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Boundaries and Communication: Me, MW, DP - Page 3

post #41 of 88
SquidMommy- I think it is great that you are sharing your experience and how it affected you. There are a lot of caring mama's here to help you sort it out.

From my perspective- my DH is my ally, my partner, but he is not my voice. It would not help me if he spoke for me. Yes, even in stressful or triggering situations. I would feel like there was a repeat of me being silenced if he did.

We do have a system in place... not that he always notices it... but sometimes I will raise an issue as a reminder to him and he will do the same for me. But we don't answer questions for the other one.

I'm not in the suck it up camp, or the scrap your plans camp. I want you to be able to make meaningful changes. You do your part to grow and your DH and care providers do their part to meet you where you are at. The work is shared.

You should have the midwife that works best for you... however... it is your job now, and in labor to be clear about your needs. Sounded to me like she wants to understand and be supportive but it wasn't clear to her what exactly you wanted.

I didn't see anyone talk about the high touch needs of a baby and I wonder if you have considered that topic? It might be good to have done some thinking and have some strategies in place for when you get touched-out by your baby.

Lastly, I don't think anyone mentioned the work that Penny Simkin has done around survivors giving birth but you might want to look into it. I know it from the provider end of things, not the mother end of things, but I have seen some empowering results from it.
post #42 of 88
Thread Starter 
SilverLace - I wish I was at the point you were at, where you can get the "no" out when you need it. I'm not there yet, but hopefully will be. I need someone - either my DP, or a friend, or whomever - to be a voice for me when I can't get it out myself. Right now, that sort of intervention on my behalf is helpful to me, and I try not to abuse the help. Hence the reason I'm seeking out ways to communicate on the issue.

(Tho, I did manage to say no to the doppler...problem is, it was done anyway. Those are the sorts of situations I get frustrated by. If a legitimate, patient-voiced "no" is ignored in a non-critical situation, that makes me iffy about what will happen when it's more of a crunch situation.)

The only high-touch issue I've thought about, as far as the baby himself is concerned, is breastfeeding. Which sounds completely unappealing to me on face, but I'm willing to try it out - the benefits to the child are tremendous, it's beneficial to me physically, and if/when the touch issue is too much, there's always a breast pump and bottles. What other issues should I be thinking about?

But...BF'ing is almost an "easy" issue to fix, because I can use a different tool (breast pump) to get nearly the same effect for the baby (bottle feeding of breast milk, plus that method includes DP in feeding so I'm not as likely to get burnt out from touch-needs). I know it's not as ideal in terms of bonding, but it's better than refusing to even try it at the outset. Birth itself is more difficult, because it appears there are fewer "don't touch me" tools available.
post #43 of 88
It did occur to me at one point reading this that the baby would touch you, but then an instant later it occurred to me that you probably wouldn't have any problem trusting the baby. The intent behind the touch is so obvious.
post #44 of 88


Edited by BF124497 - 6/1/12 at 8:18pm
post #45 of 88
Thread Starter 
LadyLilya: Thank you for phrasing it so much more succinctly than I could have! I may get "touched out" at points by the baby, but I imagine that's normal for first time moms, or moms of high-needs children. We're going to have to find each others' balances.

veganjoy: Thank you so much for posting that. I needed to hear it. Really - you have no idea how much it means to me.

My MD emailed me and asked permission to talk to my MW...at least I know my doctor is advocating on my behalf. She's convinced MW/DP/I can make the relationship work. I hope so...I don't want to start all over again.
post #46 of 88
I never felt touched out by my baby, even though he has always had a very high touch need. He is 3yo and 1 month now, and has been fondling my breasts all along for comfort. Some days that can be a lot of the time, if he is tired or stressed or cranky. We just this past weekend finally weaned him from the breast-handling, but he is still spending a lot of time cuddling with me, and maximizing skin contact with my arms.
post #47 of 88
There's been some awesome advice and wisdom shared here. And I think someone might've already said this, but I'll just throw in anyway.

I have trouble saying no as well, and there have been lots of times in my relationship with DH that I needed him to advocate for me, but I couldn't say - I don't like this, get me out of here. So we developed a signal. If I don't like something, I run my fingers through my bangs. That's code for, "say no for me please because I can't get it out." You've probably already thought of this, and I know it doesn't solve everything. Just wanted to pass it along.

