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Not happy with my midwife...

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 

i had this all typed out and lost it. grrrrr. sorry it's so long!

so yesterdays midwife appointment was a bit of an eye opener.

first of all, my primary midwife has suddenly "retired" (i have heard that there were circumstances beyond her control but i have no details) and i now have to see the other midwife in the practice.

in BC, there needs to be two midwives (or a midwife and an approved medical person like a nurse or doctor) at a home birth. yesterday, we were told that there was no guarantee of her finding a back up person by the time i give birth, she MIGHT have one by june, and i might not be able to have a home birth.

i had met this midwife for the first time at my appointment last month and we didn't exactly click. she wanted to schedule the 20 week ultrasound and i let her know (though i'm sure it was on my file from when i let my primary know) that we had decided to avoid ultrasound and doppler unless there was a medical need. she spent the next 30 to 45 minutes trying to persuade me, then when that didn't work telling me all of the scary things that could go wrong if i don't get it, then when that didn't work asking me for my reasons and trying to discount them. i left a bit unimpressed, but still more than willing to give her a chance (especially since there are no other midwives where i live and i did like and feel comfortable with my primary midwife) and researched the 20 week even more exhaustively once i got home. DP and i once again decided it was not necessary for us and didn't call to schedule one.

fast forward to yesterday, at my 21 week appointment which DP came to. we first asked about hospital transfer situations, and she wasn't as encouraging as we had hoped. then she brought up the ultrasound again and i again confirmed that we had decided against it. she proceeded to launch into the whole thing again, complete with scare tactics including, "i hate to tell you this, but i had a client who refused ultrasounds and went back to Germany to have her baby. the baby came out with it's insides outside of it's belly". seriously. when we still weren't horrified and begging her to order the ultrasound, she came out with, "so i guess i have to decide if i feel comfortable with a home birth when you haven't had a 20 week or 30 week ultrasound", sounding pretty doubtful.

is it really so out-there to not want these ultrasounds when i am low risk, young, healthy, live two minutes from the hospital...?

after all that, i went to pee on a stick and she (as i see it) tried to sabotage me by saying things to DP like, "you know you need to feel comfortable with this too." as if he's just going along with crazy, baby endangering me and i'm trampling all over his sensible concerns. he, of course, stood up for me because we are on the same page. DP really doesn't like or trust her and neither do i. she made it pretty clear that it's not her first priority to advocate for my choices. i'm starting to realize that this must be the way the registered midwife system is in BC. i feel like i'm seeing a slightly liberal doctor. i get that everybody needs to be comfortable, but the idea that this kind of care (the kind without choices) is the norm is pretty shitty. i thought that midwifery care was about standing up for the mother and facilitating the right birth for her.

so we have started considering our limited options. there are no other midwives on the ferry-access-only peninsula we live on (might as well be an island). the one hospital has an especially high c-section rate, almost 30%. i DO NOT want to give birth there. i don't know if there are any traditional birth attendants here, but that option isn't within our budget.

for a long time i have been drawn to the idea of unassisted birth, even more so since i became pregnant and starting imagining a birth with two midwifes monitoring me, versus me being in complete control and freedom. DP is not opposed to unassisted birth, but isn't 100% comfortable with it either. he would prefer that someone more knowledgeable was there. my ideal would also include some one who knows the birth process very well, but is totally hands off.

one other possible option i found was on the web site of a traditional birth attendant who lives on an island that is too far away for her to able to attend us, BUT she offers consultation and UC support via skype. that's pretty much perfect for me and meets all of my comfort criteria. DP still isn't totally convinced but agrees that we should contact her and that it's worth considering. we are going to be doing a lot of research on UC.

i know now that UC is my only chance to have the birth i want, it's just a matter of DP and i making that choice over trying to wrangle an iffy home birth from this midwife (not very promising) or voluntarily going to the hospital and fighting like crazy. at least my DP is a fierce advocate for my choices and rights.

