Monday, March 7, 2011

On Midwifery

Midwifery is a fun word to say. 

Just ask my husband {who says it every chance he gets}. 

He likes how it feels rolling off of his tongue, "Mid-whiff-er-ee."

Back when starting a family was closer to a dream than it was reality, I always put myself in a hospital setting. Deciding preemptively who I would choose to have in the delivery room and who would have to wait outside. Who would be contacted first to let them know that we were on our way to the hospital, and how word should be spread from there? How many "coming home" outfits should be packed in the hospital bag for bringing Baby home--just one, so the decision was already made, or a few, depending on Baby's look and size?

Something funny happened between the dream stage, and the reality stage. When we started talking, in earnest, about starting a family {and soon}, my ideas surrounding labor and delivery began to change. Suddenly, the thought of something so normal and natural taking place in a clinical setting didn't sit right with me. 

Being immobilized on my back, strapped down to a hospital bed, IV's stuck in my skin, white lights blaring in my face, fetal monitor attached to Baby via my the insides of my body, unable to move & walk around for self soothing, being offered an epidural time and time all began to sound like a nightmare to me.

Now, I should start off by saying that no one in my family, nor any of my close friends, have used a midwife, nor delivered a baby at home. I should also let you know that you're not the only one shaking your head in disbelief right now that we would choose to go the route of home birth with a midwife "in this day and age"--my closest friends and family are doing the same. And we completely understand why--the stories, ohhhh, the horror stories you hear about home births! {And, sure, it's not for everyone. The thought of a home birth may cause you the same anxiety & panicky feelings that the thought of a hospital birth causes me!}

We met {and, subsequently, hired} our midwife last week. To say that we are in love with all the she represents is an understatement. We both adore her, greatly, already. She fits in with our little family perfectly, and "gets" our desires, wishes, dreams and hopes for labor & delivery, as well as the first few hours with Baby Lukie.

I will continue seeing my OB, as that is covered by our health insurance {thus, my blood labs, tests & ultrasounds will be covered by them; whereas blood labs, tests & ultrasounds are "extra" with our midwife.} Our health insurance does not cover midwife services, or home birthing, so we are paying out of pocket for this most amazing opportunity. Should my pregnancy stay low risk, and should Baby Lukie and I stay healthy, we will see the OB and the midwife once a month (and then, more frequently as I progress through the pregnancy), and we will deliver Baby Lukie in the comfort of our home, just the three of us--me, Mr. Lukie, and our Midwife--sometime in October, 2011. 

My heart can't hold one more ounce of happiness surrounding this decision. I feel so blessed, so truly, truly blessed, to have a husband who supports my wishes for labor and delivery so wholly, even as unconventional as it is.


  1. I think that's great Sarah!! It's probably one of my only regrets that I never looked further into homebirthing with my kids. I really should have, especially since it was all oh so easy for me! :) Congrats on your decision, it really is a special one! :)

  2. I could have written this myself! Your description of what you envision in a hospital birth is exactly the same as mine. We considered a home birth and actually ended up sticking with the hospital plan only because my OB is SO amazing (she put all the hospital nurses through doula training!). I told a friend of mine, it's funny, so many people are terrified of the pain of delivering naturally. I think I'm more terrified of the possible hospital interventions. I hope everything goes perfect for you and I can't wait to hear about it as it may be our route with subsequent babies.

  3. I think you have to make the birth of your child as close to your wants/desires as possible. In this day and age, it's seems to becoming more popular to hire a midwife whether in the hospital or not. I also have a friend who has built up an incredible business in just one year being a doula.

    A home birth was not for me but I think there is so much beauty in having the birth you want. Keep an open mind and know that things may not go exactly as planned but there is no reason not to go down this path.

  4. Oh you may want to watch "The Business of Being Born" from Ricki Lake.

    There was a part about c-sections that I didn't agree with/struck a nerve but it was very interesting and many people find it incredibly enlightening.

  5. Sarah,

    I think it's a wonderful decision and I'm glad you are so strong in your desires to not be bothered by naysayers. My second and third children were born via med-free childbirths, the third was a water baby (which I would highly recommend). When we started looking into birthing centers and interviewing midwives, we did get a lot of the same reactions, but the amazing feeling of being in total control of your birthing experience makes the comments and looks worth it.

