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Old 12-19-2008, 09:26 PM - Thread Starter
 
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... and why I'm posting here nearly 3 years later about it.

I went with a natural philosophy towards the birth. I had a midwife that I really liked and we worked well together. She was my age, university trained (at UBC's program), progressive, feminist in a self-empowerment kind of way. We really connected. I felt confident going into my 9th month that things were going to be great.

But that's not what happened. I was due Dec 29. My MW went on holidays from Dec 15 to Jan 5. She was certain I'd be late as so many first-timers are. Her partner in practice was a lay-midwife who had a very different approach to birth. She wanted to be my "mom" and that was the last thing I wanted at the time. I needed to feel like an adult in charge of my experience, not like a child being led through it by the trusted expert. We clashed right from the start.

We met early in Dec and I didn't like her from at all. I decided to just go with it because the odds of me delivering with her were at best 50/50. I figured I'd just wait it out and then my MW would be back on the case. Every appt I had with Lay-MW was awful. She refused to talk to me about pain management, threatening it would start me on the road to a C-section. No meds, no interventions or it'd be a Section. Then my waters broke on Dec 23 and I had some hind leakage. I went in for a stress test and my usual MW visit and the bag had sealed again. But contractions had started. I had posterior pelvic dislocation and just walking was difficult from about my 6th month on. Turns out I also had low levels of amniotic fluid from the hind leakage. This made the contractions very painful, even though they were more than 5 mins apart. On Dec 25, I went in for another stress test and an internal exam to look for fluid. I had blood drawn, too. Everything looked normal and Lay MW told me to go home, forget I was contracting and get some sleep. I was in a lot of pain, was unable to sleep, eat or even breathe and none of the techniques I'd learned were helping. When I mentioned my concerns, she basically told me to suck it up and again threatened a Section if I took any pain relief medications. I was already terribly disappointed in my backup midwife. We said nothing and went home. On the night of the 28th, my waters broke again and I went into the hospital again. I was only 2cm dilated. I had more blood drawn. She asked if I wanted to stay or go home. She implied if I stayed, I'd end up with a Section and that would be such a shame, tut tut. So, against my fears and fatigue, we went home. I was already tired out and afraid of the pain. It wasn't looking good. That night, I threw up countless times and lost my ability to keep it in perspective. It was a very long and lonely night. The next morning the OB on call looked at my blood work and decided I needed an induction as my white cell count had shot up over the past few days due to stress.

We came in and the Pitocin drip was started at 10:00am. The Lay MW washed her hands of me at that point. She decided I was going to be a Section because I was having interventions. That was that. Instead of sticking around to help me cope with a very unexpected turn of events, she went back to her office and completed her day's roster of patients. Leaving me and my husband alone with only the nurse monitoring my Pitocin drip rate and the fetal heart rate. I ended up labouring in a bed, on my back, tied to medical equipment. The last thing I wanted. Lordy, we felt so alone and so out of our depth. Thank heavens for that L&D nurse. She was an angel. She helped me cope, talked to me about pain management, got me as much juice and water as I needed, did so many kind things for me.

The induction was VERY hard to deal with. The drip rate was upped before I could come to terms with the pain from the previous drip rate. I had been given no information about how different an induction labour is from a natural one. It all happened so much faster than I could handle and it was really painful. The L&D nurse suggested some morphine which didn't really help. I was becoming exhausted. I was frightened and an inch away from total panic with each contraction. I agreed to have an epidural at 2pm that day. When I finally got the epidural at 4pm, even though the hospital was quiet and the anaesthesiologist was available. We had to wait for the Lay MW to come back and sign off as she was my official care provider. She told me then that I was only 4cm dilated and this would probably be a Section. I was devastated and just tried to make the best of it. After the epi went in, I got some blessed sleep. Things turned around from that point.

At 6pm, I was fully dilated. Yep. All that movement in just 2 hours. Amazing. I ended up having a vaginal delivery with only minimal tearing. My Law MW was very competent and handled my delivery well. At the end, she commented on how surprised she had been by how sensitive I was to knowing when I was contracting even with the epidural. I could tell before the monitor showed it each time. The L&D nurse explained that epidurals have come a very long way since they were first introduced.

