Midwife Crisis

You heard it here first, folks: I'm ashamed of myself. (And no, it has nothing to do with the fact that I just made a batch of homemade frosting to eat straight from the bowl. Although now that I type it out, I'm kind of ashamed of that as well. Way to go, tubby.)

It has to do with the fact that I was proven completely wrong this morning. That for years, I've labored - no pun intended - under a total misconception. Which surprises me, because I normally pride myself on not falling for stereotypes. But I did, and it was ignorant, and I'm glad I found out the truth today.

I'm talking about midwives.

Let's get something straight about me. As much as I admire my water-birthing, no-medication, meditation-and-hypnosis-using counterparts, I'm soooo not that way. I'm all about the man-made pain management, and I'm not ashamed to admit it. Put me in a bed and get me an epidural, please, and oh yeah can I have something to take the edge off while I wait for the anesthesiologist to arrive?

Anyway, I always associated the term midwife with someone who was into all that "crunchy" stuff. Someone who would come in wearing a patchwork dress and Birkenstocks, carrying a birthing ball, and tell me that breathing was just as effective as an epidural. (Which, hello? I've tried both - and I'm sorry, all you Natural Nellies, but there's no comparison.) So when I switched to a new OB practice this pregnancy, and was given the choice between seeing the practice's doctors and seeing midwives, you can pretty much guess which I chose.

I had an appointment this morning at 10:15, with a doctor in the practice who ... I wasn't all that satisfied with last time I saw her. I mean, she was nice enough, but not very thorough or personal. My dissatisfaction grew when I was still sitting in the waiting room at 10:30 ... and then 10:45.

Finally, I was summoned back, and the nurse said, "Dr. B. is running behind today. Do you mind seeing a midwife instead?" I said no, of course I didn't mind. At that point, I just wanted to get the show on the road.

When she came into the room, she lit it up: the woman was just that warm and friendly. And right off the bat, she said, "That is such a cute shirt! It looks so pretty on you!" Pretty? I haven't heard that in ... about nine months. When I thanked her and then lamented that my excessive weight gain had made it tight, she rifled through my chart for a few seconds, and what came out of her mouth next made my entire week.

"You know what?" she said, "Your weight gain for the past few weeks has been right on target. You're not swollen, you're not diabetic, and your blood pressure is fantastic. I'd say you're doing just fine!"

At that point I think the heavens bathed her in shimmering light and a Hallelujah chorus sang. I'm not really sure though, because I was debating on whether or not I should waddle off the examining table and hug her. It was such a far cry from the usual stern admonitions on my weight that I seem to get from EVERY. SINGLE. DOCTOR.

And so it went for the rest of the appointment. We visited. She asked me about myself, my family, my pregnancy. Wanted to know about me, not just my anatomy. She took plenty of time listening to Coby's heartbeat - and then felt around and told me he was head-down. No doctor has ever done that. She was completely supportive of my desire for the most powerful epidural known to woman. And then, at the end of the appointment, she actually took the time to show me my chart and all my statistics.

When I was done, I seriously felt as though I had made a (very medically capable) friend. Who knew?! So I went straight to the appointment desk and told them that I thought I'd rather see midwives for the remainder of my pregnancy. "Is there ... a profound difference between midwives and doctors?" I asked the receptionist.

"They really have more time to spend on you," she admitted. "The doctors are scheduled for seven minutes per patient; the midwives are scheduled for fifteen." Not to mention, they're cheaper!

I felt kind of flabbergasted. Nobody had ever told me this, and I had never taken the time to really look into the midwifery option because of my stupid pre-conceived notion. But I'm so glad that my baby boy and I are in the hands of midwives now. I left the appointment today actually looking forward to my next visit in two weeks.

(... Though I hear it's going to involve a "vaginal swab." Fun times.)

So anyway, kids, a valuable lesson can be learned from my ignorance. Don't rule out the possibility of a midwife. Even if you've got your anesthesiologist on speed-dial and schedule your epidural and Stadol drip six months in advance.


  1. Welcome to midwifery care, where YOU are the focus!

  2. I'm so glad you made that discovery! That's why I go to a nurse practitioner, too, instead of a doctor who has to hurry through every appointment!

  3. Rita, I'm sooo glad you had that experience and are sharing it with your blog followers! I had seen a midwife for years for my annual exams, but when I got pregnant the first time, my husband and I decided that we needed to see an OB, someone with some "real" medical expertise, you know. The midwife had sufficed for pap smears, but we wanted someone with a few more credentials for the most important event of our lives. But, unfortunately, I had a terrible experience with the OB, up to and including the loss of my first baby at 4 months. She was so callous and insensitive, so clinical. At my post-op appointment following the loss, I was crying (for what I thought were obvious reasons) and the OB said, "Are you doing this every day?" Um, yeah. Sure am. So... I went back to the midwife when I got pregnant with Ellis and have not regretted it for one minute. Although I did feel adamantly that having a natural, intervention-free birth was part of my healing from the first pregnancy loss, she would have supported me 100% if I had wanted anything different. I was so glad to see you spreading the word that midwives are capable medical professionals who also take the time out to give you personal care. Go Rita!

  4. That's cool.....and glad her beside manners were better than most of the doctors you have seen. The doctor is still delivering correct?

  5. My doctor's office doesn't even have this as an option. I wish they did now.

  6. I love your blog. Your wit is a joy.
    Or is your suffering just plain funny?
    Nope, it's your wit.

  7. Midwife crisis ? I loved it ! I am a midwife...http://www.babycoachonline.com.au

  8. With my first doctor, I fired him at thirty-six weeks and switched to a midwife. The doctor did not listen to me so at each visit I had to correct his incorrect notes from the last visit, he talked to me while looking everywhere but at me, and told me--at my last visit--that I asked too many questions so he'll probably just C-section me because people like me are a lawsuit risk. After switching I found out I was dangerously anemic--the midwife found it, not the doctor--and risked bleeding to death at delivery. I had midwives with the other two kids, too. I think doctors are fine for high-risk pregnancies because that's what they are trained for; otherwise, you get what you really need for pregnancy and delivery from a midwife.


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