I just also want to say that I think you're handling this with a lot of grace and courage. I'm glad to see that your MD is standing up for you, and I'm sorry this episode with the MW has happened. Hang in there, ok?
post #48 of 88
What exactly did your midwife say in her response email? Considering the degree of miscommunication between everyone when you're talking in person, could you have misread the tone of her email?
post #49 of 88
SilverLace brought up a great point (to me) about having someone else speak for you being "silencing" even if the intent is a positive one. So, what if you printed out some business cards and had them laminated for durability that said things like:

-Stop. I don't like what is happening. I need to collect myself. I'll let you know when I'm ready to communicate about this.

-I'm feeling nervous. Please don't touch me yet. I'll let you know when I'm ready.

-Thank you for your time. I'm not comfortable. This appointment is over.

Obviously you should make up phrasing that rings true for you but the point would be they were *your* words, close at hand-in your purse, in your pocket-but not needing to be vocalized. Just handed over to the person who needs to back off.

Anyway, I thought maybe this idea would work for you...

post #50 of 88
Thread Starter 
Partaria - thanks, that's a really good suggestion. I was trying to come up with something that wasn't ... for lack of a better word, goofy? that I could use with him as a signal. I tend to fidget with my hair anyway; that's a really easy and natural-looking sign we could use.

Jenne - it's something I can try. I'm not sure to what degree I'd be able to collect myself enough to hand over a card, though. DP pointed out it would be a good tool if I was frustrated and feeling less verbal, but not "gone." My concern is if I truly blank, would I be able to figure out what card I needed? I'm meeting with my therapist tomorrow, so I'll be sure to bring it up to her. Maybe I'll dial it down a bit, and just go color-coded?

Nashville - Throughout the thread, I've perceived a certain level of frustration with me, from you. I'm sorry it seems we're not seeing eye to eye - I'm not trying to be "That Client." I appreciate your perspective as midwife; it's certainly helping me see where my MW might be coming from. She has considerations to look at that, from my POV as a client, I probably don't see as well or consider as fully. Especially when it comes to providing me quality care. What I want may not actually be "quality," even if it is what's most comfortable. You pointed that out to me quite clearly, and you're right. I'm not the pro. She and I do need to reach a middleground if it's possible, because I do value her expertise.

That said, I don't think it's overreaching on my part to think, that after three days, a professional who has not communicated with her client after specific issues have been raised by that client and client's MD is, at the very least, a professional who is thus struggling with "where to go from here."

I'm not going to post chatlogs or emails to the forum - it serves no purpose for the posters here to nitpick about tone. We're ALL going to read it differently. In very short, she's stated she's concerned about "saying the wrong thing" to me, and wants to "sit with this a bit." That's rather open-ended to say to someone who has, at this point, only four months to find a replacement MW if necessary and also build a functional relationship with that person. It also sounds as though she finds it difficult to communicate with me.

If you had a client who voiced concerns to you, how would you handle it? If ruminating for a few days is SOP for midwives (I don't know who they consult, what type of research she's doing, etc), please let me know I'm worrying about nothing - I can stop compulsively checking my email, then!

Thanks to all!
post #51 of 88
Originally Posted by SquidMommy View Post
Nashville - Throughout the thread, I've perceived a certain level of frustration with me, from you.
That just goes to show how easily one can read into things that aren't there when communicating by electronic media. I have no reason to be frustrated with you. I don't even know you.

As far as taking her time to consider how to provide you with the best care, would you rather have a "no" today than a "yes" tomorrow? This is a really big deal. You know that. Do you not want her to weigh the same careful consideration that you have given to choosing a midwife?

Also, does she have staff to handle office matters like scheduling consultations and returning phone calls or emails, or another midwife who can share responsibility to see that all her clients are taken care of while she takes some extra time to consider your situation? Has she had any deliveries this week, or clients with emergencies? I don't think that a few days is an excessively long time to consider something of this magnitude. Can you drop her a line and say "hey, I'm waiting to hear from you?" What you've described so far does sound perfectly reasonable to me.
post #52 of 88
Thread Starter 
Nashville - Fair enough. Maybe you're just being more direct than I'm used to? I still value the midwife POV that you provide - I know I need to be able to see the issue from my MW's side, as well.

