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I don't want an apprentice there- question for midwives

post #1 of 52
Thread Starter 
I just found out that my likely to be midwife has an apprentice, the apprentice mailed me to reschedule the interview/check up appointment. I want as few people as possible there for the birth and will tell her that I don't think I'll be comfortable with another person there.

Would that be a reason for you to not take a client?

It's nothing personal, from what I can tell she sounds as nice as the midwife.
post #2 of 52
I would give her a few visits to see what she's like. There are times I make exceptions to having my assistant there, but I really like to have another person. Sometimes I've had clients say they'd rather not have the apprentice do any clinical stuff for their labor/birth, and that's ok. I've also had clients say they don't care for the apprentice and I've gotten others lined up for them to choose from.

Being honest is key, but I'd give some time to see how all of your personalities mesh. You never know - you could end up liking the apprentice more than the midwife!
post #3 of 52
As a midwife, I agree with Pam. It's nice to have an assistant at a birth so that you don't end up asking family to do something (because you need extra hands) when they should just be enjoying the moment.

Also, and please don't take offense at this, the apprentice is part of the practice to gain experience. There's something for her to learn from your birth even if she sits in the corner the whole time.

As a client who truly believes in the midwifery model of care and wants it to be available to as many women as possible, I am VERY okay with an apprentice being there (and catching my baby, or doing whatever my midwife deems her capable of doing). If I didn't mesh with the apprentice personality-wise, that'd be different, but as long as I get along with her, I want her to have the priveledge of learning from my NORMAL birth .
post #4 of 52
Quote:
Also, and please don't take offense at this, the apprentice is part of the practice to gain experience. There's something for her to learn from your birth even if she sits in the corner the whole time.
No offense Charmie, but if a doctor threw me this line after I'd declined med students witnessing my birth, I'd be pretty ticked. There are always other clients/patients who will consent to more people in the room (I'm one of them! Bring your friends! Potluck! LOL), it is unfair to pressure a client into consenting to extra people just because they're in training. Not the mama's problem!
post #5 of 52
Yes, but med students would probably have been a little less sensitive than an apprentice midwife. I have an "consent for apprenticeship care" form (or something like that) that each of my clients sign. It basically says that I love my apprentice and I want her to be a midwife, but that my frist obligation is to them and that if they have a problem with her, I WANT TO KNOW.

But, barring personality issues, I think it's beneficial to entertain the idea of allowing the apprentice to be there. I don't think I pressured her, nor do I pressure my clients, but I do like for people to know that having more midwives DEPENDS on apprentices getting into births. And there aren't always other clients who are willing...
post #6 of 52
At first I was overwhelmed by the fact that there are three women on the team I'm working with--including an intern and an apprentice. Then as time went by I got to know them all better and each one is a different person who brings different strengths and I am now SO GLAD to have all three of them around. It might not work out that way for you, but if I were you I'd give it a little more time and see how you feel later.
post #7 of 52
Hmmm. I think of it this way. My mom is a hairdresser (give me a chance, I think this'll make sense). She's a really, really good one. She's precise, she is great at customer service, she stays up on all the latest technology and styles. She uses an assistant to do things like shampoo, take down perm rods, and clean up her station between clients. These are things that first, allow her to be more efficient. She can get more done with more clients if she has her assistant to help her. Second, it is physically easier on her, as the assistant does some of the work that hurts her back, and none of the work that will affect the outcome of the client's hairdo. Third, my mom is able to spend more time (sounds strange, doesn't it?) meeting the EMOTIONAL needs of her client if her assistant is doing some of the, uh, well, some of the grunt work.

I feel the same way about an apprentice midwife. As an assistant to a hair dresser is often working on their own license and is there to watch and learn as much as to make a buck, a midwife's apprentice is there to watch and learn as much as she is to do some of the grunt work. When some of the little, mindless details that the midwife wouldn't want to give to someone NOT trained in birth are covered by the apprentice, the midwife will have more time and energy to put into supporting you in the manner you need.

That said, I know of several people who didn't click with the apprentice and asked them not to be present at their birth. No problems, either. Just know that, in all, your experience might be a BETTER one for the extra, quiet, efficient body in your home.
post #8 of 52
I understand the mw's perspective but no woman should have to agree to have anyone at HER birth..if this mw isn't comfortable with that...find another one.

YOur feelings may change, but then again they may not and they are valid either way. Birth is extremely personal for some of us.

