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#1 of 21 Old 12-31-2010, 03:05 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Hi everyone.  This is my first pregnancy and I'm planning on a home birth.  My midwife is nationally known, speaks at conferences, wrote two books that are published and sold in any Border's or Barnes and Noble across the the country.  I wanted to relay her plans/ideas for the pregnancy and see what you think.  She doesn't push for anything and lets us make our decision, but she presents options.

 

She does not believe in routine ultrasounds, but sees their place when needed.  Unless she sees something that makes her worry, she does not suggest I have an ultrasound, but will allow me to if I want.  She offers prenatal screening tests, but feels the rate of false positives she has seen are just too high and cause too much anxiety for nothing.  However, she does have it as an option.  She checks BP, protein in urine, etc at visits, and suggests some blood work like Rh, antibodies, CBC, etc, but that's about it.  She uses a doppler at 10-13 weeks and a fetalscope after.  Her philosophy at the birth is that DH and I will handle it all and she is just there for support and to help if something is a little off.  She says my body will know what to do and she is there to reassure me and determine if something is not going right.  DH will catch the baby. 

 

She has attended over 1000 births and has never lost a baby or a mother.  The percent of her patients that end up in C-section is 3%...a far cry from the 33-35% of the US average! :)  The rate of transfer is 15% (if I remember correctly), but she said that most of them are from mother's request because she wants an epidural or from maternal exhaustion.

 

So, does it sound good?  I like her philosophy and am especially comfortable with her at birth.  I worry she is a little too laid back during the pregnancy, but that could be because I am a little too high strung.  LOL.  I couldn't even tell you what I would want her to do differently, but I just have a "what if".  However, when she was out of town (before our first appt) and I called my usual midwife to ask about a cramp question, I was told to go to the ER.  I really don't want an alarmist view either.  I guess I'm just being a dork.  I really do feel comfortable and I do feel like she knows her stuff. 

 

So my plan is to do the regular blood work, but no genetic screening tests, no U/S unless needed, and have a home birth.  So how does this all compare to your midwife or previous home birth experience?

 

Bree


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#2 of 21 Old 12-31-2010, 03:13 PM
 
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I have never had a mw attendent birth (ds 1 hospital, ds2 home unassisted, #3 planned mw homebirth)... but I have strong opinions on the role of birth attendants- and all I have to say is I'm drooling. It sounds as though your mw knows when and how to be hands off and let birth happen. This doesn't mean she's not paying attention, she's educated/experience in normal birth and will intervene if there is a need. She implicitly trusts birth (or so it sounds) and that is a beautiful attitude and "energy" that she will carry into your sacred space. Congrats on finding a (what sounds like) a fabulous midwife.

d:)

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#3 of 21 Old 12-31-2010, 03:14 PM
 
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Sounds about right to me!

 

The only thing I found was at DD's birth I needed a lot of support and reassurance that I didn't get from my hands off, laid back midwife.  Luckily, her apprentice was more what I needed, and she sat with me stroking my leg, telling me I was doing a great job.  Going into this pregnancy, I know I need more communication and emotional support from my birth team.  I'm considering hiring a doula as well, even though many hb'ers don't see the point of having a doula with you at home.  

 

I see the midwife as someone who is there in case something goes wrong or funny (like you said).  Whether or not they do a lot of hand holding is really up to them.  I know for myself, I need hand holding! DH is awesome at it, but I really wanted a woman who had felt what I was feeling to tell me I was doing well and that I could totally rock it and birth my baby.

 

But make your concerns known to your midwife.  Nationally recognized or not, she is attending YOUR labor and birth, so make sure if you have anything you know you'll want addressed you tell her.  She's working for you.  Write down all your "what ifs" and have her answer them.  You will feel so much more comfortable thru-out the pregnancy and you'll be that much more confident for the labor and birth.


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#4 of 21 Old 12-31-2010, 04:13 PM
 
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In terms of her care, it sounds spot on and evidenced based. There are many low-tech ways to ensure everything seems normal.

 

 

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Sounds about right to me!

 

The only thing I found was at DD's birth I needed a lot of support and reassurance that I didn't get from my hands off, laid back midwife.  Luckily, her apprentice was more what I needed, and she sat with me stroking my leg, telling me I was doing a great job.  Going into this pregnancy, I know I need more communication and emotional support from my birth team.  I'm considering hiring a doula as well, even though many hb'ers don't see the point of having a doula with you at home.  

 

I see the midwife as someone who is there in case something goes wrong or funny (like you said).  Whether or not they do a lot of hand holding is really up to them.  I know for myself, I need hand holding! DH is awesome at it, but I really wanted a woman who had felt what I was feeling to tell me I was doing well and that I could totally rock it and birth my baby.

 

But make your concerns known to your midwife.  Nationally recognized or not, she is attending YOUR labor and birth, so make sure if you have anything you know you'll want addressed you tell her.  She's working for you.  Write down all your "what ifs" and have her answer them.  You will feel so much more comfortable thru-out the pregnancy and you'll be that much more confident for the labor and birth.

