Midwifery is something I strongly feel the need to educate people about and I make it a personal mission of mine to open people's minds to the benefits whenever given the chance. Since this is my blog and I can talk about whatever I want, I am going to talk a bit about midwifery and hope to teach you all a thing or two you might not have known. So here we go, some of my favourite midwifery myths dispelled:
Myth #1 - Having a midwife is less safe than a doctor
Not a chance. They go to university for 4 years to study ONLY childbirth and baby care. They're highly skilled. Doctors are great, doctors are smart, doctors have mad skills - yay doctors! But did your family doctor spend 4 years straight studying birthing and baby care? I didn't think so. I initially felt a lot of guilt leaving my doctor for a midwife (because my doctor delivers babies) but after I returned to see her with Rio at 8 weeks old she actually said to me that she thought I made a really good decision. Her own best friend had seen a midwife and she could not believe the level of care that was received.
Myth #2 - You can't have drugs
Untrue. Prior to Rio's birth we discussed all options for drugs (gas, narcotics, epidural, etc). Granted, they probably aren't as quick to give you drugs as a doctor but they certainly give them. In my case begging and crying didn't do the trick but that had nothing to do with her being a midwife and everything to do with me progressing too quickly.
Myth #3 - You have to have a home birth
Of the probably 15 people I know who have used a midwife, 1 has had a home birth. They're totally available to do home births if that's what you choose (by the way two of them attend if that's the case) but if you have a hospital birth they have the same privileges as a doctor. When Rio was born it was my midwife and one nurse and my midwife ran the show. The nurse came in at the last minute while I was pushing but other than that it was all Colleen all the time.
Myth #4 - You're not exposed to prenatal testing
You're just as exposed to testing as anyone else except you have the added benefit of discussing in great detail the pros and cons of every single test available to you and your baby. For every test that was run I knew exactly what they were testing me for and it gave me a lot more peace of mind than just being sent to the lab with a requisition and not really knowing what for. After MUCH discussion, I did decide to skip the glucose screen for gestational diabetes and I was thankful I was able to make such an informed decision. I was at zero risk and showed zero symptoms so there was no need for me to drink a glass of sugar water 100 times the strength of Tang just to find out I did NOT have gestational diabetes. (FYI this decision was highly supported and even suggested by Jordan's pediatric colleagues).
Myth #5 - They cost money
Not in BC they don't; it's covered by our medical. Your midwife is the sole provider of your prenatal care but there is zero risk involved in this because if any problems/risks turn up, she will refer to you an OB/Gyn for a consult.
Myth #6 - A midwife and a doula are the same thing
I don't really know what a doula is other than a birth coach. Their training is very short (I want to say a weekend but I don't want anyone to think I'm a doula hater if it's actually longer training). They are nothing close to a registered midwife and they do cost money because they are there as an added person to support you during labour and after care, so it's at your expense.
Myth #7 - You can't see a midwife if you're "high risk"
I pleasantly had this myth dispelled recently as with twins I am technically high risk. I just assumed I would be transferred off to an OB/Gyn and that would be the end of it, but no! I get to keep seeing Colleen AND the doc! Two for the price of one! I will see Colleen on a regular prenatal schedule, but then I will additionally start seeing the doctor at around 20 weeks.
Myth #8 - It's all patchouli and hippies
Why oh why do people think midwives are for hippies?! They're not! They're not hippies (well at least not the ones I know) and they don't only care for hippies (again, at least not me and my friends). They're normal, educated, wonderful, inspiring, loving, caring, AMAZING women treating regular old moms like Ms. Trousdell herself.
So there you have it. If it's not QUITE clear enough, let me tell you a few more benefits:
1. Each appointment is one hour. What do you do for an hour you might ask? You talk. A lot. You spend about 10 minutes doing the checkup stuff like heartbeats, blood pressure, measuring, etc, and then you talk. About your fears, your emotions, your aches and pains, your marriage, your job and anything else you can think of. Midwives treat pregnancy and childbirth as a holistic experience. It is a natural part of life that affects all aspects of your life so they want to help you deal with every concern you have - physical and emotional.
2. At our clinic you are assured of seeing one of two midwives for your birth. You have your primary who you see for most of your appointments and your backup who you see at least 3 times throughout the pregnancy. If your midwife is off call and you need anything or you go into labour, your backup is there. When I was pregnant with Rio I asked if any of the midwives (4 in our clinic) ever had a situation where neither the primary nor the backup was available for a birth. The answer was never. Pretty good track record for service!
3. Your midwife comes to your house when you're in labour and stays with you the ENTIRE time. They let you stay at home for as long as you can and only send you to the hospital when they know you are ready. If your labour is, God forbid, 24+ hours, your midwife will be there. Luckily for Colleen Rio came so quickly that there was no time to come to our house first so she was in and out of the hospital with us in a flash.
4. Post natal care is even better than the prenatal care. Colleen came to either the hospital or our home every second day for the first week, then again at week two. We did not have to leave our home for a postnatal visit until Rio was 4 weeks old. Weighing, blood tests, you name it, all at our house. Phone calls galore and lots of advice whenever it was needed for 6 weeks.
5. Leaving Colleen when Rio was 6 weeks old was incredibly difficult and broke our hearts. She was an absolutely enormous part of our lives and had been for 9 months and we couldn't imagine life without her. Did you or anyone you know CRY when they left their doctor? I doubt it. In that same way, she was one of our saving graces during our loss. She was so good to us that there are tears running down my face as I type this because I honestly don't know what we would have done without her. She called us nearly daily and gave us several home visits for hours at a time. None of them for physical checkups - all of them just to talk.
Anyway, after that monstrous ramble I think I'm done! I know I sound a bit pompous like "oooh I'm so great because I used a midwife and you didn't", but seriously, you should have :) I get that it's all about personal choice and for some people they just wouldn't feel comfortable if they didn't have a doctor. That's great for them, but for us, I couldn't be more sure that we made the right choice for our care and I can't imagine any of our experiences without our midwife.