This post is reblogged from a former post in 2011.
Several years ago a pregnant mom told me that she was in love with her midwife. I don’t mean that she was using the term loosely to describe that she was just “the bees knees”. She was serious, people. Very, deeply serious.
This mom was not a lesbian with an erotic or partner type attraction for her care provider. That’s not what she was telling me. She was, however, quite passionate. Infatuated. She had dreams about her midwife and was even bashful about how strong her feelings were. She absolutely believed that her midwife could do no wrong. Then here midwife induced her before her due date, “lovingly” scaring her for her own good because her baby was certain to be HUGE. Mama lost the birth that she wanted, still trusting that her midwife would only do what’s best for her.
That mom has become much wiser, stronger and gone on to birth much bigger babies without an induction, even at home! Awesome Mama! I’m not so big on that midwife, though.
This is not uncommon. Maybe the boldness to voice feelings in such a way was rare, but over and over I see women just absolutely IN LOVE and googly eyed over their OB or midwife. They just KNOW that the care provider understand what they want and listens to them, so it does not matter that their typical pracice is not to “do” the type of birth that Mama wants. The care provider hears and knows her needs. Mama just know that they’ll follow through with the exception to their daily norm for HER.
But they do not. You may be telling your doula this when we know the actual statistics of your chosen care provider and hospital. Some are so into their routine that a doula in your area can predict what their “Switch” is.
High Blood Pressure
Low Amniotic Fluid
Your Uterus Will Explode at 41 weeks and 1 day
While there are true cases of these complications, it’s hard to believe that a certain practice somehow has a corner on the market of all babies who have… let’s go with low amniotic fluid. Their statistic of it’s occurrence is so high that you would think the practice itself warrants some investigation, right? Wrong. They “save” those moms and babies from the “threat” that they are under, when a second opinion would have clarified that, no actually your fluid is just in the low range of PERFECTLY NORMAL.
These mamas end up confused, birthing under fear of a condition that they often do not have, put through the “Baby Factory” mindset where their body is expected to respond like the machinery a factory would be designed for. When that body doesn’t kick in like clockwork a new issue is created, often legitimately now because you’ve messed with nature, and bad things happen.
But that’s ok. Your amazing OB or MEDwife that you adore is there to hold your hand and save you while they use instruments and tools instead of waiting on your body to do what it needs. You adore them for it. As doulas we watch and encourage you to find as much joy and strength in your chosen path as possible. Sometimes that means letting you believe it and knowing that someday you will question all this. We hurt for you. We know what that is like.
Two years after the birth when you are still cringe in pain, remembering the experience, that OB or MEDwife won’t recognize you when bumping into each other at the grocery store. You are one of many, but they were your only one.
NOT ALL CARE PROVIDERS ARE LIKE THIS. Many chose obstetrics because it is literally the only specially that they can get to do surgery without the required extra years of residency for any other surgical specialty. My OWN OB told me that was why he did it. This is not a joke.
Yet some are amazing servants who see their career choice as a calling to serve women. They will sacrifice their schedules and times, they will go out on a limb to give your body the space it needs and tell you the true statistics and risks for YOU to decide what you are comfortable with. They are amazing. Your job is to find one of THEM.
This is not fair. Women should be able to trust and care for the person who we have hired to attend our births. It is completely reasonable for us to expect them to guard our best interests and provide real information that helps us understand and know what is happening. Unfortunately, we live in a society where medical professionals are required by insurance and specifically trained in med school to practice medicine defensively. It’s wrong. Absolutely! But it’s the way it is. I don’t envy them that either.
As I was saying puppy love is infatuation and it blinds you to reality. You need to go into your birth fully aware, prepared, and with your eyes wide open. You don’t want to be blindsided while you are in labor.
The question is, do you love your care provider enough to have medical interventions FOR them, to fit their schedule and charts? Do you want them to be there for you so badly that you will have unnecessary major abdominal surgery? Because women often do, and they don’t even realize it.