To answer your question about whether or not I had talked with her to ask how her process was going - yes, I did. My MD did, as well. After talking to my MD, she called the MW and set up some time to talk with her. Hopefully there will be some sort of answer tomorrow. The MD seems to believe she's going to keep us on. I truly hope so - I do like her, very much. Apparently that day was just "off" for everyone. We're all human, everyone has off-days. It just needs to be a one-time really off day. :P

Onward to tomorrow!
post #53 of 88
Mama, have you posted in the breastfeeding forum at all for advice on nursing? You may want to prepare yourself as much as possible and maybe get some advice from mamas who have BTDT in your situation. Pumping isn't easy at all and isn't always possible to do (pumps aren't nearly as good as babies for getting milk out), yadda, yadda, yadda...it's not worth going into all the stuff here because that's not what this thread is about, but I think you should make sure you're better prepared on all of your options, exactly what they entail, and just look at it all from a very realistic viewpoint so as things come up and you make decisions you know what you may be in for and how to possibly prevent or minimise any problems.

This may also help a little:

And now, back to your regularly scheduled thread.
post #54 of 88
That's a good idea Smeep. You should try to go to a few LLL meetings too. The reason being two-fold. You will get a chance to see nursing babies of all ages, so you can get an idea of what a nursing infant is actually going to do while nursing, and you can establish a relationship with a leader. If you need some help when you are getting started (midwives should have a basic understanding of common breastfeeding problems, but skill and knowledge is going to differ with individuals). It's a pretty intimate situation to help and be helped with breastfeeding.
post #55 of 88
Thread Starter 
Smeep/Banana - Hm, honestly, I hadn't thought about posting in that forum. Maybe I had the process of breastfeeding simplified in my head? Seems like there are good questions that need to be asked. Thanks for pointing it out!

On the upside, I have a commitment to hear back from her by mid-week. At least there's a "time limit" to my worrying! It's sounding like those who posted to say "It'll work out," may be right in this case!
post #56 of 88
Originally Posted by smeep View Post
Mama, have you posted in the breastfeeding forum at all for advice on nursing? You may want to prepare yourself as much as possible

Great advice! I too simplified BFing in my mind, to my peril!!! It's not an easy thing.
& I had to "pump & dump" for only 2 weeks when I was on a med that was not BFing friendly - it was a massive hassle to prepare/clean/give bottles AND pump. Plus, as already noted, it's much more likely to lead to supply problems with exclusively pumping (& many people struggle with supply problems anyway.) I can only to those who exclusively pump - it's extraordinarily difficult.
post #57 of 88
I am posting this in response to your original post because I can't gather my thoughts enough to read all the responses yet. I will go back and read.

My initial reaction is that dear god, someone needs to have "gotten it." I have no idea who you are nor have I read any/many of your posts- I am new here, but I think the message you are sending is pretty clear for someone of your history.

I have treated a lot of women in my private practice and there is usually a tiny trigger that helps me pick up on whether they have been abused or have "issues." It's intuition, it's experience, it's being open to people who come from different backgrounds. It took a lot on your part to gather the wherewithal to disclose that heady past to your midwife (and DP originally). To not keep that in mind at EACH AND EVERY encounter with you is rather sad. I reviewed every patient chart before she arrives to make sure I remember her details and can speak to them and adjust my tone and demeanor before starting the appointment.

You need patience, understanding, and above all, she needs to work with you BEFORE labor to work through some issues. She isn't a psychiatrist, etc, but it is her responsibility to be able to reach you, make a connection, earn you trust so that TOGETHER you can talk about ways she can approach you at visits and labor. She needs to treat each client as an individual to help you achieve your best birth experience.

I am sending out my kindest warmth and understanding- the best I can over the internet (with no touching!). You deserve to be understood. You deserve to have someone protect you and help you through your fears. Someone should know you well enough to speak up for you when you cannot speak yourself. You are important and your feelings absolutely matter.

