As a health care provider who is extremely interested in maintaining the body’s natural ability as much as possible, it was a pretty exciting day for me when I heard that New Brunswick was FINALLY going to regulate midwifery care!
I sometimes joke that I decided to go for a third, just so I could experience their care! (it’s only partly true 😉 )
My first birth was at the IWK – which was awesome, considering all of the things going on (read Lennon’s story here:)
My second birth was at home with a birth attendant. Very hands off, very empowering, very self guided – which was great for me! What a contrast!
So this final birth, I would love nothing more than to be able to experience a home birth once again. Hiring a midwife was a no brainer! I love the idea of having the option for a midwife in NB for so many reasons. The birth attendant route was awesome for me, but I can appreciate and understand why many women are not fully comfortable with the idea.
I wanted to share my experience with the midwives, as well as talk about some of the things I hear from women when I ask if they are considering midwifery care or OB care.
First, let’s talk about some “myths or misunderstandings”.
1. If you hire a midwife, you are opting for a home birth:
This is just simply not true. Although traditionally, midwives would come to a woman’s home, this is not a requirement. Midwives are able to attend a hospital birth, and give you similar care there if that is something you personally choose. 🙂
Home births are SO amazing and having experienced both, I feel confident in saying this. It is something I hear all of the time “my hospital birth was great, but my home birth was magical!” (maybe this isn’t the exact quote this, but you get the idea).
Another great thing about home births is that research shows that you are less likely to go down the intervention route – where one intervention tends to leads to another….I believe there are many factors at play here, but the big one is being in the comfort of your own home. Less maternal stress plays a big role on how labor progresses. The more relaxed mom is, the better 🙂
It’s also awesome to be in your own bed for snuggles…and your own shower…..ohhhhh the post birth shower! Am I the only one who LOVES that?
2. You are at more risk with a midwife:
Sometimes it is very appropriate to be under OBG care. With Lennon, it made complete sense for us to be in the hospital. I am VERY grateful to have that option.
One thing I learned going through midwifery care is that they actually have equipment on hand for resuscitation. They actually DO have emergency care training – I thought that was pretty awesome (that they carry equipment) and was totally unaware.
Midwives are also trained to recognize the abnormal and trained to deal with emergencies and when to consult with a specialist. Being part of the health system makes it easy and smooth to consult if needed or transfer from a planned home birth to a hospital.
Integration and collaboration are ALWAYS better for patient centered care.
Here’s the kicker, research shows that it is just as safe at home with a midwife as it is in the hospital.
The more pressing thing to consider is what do YOU feel more comfortable with? This is always my goal – to get women thinking for themselves, asking questions, and digging deep into what will make them feel the most comfortable. No judgement. And this has been my experience with midwifery! They are very patient centered. 😀
3. It sounds expensive:
This is an easy one – it’s covered in NB. So no, we do not pay out of pocket, but yes we pay for it through our taxes. I’m sure if you compared the bill of an OB vs. Midwife for the average care throughout pregnancy and delivery, the midwife would be significantly less.
Less taxpayer money leaves more for urgent care – when people really need it. 🙂 Win, win.
4. Midwives push their agenda on you:
This is one is also depending. Perhaps there are some midwives who have a different philosophy than you, in which case, see if you can switch.
YOU DO NOT HAVE TO BE A CRUNCHY/GRANOLA TO FIT IN WITH THE MIDWIVES!
My personal experience has been that they are VERY supportive of whatever birth YOU want. They are extremely good at going through a REAL informed consent – discussing the benefits and risks of each topic, and discussing what we know and what we don’t know in the research.
This is awesome! In my experience with OB’s, informed consent doesn’t happen this way. I don’t believe I have ever been given the power to refuse, verbally. I feel this is very important in a doctor/patient relationship. More trust is better regardless of what kind of health care provider you are seeing.
5. Midwives do not have much training:
The training requirements are 4 extensive years in a midwife program. There are schools in Ontario, and in BC. Many of the registrants actually have university training as well, but is not a requirement. So much like nurses, they have extensive training 🙂
6. If my first birth goes well, I’ll consider a midwife next time:
This one is just a personal piece for me. This is not researched, this is my personal opinion. But when I hear this, I feel sad. Not in judgement for the individual, but more I feel sad that our society has lead us to believe that birth is dangerous and something to be feared. I am not naive to think that nothing CAN’T go wrong, but if we saw birth as it truly was – a natural phenomenon that we have been capable of since the beginning of time, that it is BEAUTIFUL and EMPOWERING, and one of the hardest things but most amazing things you can do in life – I think this would be a rare thing to hear.
Media, television, books – they plant seeds. Seeds grow into images and expectations.
I wish we had the tables turned and we spoke of birth as a beautiful thing, rather than a thing to be feared.
I believe this one shift in thinking could hold massive change for birth outcomes.
The most interesting thing is that research is showing home birth to be as safe as a hospital birth, and home birth’s use less intervention. (As discussed above). I am assuming these risks are also low if you are at the hospital with a midwife. I can totally respect this decision – being close to medical care on the off chance you need it.
The consistent care of a midwife is also a MAJOR benefit in our neck of the woods. Having someone who really KNOWS you through one of the most vulnerable time of a woman’s life is HUGE! Consistent care, pre, during and post is something I love the most about midwifery care.
I see so many women throughout their pregnancy in fear, with so many questions, and feel a lot of pressure making decisions without full information. Most are unaware of some of the decisions they are going to be required to make that are even standard procedure. So they make big decisions in the moment, that they may regret later on.
It takes personal investigation regardless of which route one chooses, to make a fully informed choice. My experience through my journey with the midwives is that they go through just about every standard decision you will have to make WELL BEFORE you are laboring in the hospital. That way, lots of time to ask questions, feel out what you are comfortable with so when that time comes, you are prepped and ready.
So in the end, my wish is that women take time to plan, prep and really learn about birth from the most positive sources possible. My wish extends to enhancing the confidence of women, trusting their body’s innate abilities, trusting their gut, trusting their judgement, and being brave enough to ask questions and seek answers.
Other than trusted health care providers, I have personal experience and joy working with a dear friend, Kat Roberts and going through her Gentle Birth program. She is also a trained doula. Doula’s are amazing resources and can help coach you to the birth you desire.
Happy Birthing, everyone! I’m SO excited to go through labor again! But for now, I’m enjoying the rest 🙂
I want to personally thank the women who have supported me thus far. My wonderful midwives I’ve met through this journey, Melissa, Maud, Gem and Brittany, my doula, Kat and also the OB specialists that eased my mind by checking for abnormalities, Dr. Butt and Dr. Holloway. You are truly gifted women!