so, does anyone have any really great resources for UC that they can share?
any personal stories?
anyone else with a midwife in BC?


post #2 of 8

Can you contact midwives a little further out than you would be comfortable with, to see if they possibly serve your area? Maybe you can explain your situation, and they might work with you. There's only one midwife that serves my town, and I have to drive 4 hours and cross one state line to see her. When I talked with her at first, she said she had one lady that was due 3 weeks before me, and that was cutting it a little close to her comfort level of being able to ensure that she'd be at my birth. When I explained where I was located, and I told her that I accepted the fact that she may not make it if other lady goes late and I go early, and that my only other option was the hospital (horrible scarring terrible experience) or UC, she immediately said not a problem. She's familiar with my town and the "care" that is available here, and said that it was highly unlikely that we would both go into labor within 48 hours of each other, and would love to have me as her client.


I'm not trying to dissuade you from UC at all, so please don't mistake me when I offer up the above advice. I'm personally trying to work through my own fears and concerns of what happens if the midwife has a scheduling conflict/my labor is only 3 hours long/I have a complication while she's on her way and she has no cell service.


Personally, I like the idea of the Birth Attendant via Skype. At least you have someone who you/DH can turn to the webcam and say "X is happening now, what should I do?"


I hope you find something that works out better than the current situation you're in now (that lady gives me the heebie-jeebies too) that makes both you and DH feel comfortable.

post #3 of 8

OKay....I'd rather give birth attended by three monkeys with tambourines than the midwife you described in the beginning of your post. YIKES, with a capitol YIKES!! You don't need the kind of MW who would intentionally try to plant evil thoughts like those in your head. If she's not comfortable with it, she's not....she has a right to be (even though I think it's dumb) and she has a right to tell you she is not comfortable attending you at home...but she's WAY out of line talking to you like that and trying to "work on" your DP while you're in the bathroom. Screw her.



I fully, fully support your decision to UC as a friend here in your DDC....but ME thinking that's cool for you and that ACTUALLY being a good choice for you are two separate things entirely.



I would start here:



The link above is a really great source of information...scour the entire birth section of the site, everything...hidden in stupid seeming links are bits and pieces of GOLD....so don't skip too much. Take notes while you go, so you have a good place to go from as you continue your research.



The link just above is on variations of normal in birth scenarios....some of these are really intense to imagine handling...most all of them are so completely unlikely that you would never have them happen to you and will probably never meet anyone they have happened to....but you still need to know it.

Here are some statistics....the people who run this site have collected what data they could...so it's a very limited pool of data, but you know...just to have something to look at, as US data is SO sketchy and sparse:



Laura Shanleys site is SO chock full of good stuff...from just "fun facts" and awesome stories, to really good info and things to think about:




I totally believe you can do this. I totally wanted all my births to be unassisted...but my DH is not quite as comfortable as your DP with the idea. I didn't want to drag him into it if he was uneasy...and to be honest, having someone there to stitch me up for tears was a big deal to me. Being on my third birth now, I still feel UC calling me in my heart...but when I think about how clean my awesome MW gets my house for me after my birth, well....you know, I like that.


But...again, my MW is AWESOME. She is a close friend now and I love her and her partner and their baby girl...she is a part of my circle. She would never dream about doing or saying the things your MW is doing/saying.


You need to research other MW options, REALLY look hard...not because I think you shouldn't pursue UC...but because I think you should pursue ALL available options until such time that you are really super sure you want to UC. What if you get to 35 weeks and say "you know, this isn't feeling right anymore" - I want you to have done the research about other options in your area so you can quickly jump onto one of them and not find yourself with NO idea what to do or where to turn with very little time left to pull something good together.



Were I in your shoes, I'd be thinking the same thing you're thinking. I'd still look around, to make sure that all decisions were being made with ALL options on the table...but I'd totally be thinking UC, too...especially if there really weren't another option available in the form of a MW I could count on and trust in my area.


