I had my son with them in August of 08.
First of all, I had my first appt with them when I was 34 weeks (!!!) because the MW practice I had been going to was bought out and closed very suddenly about 2 months before my due date. (!!!) I was also pretty high risk- I had a blood clot at 9 weeks and was on blood thinners for the duration of my pg, I am "advanced maternal age"
, I had been hospitalized for PTL, I had hyperemesis throughout pretty much the entire pg. They were wonderful about taking me on, although I think it really helped that I was forced to make a change based on circumstances beyond my control. They might not have been so accomodating if I had simply "changed my mind," although you never know. If I remember correctly, I saw a midwife for my first appt, then my second appt they asked me to see one of their OBs because of my risk factors (who was really great as well), then before I could have a third appt back with a midwife my water broke and I had my baby. I had him at 36 weeks.
I was really bonded with my prior midwives so making the switch was heartbreaking. But all things considered I am really happy with how things went. As I look back, I realize how incredibly great they were about taking me on so late in the game and with my nightmare pg. I called a couple of other mw practices and they wouldn't even let me walk in the door.
I really wanted a natural birth, but my water broke at 36 weeks and no contractions started. They let me wait a full 24 hours before they induced me. I probably could have waited even longer but I had a freak out moment about 10 hours after my water broke when I realized that I hadn't felt the baby move in a while, so I got myself to the hospital way earlier than they asked me to be there.
They did start the pit, but were very understanding of my not wanting to be tied down, etc. The nurse who got me started before the mw arrived (it was very early in the morning- the timing might sound weird but it was fine) was pretty strict about the BS "rules" that OBs follow, but when I had a meltdown because nothing was going to plan the MW got to the hospital early and basically overrode the nurse on just about everything. She kicked that nurse out and "hand-picked" the sweetest nurse ever who was very supportive of natural childbirth. This nurse was incredible- the automatic BP cuff had calibrated wrong so when it took my BP it squeezed SO HARD. It was worse than a contraction. This nurse went all over the hospital looking for a manual cuff and even offered to drive back to her own house to get one because I was in so much pain. I mean, she was
I went 11 hours on the pit with no pain relief before I had the epi. It was totally my choice- the mw never even suggested it until I asked about it. She encouraged the shower, the toilet, walking around, etc. But I stayed pretty close to the bed. She didn't try to do any vaginal exams- I was pretty adamant about NOT wanting any, so they did one when I first got to the hosp to see if I was dialated, then nothing else until 11 hours after the pit was started. I had the world's greatest epidural- I didn't know it was possible, but they did it so I could still feel my legs and even the contractions, but they didn't hurt (at least not as much). So I could feel when to push. I think the mw kind of "arranged" that with the anesthesiologist as well because she knew how much I DIDN'T want an epi, but maybe not.
During pushing she was also great- she put warm compresses (of olive oil?) on my perineum so I wouldn't tear and was very gentle- I don't remember anyone counting, although maybe they did but it wasn't obnoxious. Definitely no purple pushing or stirrups. I was shocked because at one point she wanted me to lay down flat. Being a good MDCer, I was like, "But... but... but... gravity and that's bad, etc etc etc." But she said that being flat would help DS get past the pubic bone, and sure enough it worked. I still tore because DS had a nuchal hand, but I only needed one stitch and she did a great job with that as well. I refused eye goop but consented to VitK, and she was fine with both.
The OB had to be at the hospital, I think b/c of hosp rules, but I never saw her once. As far as I could tell, the MW had total autonomy.
I did have a doula- best money we invested in this whole process. At first I think the mw was a little put out by the fact that we had a doula, but by the end of the process they were such a great team and the mw asked for her card and was saying things like "I'm so glad you were here!"
My only complaint (other than the fact that I had to be induced and medicalized, but that was not their fault) is that the mw aren't exactly "warm and fuzzy." I mean, they were, but not like my old mw. I felt like I related to them like they were friends of my mom, rather than friends of mine. Does that make sense???? It could just be the trying circumstances of the entire pregnancy.
Thanks for reading my novel!!! I love talking about this stuff!!!