1. Shop Around– You are HIRING this person/group to provide a service. I have long, thick curly hair. I could NEVER go to someone who specializes in short thin haircuts. Even if they make me feel so comfortable, happy and mushy inside. They can tell me I look great and make me feel beautiful in the moment. That’s NOT a good reason for a bad haircut, is it? And I’ll walk out of that appointment with BAD HAIR!! While they turn and croon to then next victim in their chair…
Find someone who has experience with the type of support you want. And don’t just listen to what they say. Ask the women who had the type of birth you want. Find the group that has been proven to support moms wishes without making them fight every step of the way.
2. Find a Local Chapter of ICAN– Sure you don’t expect to have a c-section. Most women don’t. But ICAN is about more than just VBAC(Vaginal Birth After Cesarean). They’re about awareness and avoidance as well! These women are supportive and have BTDT (been there done that). Typically they can recommend good local care providers that are tried and true as well as help you think through other aspects of your birth. And you may make some fantastic friends along the way. I have!
3. Don’t Be Afraid to Tuck Tail and Run! I know women who have changed OBs at 38, 39, 40 weeks… even one who left one hospital in early labor and drove to another where she could have the vaginal birth she knew she needed instead of an automatic c-section. You are not married to them. Don’t have a bad birth just because you feel bad about hurting their feelings. They may not even remember you in 3 months but I assure you that your body and heart will remember.
4. Choose Your Battles- I hate the idea of women having to fight in labor. Absolutely despise it! You deserve to BE safe and feel it. You should know you are protected and have the space to relax and trust your body. You deserve to have confidence in those who are there as a safety net for what your body is doing as you birth your baby. Unfortunately, we live in a country where normal birth is under siege and the majority of women do have to fight. You may not get the support you deserve.
So, choose your battles. I’m not referring to letting them do an epesitomy and just being happy that you got to use your vagina. Not that kind of battle. It’s simpler than that.
You may just have to fight something, so take the time to choose what that will be.
You can choose to fight your budget and save money to hire a homebirth midwife who will support your wishes at home, when you don’t think you can afford it.
You can birth in the hospital with someone you don’t trust and fight
through labor the best you can to get your needs met.
You can choose to fight traffic and gas prices to drive to the hospital/care provider that is most experienced in supporting the the type of birth you want. That may be a 2 hour drive.
Do you see what I’m saying here? Staying with someone who’s close and simple is not always the best option. If it is, you’re a very lucky woman!!
5. Listen To Your Gut – If your care provider is saying one thing but your gut is telling you that it’s going to change in labor, it most likely will. If what you’re “allowed to do” is presented differently and with more restrictions at each passing prenatal appointment… Honey, RUN don’t waddle… Go find someone you can trust!
6. Do your homework – If you can afford to take a good childbirth class, DO IT! Be prepared for everything so that you can relax and birth confidently. And I don’t mean hospital classes that simply teach you according to what that specific hospital wants you to know. Hospital classes have a vested interest in teaching you to be a good patient. Find an independent class. With all of the time that you took preparing for your wedding I know that you can find some time to set aside for this, right?
7. HIRE A DOULA- I do not say this simply because I am one. I want you to picture yourself 20 miles into running your first marathon. How tired you will be, the fight for every step, the heaving chest, the sudden doubts that you can make it. Now imagine someone standing next to you asking if you want drugs, if you want a c-section, if this, if that.. we can get that baby out in thirty minutes…
The only thing that you can predict about your birth is that it WILL be unpredictable. A doula’s job is to be one of your safe, constant predictable factors.
She is SO MUCH more than a BFF for the day. A doula is there to gently remind you of the decisions that you have made, to offer educational information on decisions that you did not expect to make so that you feel informed. To look you in the eye on that final mile and remind you that you ARE doing it already!!! To bring strength to your partner by supporting them and giving a sounding board for their fears and questions as well, so that your partner can support you better than they knew they were able to. You paid for professionals on your wedding day. Pay for them now. A doula is worth it.
I want you to LOVE your birth team. I do, but the person who you need to love enough to base your decisions are, are both inside of you.
I want you to birth with no regrets…
Gestate in peace ladies,
OTHER POSTS TO READ:
Birth Announcement Etiquette: Ban The Birth “Firsts”