At my 20 week appointment, my obstetrician dropped a huge bomb on me: She could no longer deliver babies. I would have to see another doctor for the rest of my pregnancy.
“WTF!” was the first thing that crossed my mind. I am a creature of habit and not too fond of change. Going into pregnancy #2, I felt a bit calmer because I knew what to expect. I knew how labor felt, what delivering a baby was like and how my doctor rolled with delivery room procedures and overall care throughout pregnancy. That was all out the window now, and I was going to have to start from scratch with a new doctor, a stranger.
My doctor suggested I meet with the other doctors that are in the practice, but she encouraged me to meet with the midwife that’s on staff in their practice. I never would have considered it had she not suggested it. My pregnancy is low-risk and I am healthy overall, so why shouldn’t I consider it? This was the first time I ever questioned how I wanted the medical care of my unborn child and me to be. I did know my first labor hadn’t been what I’d wanted. I wish I would have done more research on all of my options. As a first time mom though, I just do what I was told and what you think is the normal thing to do. For me, that meant induction, narcotics, an epidural, and pushing when the doctors told me to. I left with little memory of the birth and several tears internally an externally.
But when my OB ditched me, I decided I am taking charge. I am designing, researching, and making choices for what I want to happen the day I give birth. I have a Plan A, B, and C, and I am 100% happy with each plan. Meeting my midwife for the first time was a breath of fresh air. She answered every question I had thoroughly, honestly, and her answers exceeded my expectations. For example, her Pitocen usage rate is 10%, her C-section rate is 8%, and she will be with me the entire time I am in active labor and a couple hours after I give birth. I left our meeting feeling confident, prepared, and calm about having her attend the birth of my second child.
My midwife recommended a doula as well. I never, ever, ever would have given any thought to using a doula. I am not planning on having an unmedicated birth, so why would I need a doula? I looked into the role of a doula more and discovered that having one just might help me have the birth I am hoping for. She will help me get through the tough parts when I just want to give up, offer words of encouragement and advocate for my wants and needs, document my labor and delivery experience, be there to help me nurse and visit me after I come home from the hospital to check in and help me out.
Researching about doulas led me to even more options that are out there for me. I had postpartum depression that was pretty debilitating about 6 weeks after giving birth to my daughter. Most doulas offer postpartum services to help with childcare so mom can sleep, shower, do errands, feel normal again, etc. They are there for your every need whether it’s just a shoulder to cry on or to babysit. Many doulas offer placenta encapsulation as well. I will do anything in my power to prevent PPD from happening again, and out of every possible thing I could be nervous about for labor, delivery, and postpartum recovery, my #1 fear and concern is about having PPD again. My mind is at ease knowing that I have something else to try (outside of antidepressants) that might work.
While not everyone is fortunate enough to have the freedom to make choices about how they will give birth, I feel like I owe it to myself to try something different that’s tailored to my wants and needs, and that will make childbirth a calm, peaceful, and positive experience. I am 6 weeks away from my due date. My hope is that after I have this baby, I can write about how wonderful the whole experience was, and that my experience might inspire and encourage a first-time mom or veteran mom to look into their options. As my doula said, you put a lot of time and effort into planning your wedding, and you should put even more time and effort planning how you will bring a life into the world.
Please share your own experiences! Did you use a midwife, or is your doctor amazing? Did you have a doula? An unmedicated birth?
I need all the words of wisdom, inspiration, and positive vibes I can get!
Originally posted on BlogHer.