When I was pregnant with Jonah, I was terrified of giving birth. It made me feel like a terrible mother, but just the thought of what had to happen to get this little being out into the world made me panic to the point of being nauseated and dizzy. Because of this, I read countless books on various techniques of birthing, birthing philosophies, and the physiology of what would be happening to my body as this little guy was pushed out. Through all of my research, I began to realize that it wasn’t *birth* that terrified me; it was going to the hospital.
The needles, the lack of control, the feeling that the staff is working *on* you and not *with* you. These things are what terrified me and made me sick to my stomach. I also did not have a good relationship with my OBGYN at all. She was cold and crude and frankly I did not trust her.
While looking for motivation, or inspiration, or just some sort of reference point, I looked up birthing videos on youtube. I was expecting to see videos similar to what we were shown in high school health class. Woman on a table screaming, legs spread apart, and a doctor pulling a crying infant from her and whisking it away to be monitored, weighed and measured. What I saw instead were women having beautiful births. They were taking part in their own birthing process, catching the baby in a moment of joy as they kneeled down with a contraction. Women laying in tubs with their partner, giving a soft groan and then a baby emerging from the water in the father’s arms. Beautiful moments caught on video that I felt privilidged to be seeing.
“That’s what I want for my baby.” I told my husband. I emailed him link after link of homebirth videos and resources. I really wanted to do this. My family felt differently. I already had a doctor who knows my situation, who knows the history of this pregnancy.Why switch now? It’s too late to switch. The insurance won’t pay for it. Where will you find a midwife? What if something goes wrong? Shouldn’t you have your first birth with a doctor so you know what to expect?
All of these things were told to me by my family. Sadly, I decided to have Jonah in the hospital. I still regret my choice, as does Daryl. The way that we were treated in the hospital is not the way that anyone should be treated during or after giving birth. We have decided that, unless there is medical reason to go to a hospital, then giving birth in the hospital is NOT for us. And so, we have started the journey towards having a completely natural out-of hospital birth.
In Cleveland, it was very difficult to find a midwife to attend a homebirth. Ohio is not a friendly place for homebirth midwifes. This is not because of any dangers, but because they threaten to take business from the healthcare system. The only stand-alone birth center we had was shut down years ago. The only option for out-of-hospital births was a home birth. Now that we live in Toledo, we have access to our choice of birthing centers across the border in Michigan. Finding a midwife who would attend our birth was as easy as asking women for reccomendations. I recieved so many that I am actually in the process of interviewing them to find a birth attendent that jives with us the most.
On Thursday, I went to interview the first midwife on our list. I was really hoping that I would know right away if she was the right midwife for us. The birth center is only a half hour away from our house, and it offers a lot of resources such as classes and community support. We took a tour of the center first. It was beautiful. The room where women give birth is a simple bedroom, with a comfortable bed and the cozy feel of home. There is a kitchen area complete with a full fridge that women are encouraged to eat from as they labor. It was a beautiful place, and I can envision myself birthing this child there.
The midwife however, didn’t strike that “she’s the one!” chord with me. I wasn’t sure what to ask, and so instead of helping me fill in the blanks by explaining how this works exactly, there were a lot of minutes of awkward silence. She wasn’t too keen on the fact that Daryl couldn’t make it to the meeting. She scolded me for saying that I want an ultrasound to find the gender of the baby (which was a lighthearted joke on my part) and she made a comment about my no longer breastfeeding Jonah when she saw him taking a sippy cup of milk (and if you’ve been reading this blog for long, you know how sensitive I am on that subject. It wasn’t my choice!)
She does however support so many views that we hold as a family. For example, she has a birthing circle every monday at the center. This is a group of expecting mothers that come together and chat about natural parenting, their previous birthing experiences, what they expect this birth to be like etc. Then they have a guest speaker and a discussion on a specific natural parenting topic. This week they are discussing cloth diapering. I think that this is a wonderful resource to get support from other women in our community that are doing the same thing that we are.
And so, even though I have two other midwives to interview, I may make the first couple of appointments with this first midwife. If I still don’t resonate well with her after one or two appointments, then I will most likely switch to another midwife. She is the closest to us (the other midwives are nearly an hour and half away!) and also seems to be the best equipped.