Meet moms who chose midwifery care for themselves and their babies.
I started out my second pregnancy wanting to give birth in a birth center, and saw a Certified Nurse Midwife (CNM) for prenatal care through my second trimester. She was fantastic, but when I decided to have a home birth I had to find a new midwife. She wasn't a CNM or a CPM by choice, but she was highly experienced. She also had a good relationship with the local hospital in case I needed to be transferred — I didn't, my 11-pound, 4-ounce baby came on his own in a water-birth tub in my bedroom!
After giving birth twice with an OB in a hospital, Sarah Reinhart chose a midwife for her third and fourth babies — a somewhat challenging choice. “We live in Louisville, Kentucky, but in order to be cared for by a CNM — the closest practice with CNMs is in Jeffersonville, Indiana,“ she explains. “We crossed the river and had our baby in another state — my desire for a CNM was so strong. For our fourth baby we were planning a home birth and thus went with a CPM. The CNMs that I was being cared for with my third baby were restricted from attending home births. I sought out the help of a CPM instead.”
If you can't imagine crossing state lines just to find a midwife, think about Sarah's reasons for doing just that:
She says, “I decided to use midwives [because] I loved their model of care. It's more personal, individualized and woman-centered. I was wanting to have a natural birth and I knew my desires for less unnecessary medical intervention would be honored. I wanted the freedom and peace of mind to labor and birth how my body and baby saw fit. I thought midwives would help me have my best birth.”
Rebecca Bahret's search for a midwife was similar to Sarah's. “The midwife that ended up delivering my son I actually fell in love with immediately, but she was pretty far out of my area,“ she explains. “I courted her for about a month, ultimately begging — literally begging — her to take me on as a client.“
You don't have to plan a home birth to use a midwife — they practice in birth centers and hospitals, too. The midwifery model of care is particularly useful when things don't go as planned during labor. Bahret says, “I labored at the birth center. I was pre-eclamptic and my blood pressure was dangerously high, so I literally had to transfer to a hospital. I went through transition in the car on the way there. My first son was born in a hospital, with my midwife present.“ Her second son was born at home, attended by a CPM.
It's not always easy to find the perfect midwife on the first try. When I made the switch from a birth center to home birth, I did a lot of research and frankly didn't mesh with the first few midwives I talked to or met in person. One was way too “out there“ for my taste and another all but admitted she was anti-hospital. When I found my midwife, I found “the one.“ She spent so much time getting to know me and my husband during prenatal visits that we said, “We have to go back to work now“ more than once. She also nurtured our then 3-year-old son, gently explaining what to expect during labor and birth.
It took Amy Vowles a couple of tries to find her midwife, too.
Vowles explains, “I actually started my care at eight weeks with a midwife who ended up not being the right fit for me. Our personalities did not mesh and I found myself dreading my appointments, so around 12 weeks we switched to a midwife who was a much better fit for us, and she ultimately was the midwife who attended our birth.”
These moms and I are so glad we used midwives! It's definitely an option worth exploring.
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