So, while I didn't get a completely natural childbirth and I didn't get to feel in charge, I did have a vaginal delivery and I have a very healthy and happy almost 3 year old. But the experience really stuck with me. I have a deep mistrust of my body and my ability now. I've chosen to do this pregnancy with a GP who does L&D instead of the MW. I have talked to all the docs in the practice and refuse to put my care into the hands of just 1 person. Much as I adored my MW, she wasn't there when it came down to it. The person who replaced her was the worst possible personality for me and it turned what should have been a good experience into a mine-field of stress, anxiety and uncertainty.

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Old 12-20-2008, 09:53 AM
 
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So great that with all of that to navigate during your final days--and 'all of that' was very big and stressful!--so great that you got a vag birth and to feel so present for your baby's birth. So wonderful that in the absence of the Good Mw you hoped for, you got an angel for an L&D nurse.

So sorry for all the rest of what you had to put up with--especially all the predictions of doom from that other mw! How undermining of her--not only did she undermine your confidence and trust, but her predictions undermined her own capacity to be 'with woman' in a caring way. Having made her prediction with such certainty in her own mind, she effectively convinced herself that helping you would be useless. Too bad for all of you--especially for you/family, of course.

But you know, I think you have stumbled onto something by meeting all the docs in the practice you are using now. It is really more self-empowering IMO to 'spread out your attachment' and expectations. If you are not emotionally attaching too firmly to just one person, not building your birth vision on how it would be to work with just that one person, you automatically rely more upon yourself (yourselves, including DP). Not sure if this makes sense--but I've seen it in action. And the best thing for a birthing woman/couple is to know quite fully that only the mother gives birth....your helpers may be valuable in various ways, and it's good to have some idea what you might best expect from each of the possible helpers at this next birth. But only *you* will be birthing--and in your current care setting, you are making choices that are empowering to yourself...that just can't help but be a good thing!
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Old 12-21-2008, 10:46 PM
 
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Oh yuck..so sorry.
I understand your feelings..my local midwife just joined in with the other local midwife..problem is, they are very different, and frankly, I dont like the other one..I underatdn their points of view, they want to have time off and not be on call all teh time, etc, but at the same time, I feel it really detracts from the midwifery model of care to have to find 2 (or more) people with whom you click, or else go through your pregnancy knowing you migth get the "bad" midwife when you go into labor....it really stinks.

CPST
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Old 12-23-2008, 04:28 AM - Thread Starter
 
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But you know, I think you have stumbled onto something by meeting all the docs in the practice you are using now. It is really more self-empowering IMO to 'spread out your attachment' and expectations. If you are not emotionally attaching too firmly to just one person, not building your birth vision on how it would be to work with just that one person, you automatically rely more upon yourself (yourselves, including DP). Not sure if this makes sense--but I've seen it in action.
Yes. This totally makes sense to me. It's why I've chosen to get to know all the physicians in the practise and have chosen a more traditional medical approach this time. The MW model of care encourages that one-on-one bonding and I was so badly burned by it last time - and with it being my first birth, too - that I just don't want to go there again. I know that *I* can do this. I did it once before, under difficult circumstances and in a situation where I felt abandoned. That's a huge thing for me, too. I have major abandonment issues from my childhood that the birth situation with DD only exacerbated. I won't set myself or my baby up for that kind of emotional trauma again.

I've been having a hard few days and I know that this is why. It comes up every year. At least this year I feel like I'm finally dealing with it. But the extra hormones from the new preganancy are fuelling my emotions quite a bit.

I'm glad to be doing the work now. Finally. It feels good.

Thanks, Ladies, for your perspectives and supports. You have mine, too.

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Old 12-23-2008, 09:43 AM
 
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Yes. This totally makes sense to me. .....

I know that *I* can do this. I did it once before, under difficult circumstances and in a situation where I felt abandoned. That's a huge thing for me, too.

I've been having a hard few days and I know that this is why. It comes up every year. At least this year I feel like I'm finally dealing with it. But the extra hormones from the new preganancy are fuelling my emotions quite a bit.

I'm glad to be doing the work now. Finally. It feels good.

Thanks, Ladies, for your perspectives and supports. You have mine, too.
Yes---YES that is what you want, going in--to know that YOU can do it....no matter who is helping, and in what circumstances, only you can and will give birth.

