For many women, the choice might be a no-brainer. They either definitely want a natural birth with a midwife, or they definitely want to give birth with the assistance of pain medicine at a hospital. But being the indecisive person that I am, when it came to the birthing process of my third child, I teetered between the two until almost literally the last minute.
For baby number one, I was determined to do it all-natural, but having to be induced with a Foley Bulb and Pitocin, I couldn’t bear it without the epidural. For baby number two, I almost didn’t think about it at all and just went in and got the epidural right away. But for whatever reason, for baby number three, it became an internal dilemma – a constant back and forth about the pros and cons of a natural birth, and a pain-free birth.
That is what brought me to visiting the local midwife center. A midwife center is a center staffed with Certified Nurse Midwife. The local midwife center where I live takes on low-risk pregnancy patients. They also serve as a women’s health and wellness center. This midwife center near me specializes in natural births, and is determined for their patients to feel like unique individuals with customized treatments, rather than a number in a filing cabinet. Like any other midwife center, they are overseen by a local Obstetrician. They also have various rooms where women can deliver their babies without the discomfort of baby monitors, hospital beds, IV’s, contraction monitors, heart-rate monitors, blood pressure monitors, etc. They are also equipped with numerous different natural ways to manage pain and induce labor, and are not equipped with means to administer Pitocin or Epidurals, which are often the most popular means to speed up labor and manage labor pains in a hospital. For example, a midwife may have your use a breast pump to bring on stronger contractions, and put you in a warm jacuzzi to manage the pain.
Although I loved the soothing vibe and warmth of the midwife center and the midwives that I met, my husband and I weren’t comfortable with the fact that the midwife center is not equipped to handle emergencies. In the case of an emergency during the labor or delivery at a midwife center, you are required to pack up, and hoof it to the nearest sister hospital. But, I also wasn’t comfortable with the treatment I was receiving at my OB Gyno by certain caretakers, which was definitely the treatment of just another patient, in a 15-minute slot. Nevertheless, we decided to stick with the OB Gyno (Also because I did like the majority of the doctors and nurses there after all), and in terms of a plan for pain-medicine, we decided we’d figure it out as we got into the labor process.
Many times you do have the option of choosing to have midwife at a hospital, but for different reasons that just didn’t seem to be an option for me…that is until the blessed day came, and it was time for me to give birth to the new baby.
Once again, my water broke as a trickle without contractions, and I was sent to the hospital to speed up the process. Right away it became obvious that the doctor on call was overwhelmed. She’d had a crazy day with multiple c-sections, and she looked exhausted. As we waited and waited and waited for my contractions to come stronger and stronger, the doctor’s and nurse’s orders were for the me to be entirely bed-ridden. Luckily, just in the nick of time, my doctor’s replacement arrived, who happened to be a midwife! She happened to walk in during a very uncomfortable and awkward attempt to pee in a bed pan. Immediately, she urged me to get up, go to the bathroom move around, brush my hair, my teeth, and do anything else possible for me to feel comfortable.She allowed me to change out of the hospital gown and into my own clothes. She was then able to check and see certain things that hadn’t been clear beforehand, and was very encouraging and helpful with different ways to handle the pain, rather than just grin and bear it in the hospital bed. And when the pain and exhaustion of a 15-hour birthing process became too much, she didn’t give me a hard time for ultimately ending up with an epidural after all. When it came time to push, she took her time and took pride in making sure the process went smoothly. She even allowed my husband to deliver our baby once she safely and securely eased his head out.
In the end, I got the best of both worlds. Although in the end I didn’t end up with a natural birth after all, it was the perfect combination to have the support and patience of a midwife with the backup of a hospital in the case that any emergencies occurred. And I don’t think my husband will ever stop talking about being the one who delivered his new baby boy.