Anyone else not thrilled about their MW's apprentice? - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 18 Old 04-09-2009, 05:09 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I don't know if this is an issue for anyone else, but I really don't think I want my mw's apprentice near me at my birth. She's nice and all, but she is about my age (mid 20's) and has no children of her own. I find it hard for her to add anything to my experience if she hasn't even been there herself. She still seems like she struggles during my appts with some of the basics like fundal measurements, and at my appt yesterday, she only got the baby's hb at 122 with the doppler. That didn't sound right to me at all and is much lower than the hb usually is. I went home and used my borrowed doppler, and picked up the hb in the 140-150 range, where it has been for the rest of my pregnancy. I can just see myself sending her downstairs and away from me while I am in labor, and I think I might find her presence distracting in a bad way. I certainly wouldn't let her do any vaginal exams on me. Can I talk to my mw about this? It isn't really anything against the apprentice personally, and I have a hard time justifying my feelings, but in my gut I just feel funky towards her. Anyone else have this issue with an apprentice or partner of their mw?

Brittany- Wife to Eric : Mama to Asher : born 7/15/09
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#2 of 18 Old 04-09-2009, 05:26 PM
 
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Your feelings are totally understandable and not uncommon. Talk to your midwife. Many women request the student midwife not attend.
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#3 of 18 Old 04-09-2009, 05:28 PM
 
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Pretty please, talk to your midwife about it. Phone sometimes works best because you can be sure the apprentice isn't lurking about.
122 is fine for the baby's heartbeat - it often signifies a napping baby.
When I was a student, my preceptors handled it well, by arranging another birth assistant or instructing us that the client only wanted the midwife to do anything and to blend into the background as much as possible. It's very possible for you to get what you want.

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#4 of 18 Old 04-10-2009, 03:29 AM
 
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As a midwife's apprentice, it is very important to me that the birthing mother and her family feel comfortable with my presence. The most important thing is for the mother to feel like her birth team is fully on-board and supportive of her...which means that anyone who doesn't "click" with the mom should not be present.

I believe, as an apprentice, attendance at births is a privilege not a right. Speak up - you won't regret it. Best of luck on a wonderful, beautiful birth experience! :

Allyson - wife, mama, midwife
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#5 of 18 Old 04-10-2009, 09:34 AM
 
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i could not STAND my MW's apprentice at my prenatals, and also couldn't stand her in labor. she drove me nuts. wish i would have said soemthing earlier!!

mdcblog5.gif   Liz mama to DS 10, DSS 9, DD 6, DS 3, DD 2 , Aquila- dec 19th 2009 died at my homebirth, and....welcome Willow born 9-16-10 (9 weeks early)  nut.gif
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#6 of 18 Old 04-10-2009, 12:03 PM
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i would definitely speak up!

the assumption with apprentices is that you accept them unless you say otherwise, so it's always a good idea to speak up when it is otherwise! while it's not midwifery, this is the approach that i take with my yoga-teacher apprentices. i assume that they are allowed to participate (i introduce them, explain their training to the class, and assert that if they don't want assists, to let me know). i also reign them in. sometimes, they can be a bit too busy body. i'm sure i've been that way myself as an apprentice.

but it's good to be told what a client wants. afterall, you're the boss!
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#7 of 18 Old 04-10-2009, 01:15 PM
 
