I have been following this thread with a lot of interest. In my first successful pregnancy, I did not have the option of a midwife unless I was willing to do a homebirth (and the midwife would not be recognized by the state). Because my first pregnancy ended in early m/c, I was nervous and went with my OB, with whom I had developed a relationship with over about 5 years. He was a lovely, jolly, sweet man who could recite my birth plan from memory and always made DH and I comfortable. I educated myself throughout pregnancy, tried to remain as low-risk as I could (although I caved to eating meat after pressure from family, friends, and docs, and gained too much weight in the 2nd and 3rd trimesters -- I don't think it's a bad thing to eat meat when pregnant, but when you start off as a pregnant vegan and end up eating meat after a few months, I think your body goes a little haywire...), and I finished a Hypnobabies course. At 37 weeks, I was told I would be "induced" for a big baby (on the u/s screen, 11+ pound estimate). This was after an "early" labor at 36 weeks was shut down medically by my doctor using Procardia, despite my pleas not to do so. (I always thought that I had ovulated early and that DD was further along than the u/s suspected...hence why I am not sure if the labor was early or not.)
Fast-forward to my induction at 38 1/2 weeks, with no signs of labor (all shut down by Procardia): I go in in the evening, was told I could sleep, eat, and relax while they attempted Cervadil overnight. As soon as I arrived I was immediately put on Pitocin, with no dinner, or sleep. I labored into the next evening with no meds, until I was starving and exhausted. I was also constantly being monitored and not allowed to walk around or use any of my birthing techniques (despite the baby doing beautifully). The whole time there was a lot of pressure put on me to have a c/s, and my doctor's demeanor completely changed. He was much more forceful and pushy, and I felt very much out of control. After much pressure and threats about massive tearing, bleeding, etc. I caved to a c/s, mainly because my DH was really, really scared for me. I will always regret that!
DD is beautiful, healthy, and came out at exactly 10 pounds. She wasn't small, but I am a tall gal and my husband is also tall. She was skinny but loooooong. We were very VERY fortunate to have no problems with breastfeeding, and my recovery was so quick that I was able to convince the hospital to let me go home after only 2 1/2 days. In my mind, the fact that I recovered so quickly meant that I really didn't need any of the interventions that I was presented with, which is why I have chosen a midwife this time around.
I am not saying this to scare anyone or upset anyone, but I think who you choose for your care provider is the single most important decision you can make related to your birth. You can educate yourself extensively, and should!, but the moment you let another person take over some of the control, you are having to put an implicit trust in that person. Looking back, there were many warning signs that my OB was surgery-happy, and that he was just indulging me with my silly "birth plan." But I was too trusting and too naive to see them. Also -- educate your partner. DH and I read a *lot* of stuff after that experience and discussed wishes and complications together. Now he will advocate for me instead of falling victim to the hype that was created around me.
Just my two cents. Hope this helps someone.