Saturday, May 24, 2008

Birthing Wars: Part II


My original birth plan was to birth with a Clinical Nursing Midwife. A nursing midwife goes through nursing school and typically/traditionally births (catches) in hospital. I really liked my midwife but didn't love the idea of birthing in a hospital. Like I said in part I, it's not that I feel hospitals are "bad", they're just not as conducive for the experience I was looking for. So after 2 of my 3 appointments canceled last minute (not for birthing babies either) and my midwife's assistant being fairly aloof and not returning phone calls I started to feel insecure and unsafe about the path I was currently on. The search began.

My friend Eden pointed me towards another new mom who loved her midwife and birthed in a birthing center. I had heard of birthing centers not too long ago and was intrigued at this middle-of-the-road option between a hospital and a home birth but dismissed the idea because my midwife didn't feel they were very safe nor could she birth there. (I'm learning in the whole CNM and CPM arena, it's a very us vs. them deal). This other mother used a Certified Professional Midwife*. A CPM goes through Midwifery school and has an intensive apprenticeship followed by taking an 8 hour licensing exam. Jake and I decided to meet with a couple CPM's to compare and contrast and get a feel for the one that felt right.

I met with one in the morning but she mostly did home births and typically didn't birth in birthing center. Though I am interested in birthing at home, for our family and our first baby, Jake and I thought a birthing center was a good starting point. She seemed great but there were a few concerns we had such as her quick dismissal of birthing in a birthing center and biases towards things such as vaccinations and things. I have my opinions as well, but because of my "client-centered" training for my profession, being supported in an informed choice big deal to me. I like to be informed, educated and empowered to make the choices right for me. The second one met with Jake and me in our home for an hour and a half answering all of our questions and concerns. She really struck a chord with me when I asked, "What is the difference, as you see it, between a birthing center, birthing suites and home birth?" She said, "You don't want me to discuss a hospital? I think it's important to talk about a hospital as well because it's not a bad option just different so let's talk about them all...then you decide." Halleluia! When it came to vaccinations she gave me material from an anti-source, a pro-source and a source that provided the pro's and con's of them all and a schedule. She eased Jake's concern of driving 40 minutes to get to a birthing center rather than dismissing it. I was elated! She was definitely the one for us.

So in a nutshell I will tell you my new birthing plan:

Natural Birth: Jake and I are going to learn the skills of Birthing from Within and Hypnobirthing to provide ourselves with a variety of tools and methods being we don't know what we are getting into. Hypnobirthing is a husband-coaching approach and Birthing from Within is not. Both offer complimentary tools so why not?

Birthing Center/Birthing Suite: I copied this from BellaNatal, our birthing center, because they explain this really well. Like a hospital or birthing center, BellaNatal Birthing Suites is a facility specifically designed to support the process of childbirth. But unlike a hospital or birthing center, at BellaNatal the care is separated from the facility in which that care occurs. This means your chosen provider is 100% responsible for your delivery and care. Why is that so great? Because this is the person you want to be responsible for you! This is the person you have chosen, the person you know and who knows you. Many women are surprised when they go to a hospital for their delivery and they don’t see their doctor until the last few minutes. Most care in a hospital is provided by nursing staff you’ve never met before. At BellaNatal, your provider will attend you for your entire labor.
We believe in the ability of healthy women to safely give birth in the setting of their choice, and we want to provide the most comfortable, supportive, and safe setting possible. We believe any facility in which women give birth should be flexible and accommodating to the needs of the mothers and babies who use it. We believe you and your care provider should make decisions regarding your care, not the facility. We believe normal healthy birth should not be expensive, and we have adopted a strategy to keep costs as low as possible.

Certified Professional Midwife: Cathy Larson! She can't deliver in a hospital but can do home or birthing center and actually apprenticed under the owner/founder of BellaNatal and my sister's current midwife! Small world, had no idea until making the connection later.

All of the other stuff such as wanting to be able to rub in the "white stuff" after birth (packed with vitamin K and other good stuff!!), not have my baby taken away, etc. are also part of my plan.

Another important thing to note, in the state of Utah you have to be deemed a "low-risk"pregnancy in order to deliver outside of a hospital. If issues arise, which they can be spotted early on, not as Hollywood would have us believe, you are transferred.--@DP

Monday, May 19, 2008

Birthing Wars: Part I


At 4 1/2 months into my pregnancy I have felt strongly impressed to switch my birthing plan and midwife. Not an ideal situation on any level. I have always planned on birthing naturally using the skills and tools of hypnobirthing, but was going to birth in a hospital because I liked my midwife. First things first. I am amazed that this is such a sensitive and
controversial topic among women. In the beginning I have shared with people I was going to birth naturally and so many were quick to shoot it down with, "Oh yea, I was planning on doing that too but there's no way..." "Good luck with that, let me know how that works out for you" OR just the "Oh..*nod* *nod*" My choice to birth natural is not an attack or judgment on anybody else's choice, it's just the beginning of many choices I will have to make as a mother that feel right to me. Really it's not a better than or best choice, it's just a different choice amongst the choices we have as women...and isn't that great we have choices?

I am also looking into birthing in a birthing center. I would consider doing a home birth, but I don't think our family is quite ready for that. I have been part of 4 home births all successful and simply have really good examples and experiences with them. When I tell people I would like to birth in a birthing center it's as though I have told them I am going to let my children play in the middle of a busy street. Hollywood has really done a number with dramatizing labor and giving us inaccurate visuals as the norm not the exception.
The bottom line is I have learned to be very selective with whom I discuss and share my thoughts with regarding this topic because rather than the conversations being one of dialogue and understanding they turn into debates, opinions and anger/fear.

I have thought through, researched and have many reasons as to why I feel it necessary to switch birthing plans halfway through my pregnancy. This choice is not based on popular or unpopular opinion for that matter, what someone else has done or is doing, or trying to make things more complicated then they need to be. My research isn't based on bias information or from the companies and/or agencies that are policitally aligned or financially invested.

Birthing a human being that on average can weigh between 6-8 lbs is a matter that for me can't be taken lightly. Nor is it merely a medical procedure. It's actually really unsettling to currently be without a midwife and navigating in unsupported, turbulent waters. But I know that all things uncomfortable cause movement to find comfort, security and a sense of peace.