The key to a joyful pregnancy is trust, I'm convinced of that. Regardless of what type of care you seek during pregnancy and birth--if you're the OB type, the midwife type, or the unassisted type--trust is vitally important if you wish to truly enjoy your pregnancy. Once fear enters the arena, joy is diminished.
During this pregnancy, I've been re-examining a lot of things as part of becoming whole again. Much of this has to do with my last pregnancy and birth. From the outside, everything would've looked just fine. I had no pregnancy complications, felt relatively OK with the exception of hip pain that would come and go, and the birth wound up being unmedicated and attended by the midwife who caught our third baby. From the inside, though, it was a completely different story. I was full of fear, from the moment I conceived to the moment I gave birth. So, so sad when I look back on it. A time without much joy. Part of it had to do with fear. I had (have?) many unresolved issues surrounding the miscarriages I had experienced, and felt like I was going to lose that baby at any moment up until his birth. I couldn't trust my body to grow and hold onto a healthy baby.
I sought more interventive "care" during pregnancy than normal, having several ultrasounds to check on the baby's size and well-being. When I learned I was GBS+ and that my baby was "big", this added more fear and hindered my labor. I chose prophylactic antibiotics during labor (4 rounds!), went to the hospital WAY to soon, and had a long, miserable labor. I wound up wanting an epidural...if I wasn't going to ENJOY my natural labor, at least I wouldn't have to FEEL it (I think I wanted to numb my body like I had numbed my heart). But my midwife took my "power" away and told me I couldn't have an epidural...but I could have pitocin. The pit was actually helpful and my baby soon was born. But I felt so defeated, deflated. I was happy it was over, but I felt no joy. This resulted in postpartum depression.
I've been working so hard this time around not to fear, but to trust. I trust my body is growing a healthy baby. I trust my body will grow this baby to a size that can be birthed safely at home. I trust my baby to know the right time to be born. I trust in God, that He will care for me if something goes wrong in this pregnancy. Unlike last time, I am trusting myself to know when I'm not feeling well or right. I've been so happy in this place where I've not had any prenatal care, I just so want it to continue. Some people would argue this is naivet� or irresponsibility, not having someone professional (paid) to track my pregnancy. But I have to ask, what control would someone else, a professional, have over the outcome of this pregnancy? None. All they can do is measure, probe, and make suggestions as to how to care for myself...the rest is up to me. So, for now, I kind of look at it as cutting out the middle man (or woman).
This brings me to my unresolved "search" for a midwife. Yeah, I know, I don't WANT prenatal care, but I'm still looking for a midwife? How's that for confusing? I've been trying now to meet with this one midwife. Last week she encouraged me to stay home instead of driving in the bad weather. Naturally, the weather cleared about an hour later. Then we tried to reschedule, but I had another schedule conflict, so we rescheduled again for next week. I'm beginning to think that maybe it isn't "meant to be." I can't remember if I brought it up before, but when I first talked to her on the phone, she briefly made mention of getting "labs" done...you know, having blood drawn for this and that, the typical pregnancy thing. Well, she mentioned it again in her last e-mail, saying that I should get scheduled to see this OB she has some agreement with so I can have labs and take care of anything that might need to be taken care of. I responded to her that I didn't see the need for much more than a hemoglobin check. I rationalized that it has been only about 18 months since the last time I had labs, and that the status has most likely not changed since then. Also, I'm assuming since I cultured positive for Group B Strep (GBS, as I mentioned above), I still carry the bacteria.
Much of prenatal care has to do with trust or the lack thereof (i.e. fear)
as well. Take my whole gripe with getting labs done. Mostly what is being
tested in those labs is sexually transmitted diseases, such as syphillis,
gonorrhea, and HIV. I understand this can be important for a care provider
to know so they can take proper precautions to protect themselves. Other
things are tested for as well, such as rubella, which can cause birth
defects or miscarriage. I don't have these STD's, my husband recently had a
blood draw that shows HE doesn't have them either. Shouldn't the midwife
have trust in my monogamous marriage and my previous test results? I don't
have a fear of these tests, I just feel they are unnecessary and costly
(esp. in light that we will soon have a change in insurance and I
potentially would have to pay out-of-pocket for these labs). I was
vaccinated several times against Rubella in the form of too many MMRs during
college and before I went to graduate school, so I'm trusting I'm still
protected. Hemoglobin, that is, testing the level of iron in the blood, is
important, since it can affect the mother's and baby's well-being. This
test, however, doesn't necessitate a whole vial of blood being drawn...it
can be a simple finger-prick. Even then, without a test, I trust that I
would experience signs of anemia and follow through with some dietary
adjustments (red meat, yum, and herbal concoctions)...simple common-sense
(to me, anyway) self-care. And, well, I don't believe in the whole
gestational diabetes testing thing (read Henci Goer sometime and you'll be
convinced too), have never had it and likely never will. Since the GD
testing is done mostly to try to counter-act growing a macrosomic baby (a
baby over 9 lbs, usually), I think it instills fear of big babies, that
they're somehow abnormal and not products of healthy eating and/or genetics.
Besides, diabetes doesn't run in my immediate family, so TRUE GD is highly
So, you see how much of it can be based on fear? Fear of potentially harmful diseases, fear of too-big babies, fear of losing a baby, and yes, even fear of being sued. Why not just let me sign a waiver and be done with it? The lab thing is a major stumbling block for me in this midwife search. I'm sure there are readers out there saying, "What's the big deal? Why be so stubborn? It's just a little blood draw." Yeah, I guess. Maybe I'm looking for an excuse to just do this completely on my own, that one final thing that makes me realize that being unassisted would be OK. I don't know. All I know is that I'm happy where I am, I feel great, baby seems to be doing well (the heart is still beating, after all), and I TRUST that things will be just fine. Call me whatever you will, but at least I'm not afraid. :-)
That said, I AM scheduled to meet with this midwife next week. That could change if she reads my e-mail and decides she's uncomfortable with the level of (non) care I seek. Then again, she could be totally cool about it and TRUST that I'm a competent health-care consumer willing to take responsibility for myself rather than placing it completely on her shoulders. Isn't that how it should be anyway?
Until next week,