Skype support is a very cool idea....a MW checking in with you via Skype is, IMO, in a low risk situation, just about as good as having one there. A MW via skype is not going to be able to TRULY asses if something is wrong...if the color of blood is off, or something else goofy like that. She's not going to be able to have her hands on you, help you turn a "stuck" kid or anything else like that....but for the most part, I think she can be very helpful. She can absolutely tell you if something you are experiencing needs a 911 call.

You sound like your head is in a good place on this. Read, read read read read....read EVERYTHING.



post #4 of 8

Her tactics were deffinitely out of line. If she disagreed with your decision she could have expressed her concerns respectfully.


Is there any way you could contact the "retired" midwife and explain that you're considering going it alone and see if she'd be willing to be on call "in case"?


I would put my money on UC vs. birthing with someone you don't trust.


If you feel there might be any way you and this new midwife could "click" that may be another option as well- it's easy for two strong-headed people to get off to a rough start, take a break, reflect, then meet back up respectfully. If you feel this might be an option, approach her with your wishes and ask for her to share her concerns as well (I'm assuming liability will be a big one) and see if you can problem solve together. If she continues to be power-hungry and fear-mongering then at least you'd know it's totally her and you did the right thing in discontinuing "care" with her.

post #5 of 8

Wow. I am so sorry :-(. That is not someone that you should have to have at your birth.
As a UC'er myself, who can not imagine birthing any other way, I have to say: if your Dh would prefer that someone more knowledgeable is there, then get more knowledgeable. I seriously did so much research when planning for my UC that we came to the conclusion that there was nothing we could need a midwife for and it was actually the safest way for us to birth because nothing would hinder my intuition. We too are very close to the hospital. If you are really interested in UC laura shanely has a great forum with tons of information and women that will help you find what you need. If you decide that is not for you then I hope you find another midwife who respects your feelings and isn't terrified of them. <3 

post #6 of 8

I'm kind of feeling you on this.  My one option for a midwife for a home birth is very expensive for our budget and not someone I'm really comfortable going to again for various reasons.  I see where you're coming from on that one.  I'm kind of considering an unassisted birth myself too.


I can't give you much more than good luck.  I'll be wishing you find the situation you need to feel comfortable with this birth because I can't blame you for feeling uncomfortable!

post #7 of 8

I agree with everyone who has said that midwife was completely out of line.  She sounds like what we would call "medwives" in our community (midwives who are more like OBs and work in the hospital) - I'm kind of surprised she is even a homebirth midwife - strange.  I know that my homebirth midwife has many clients who do not do ultrasounds and want her to be hands off during the birth, and she is cool with that. 


I wonder if there are any underground midwives in your community?   I don't blame you for considering an UC.  I might even consider moving to another community for a few weeks before your birth to be with a better midwife (I know that's extreme, but I've known people to do it!)


Good luck with your decision!

post #8 of 8
Thread Starter 

thanks so much for all the supportive replies everyone.


we definitly have not made a decision or even know all of the options available to us yet. i would consider trying to find a midwife from the city which is between one and three hours from me, depending on ferries. one thing about that is that the ferries dont even run between 9 pm and 7 am so im not sure that a  idwife over there will want me as a client. still definitly worth looking into and i will be calling the closest practices. 


 would love to have an u derground midwife, but we just cant afford it. 


thanks for the info and encouragement, broody. we will definitly be exploring every avenue thats available to us. ive  been reading a lot on UC too to see if im still comfortable with it. so far so good. i know that for me, personally, UC would be great and i have no fear or serious reservations about it. i had planned to have a midwife for my first birth, because i have no idea what it will really be like, and then have the following ones unassisted. DP was on board with that too and still wants someone there who knows what theyre doing. i also talked to my mom about it and shes agrees with DP, thzat we should have someone there. i know she will be supportive of whatever we choose though and will be there at the birth in whatever capacity i need her.



i love the skype idea, i hope DP can get on board with that.

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