Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Birth is As Safe as Life

Be prepared. Just yesterday I wrote a post about maternity clothes. And today I am - *gaSp* - posting again! Two in a row. And there is one more to come because on Thursday I have my anatomy scan. Too much babyness in one week. Oh well, grit your teeth and bare it. Because today deserves its own special post.

I had my first prenatal appointment with the Midwives! Now let me tell you, since we made the decision I've been feeling 85% excited and 15% like a lunatic who thinks she can fly to the moon using fairydust and willpower. But today, the appointment pushed me to 115% excited/relieved/validated.

I'll try not to bore you with too many details. But, here's a quick run down:

We showed up, they offered us tea, coffee or water. We were greeted by the same midwife we met with last time and a student midwife who would be participating. Hugs all around. We chatted about our upcoming trip to Mexico and how I've been feeling, etc, and then they transitioned into getting my health history. Wow. Extensive. Did I mention my doctor just asked "Is there anything I need to know about your health history? No? Ok, great." These women took me through everything. When they were done they both looked a little shocked and said, "Wow, you're really healthy." Ha. Then we talked about nutrition and they asked me to give them a run down of everything I'd eaten in the last 24 hours while they diagrammed how much protein, veggies, dairy, etc I've been getting (later I have to actually track a full week's worth of food). They explained that they never weigh women unless they are worried they are underweight. Instead, they focus on what the women is eating, the nutrition she is getting, how she feels and how she looks. They explained that every woman is different and numbers don't mean that much. They also explained they don't want to contribute to negative stereotypes about body image. Go midwives.

We also talked about our super-scary-bleeding-episode. Which the midwives informed us was not really that scary, but actually quite normal. They explained why it happened, why we were okay, and that we should definitely continue to have sex, just maybe "gentle sex." FYI, we have had sex twice since it happened. And definitely VERY-gentle-sex. I confessed to being scared that it might happen again while we were in Mexico and they said, "Well that is why we have a toll-free 1-877 #. Call us any time. And if you want, you can text us pictures of the blood and we will examine them for you." WOW. Above and beyond, ladies, but thank you very much because I might just take you up on it.

We then spoke a little about why we choose to do the birth center and what our respective parents thought about our decisions. I then asked some scary questions about statistics (how many years have they been open, how many transfers, how many emergency transfers and yes, even - how many deaths). They admitted they having had one infant death in the whole time they have been doing this. That set a chill over the room. I mean, I know that one baby is probably actually a "good statistic," but how do you have a good statistic when you're talking about something like that?

But then the midwife said, "You know, you just have to believe that birth is natural and part of life and that everything will be okay. All I can promise you is that birth is as safe as life. And life isn't perfectly safe."

That stuck with me. Now, I know that you might argue that that one baby might have lived had he or she been in a hospital. That might very well be true. But I don't know the story or the reasons behind it. I do know that babies die, even in the hospital. It really is about taking a leap of faith I guess.

Whoa, didn't mean to get morbid there. Sorry, I just wanted to share that what she said resonated with me. You just have to trust.

Anyhow. Then we proceeded to the actual prenatal exam. They took my heart rate, blood pressure, listened to my lungs, listened to my heart beat, checked my reflexes, checked my urine and felt my thyroid glands. And then? Up on the exam table. Any by exam table I mean lovely spa massage table. With a pillow under my head and a nice triangle-like pillow under my knees. Okay. The exam could not have been more different than the doctor's office. There was no high tech ultrasound, no fancy machines. I didn't get to see my baby. But somehow I felt way more connected to her in this appointment than ever before. Both midwives asked permission to feel my uterus and when they did so, they both said, "Hi Baby," in a quiet voice. They both smiled the whole time while touching my stomach. Then they showed me where my uterus was and helped me to feel it. Oh, and main midwife told me my uterus may be a bit hard to feel because I have such "strong abdominal muscles" - Go Me! Then she asked me where it was I thought I had been feeling movement (discussed earlier in the appointment) and I showed her. She nodded and said, "That's exactly where I thought I felt something." Sure enough, when they put the doppler on my stomach, that's RIGHT where they found the heartbeat.