And I have long believed that a large part of the purpose of all those 'messy pregnancy hormones' is to help us go deeper into any issues that we need to resolve (or begin to resolve) as part of preparation for birth, and for welcoming a new child into our hearts and homes. All those intense pregnancy dreams, those easily-surfacing emotions...they have a positive purpose. Pregnancy is designed to be a healing time for us, if we will listen and go with that flow.

so--yay for you! :
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Old 12-23-2008, 11:03 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Pregnancy is designed to be a healing time for us, if we will listen and go with that flow.
This is so true, MsBlack! I've been resisting really getting into my feelings around what happened - aside from anger at the Lay MW's dismissal of me. There were so many emotions and feelings that rose up and I've kind of run from them. Now that I'm facing another birth, I find myself really wanting to work through DD's birth for the first time. It's hard, though. My DH, bless him, doesn't really get it. I don't have anyone to talk to because they all say the same thing. "Well, you got a healthy baby and a vaginal delivery. You got everything you wanted!"

I think the hardest part was the abandonment. I've been let down by so many people over the years. This was one more situation where I placed all my trust in one person and really needed her to be there for me. She wasn't. What's worse, she seemed like she didn't even want to try. Much as I can intellectually say I've dealt with it and demonstrate that by knowing all the docs in my practise, the feelings are still there. My mind knows one thing but my heart is still struggling with what happened. It can't seem to move beyond it.

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Old 12-23-2008, 11:43 PM
 
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Hey, beach!

As you know, I had James and Sarah with the same midwife and had a great experience, but I'm also seeing a multi-OB practice for this baby. A big part of the reason is that I've moved and frankly, couldn't imagine trying to form a midwife/client bond with a new person. What if it was terrible? I felt like I'd just be crushed and disappointed. I was ready for some more emotional distance from my care provider(s).

That lay midwife did a terrible job. You are right to feel angry and betrayed. But as others have noted, this is probably a hormonally auspicious time to process it and heal from it.
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Old 12-24-2008, 12:28 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Hi Smithie!

Yeah. I'm feeling like the time is right. I understand what you're saying about not having the inclination to start over trying to build a relationship with a mw after moving and everything.

Do you have any concerns about the difference in care you'll receive? I'd be interested in hearing your thoughts since you've been through a MW assisted birth twice - with a good MW.

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Old 12-24-2008, 09:58 AM
 
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My own take on abandonment stuff--from my own experience and from knowing/working with others suffering this--is this: when a child is abandoned in some significant way, whether through actual abandonment or abandonment of responsibility and caring needed by children (being abusive/neglectful, ignoring the child's abuse by another....), it is not only hard for that person to trust others--the real problem is the difficulty in trusting oneself. The child becomes an adult who never feels really worthy of loving committment and respect, and consequently (in part) has a really hard time choosing people to rely on who can live up to that reliance....becomes someone who misplaces loyalty and thus repeats being abandoned again and again. We grow up having no idea what the signs of trustworthiness are in others, a poor grip on our instincts about people and situations, having a tendency to give others way more credit and power than we do ourselves, AND having a tendency to live out the established pattern of abandonment in our lives--it is what is familiar on a subconscious level.

Anyway--when it comes to birth, when women are so vulnerable emotionally and physically, this issue can arise quite intensely. It seems to have played out 'perfectly' for you with your last birth...and with this one, again it seems that you are making good use of the 'healing alchemy of pregnancy' to feel and examine all of this. Don't expect dh or others to really get it....maybe they will later, when you have accomplished the inner work through this pregnancy and birth that you are now undertaking
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Old 12-24-2008, 02:46 PM
 
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"Do you have any concerns about the difference in care you'll receive?"

Eh. Somewhat. I'm mostly worried that I'll decide I can't have an epidural, because the doctor on duty will not be one that I trust to be reasonable about interventions (strict time limits, insisting on a cath even if I can emoty my bladder without it, constantly trying to push drugs into my IV without good cause, etc.)

Scott and I have accumulated a lot of knowledge about birth in the past few years, and he is a total human bulldozer, so I know that if I can just Say No To Drugs I will have whatever experience I want to have, including no EFM and no IV. But honestly, I'd love to feel like I could responsibly choose to have pain medication if I end up wanting it, and if one of the more hands-off doctors is on duty when I go into labor, I'll give a great big cheer.
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Old 12-24-2008, 07:08 PM
 