Ok, going back to read.
post #58 of 88
I love all the responses that offered advice as far as communication. Code words and hand gestures are very good ideas!

I feel relieved that you have an MD advocating for you and someone is reaching out on your behalf. It sounds like your midwife is receptive and that is a good thing.

It can feel really desperate and all alone to be in a situation that is physically and emotionally uncomfortable (at best) for you. In your head, you are screaming for help, but no one can hear you and you can't make any sound come out.

I was thinking about that statement I just made above and it reminds me so much of my son and my husband, both whom has Asperger's Syndrome (a mild form of Autism). My husband often has thoughts and words swirling in his head and he cannot get them to come out. Knowing that he can't do something he needs to do creates even more anxiety and stress, further paralyzing his ability to communicate. We continuously have to work on this in situations that are NOT "high stakes"- like, when it doesn't matter. We literally practice. I try to tune in to him when we are in difficult situations for him to give him visual reminders. I point to my mouth to indicate he should speak if we are with other people. Or if we are alone and I am asking him to communicate when he is flustered, I use phrases like, "You can say, 'I can't talk right now'." if we are alone to give him the option of being silent. It decreases the anxiety and pressure to talk when he physically cannot. The inability to speak up is rooted in anxiety.

Certainly, the paralysis of communication rooted in anxiety stems from different things- his is Autism, yours is based on a long history of people with power over you forcing you to do things without your consent. It isn't the "goo" that is bothering you (though, I kindly still think it's crap that she still put it on you when you said no). DEEEEEEEEP down, it isn't even the touch that is upsetting. It is the loss of control of the one thing that should always be YOURS and yours alone- decisions about what happens to your body. The right to say no or even yes is yours and while in your head you are fighting for it, you have not been taught the tools or had enough help getting back your power.

I am not an expert on how to treat anxieties and truthfully, I am not sure you can be healed in 4 months (perhaps the birth itself will be therapeutic as others have mentioned), but in the meantime, I hope you find ways to COPE with the anxiety by practicing what methods you and DP can use to help you gain security and peace.

Much love coming your way....
post #59 of 88
Thread Starter 

Update Time

Arg, thank you so much for your kind words. They mean so much to me, especially now. DP and I have a tough decision to make.

My MD and MW got together, talked, and my MW has said (I'm summarizing here, it was a NINE page email!) she's willing to try to work with me, BUT...

1) Picking a new assistant/doula will incur an additional fee.
2) She has other assistant/doulas available, but she said none of them have as much experience in "meeting mother's needs" as her current one.
3) Point #1 may be inevitable, as MW has said she will ask assistant/doula if she is still willing to work with me, because she was uncomfortable at the end of the last visit. (No kidding. Really? W-O-W. Me too!)

So...I will bring those issues to my therapist. We're at the point now where I have to evaluate if I can "work" with the assistant present, since it seems my MW will budge only marginally on the issue, and has said none of her backup choices are as "good" as her current helper.

MW also, without asking me, brought my case to the attention of one of her friends who works with "triggered" persons. I appreciate the sentiment, but it smacks of her not really "hearing" me. I don't want my mental-garbage broadcast 'round the world, you know? I think I was presented as a "What if I had a patient who..." semi-hypothetical scenario, but I'm still annoyed.

Everything in me is saying, "This is stupid just SWITCH already" but I fear that with only four months left, I won't feel any more comfortable with anyone else, either, which isn't going to get me anywhere. And we're about $1200 paid off with my current MW. It's a complete waste of money. I feel so stuck it's a joke.
post #60 of 88
Well, you can always continue to interview and see what another mw has to offer. I switched mws at 34 weeks with my first and I know others who've switched late, too. It's not that big a deal really.

When I reread your op about the assistant, you didn't specify why exactly she bothered you. You said you got your hackles up right away. Was it simply because you didn't know her or was it something about her specifically? I can understand why she'd feel uncomfortable because you probably gave off the "I don't want you here" vibe which would make anyone feel bad. Not that you should feel bad about that (it's not your job to put everyone at ease), but perhaps you can meet with her and clear the air. Maybe she could turn out to be a great support to you.
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