I'd be pretty disappointed too, mama.
Confusing homebirth experience, not sure how to talk to MW - Page 2
I'd be disappointed too. And I'm a little surprised that she asked you you call with contractions only 5 minutes apart. For my second baby, I lived an hour from the birth center and they told me they wanted me to come when contractions were 10 minutes apart or at least by 8 minutes apart just because of the distance. And with my 3rd baby, my contractions would be 7 minutes, then 3 minutes, then 2, then 10. They were sort of all over the place. I called the midwives when I had a feeling this might be "it" and they left immediately. When I was discussing the spacing of my contractions later (after my baby was born), the midwife commented that, especially with 2nd, 3rd or more babies, the timing of the contractions is not a good indicator of how soon you're going to birth the baby.
The clean up thing would bother me. That was an issue for me (worried about how "messy" hb would be) but my midwives cleaned up everything. Obviously not the messes that were there prior to their arrival, but they cleaned up anything birth related. They threw towels in the laundry, cleaned the few drops of blood that got on the carpet, helped drain the pool, everything. In fact, my baby was born on the same day as her big sister and we were able to have the cake cutting/eating and opening presents for her birthday party in the same room the baby was born a few hours later!
I wish she would have just said, "Why don't I just go ahead and drive down there and check on you, and if you don't need me right now I'll go grab a coffee or....." or she could have said, "Don't worry about wasting my time, I want to be there to support you!". That is what I needed to hear, but I didn't. Instead the conversations were rushed and I felt silly even calling her. This may be postpartum hormones talking here, I don't know.
I think this is really individual and she probably works with women who have all kinds of different approaches to being in labour. For example I was all "get out of here, and don't come back till I tell you". I was all about being left alone, if someone wanted to be in the same room they had to stand in the doorway and remain perfectly quiet.
But I would have totally expected her to check on you at some point during that 11-12 hrs of labour, even if you weren't sure that anything was happening. I would talk with her and just say that you were disappointed that they didn't make it for the birth and upset that they didn't clean up as you discussed. See what she says. I would hope that she would explain, apologize, maybe take off a small part of the fee but maybe not. Then again I'm so non-confrontation I probably wouldn't bring it up even though I should... Good luck!
I'm sorry you are so disappointed.
It sounds to me that you felt that with a midwife you would not need to act as an advocate for yourself. Understandably, you are hurt and angry that that turned out not to be true. I am very non-confrontational myself and find that when I don't advocate for myself it can be hard to handle the anger -- I'm angry at the other person for taking advantage while I'm also angry at myself (usually more than the other person) for letting the issue slide. Forgiving oneself can be the hardest part of this sort of situation.
Unfortunately, with any caregiver of any kind we must always be our own advocates no matter how uncomfortable that makes us. I will say, for me personally, I had a much harder time advocating for myself with a midwife than with an OB. After all, my midwife was supposed to be a "friend" and always having my best interests at heart. I was worried about the impact on our "friendship" if I advocated too strongly for myself and my child. With my OB it was a strictly professional relationship and at the end of the day, with some work on myself, I found I could get to the point where I wasn't too concerned if she thought I was too demanding, bitchy or whatever.
I labored and gave birth in a tub in the living room. Our midwife stitched me up on our bed and I breastfeed our daughter in the bedroom. I remember going back into the living room and it was like nothing had happened. The midwife, her assistant and the doula cleaned everything. All I had left was a bag of laundry. Amazing! DH said everyone worked so hard.
But I can relate to feeling unsettled about one aspect of my labor. The assistant was someone I hadn't met before. I remember blocking her out during the labor just because she was a stranger to me. It bothered me so much that I dwelled in it and didn't know if I should say something at my post partum visit. I decided to say something and I was so glad I did. My midwife thought that I had met the assistant along the way so she never would have known unless I said something. She apologized for the miss and I felt like there was a load off. Any good business should welcome feedback. It will be uncomfortable but if you might feel better about this lasting memory then it is worth it to talk to her. Remind her about what you loved about working with her and that overall you had a great birth experience and then tell her that you had certain expectations going into the birth but were surprised by how things went down. Frame it up that you just want to share this feedback so she can better manage future clients' expectations of her practices and service. If she want going to pick up all things related to the birth, then you would've like to have known that so you could have made arrangements.
I hear you. And hope that you can find some closure. But I am very happy you had such a fantastic homebirth experience otherwise!
I gave birth in the hospital and I know hospital are like those evil places, but I had L&D nurses with me any time I wanted. And ob came in many times. Of course, we never had to clean up anything and my DH stayed overnight with me and the baby.
So, I would expect at least the same customer service form the MW.
I think you should review your MW on yelp.com and few other review boards such as healthgrade.com and vitals. com.
This was not what you paid for.
I agree with Alenushka. I'd be unhappy, and I'd tell her -- in an email, if you don't feel up to saying it in person or on the phone. Just, "My partner was very concerned about cleanup following our baby's birth. When I asked you, you assured me you guys would take care of all that, but instead, our house was left with Y and Z all over. We both felt very disappointed that after our child's birth, we had to deal with this."
To be honest, I think part of the problem with the relationship that midwives build with their clients is that, too often, women feel like they can't speak up when something worries or annoys or angers them. I may not feel like my OB is family, but I can sure tell her, "Hey, I wasn't happy about X."
She won't be mad at you, she won't make people mad at you for being upset with the level of care you received. And if she DOES....well then go ahead and complain about her unprofessional attitude to anyone who will listen.
Unfortunately, nothing will change if nothing is said. Good luck!
Perhaps when she knew you were in labor (and that it's your 4th baby), she headed closer to where you live so that she when things did change, she'd be readily available. For midwives, who are in my town, it still took 45 to an hour for them both to get to me. I'm also a doula, and in my contract, parents sign, that they allow me up to 2 hrs to get to them.
Communication is key. I can't give you any answers as to why she didn't sit on the phone whole you having a contraction to see how you were tolerating it...unless with them being 10 mins apart, and you being very conversational, she made her assessment based in that.
Her assistant arrived first? That seems normal, to check things out.
Seems like the birth happened more quickly than anticipated, but there is no one to blame.
I'm sorry an otherwise great birthing experience has this dark cloud over it!
Hope you get answers and can move through this
"I wasn't sure that I really was in labor until about 12 hours after the contractions started. I mean, contractions that are 20 minutes apart isn't the definition of active labor, right? I informed my midwife not long after they started, and she told me to call her back if anything changed, so when things DID change, we called her right away. When my contractions went from about 20 minutes apart to 10 minutes apart, I called her. There really wasn't any assessment done, few questions were asked and she left it up to me whether I wanted her to come then or not. I didn't know, I'd never had a labor like that before! My other kids births were completely different! After that conversation with her, I ended up calling her right back and telling her I thought she should come, which she did. The problem was, she didn't get here in time."
The same thing happened with my last two births! One ended in a UC, and one the MW barely made it! I'm such a terrible judge of labor too, and I don't like "bugging" people, lol. I however LIKE a hands off MW. I like to do what I want and have the MW here "just in case." I believe a *doula's* main role is to support the woman in labor.
I'm so sorry you're not happy with your experience, but I do hope that other women can learn from this. Talk about theses things during the interview process. Make sure your MW is the kind of care provider you need/want BEFORE you settle on her, BEFORE its too late. If you need a hands on MW, make sure to find one. If you only have the option of a hands off MW, hire an experienced doula. Talk about things like after care/ clean up, make sure you connect, and are "on the same page."
I would definitely try to express these concerns to your midwife, maybe over lunch or in a polite letter. If anything, it will help you process and release your feelings. :)