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the thing is that probably even your favorite midwife would have not labored with you- in hospital midwifery is done pretty much the way an OB does it- leave your orders for the nurses- the nurses carry out the orders and manage labor- contact the provider periodically- typically they do not labor sit. Your GP will probably do the same as well-- this is how doulas have become a profession because labor support is needed, some sort of guide to the experience. we have done births for several women/families who have felt abandonded at the birth center or the hospital where they thought that the provider would be with them or help with managing/integrating the labor. Even some homebirth mws do the same- I would recommend looking into having a doula with you this time around not so much because you will need much but a knowledgeable, experienced person at your side is great boon-
I am trying to figure out who a lay midwife could be working with a licensed provider is that legal? I thought that unlicensed midwifery was illegal in Vancouver. I am also sorry that you were a poor match up for communication. She probably was hard core against meds/drugs - I could see that if she were more open to drugs she might have been able to offer something to help you sleep through prodromal labor at home and you may have been better able to manage early labor- the thing is that pitocin is something very hard to cope with, on the other hand she may not have any Rx ability and the back-up doesn't write for sleep meds- so may not have been a choice she could have offered you. I will have to admit to similar bias against going to a hospital in prodromal labor, though i understand that a mom needs to feel comfortable and safe in order to open to birth, because i am not a hospital base provider I do have the luxury of attending with a mom and staying through-out on the other hand prodromal labor can last for days, and sometimes it is irritable uterus and not prodromal labor- in which case I don't usually stay for days, I do check in on moms and may hang out to see if things change while I am there, recommend brisk walking if it is daytime or may seek out drugs or alternatives to drugs for theraputic sleep in hopes that mom will be better able to manage when labor hits- and there are times especially with dx'd PROM that we transfer in for pit, and drugs and we stay through out when that happens- but first of all we do everything we can to get labor going at home.

I guess I want to know what you wanted/expected to have happen and what your expectations might be this time around
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Old 12-24-2008, 11:40 PM - Thread Starter
 
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My own take on abandonment stuff--from my own experience and from knowing/working with others suffering this--is this: when a child is abandoned in some significant way, whether through actual abandonment or abandonment of responsibility and caring needed by children (being abusive/neglectful, ignoring the child's abuse by another....), it is not only hard for that person to trust others--the real problem is the difficulty in trusting oneself. The child becomes an adult who never feels really worthy of loving commitment and respect, and consequently (in part) has a really hard time choosing people to rely on who can live up to that reliance....becomes someone who misplaces loyalty and thus repeats being abandoned again and again. We grow up having no idea what the signs of trustworthiness are in others, a poor grip on our instincts about people and situations, having a tendency to give others way more credit and power than we do ourselves, AND having a tendency to live out the established pattern of abandonment in our lives--it is what is familiar on a subconscious level.
Yes, this is so true. It took me years to work through the issues I had and learn how to build healthy relationships. A lot of therapy and a lot of work on myself and my self talk. I think that with the first birth, I fell back into that "trusting child" mode because I was so out of my realm. I trusted my MW to be the conduit for my care. My original MW would have been. She was very hands on and told me that even with a hospital birth, she'd be there the whole time. We'd built a strong relationship and I knew what to expect from her. The Lay MW was a totally different story and one that was pretty much thrust upon me. I never would have chosen her as a MW. I let things go because I felt I had no choice. Delivering when I did, no one would take me on. I had a really hard time finding a MW at all.

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Anyway--when it comes to birth, when women are so vulnerable emotionally and physically, this issue can arise quite intensely. It seems to have played out 'perfectly' for you with your last birth...and with this one, again it seems that you are making good use of the 'healing alchemy of pregnancy' to feel and examine all of this. Don't expect dh or others to really get it....maybe they will later, when you have accomplished the inner work through this pregnancy and birth that you are now undertaking
Yep. The failure played out exactly as you'd have expected for the old me. It's part of why I had such a hard time coming to terms with what happened. I felt I'd done so much work and moved so far beyond these kinds of doomed to fail relationships. And then, right when I needed it most, it happened all over again. Heh. Live and learn, I guess.

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Old 12-24-2008, 11:45 PM - Thread Starter
 
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MWHerbs, thank you for your input and perspective. My MW had told me she'd be there for my whole labour and I know she would have done exactly that. The Lay MW and I never really talked about what she'd do for me and where she'd draw her lines in terms of care. I realize now that I should have grilled her the way I did my MW at the beginning of our care relationship. I didn't and I made assumptions based on what my MW had told me she'd do for me.

Both my MW and the Lay MW had the ability to prescribe sedatives and pain medications. When I left the hospital on the 28th, she gave me a script to fill for something to help me sleep. The Lay MW had to sign off on the morphine and on the epidural. She also had to agree to the Pitocin drip. She was the one to start that IV, actually. She had fully authority and hospital rights. It just went against her personal philosophy of care.

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