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Issues with this personal apprentice aside, I'd like to say that I just had my first baby after almost 9 years of midwifery. Being a mother has brightened my perspective on parenting, but the only change it's made in my practice as a midwife is that now my time and attention is divided between my clients and my baby. I think your expectations that only women who have given birth have anything to "add" to your experience may be a little off.
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#8 of 18 Old 04-10-2009, 05:13 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by nashvillemidwife View Post
Issues with this personal apprentice aside, I'd like to say that I just had my first baby after almost 9 years of midwifery. Being a mother has brightened my perspective on parenting, but the only change it's made in my practice as a midwife is that now my time and attention is divided between my clients and my baby. I think your expectations that only women who have given birth have anything to "add" to your experience may be a little off.
And maybe I am wrong. And I'm sure there are perfectly good midwives out there who haven't had their own babies. I would also never choose a male OB or gyno because they don't have the pieces and parts themselves, but that is just me. But from the conversations I've had with her I just don't really feel like it is clicking. I also just feel I don't need the extra set of eyes on me. I understand that everyone has to learn some time, but I'm just not sure she needs to learn with me and my birth. Maybe I would be more open if this was a subsequent baby and I knew more of what to expect out of labor. But since this is already a learning experience for me, I think I want to keep things as intimate as possible. But from everyone's responses, I definitely need to talk to my midwife and get clarification of who will be where when.

Brittany- Wife to Eric : Mama to Asher : born 7/15/09
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#9 of 18 Old 04-10-2009, 06:12 PM
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i think your most basic reasoning--wanting to keep things as intimate as possible--is enough. i think it's acceptable to not have any apprentices or students at your birth.

your baby is due on my birthday.
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#10 of 18 Old 04-10-2009, 07:30 PM
 
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Originally Posted by GoldmanBaby09 View Post
I don't know if this is an issue for anyone else, but I really don't think I want my mw's apprentice near me at my birth. She's nice and all, but she is about my age (mid 20's) and has no children of her own. I find it hard for her to add anything to my experience if she hasn't even been there herself. She still seems like she struggles during my appts with some of the basics like fundal measurements, and at my appt yesterday, she only got the baby's hb at 122 with the doppler. That didn't sound right to me at all and is much lower than the hb usually is. I went home and used my borrowed doppler, and picked up the hb in the 140-150 range, where it has been for the rest of my pregnancy. I can just see myself sending her downstairs and away from me while I am in labor, and I think I might find her presence distracting in a bad way. I certainly wouldn't let her do any vaginal exams on me. Can I talk to my mw about this? It isn't really anything against the apprentice personally, and I have a hard time justifying my feelings, but in my gut I just feel funky towards her. Anyone else have this issue with an apprentice or partner of their mw?
You would be doing ME a favor if it were me. I'm in Michigan, so pretty sure it's not me! LOL. As an apprentice, I expend a HUGE amount of energy, time and money to be available for births and I currently work with a midwife who does not pay me anything. AT ALL. This is MY choice, of course. But if I knew a client would prefer I was not there, then it would be a time/money saver for me to know ahead of time, rather than attending a birth and end up spending my time doing nothing, waiting in some other room or in my car. That wouldn't really be fair to the apprentice.
My point is that you'd be not only serving YOUR own best interests in not having someone at the birth that you don't "click" with, but you're also saving her time and energy that could be spent on a client that she DOES click with.
I am often called out in the middle of the night, using my own gas, driving about 1 hour on average one way, to be at a birth for a minimum of 4 hours, usually more than 8 hours at a time, using my own gloves, using my own equipment, at my entire expense, to learn how to be a midwife. I am HUGELY grateful to the mothers who allow me to learn alongside my midwife preceptor. To the moms who do not want me there (this hasn't happened yet, but I am sure it will, somewhere down the line) I am TOTALLY ok with it. I have had 4 kids myself and I didn't want ANYone there for the last one. And I didn't. And I was happy about it.
You are being smart to talk to your midwife in advance. She may have another assistant to bring with her, or another midwife. She may NOT like your request.. some midwives prefer to have an apprentice/assistant for that second set of hands at a birth.
But you won't know till you talk to her, and you won't be doing yourself any favors to stay quiet about someone you feel "funky" towards. Has the apprentice made any attempts to get to know you personally, or has most communication gone through the midwife at appointments?
Sometimes, when the client and I have a chance to chat a bit, I notice my preceptor will kind of fade into the background, to give the client a chance to talk to me and get more comfortable with me.
If I haven't had a chance to get to know her, I try to be really quiet at a birth, unless she reaches out to me, I don't want to be an intrusive presence, or worse, an annoyance!
Just some food for thought.
HTH
- Jen

