Weeks 17 And 18 Of Valerie's Pregnancy Journal
Weeks 17 & 18: Meeting the Midwives
It figures, doesn't it? The week I FINALLY have things together enough to meet with the midwife is the week I actually forget to send in my update. Ah well. I hope I can remember most of the details from last week and capture the whole essence of the meeting.
It started out with less than ideal conditions. That is, I was paying too much attention to my e-mail and not enough attention to the clock and wound up leaving for the country fifteen minutes later than I had planned. My husband was working from home that day, so the two oldest kids opted to stay home. I had my 5 year old, 2.5 year old, and 15 month old with me as company for the long drive east. The baby slept most of the way there and my five year old spent most of the time talking to me and joking about all the dead skunks we could smell on the road.
It took us about an hour to get to our destination, having taken a slightly wrong turn, and arrived only 15 minutes late. Fortunately the midwife was understanding, as everyone seems to get "lost" the first time coming to her house (three roads with the same name causes the confusion most of the time).
Someone had pulled into the driveway in a pickup truck ahead of me. As I was wrestling children out of the van, I asked if I was in the right place. The woman with the long hair and hippie get-up assured me that I was. She was the epitome of hippie midwife as far as looks were concerned. She wore this outfit in layers, with some long-sleeved Hindu pattern underneath, a long tie-dye skirt as the next layer, and an odd-looking baby-doll kind of top (maybe it was a sundress?) that was knotted to one side. Wool socks, sandals, and a nose-ring finished out the look. Thinking this was THE midwife, I was like, "O-kaaaay." But actually she wound up be the midwife partner.
I went inside the first section of the home, which was the kitchen, a TV nook, and a loft, and was greeted by the owner, THE midwife. Let's call her "L" and her partner "K", since I don't need to reveal their names. She looked like most of the nurse-midwives I've encountered: shorter hair, normal clothing (more "professional", I guess), and possibly a hint of lip gloss. She escorted us to the next section of the house. We went out the back door, across the deck (which has this great view of the river), and in another door. This portion of the house contained the bathroom and bedrooms, again with a large loft that had a ladder leading up to it. Large windows and french doors afforded us a wonderful view of the surroundings. The place was sparsely furnished with a couple of chairs and a number of floor pillows which my children loved throwing themselves on.
Since we had been traveling for some time, I needed to use the bathroom. She asked me if I was ready to use a cup, which, I guess was her way of seeing if I was there for a prenatal visit or for some other reason. I kindly told her no thanks and kind of chuckled. When I came out, we straightened things out and I assured her that I was still in interview mode, which was fine with her. We settled down and got to talking. I was very open and shared a lot of the reasons why I was seeking a certain type of care (or non-care). She seemed cool about my reasons on the outside, but there were a few things that kind of set me off or raised some flags.
She mentioned her training briefly. Like many midwives, she trained at some clinics down in Texas. She made no bones about the types of births she encountered there (some trauma) and the fact that this training has made her approach a bit "edgy." OK, flag #1. I asked if she sutured and she answered that she "loves to suture." Flag #2. She also used the term "fetus" in passing when we were shooting the breeze. I just HATE that term.
I think if you're with a woman who is planning to give birth to this baby, the term "fetus" should just be replaced with "baby." I know, a little picky, but it points in the possible direction of the "A" word, and I get the feeling that she probably supports it. Flag #3. Then, of course, there was the whole doctor thing, which we seemed to resolve, but still, she wants her ladies to see a doctor. Ugh. Flag #4.
Now, most of the time we were talking, her partner, "K," was busy fluttering around, fetching coffee, tea, and doing who knows what. So, she wasn't really a big part of the discussion.
Then, about 45 minutes into talking, the way cool midwife ("M") I've been e-mailing for a while (the one who lives even farther away) shows up. Talk about a surprise! I was told she was going to be able to make it, but she did. Unfortunately I didn't get to talk to her for very long, but it was nice to meet her. At this point we talked about posterior labors and what helps and what doesn't, and also about waterbirth. Then it was late, I was getting hungry, so it was time to go. Both L and M gave me their "Informed Consent Disclosure" statements, papers which detail their training, philosophy, protocol, and such. There is also a place to sign, stating that you understand that the midwife is not practicing medicine or giving medical advice, yadda-yadda-yadda. I thanked everyone and we set on our way.
So, I've been sitting on this for a week now and I know what MY decision is. I bounced off some things at the ladies on the CBIRTH (unassisted birth) list. One helpful student midwife pointed out some things about the training clinics in Texas (she attended one), which makes that "edgy" statement make a whole lot of sense.
Now I just need to have my husband read both disclosure statements and see which one HE would choose. I'm at the point now that I would hire a midwife more for him, as I don't think he'd be completely comfortable with us going solo. M's philosophy is so close to my own, so much what I need at this stage in my life. She's birthed unassisted herself (both before and after she became a midwife), so maybe she'd just be someone good to talk to for my husband. We'll see.
Pregnancy wise, I still feel great. I suffered through a sinus infection/cold for a week, which took away most of my energy, but I'm starting to feel normal again. I've been feeling small movements here and there from the baby, but still no noticeable gut-punching or kicking from the outside. It's still early, I guess. To be honest, I don't really remember when I started feeling BIG movements from my others...probably about halfway through, so I have a few more weeks. Everything sounds fine, though. I'm glad I held onto that doppler for another month.
We'll be gearing up for vacation next week. Hopefully I'll be able to send my updates while we're away, but I can't guarantee it. So, if you don't hear from me for a couple of weeks, don't sweat it. Everything will be OK and remember I'll be enjoying the sun and fun of Florida!