't kill me to eat some more veggies). So yay!

I also got to book the rest of my bi-weekly appointments through 36 weeks. I'll still have to get that follow-up ultrasound to check on the low placenta, and that will probably be on November 19th. Please, please keep that issue in your thoughts and prayers. I really need it to move. We're talking just over half a centimeter....but even just that little bit is crucial for a safe, natural birth. Complications with the placenta during birth could be life-threatening, and no one wants to go there. So let's just hope it does what it needs to! Monday, December 2nd, will be my appointment with the supporting OB who will hopefully clear me for an out-of-hospital birth, assuming the placenta doesn't continue to be an issue. Next appointment is two weeks from today!

Am I really going to be 30 weeks along next week? Am I really less than 2 months from full-term?? Can't believe I'll probably be holding my third baby girl in my arms before Christmas. Super excited!

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