Now, we've only heard the heartbeat once before, while at our NT scan. But that time the heartbeat was coming out of high tech speakers on the computer. This time, she had to get the doppler right ON the baby before we heard it and it felt like we were so much closer to where the baby was. It was so amazing. We could also hear the swooshing noises when she moved around. The student midwife kept giggling and said, "She's moving so much!!" It was so intimate and personal and I felt all three of us were so cared for. Exactly what I wanted.

So that's that. I am sold. Koolaid drunk.

p.s. I just realized I promised you a quick run-down, when in fact I had to stop myself from telling you more and more and more. Too much? Not enough? Anyone have any questions??


  1. Great that you're getting such supportive care that places YOU and your wants/needs at the centre of things. Good luck with the anatomy scan!

    1. Thank you! I will keep you posted on the scan results :)

  2. This place does sound like a dream. I am so so happy that everything is going so well.

    I think the biggest lesson in this scary road to baby land is trust, trust in life.... which can get hard when you are the kind of person that wants to know and control everything. (While in fact we know little and control even less).

    What kind of questions did they ask for your health story? (I want to ask them to myself to see if there is something I could change / make better?)

    (And that experience with the Doppler sounds amazing.... I heard of a girl who got one just so she could listen to her baby in moments of stress).

    1. Yes...I think we've talked before about the "need to control" and how hard it can be. Seems I just keep coming up against that in life. How interesting that is.

      In terms of the health story, it was mostly not things you could "change," just your health history per say. Family history, gynecological history, allergies, etc. I think if I had said yes to any of those things, they may have given me more information regarding how to manage or regulate my issues. But my answers were mostly no. They talked a lot about Nutrition and supplements in regards to pregnancy. It was interesting, because they link a lot of problems I've been having (headaches, sickness) to cortisol levels and low blood sugar. They recommended eating right before bed and in the middle of the night (since I wake up every night around 4:00am). Basically, they take the approach in medicine toward looking at symptoms as something that have a cause that we can balance and regulate in our lives. Makes sense.

      Yes...I've heard of a lot of people getting Dopplers at home. I was tempted, but I decided not to give myself something else to stress over. Although, after having heard it, I was tempted again!

    2. Oh, but an argument AGAINST getting a doppler is that research studies are still inconclusive about the prenatal effects of ultrasound waves (which dopplers use at a low level). Some animal studies show no impact and others show some effect on cell growth, etc.

      I was extremely impressed with the midwife because I had previously read up on this research (the actual research studies) and knew that there was no clear evidence either way. I thought the midwife (being "all natural"), might preach the terrible effects of ultrasounds, but she knowledgeably explained the research and the fact that we just "don't know" at this point. Points in my book.

    3. Hmmm all of this really makes a lot of sense, and I like that they seem very "grounded" and not dogmatic. Most of all that they care about you and your hubs, about how you feel all along.

      BTW... I wanted to send you an email (unrelated to all of this, it's just a simple question) but I don't seem to be able to do it from your profile. Could you email me at poppiesandicream@gmail.com?

  3. What a great experience! I hope it continues to be just as positive, all the way through your birth. I've been very happy seeing midwives instead of an OB, although it does sometimes surprise me how friendly they are (hugging, acting so... happy) after all the doctors it took to get pregnant. It's a change that I can definitely get used to, though!

    1. Yes! The hugging and smiling so much totally catches me off guard too! Ha. But I'm not complaining.

  4. So wonderful - so glad you have this dream team of support!

  5. I'm so glad you love your midwives! I get seen by both a GYN and a midwife, and I feel so much more connection with the midwife. Your spa-like clinic setting sounds so amazing


Don't just sit there, say something!