Me and my husband Jason didn't know a whole lot about the birthing process when we got pregnant. So when we found out we were expecting, at about five weeks along, I looked up local OB/GYN's in our Brooklyn neighborhood. I wasn't working at the time so finding a local doctor close to my home was important to me. I found and met Dr. Scott Postell, an attending at Long Island College Hospital, which was a five minute walk from our apartment.
We began prenatal care with Dr. Postell but thanks to a woman I met and became friendly with in prenatal yoga class, I learned about midwives, doulas and liberal birth plans. She lent me The Business of Being Born, a documentary about how giving birth has gone from being a natural process to a catastrophic medical process in America. I had heard of midwifery before but assumed it was a phenomenon of the past, and common only in other countries. Unfortunately, I was right.
The documentary was an eye-opener and because I was considered "low risk," it got us thinking seriously about a birth plan. We decided a liberal birth experience with minimal-to-no-intervention is what we wanted. We didn't want to have a home birth (it felt responsible to be in a hospital) as many of the women portrayed in Ricki Lake's documentary did, but we did want to bring our child into the world with a midwife.
I was 20 weeks pregnant when we severed our relationship with our OB/GYN before finding a midwife. Looking back, it was a terribly naive thing to do. I guess we thought finding a midwife would be as easy as finding a doctor, but we were wrong. Because I was already halfway though my pregnancy, it proved no easy feat.
Midwives take patients based on their due dates, so we needed to find one that not only had space in her calendar in August, but one that would accept our insurance and preferably have privileges to deliver at LICH, the hospital closest to our home. Phone call after phone call to midwife after midwife we were being turned away -- until we got a call back from Beverly Woodard of Fruition Midwifery.
Beverly not only took GHI but also had privileges at LICH and space in her schedule for us. The only downside was that her office was in Chelsea, a short subway ride away. Gone was my office-within-walking-distance-requirement, but beggars cannot be choosers!
Before I met Beverly my impression of a midwife was someone who was was warm, maternal and perhaps a bit crunchy. Beverly was anything but that. She was a whippersnapper. She was autocratic, and she took great pleasure in shooting down our fanciful, liberal hopes for a drug-free birth. "Wait, what? Don't midwives advocate for natural birth?" They absolutely do. But Beverly's point was that first-time expectant parents shouldn't rule out all birthing options, including drugs.
So I kept the option of having or needing drugs on the table, but it was important for me to avoid having a Cesarean birth if it was not medically necessary. One thing was for sure: Beverly would not scoff at me if it turned out I needed either of these interventions. Luckily we had found ourselves a midwife!
Has anyone else found themselves changing health care professionals during their pregnancy? If so, did the switch turn out to be a good one?
Reedu had an all-natural birth under the care of her midwife in August 2010. She writes about her labor and delivery, here.
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