    Also, I think Sarah is right, midwives are definitely gaining in popularity. In the last year, I have 5 friends (plus myself) who have birthed drug free with midwifes and not a one of them has regretted it. I hope you guys have the perfect experience! Will you be doing Bradley Method or something similar or are you more just go with the flow?

  6. Love, love, LOVE this post! Love you and I can't wait to hear about this amazing experience :)

  7. I'm so glad you found someone you really love!! I haven't had children, but I can only imagine that the actual birthing process is one of the most nerve wracking things, so choosing someone you are comfortable with is a huge blessing and burden lifted!!

  8. yay!! Congratulations on such a wonderful decision!! I am an avid advocate for natural childbirth. What is so crazy to me is that we call it "natural" childbirth, when it's the way childbirth should be.

    As a yogini & urban hippie of sorts living the natural lifestyle, I was pretty quick to make the choice that if and when I conceive, I will go the all-natural- midwife route, preferably at home or midwifery birthing center.

    A few years ago after my cousin had a terrible in-hospital experience (constant intervention by the hospital staff over the 48hr labor & she was allergic to the petocin!, followed by emergency c-sect) I decided to watch the documentary - The Business of being Born and read the book Pushed a few years I started to form my opinion on hospital births. Now I completely think it is a personal choice and like you said, is not for everyone. However, after numerous friends births that I have watched/been a part of the last few years I can completely see just how cold and how business-like the process is when in a hospital.

    One of my girlfriends had a home birth last year-- there was slight risk early in her pregnancy, but she made the decision that was right for her and her husband and is completely happy with her decision.
    I'll send you her blog that discusses their decision and her experience. :)

  9. Sounds perfect! I think people who believe home births are dangerous feel that way because they know nothing about it and in our society it's "normal" to give birth in a hospital. Even though it can actually be more dangerous (for low-risk pregnancies) to deliver in hospitals. "Pregnant In America" is another good documentary to watch. I've had so much anxiety since my first experience giving birth naturally in a hospital and feel I was robbed a good experience due to the hospital staff and protocols. I'm due on Monday and FINALLY feel emotionally ready for this birth because I decided to hire a doula. She is highly experienced in giving birth naturally without all the interventions and gets me and my philosophy on giving birth. (My birth plan makes the hospital, nurses & doctors nervous which in turn was making me very uncomfortable). Bottom line- no one should be scared to give birth, yet so many woman in our country are. I'm so happy for you that you've found a midwife you love. I wish you the best experience ever.

  10. That's great! :) I look forward to hearing about it when the time comes!

  11. You know how I feel! :) So glad you found a MW to suit your needs!

  12. Whenever I use the word "Midwifery" my husband looks at me funny like I'm mispronouncing it or something...LOL
    Glad you found a midwife you're so happy with!

  13. Can I give you a big High-Five?! :)

    I decided early on that WE would be in charge of our labor and delivery.

    And we were stunned to get a possible "incompatible with life" diagnosis when we were only a few months along - which threw a big fat monkey wrench into all the plans.

    I knew that we needed to be in the hospital for the possiblity that Itty Bit would need immediate dialysis, but I was still going to be in charge of the process, darn it :)

    I brought a friend who had been a doula (mind you - I am totally not a "crunchy" person, I just adored her straightforward and calming prayerful manner!)

    We checked in and I refused the internal baby monitor, walked around as much as I wanted, refused drugs and told them not to offer them, then settled in for a relaxing BATH! I spent the vast majority of my labor in a warm bath with dim lights with only my husband, mother, and doula!

    In fact, the doctor stepped out right before delivery, and my friend literally CAUGHT Itty Bit as I attempted to walk back to the bed to dry off (I was completely covered up and clothed - it was amazing that she was able to catch him without seeing anything from my standing position!)

    Anyway - I guess my long-winded intent (haha) was to encourage you to GO FOR the experience you want... but not to be disheartened if it is different than you expect because God is still in control!



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