Mom of 5 working full-time and waiting to go to nursing school! Whew! I need a nap! joy.gif

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#11 of 18 Old 04-10-2009, 08:57 PM - Thread Starter
 
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i think your most basic reasoning--wanting to keep things as intimate as possible--is enough. i think it's acceptable to not have any apprentices or students at your birth.

your baby is due on my birthday.
That is awesome! It is also my brother's 21st birthday that day. I have a feeling my baby won't be born on his due date, but I think that would be a pretty cool day for him to become an uncle

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#12 of 18 Old 04-10-2009, 09:04 PM - Thread Starter
 
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To the moms who do not want me there (this hasn't happened yet, but I am sure it will, somewhere down the line) I am TOTALLY ok with it. I have had 4 kids myself and I didn't want ANYone there for the last one. And I didn't. And I was happy about it.
You are being smart to talk to your midwife in advance. She may have another assistant to bring with her, or another midwife. She may NOT like your request.. some midwives prefer to have an apprentice/assistant for that second set of hands at a birth.

- Jen
The fact that you have had 4 kids of your own would make me more inclined to have you at my birth I know someone else mentioned not judging midwives for not having their own babies, but I would personally not hire a mw who didn't have her own children. But that is my preference. And as for the second set of hands, my mother will be attending my birth as well. She had myself and my 4 younger brothers all at home before she became a licensed mw and nursing student in California. Between her and my midwife, there is about 50 years of birthing experience between them (about 25 years each) and that feels like enough to me!

Brittany- Wife to Eric : Mama to Asher : born 7/15/09
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#13 of 18 Old 04-11-2009, 02:58 PM
 
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The fact that you have had 4 kids of your own would make me more inclined to have you at my birth I know someone else mentioned not judging midwives for not having their own babies, but I would personally not hire a mw who didn't have her own children. But that is my preference. And as for the second set of hands, my mother will be attending my birth as well. She had myself and my 4 younger brothers all at home before she became a licensed mw and nursing student in California. Between her and my midwife, there is about 50 years of birthing experience between them (about 25 years each) and that feels like enough to me!

Absolutely. It's all about what works for you, your baby and your partner. As long as it works for the midwife too, you should be good!
I can't pretend I understand the dynamic of a midwife or apprentice that has not had babies of their own...BUT I know my own sister was a fabulous doula for me for three of my kids and she has yet to have any of her own.
I know there are LOTS of really good midwives who started practice before they themselves had kids. I know of one personally who was never able to have kids and she's a very kind and very capable midwife.
But just like any other type of professional, you have a right to choose the one that works for you, and hopefully, someday, we'll have enough midwives that women will be really free to choose the one that fits them best!
Personally, the fact that I've had such a wide range of my own experiences of birth has made me a lot more empathetic towards women and whatever their birth experience ends up being.
I hope things work out well for you!!
- Jen

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#14 of 18 Old 04-11-2009, 05:18 PM
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my son was due 'around' my father's birthday on the 31st of Aug, born on the 30th though.
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#15 of 18 Old 04-12-2009, 08:17 PM - Thread Starter
 
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my son was due 'around' my father's birthday on the 31st of Aug, born on the 30th though.
I came six days past the due date when my mom had me the day after my grandfather's birthday and the day before April Fools

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#16 of 18 Old 04-16-2009, 01:53 AM
 
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Personally, I LOVE my midwife's apprentice (okay, okay, I *am* my midwife's apprentice).

Really, though, it's perfectly acceptable for you to privately let your midwife know that you're just not feeling like you "click" with her apprentice, and that you'd prefer not to have her at your birth. I am one of three apprentices in the practice for which I work, and I know it has happened that a client has requested not to have this-or-that apprentice at their birth (bad personality match or whatever), and that's perfectly fine (and part of the reason, from what I understand, that my preceptor likes to keep several of us around). When it has happened, I think my preceptor has handled it relatively delicately and diplomatically with us.

