Moms who have used a midwife or a birthing center - I have a lot of questions
I'm due 7/7/13. My first daughter was born 7/27/08, and after having her I learned exactly what I DIDN'T want to happen again. So now I'm looking into alternative options, but I really don't know much of anything about them. My questions are in bold if you care to skip to them.
I don't believe in unnecessary invasive procedure, which includes testing for the sake of testing. My OBGYN tried to force me into genetic testing and the multiple marker screen, even though my SO and I are at no ethnic or genetic risk and have no recessive defects in our families (and don't believe in abortion anyways). I've taken medical classes (I'm an x-ray tech) and know all the markers for diabetes, too (which only effects 4-8% of pregnant women, being more common in obese women, Native Americans, Latin Americans, and African Americans - none of which I am), so I feel this testing is also a way to sucker money from my insurance. And, while sugar in the urine isn't terribly uncommon for pregnant women, the doctor refused to even check my urine before demanding a blood sample (sugar will appear in your urine if you have uncontrolled diabetes). All in all, the OBGYN was demanding "at least 5 vials of blood." Not happening. We decided it would be best to part ways. Even if I didn't feel strongly about this, I have an intensive fear of things deliberately puncturing my skin and just the mention of of a needle approaching my body is enough to make my normally-low blood pressure take a dramatic spike. I also hyperventilate very badly - sometimes for up to 15min - and I can become hysterical. I feel like that trauma would be worse to the baby than some theoretical "routine testing". So question number one about midwives - would they work with me on this or would they also try to demand several vials of blood?
I've always wanted a water birth - I did with my daughter, too, but the hospital refused it, and her being my first, I listened to them. I know that this an amenity typically only offered by birthing centers, and I found out about a very nice birthing center that even offers jacuzzi tubs - but it's at least 40min away. This worries me a little bit, but I know that when I gave birth to my daughter the hospital made me wait out in the waiting room, in labor, for at least that long "because they didn't have any rooms". I had a very long labor with my daughter - all night - but I don't know if that will happen again. My water was broken the next morning and I was induced with Pitocin. I never, ever want that to happen again. I feel like they were just trying to get me out of the delivery room, and the contractions with the Pitocin were so painful that, even though I hadn't had any pain medication and was fine before that, I was screaming for the anesthesiologist because I would have rathered died than feel that pain. But this brings up my concern that if something DOES go wrong, or I just can't do it naturally - do birthing centers keep an anesthesiologist and a doctor on staff or is it just midwives? I also had an episiotomy. I don't know how I feel about that. To this day there's so much controversy over whether tears or episiotomys are better, but the result was that I had to have 8 stitches. Can someone at a birthing center sew me up, if needed?
After my daughter was born, the hospital took her for two full hours before I saw her. There was nothing wrong with her and there was no reason for them to keep her so long, and when I would ask for her the staff was rude to me ("You'll be spending the next 18 years with her, there's no reason to rush it"). So at a birthing center what happens with your baby after it's born? Do they bring it somewhere or do testing, or does it stay with its mother? I also stayed at the hospital for 4 days with my daughter (because the dr forgot to check me out). How long does a mother/ baby typically stay at a birthing center? Is there a place for Dad to sleep? And I have to admit, as much as I hated about the hospital, I did LOVE those "freebies" (hey, bill my insurance for that stuff any day) - the two weeks worth of diapers, wipes, and formula (I wasn't able to nurse DD, and this is a concern for this child, too), along with the nasal aspirator, thermometer, and blanket. Plus that squirt bottle and super pads for me. Do birthing centers give a home care package to their patients? And speaking of things insurance cover - Do birthing centers take insurance? What about midwives - can they take it?
Back to the midwives, I have another concern. I went into pre-term labor with DD on 6/21/08. She was due 8/8/08. Three days of pure hell. The hospital gave me magnesium, which I had a strong reaction to. I threw up every single hour, plus I threw up anything - solid or liquid - that hit my stomach. And, in case you didn't know already, your blood has to be tested every couple of hours when you're on a magnesium drip because it's toxic (Remember my great fear? Thank God that magnesium had me so deathly sick and hardly able to move, or they never would have succeeded at taking my blood). When my vision became blurry and my head hurt too much to sit up I demanded to be taken off of it. I had 2 or 3 nurses argue with me, and they sent in a doctor to argue with me, but I told them "This isn't good for me, and I can't imagine that it's good for my baby." So they put me on a pill (I can't remember which) to stop my contractions, and the baby stayed in without any problems until I ran out of pills. But because I went into pre-term labor once, I know I'm at risk for it again - so what does a midwife do if you go into pre-term labor? Does she send you somewhere else? And does your midwife go to your birthing center, or do birthing centers have designated midwives?
I think that's all the questions I can think of at the moment, but if any of you ladies have any additional information about birthing centers, water births, or midwives I would love to hear it! I know that every midwife/ birthing center is probably different, but I at least want to get a general idea before I call up a midwife and bombard her. Thank you ladies so much!