When we started thinking seriously about having a baby, I had a couple of friends who had experiences with midwifery vs. doctors and I was intrigued. After asking a couple of questions, the reasons they had for choosing a midwife over a doctor seemed to line up with my beliefs and way of living.
First of all, I believe that my body has been built for childbirth. Period. I knew I wanted a natural childbirth, and I felt I had the best chance to do so with a midwife. Second, I found it very appealing to not give birth in a hospital. Pregnancy and childbirth are not a sickness or a "condition" of any kind, and I didn't want to be treated that way. Hospitals feel cold and sterile to me, and I wanted a more relaxing and calm atmosphere.
Looking back, it's funny that my reasons had everything to do with the birthing experience I wanted, and very little to do with the prenatal care. Today I would say the pre and post natal care are the reasons why I would recommend midwifery care to others.
The truth is, you can have a natural childbirth in a hospital with a doctor quite easily. Become educated and informed on childbirth. Know what you want and stick to your guns. Baring a high risk situation, anyone can make it happen if it's what they truly want. You can also make your hospital room as home-y as you'd like. Bring in a couple of soft lights, turn off the harsh fluorescents. Scented candles. Music. Badaboom badabing. Maybe not quite as lovely as a home birth or birthing centre, but it's something.
For me, what set midwifery care apart from being under the care of a doctor is the relationship you form with your midwife. I was beyond blessed to be accepted under the care of my Midwife, Tara. If you tracked along with me during my pregnancy updates you would know just how wonderful she is. It is completely obvious that the Lord placed her in my life after I prayed very intentionally for a Christian midwife. Boy, did He ever deliver tenfold! Not only is she a strong Christian woman, but happens to be a pastor's wife in the very same denomination that Chris and I are a part of. A small detail, but quite significant to me, as a future pastor's wife.
My prayers were in large part due to the birthing experience I hoped for - I knew I wanted to have worship music be a part of labour, and I knew a Christian midwife would make me feel so much more comfortable to do so. What I didn't expect was for our shared faith to foster a lovely friendship- one I eagerly looked forward to with each appointment. I can't remember one appointment where we stayed within the timeframe of 30 minutes because we so often spent more than half our time together chatting about life, God and marriage. Thank heavens I was usually her last appointment of the day! Instead of feeling like I was going to a medical appointment it seemed like I was going over to a friend's house for coffee (sans coffee) and there was the bonus of hearing the baby's heartbeat at the end.
I am a reader and a researcher. I like to be as informed as possible about every decision I make, especially when it comes to my health. Something that I really appreciated was that with each decision- whether it be a test during pregnancy or a procedure that happens during/after childbirth that is normally "standard of care" with an OB-GYN, that decision is placed back in the hands of the parents. Tara would give me all the information I needed to make an educated decision, (and would give me her opinion if I asked for it) and then let Chris and I decide if it was right for us. For instance, it is standard of care to give the mother a shot of oxytocin directly after childbirth to help your body continue to contract to deliver the placenta (something we declined) Also, the Vitamin K shot given to baby directly after the birth was put on the table as an option (something we chose to have) The fact that I was consulted at every decision made me feel empowered, honoured, respected, and well taken care of.
When it came to the birth itself, I couldn't have hoped for a better experience. Aside from the fact that I laboured throughout the middle of the night and was exhausted by the end, I have no complaints. I gave birth at the Lucina Birth Centre in Edmonton, and was so very pleased. I laboured in the giant birthing tub, which exceeded my hopes and expectations for pain relief and comfort. The room was quiet and dim and I was able to focus on my worship music and breathing through each contraction. It was an intimate setting- one that I was blessed to bring Elliott into the world into. If you want to read more about my birth story, to hear more about the differences seen in a midwifery birth, click here.
Lastly, the post natal care was amazing. Tara came to my house on Day 1, 3, and 7 post birth, and then I went into her home office for the rest of the appointments. As I wrote about before, I came down with a case of mastitis a week after Elliott was born, and it was absolutely invaluable to be able to text back and forth with Tara during that battle.
I had the best experience. There is no doubt in my mind that I will absolutely choose midwifery care for all my future births! Yay midwives! Let me know if you have any questions, and I'll do my best to answer them :)
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