If a client didn't want me at her birth, I would really hope that she would just let my preceptor know--and the sooner, the better. It might sort of "hurt my feelings" or something, to be honest, but I would be really much more upset to find out some time after the birth that I was unwanted/unhelpful there.

And, for that matter, I suspect the apprentice wouldn't be *shocked* to learn that you didn't want her there--I think it's unlikely that she's feeling a really tight bond with you that isn't really there. I, for one, fancy myself a rather intuitive individual when it comes to these things, and I think I can usually gauge relatively accurately how clients feel about me (although, admittedly, you have me sitting here thinking back over the births I've attended--wondering which woman might have actually loathed having me there ).

So let your midwife know. She may still like to have an assistant there for the birth, so the sooner you let her know, the more time she has to find a replacement (and the fewer visits the unwanted-apprentice has to attend before learning that she won't be at the birth).

Another thing that might be possible--when someone calls in labor, unless they sound like they're pushing or something, my preceptor typically goes out to the woman's house and sort of assesses what's going on before calling me. When there are two apprentices attending the birth, which happens once in a while, she usually calls one of us out shortly after arriving at the woman's house, and the other in just enough time to make it for the birth. If you felt like it would be okay, perhaps the midwife could do something like that--just call the apprentice much later than usual, so that she wouldn't be there for your whole labor, but only at the very end, to assist at the birth, if it becomes necessary. Just a thought...but you should definitely talk to your midwife about feels best for you.
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#17 of 18 Old 04-16-2009, 11:32 AM - Thread Starter
 
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She may still like to have an assistant there for the birth, so the sooner you let her know, the more time she has to find a replacement (and the fewer visits the unwanted-apprentice has to attend before learning that she won't be at the birth).

If you felt like it would be okay, perhaps the midwife could do something like that--just call the apprentice much later than usual, so that she wouldn't be there for your whole labor, but only at the very end, to assist at the birth, if it becomes necessary. Just a thought...but you should definitely talk to your midwife about feels best for you.
After thinking about this, and talking it over with my mom (who will be at the birth and is also an experienced midwife) I have reconsidered having the apprentice there, mostly for the assistant aspect you mention. I don't want to deny my midwife her assistant (or have her show up with someone I have never met) and put my mom in a place where she feels like she has to assist, rather than be able to just be "my mom" and focus on me. I do think that I will mention to the midwife that I would prefer that the apprentice be there as her assistant and "gopher" as necessary, but don't really want her there to practice on me (i.e. no internals, no catching the baby, anything like that). I also think I will ask if maybe the apprentice can come later, when things are really moving, like you mentioned. I plan to labor and deliver in our garden tub in our bathroom, and even though it is a decent sized bathroom, with me, my DH, my mom, and the midwife, it will be cramped as it is. Besides, there is no reason for the midwife to send an apprentice out to assess me first, as my mom will be there and I full trust her to know when it is time to get the actual midwife there. I'm sure we can strike a balance, and everything will be fine

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#18 of 18 Old 04-16-2009, 09:41 PM
 
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Most midwives really prefer having another person at a birth. There is a lot involved in attending a birth, and having another set of hands is very helpful.

I would tell your midwife that you would prefer that only she do internals or anything "intimate," and leave the rest to her apprentice. I attended a birth a few weeks ago where I had a cold and recused myself from doing anything that involved touching anyone, so I did all the paperwork and charting.

As far as your reasons, I know that many women feel that way. However, as an apprentice with four young kids, I can tell you that my family is always in the back of my mind. Whereas a midwife without kids might be more present. Just something to think about -- I know your issue with this apprentice is that you guys don't click, but just want to give you info on birth professionals without kids.

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