(OP here) Sounds like I'm not totally weird then.
I too wanted my MW to be pretty hands off, but I did expect her to be able to identify potential problems and to be able to deal with most of them at home. I expected her to be respectful and supportive of me, and to have faith in my body.
Unfortunately that's not what I got. DD was malpositioned (she turned posterior during labour and was possibly also asynclitic - I figured all this out later by myself). Her bad position led to me experiencing labour as one never-ending contraction, through which I couldn't talk and had a really hard time doing anything other than just breathing and trying not to fall apart.
As soon as she walked in she started criticising how I was breathing. When she checked me ( I had agreed to one VE on her arrival, and one when I felt like starting pushing) I was already 7-8 cm. But she just turned and made a comment to my DH about how this was going to take a long time. I'm guessing she realised that DD was malpositioned then, but didn't bother to tell me or to suggest anything to try to correct it.
She also commented about how I was getting dehydrated, but didn't offer me anything to drink. I was totally beyond being able to get up and go to the fridge, pour and drink something and nobody seemed to care that I hadn't had anything to drink for about 12 hours by now (though really that was supposed to be my DH's job).
After a couple of hours went by she insisted on doing another VE, even though I had no urge to push. She declared that I was 10 but with a lip. In my head I was frantically trying to remember what I'd read about dealing with cervical lips. I could remember something about arnica, using ice to unswell it maybe, but I couldn't *say* anything. Yet again no suggestions for dealing with this. From this point on either she or her assistant were constantly holding the doppler on me, and freaking every time the baby moved and they lost the heartbeat. Another couple of hours later and she said I needed an enema. Really not something I wanted but I was just incapable of speaking up for myself - incapable of speaking full-stop. So I had an enema, in my never-ending transition, with back-labour and nonstop contractions. Certainly not a pleasant experience.
Finally about 3-4 hours after she had checked me and I was at 10 with a lip she stated that we were going to the hospital or she was leaving. I *really* wish I'd just told her to get the he!! out of there, but I wasn't prepared to UC and because I trusted her I believed that there really was a problem that wasn't 'dealable with' at home. She promised that she would come with us to the hospital and act as a doula there (also as a translator, since we live abroad and don't speak the language very well).
Well, she drove us to the hospital but then abandoned us there. I ended up being birth-raped by the doctors as 'punishment' for having tried to homebirth (this is a very anti-homebirth country).
It's been over 15 months and I still can't figure out why a midwife would act like this. She's one of only a few in the whole country but is quite well-known and speaks out frequently on the need for more birth-choices for women. She is trying to establish the first birthing centre in the country. She interviewed really well, was lovely during the prenatal visits... I just feel betrayed.
Plus the reading that I've done since has turned up heaps of things we could have done/tried at home, from simply changing positions more often ( I would have needed physical help and encouragement to do this) to manual dilation of my cervix as a last resort, which is what they did in the hospital anyway. Now, if I as a layperson, with no other birth experience can find all this information (and could even remember some of it in the middle of labour, though I couldn't communicate it) why on earth wouldn't a midwife know these things. That *is* their job isn't it?
Yes, most births progress just fine without any intervention. But most women do appreciate some support and encouragement in labour, along with maybe a glass of water. And a midwife should be able to identify and correct most malpositions themselves. If we'd tried a whole bunch of things - positions, rebozo, ice/arnica, manual dilation etc. and still had no progress then maybe I would have felt a bit better about the 'need' to go to the hospital. Where she should have stayed with us to keep an eye on the doctors and what they were doing and maybe warned me in time.
Wow - sorry that got so long. I've just been wondering for the last 15 months whether my expectations of what a midwife does and doesn't do were totally off. Seems like my expectations were pretty similar to most people's here. So maybe I got my MW on a *really* bad day, or maybe she talks the talk but doesn't walk the walk..