My mw brought her assistant despite my telling her not to to our first birth together. I was angry, distracted and unhappy about it. I didn't invite her to my next birth. I re-hired her for the last, with the understanding that I didn't want any extra people at my birth.
post #9 of 52
Quote:
Originally Posted by courtenay_e
I feel the same way about an apprentice midwife. As an assistant to a hair dresser is often working on their own license and is there to watch and learn as much as to make a buck, a midwife's apprentice is there to watch and learn as much as she is to do some of the grunt work. When some of the little, mindless details that the midwife wouldn't want to give to someone NOT trained in birth are covered by the apprentice, the midwife will have more time and energy to put into supporting you in the manner you need.
I think this is very true, AS LONG AS the apprentice isn't in her "primary midwife" part of her training. It would be very beneficial to know ahead of time who will be your primary midwife...the apprentice or the midwife? At the point of primary midwife (aka "catches"), the supervising midwife often becomes the assistant and does the grunt work. Which is great if you're prepared for it and okay with it, but I know that sometimes it can be a shock to people also!

And I would NEVER bring someone to a birth if I was asked specifically not to bring them. I'm a very private birth-er myself (which is why my desire to teach and have apprentices involved in my birth/pregnancy says a lot about my committment to forwarding midwifery). I would (did) cry if someone ended up being there that I didn't expect. Had my water not broken, I think I would have stopped my contractions and gone home when I found out another family would be at the birth center the day I was in labor . So, I totally understand not wanting a suprise, but I also think that it would be tood to be open to meeting and working with the apprentice before you eliminate her from your birth plans.
post #10 of 52
A midwife in my area told me once that having another "medical type" support person at the birth is a humongous advantage in case there are any unexpected outcomes. Two patients (mom & baby)... two available care providers (midwife & apprentice). For example, mom is hemmorhaging badly and the midwife has to do what she needs to do very quickly... the apprentice is there to be an extra hand to the midwife and also continue evaluating the baby. Can you imagine if you had serious problems with both mom AND baby after the birth and the midwife was alone. Ikes! It's rare, I'm sure, but I wouldn't want to be in that situation. Anywho, just a thought but I definitely agree that it should be up to the mama in the end.
post #11 of 52
Just one more person who ended up feeling mroe comforted/supported by the apprentice than the midwife. I love my midwife, but I just really clicked with one of her apprentices. I ended up having an midwife and two apprentices at my my birth and was very glad of it.

Courtenay made the point in her analogy about the physical benefits to the care provider of having an assistant. I had 11 hours of hard back labor. I demanded deep massage and strong counterpressure that whole time. And my midwife had come almost directly from another birth. And I essentially kept her up for 24 hours. By the time I was demanding so much physical labor on their parts, these women were already tired. I had all those wonderful labor hormones to keep me going, but I'm glad we had three women to trade off doing massage/counter-pressure. I dunno if physically any one of them could have kept it up at that point. If they could, they certinly wouldn't've been up to sticking around for three hours after the birth to get things cleaned up and put together snacks for me and get bath herbs ready for the next day..all those little tasks that made my first few days pp so much easier.

If you want as few people there as possible, what about limiting the number of people you want in the room with you at any given time? The apprentices can still get in practice as labor support and they will be there if needed during the birth. And at that point you may change your mind after having gone through labor with them and want everyone there.
post #12 of 52
You may be surprised at how the apprentice midwife helps the primary midwife. Yes, she is there to learn. But, she also there to be a "second pair of hands". (Can you say back labor or supra-pubic pressure?)

As a former apprentice midwife and a three time homebirther, I do think it is an important role. We do not have any local midwives who practice alone - everyone in our CAM region takes along an apprentice ( I think it's done for alot of reasons - from emotional support to legal CYA). As an apprentice, I have been to births where the mother wasn't aware I was there til after she pushed her baby out and I've also been the one holding her in a supported squat. So, you never know what the situation will bring until you are in it.

Every birth is different. If you require privacy, it should be given to you. Part of having a safe and positive birth is trusting your midwife and her team. I, mean, if she really rubbed you the wrong way, make a strong stand. I encourage you to talk to your midwfe honestly and listen to her reasons for choosing this apprentice and what role she will likely play in your birth . . . .go from there but try to open about it.
post #13 of 52
I can't imagine why you wouldn't want an extra pair of hands there. What if the baby is slow to start and mom starts hemorrhaging? No, it doesn't happen often, but I've seen it. It's why we always have a baby nurse for birth.
post #14 of 52
I was an apprentice midwife for a while. Sometimes I was doing the grunt work (cleaning up the poop and the vomit, fetching whatever the midwife needed, taking notes etc), other times I was supporting the woman. Still other times i was sent out of the room because the woman wanted privacy. No problem, no hard feelings.

