I went and pouted a bit, and then got over myself I can completely understand how some of the PP's feel - I'm sure there are a lot of clients who get a little uncomfy during prenatals, and they're typically okay with plowing forward and getting through things. For a standard (oh, heck, I'll just say it - NORMAL) client, which I am not, I'm 100% positive it wouldn't have been a big deal. This is where I wish I was not such a mental train wreck.
For the record, though, I did say I didn't want her to use the doppler. I understand it's a normal/expected part of a prenatal, and I've thought the heart tones were pretty nifty when I heard them during my ultrasound. That gel stuff just sits WRONG with me, and I have a long pelvis. If the MW is going to use the doppler, that goop is going in my underwear because that's the only way she's going to get tones. Squiddo is sitting pretty low. It was just too much for me in that moment, and very unexpected. Now that I know it's something she wants to do, I can bring a change of underoos or something to make it less-gross.
ARG, I wish you did live somewhere near here. You really do sound like you can see where I'm coming from, even if parts of it are completely ridiculous. I completely understand, and will readily admit, I am probably a pain-in-the-buttcheeks client for my MW. I know the way my head works about some issues is completely batty, completely off-base, completely difficult and complicating. That's all the stuff I am trying really hard not to be, because I want this birth to be okay. Not spectacular, not life-altering, not monumental - it just has to be okay. Which I think I can get to - and the work is NOT all on my MW, a lot of it has to come from me.
I mentioned to my therapist the MW's suggestion that I get info from her "I work with triggered people" friend. After consideration, I probably got a little more rankled by my MW's actions than I needed to be. The PP's who said it wasn't the world's biggest deal were arguably right - she was acting as a professional and trying to help me have access to a resource. Though: I do want my therapy to come from my therapist, and not my MW. I don't want to blur the lines, or put more work on my MW's plate. Seems fair?
I'm going to schedule a face to face meeting with her in the coming week. Email is nice, but I want to be able to actually TALK to her and see how we interact. A lot of stuff has been aired out, and I feel like this next visit will be better.
I'm thinking of asking just to meet with the MW at first, and bring the assistant in at a different visit. Seem like a sage plan, or would it make more sense to incorporate the assistant sooner? To the PP who said I should work to build a relationship with the assistant - I'm going to give her another couple shakes and see how it goes. I don't want to force myself to put up with her, b/c my initial reaction was pretty 'enhhhh, no'. But I DO think I need to at least try, for my benefit and my MW's benefit. That way, I'll know I'm not making a knee-jerk or over emotional decision.
Again, thank you everyone, for your comments. I appreciate hearing from both POV's - the posters who have a less "touchy" approach to touch are helping me see what's normal or typical, so I know what I can work toward.
See, I still think this is being approached all wrong. If you were my client, I'd be fine with handling it however was most comfortable for you. Pregnancy isn't a disease nor is it an accident waiting to happen. Prenatal care is what you do for yourself every minute of the day and has very little to do with appointments. Nothing at your appointments is necessary to ensure a healthy baby. Your baby's heart will still beat even if she doesn't put a doppler on it (which by the way, she could easily use a fetoscope that is safer for baby and requires no gel), your baby will chose his/her position regardless of who is feeling for it, your baby's movements are the best indicator of health, your belly will grow if it's not being measured. And even if you consider some of those things important, your husband and yourself can learn to listen to the heartbeat, you can find the top of your uterus to reassure yourself that it is growing, you can have blood pressure take by a machine on your wrist, etc.
if you were my client, I would spend that hour teaching you about pregnancy and birth, about taking care of babies, about caring for yourself prenatally. I'd get to know you as a friend, I'd reassure you that no matter what, I was not going to do anything to you that you did not ask for; that I would not put my hands on you unexpectedly, bring out any unexpected equipment, bring anyone to the birth that you didn't authorize etc.
Birth is indeed a transformational experience, and I agree that it could be a time to help you feel powerful and safe again. But how can we say that is how it 'should' be for you. Maybe the healing part of this birth would be simply having someone on your side, giving you respect, and not pushing you to be anything that you aren't. Maybe you just want to have your baby and you don't want to be touched, maybe it's not time for you to face these issues. I don't think you should be pushed into a corner on this one. Midwifery is about "being with" women, not "doing to" women. Somehow, things have gotten off track and many modern midwives have embraced the obstetric mindset without even realizing it