 

I could have written this. I chose the midwife I determined to be the most competent and I was very pleased with her skills and knowledge, but I didn't know until after my birth what type of support I really wanted. I found her hands-off style not to be what I would have needed if I were to do it over again. I am still using her because she is the BEST IMO, but she has a really warm apprentice I adore and have shared with her my desire to have that be a part of my birth next time with more hands on care.

 

So I never considered a doula or lactation consultant since I thought that my midwife would negate all of those, but now I know that a good midwife isn't all three of those things, and can't realistically be doing all of those things well. I bet some do pull it off, and my midwife led me to believe she would. This time around, I will have my posse ready.
 


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#5 of 21 Old 12-31-2010, 05:38 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks ladies.  I'm not worried about her being too hands off.  I already told her I am one of those people that needs to be told what is happening while it is happening.  It's also nice to have someone who can tell me that what I'm experiencing is normal.  Thanks for the reassurance. 

 

Bree


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#6 of 21 Old 12-31-2010, 08:14 PM
 
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I've only used hands off MWs so she sounds like a dream to me. I don't want nor need support during labor so that has never been a concern of mine. What the other posters were saying is that there are different levels of support during labor, there is the MW that will hold your hair while you puke and the one that will hang back quietly and observe. A hands off MW could be either, she knows when to hang back but can get right in there with you, and there are some that will always hang back unless there is an issue going on to where she needs to be hands on. 


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#7 of 21 Old 01-01-2011, 10:11 AM
 
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Sounds like my m/w! 

 

This will be the third time I have this m/w.  She was back-up at my second homebirth, and I liked her more than my main m/w.  With our third, we had planned a home waterbirth again, but my waters broke at 35+4.  She was willing to do a homebirth, but we're an hour from the hospital and despite my HATRED of hospitals, I felt something wasn't right.  Good thing I trusted my mama instincts, and that my WONDERFUL m/w listened to me and trusted me, because dd3 ended up in the NICU for two weeks.

 

She is really hands off, unless I ask for something.  She's gentle and loving.  I'm really fortunate to have her, because the next nearest hb m/w is over two hours away!


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#8 of 21 Old 01-01-2011, 02:08 PM
 
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She sounds wonderful! I wish I could find one like that around here. Mine was too "hands-on" for my births (for what I wanted/needed).


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#9 of 21 Old 01-01-2011, 02:27 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks ladies!  Sounds like I'm very lucky. :)

 

Bree


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#10 of 21 Old 01-02-2011, 10:56 AM
 
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She sounds great!  The only thing you didn't specifically list that my mw did have me test for was gestational diabetes.  You might consider that one or at least talk it through with your mw.  My mw suggested it because my first baby was 10.5 pounds, and she wanted to make sure that gest. diabetes wasn't an underlying factor (it wasn't...even though my second was 11 pounds 2oz!).
 

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I already told her I am one of those people that needs to be told what is happening while it is happening.

 

Bree


Also, I just want to encourage you to remind people what you need during your labor in this regard.  During my first labor, my mw went into the other room and talked to her assistant several times.  I picked up on it and fixated on the thought that "something was wrong."  I got really hung up on it (my mind does funny things in labor) and it made me more nervous, which made the labor harder for me.  Even though I asked them "what's going on?  Is everything okay?" they always said things were fine, but I still felt like they were talking about "what was going wrong" in the other room since things were taking so long.  It made it worse that she kept coming in and saying "try this, this should make your labor pick up again"...but it didn't...intensifying my feeling that something was wrong, needed fixing, and wasn't working.  I should have told them really specifically "I need to know what you're talking about in the other room, because whatever it is, I guarantee you that my imagination is creating something much worse."  redface.gif  (in reality they were just talking about ways to get labor going again, and to get the baby to a better position.  Not great stuff, since I'd been in labor for a really long time, but certainly better than what my imagination was filling in!)

 

During this labor, I told my mw (different mw) ahead of time that I really needed to know what she was thinking all the time.  I told her the story of my last labor, etc.  Even though I had that conversation with her (and she wrote it in my chart and everything), there was a point during my labor that she said something to her assistant in a quieter voice.  I totally picked up on it and said "what?"  She said, something like "nothing to worry about" but instead of letting it go (like I did during my first labor), I knew that I had to know what she had said otherwise I would be scared.  So I said "no, I need to know what you said because it will help me relax about it and let it go otherwise I will worry."  So she told me that they had just noticed a little meconium in my waters, but that it was very light colored and watery looking, and that my baby's heartbeat was great so they weren't worried.  I was able to totally let it go and move on with labor.  What a difference for me!  (they were just making sure they were prepared for the possibility of meconium aspiration as soon as the baby was born--they were on it and everything was totally fine)

 

So anyway, just a note that if you're anything like me (from what you said above about wanting to be told what's happening), make sure to really push for getting told what's happening even if your mw doesn't think it's important for you to know.

 

Sorry for the novel!

