My Midwife Touched My Baby’s Head

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To many, the word “midwife” conjures up images of some maid with an amish hat, bowl of hot water, and some towels. But one of the best decisions I made during my pregnancy was to switch to a midwifery clinic.

As previously posted in my blog post, The Birthing World, I found out that a hospital birth does not always ensure the best birth for not only the mother, but also the baby.  The interesting fact is that many other 1st world countries such as the UK, Japan, and Germany, all use midwives as their primary provider for childbirth, and only utilize OB’s in the case of emergencies or high risk pregnancies.

My husband is a bit more conservative and is a researcher. I find new ideas and start running. So when it came to choosing the care provider for our baby’s birth, we decided to cover all our bases and visit both a local midwifery clinic and a recommended OBGYN office. I had 4 total visits at the OBGYN, seeing 2 different OB’s between my 1st and 2nd trimesters. My office visits at the OB’s office all went as follows:

Sign in at the front desk and then go into the restroom to pee into the cup so they can test my urine. Wait 35-45 minutes to get called into the patient room. See a nurse for 3 minutes while she checks my blood pressure and tells me about me urine results. She leaves the room. Then 10-15 more minutes pass before the doctor comes in. She takes a look at my chart, then comes over with her doppler and we all hear the baby’s heartbeat. She says, “good! sounds like the baby is healthy. We’ll see you again in a month.” Being the studious and careful person I am, I would then bust out my list of questions I have. Otherwise she would have leaped to make her escape and say goodbye. She answers my questions relatively briefly and doesn’t seem to tell me anything I haven’t googled already.

So just about every OB visit was exactly same. I would wait a total of 40 minutes-an hour for a literally 5 minute appointment with the doctor. At one appointment they gave box from the state of California with a baby book, a baby thermometer, and a few other handouts.

In my 24th week of pregnancy I decided to give midwifery a try. I have now had 3 appointments at the midwifery clinic, and here is how they went:

I walk into the clinic and the front desk girl greets me by name and asks how I’m doing. She leads me directly to the room I’m supposed to see my midwife in. I pee in a cup and leave it out. Then I wait about 2 minutes before the nurse comes in to check my blood pressure and test my urine. Then within the next 5 minutes the midwife appears and we spend about 20-25 minutes going over how I’m feeling, questions I have, and the progression of the pregnancy. Then she lays me down on a bed and feels my belly. She feels all around and points out exactly what position the baby is in. Then she measures my belly to see how big it is (often a sign of how far along in the pregnancy you are) and then uses her doppler to hear the baby’s heartbeat.

At the midwifery clinic I wait a total of 5-10 minutes and have a 30-hour long appointment. They gave me a nutrition log to make sure I’m eating enough nutritious foods, a baby kick counting chart, and a book of information about all the ways you can sustain a healthy pregnancy. I learned about herbs that are not recommended for pregnancy, positions I should try to avoid for optimal baby positioning, and certain exercises I can do every day to dilate better.

In today’s 32 week appointment my midwife did a breast exam on me and checked the positioning of the baby. My baby is pretty low with his head down…which means he’s ready to come out when my body will let him! My midwife checked my vagina because I told her my opening seemed a little swollen these days. She place her fingers to check my cervix and vagina area and she said she felt my baby’s head!

What I’m feeling these days:

I have had pregnancy hemorrhoids for the last 25 weeks. When I went to my OB I told her about my hemorrhoids. She told me to eat fiber bars and to use an over the counter ointment like Preparation H. I followed her instructions and nothing happened. She did warn me that some women just have them until they give birth due to all the pressure from the baby weight. When I met with my midwife, she asked me if I had any questions so I mentioned my hemmroids. She said to try taking chia seeds because the gelatinous properties help make them go away when excreted. It took 2 days and my hemorrhoids went away.

I don’t know about other people, but when I go to see a professional, I expect to be told something I don’t know. And so far, the midwives have far exceeded my expectations with knowledge that just wasn’t at my OB’s office.

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Founder at Dymin Collective
Mindy Song is a mother of one, a video artist, and musician from Orange, CA. She is an advocate of social justice with interests in globalization, socio-economics, and the history of women’s rights in developing nations. By day she is a marketing specialist for a dental imaging company, milk pumper, and wannabe supermom. By night she is an asian fusion chef, art critic, and blogger.
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