One of the times I was sent out of the room was at a birth of a couple's 4th baby. Their house was a disaster area, so the other apprentice and I spent a couple of hours scrubbing the kitchen and decluttering the living room while the woman labored. Then we were called back in for the birth.

After the births the other apprentice and I would pack up all the supplies, put the sheets in the wash, prepare the herb bath etc while the midwife tended to the client. Sometimes I would help with breastfeeding.

So you see, there can be advantages to having an apprentice. SHe doesn't have to stay in the room with you the whole time. But she is a big help to the midwife, and maybe even to you.

Of course, it is always your call. ANd your midwife should understand that.
post #15 of 52
huggerwocky,

You are entirely within your rights to decline people at your birth. I personally, completely understand why you would feel this way.

This is YOUR birth....not the midwife's....and as such, it is your decision as to who will be there. You are in charge - not anyone else.
post #16 of 52
Of course it is the woman's choice as to who is present at the birth and your midwife should accomodate you.

My mw has some great ideas when it comes to client/apprentice situations.

First she has a form that lists how much care you are willing to have done by the apprentice.

She offers a discount to clients that are willing to use an apprentice as their primary mw.

She ALWAYS tells the client that if they are not comfortable w/ an apprentice to let her know.

On a side note my mw's dd was her apprentice for the 2 births I had with her practice. Now she is a mw. I LOVED her, I was so thankful that she was there with my first homebirth as she helped me get through the last few hours of contractions. Not only that she has a great sense of humor and her stories provided many many laughs during my last labor. She also helped my dh with the other children, helped clean up and was so gentle and loving w/ my newborns.

I see my mw and her dd as a team, it just wouldn't be the same w/o one or the other.

Kasey
post #17 of 52
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Charmie981
Also, and please don't take offense at this, the apprentice is part of the practice to gain experience. There's something for her to learn from your birth even if she sits in the corner the whole time.
True, but I don't see it as my obligation to sacrifice my birth experience so someone can learn. I really want it to be different this time and don't want to be watched, if I was brave enough I'd have an UC.
post #18 of 52
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by courtenay_e
Hmmm. I think of it this way. My mom is a hairdresser (give me a chance, I think this'll make sense). She's a really, really good one. She's precise, she is great at customer service, she stays up on all the latest technology and styles. She uses an assistant to do things like shampoo, take down perm rods, and clean up her station between clients. These are things that first, allow her to be more efficient. She can get more done with more clients if she has her assistant to help her. Second, it is physically easier on her, as the assistant does some of the work that hurts her back, and none of the work that will affect the outcome of the client's hairdo. Third, my mom is able to spend more time (sounds strange, doesn't it?) meeting the EMOTIONAL needs of her client if her assistant is doing some of the, uh, well, some of the grunt work.

.
Unfortunately logic doesn't help me change the way I feel about this. Yes, I might like her more than the midwife, but in general I want as few people around me, let alone touch me. There's a reason I'm having a homebirth and not a hospital birth.
post #19 of 52
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by emmabella
A midwife in my area told me once that having another "medical type" support person at the birth is a humongous advantage in case there are any unexpected outcomes. Two patients (mom & baby)... two available care providers (midwife & apprentice). For example, mom is hemmorhaging badly and the midwife has to do what she needs to do very quickly... the apprentice is there to be an extra hand to the midwife and also continue evaluating the baby. Can you imagine if you had serious problems with both mom AND baby after the birth and the midwife was alone. Ikes! It's rare, I'm sure, but I wouldn't want to be in that situation. Anywho, just a thought but I definitely agree that it should be up to the mama in the end.
So what should I do if all the arguments makes sense but the thought is really stressing me out anyway? How can I change that?

I don't want to feel stressed till september about it and then have a complicated labour because I feel cornered in and stressed about the situation.
post #20 of 52
I agree with Mama in the Forest...
It is YOUR birth, you have the right to say who you want there and who you don't want...

For some having that "extra" pair of hands is helpful and makes them feel safer, for others it is detrimental to getting into that personal "space" that some women need to give birth freely and makes them feel less in control and less safe...
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