 

ps.  I totally agree with her about the genetic screening tests.  I've had two friends get false positives on those and it totally freaked them out and affirmed their position that they wouldn't "terminate" even if the baby had downs syndrome or something.  If it won't make a difference in your actions, there's no point to the test.  You will have time to get used to it after your baby is born, and by then you'll have all the birth hormones and your baby there to convince you that it will be okay.  But I don't have personal experience here, so take me with a grain of salt (or five)...


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#11 of 21 Old 01-02-2011, 02:43 PM
 
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Hi everyone.  This is my first pregnancy and I'm planning on a home birth.  My midwife is nationally known, speaks at conferences, wrote two books that are published and sold in any Border's or Barnes and Noble across the the country.

 

There are very few nationally known midwives who've also published 2 readily available birth books.  If this practitioner is the nationally known midwife that I suspect, well, wow.  I would be incredibly confident in this woman's ability to provide my care!

 

If you have doubts, or are wondering about how you'll mesh, read her books!  Again, if this is the midwife that I think it is, her first book is what drove me to seek the care of a midwife in my first pregnancy.  And of the dozens of birth books I bought in that pregnancy, her 2 are one of only 4 of those books that I kept to have around for this second one.

 

Regardless of her status as a birth icon, from a completely professional point of view, it sounds as though her standard practices are par for course from a good, well qualified midwife.  But if you have concerns, bring them to her!  With all those hundreds and hundreds of mamas she's seen, I bet she's pretty used to concerns by now winky.gif
 


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#12 of 21 Old 01-02-2011, 04:16 PM
 
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Hm, now I really want to know who it is!  


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#13 of 21 Old 01-02-2011, 04:21 PM
 
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You gotta tell us!  I thought maybe Elizabeth Davis, but she is in CA. I confess I looked up the midwives directory in NM because my curiosity got the best of me, but there are none listed that fit that description. Please share!!


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#14 of 21 Old 01-03-2011, 07:32 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I don't really have any actual concerns.  More just what if's, but I will talk to her about them.  I say she is nationally recognized because she is asked to attend conferences (to present) all over the country.  She's actually going to one this week.  Anyway, her name is Jennifer West.

 

Bree


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#15 of 21 Old 01-03-2011, 01:08 PM
 
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I was thinking the EXACT same thing!
 

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There are very few nationally known midwives who've also published 2 readily available birth books.  If this practitioner is the nationally known midwife that I suspect, well, wow.  I would be incredibly confident in this woman's ability to provide my care!

 

 

 

I think your MW sounds spot on.  I recommend you do your own research as well, though.  Read Ina May's Guide to Childbirth or Henci Goer's A Thinking Woman's Guide to a Better Birth.  Both explain most all of the usual tests, the flaws, myths, and truths.


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#16 of 21 Old 01-03-2011, 03:13 PM
 
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The questions for her should be around her backup, since I know some midwives who are equally invested in their speaking as their practice, but that means that they don't catch all their babies. Just make sure you meet and like her team since there is a slightly higher chance you might not get her if she is traveling.

 

Luckily, there are no major midwifery conferences in August that I can think of, but DONA is right when many of us will be having babies, the first week of August. The one in July, Normal Birth, is every other year and just happened in Vancouver.

 

You could ask her if she is speaking at that one. I am sure she is wonderful!

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I don't really have any actual concerns.  More just what if's, but I will talk to her about them.  I say she is nationally recognized because she is asked to attend conferences (to present) all over the country.  She's actually going to one this week.  Anyway, her name is Jennifer West.

 

Bree




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#17 of 21 Old 01-03-2011, 03:33 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks.  As far as missing births, she said she has missed more births lately, but it's not because she wasn't in town.  The moms did her hypnobirthing class and were so relaxed, they didn't think they could possibly be that close to delivering so she arrived after the baby was born because they called too late.  Other than that, she has missed one birth because another baby was being born at the same time.  She is 12 minutes from my house and she does have back ups, but I don't think she'll need one.  She only schedules 5-6 women a month too. 

 

Thanks for the help ladies.

 

Bree


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#18 of 21 Old 01-03-2011, 03:35 PM
 
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omg, sounds dreamy! enjoy. :D


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#19 of 21 Old 01-03-2011, 05:52 PM
 
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Okay, I had waaaaay too much time on my hands today (not) and I found myself procrastinating, I mean, reading her site.  If I were you, I'd request that she bring an assistant to her birth (since she writes that she often/usually attends births alone).  I feel more comfortable having two trained people there in case something happens and mom and baby both need help.  Otherwise, she really does sound awesome!


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#20 of 21 Old 01-03-2011, 07:38 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks.  I think I'll prefer to have as few people as possible, but I will think about that as it is a good idea.  Thanks.

 

Bree


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#21 of 21 Old 01-04-2011, 07:32 AM
 
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She sounds just like my m/w! However (as some others said) i realized I wanted a little more hands on for support. I'm going to be getting a doula this time as well. I was TO laid back in my labor and I need someone to kind of push my butt to get up and walk and do things to make labor progress faster....so I don't have another 24+hrs of active labor.


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