Why I Chose a Midwife

midwife with a pregnant mom

I think there’s a general misconception that if you choose to use a midwife to deliver your baby, it has to be a hippie dippy home birth experience.  I was on that side of the fence at one point and didn’t understand that it wasn’t necessarily the case.  I am perfectly accepting of those who choose that style.  However, I’m much too cautious, and was definitely looking for a hospital birth in case of emergency.  I had always used an OB/GYN in my hometown, and never imagined myself choosing anything different.  When I moved to New York, I continued to see my hometown OB/GYN for my yearly visits when I went to visit my parents, and it wasn’t a big enough deal to switch doctors.

However, when I became pregnant, I knew I needed to choose a provider in the city.  I did tons of research, and I wanted something close enough to my office in case I went into labor while at work, but also not too far from home.  To be honest, I never intended to meet with a midwife.  It was out of my comfort zone, and I like my comfort zone.  I scheduled two appointments—one with an OB/GYN and the other with a midwifery practice, the latter was mainly to appease my mother-in-law, who is also a practicing midwife.  I felt certain that I would end up choosing the doctor, but I felt that it couldn’t hurt to check out the other and it would make my mother-in-law happy.

A few weeks after I found out I was pregnant I started having some complications.  It wasn’t time for my scheduled appointments, but I was scared and wanted to see someone.  I called the doctor’s office and was told that because I was not yet a patient, they weren’t supposed to talk to me on the phone.  I asked if I could come in earlier, and they said I could maybe come in for a blood test, but if I was going to miscarry, then I was going to miscarry and there was nothing they could do.  Ouch.  Well, I suppose that may have been true.  However, I wasn’t satisfied with that response and wanted to get checked out.  I decided to call the midwifery practice and prayed they would have a different answer for me.  When I called the front desk of the office, they gave me the midwives’ pager number and someone called me back immediately.  The midwife I spoke with did seem concerned, and she was able to speak to the office and book me an earlier appointment to come into the hospital the next day for a sonogram.

The short story is that unfortunately my first pregnancy did end in miscarriage, and yes, there was nothing anyone could have done about it.  However, the care, concern, and compassion I received from the midwifery practice during one of the scariest and most heartbreaking times of my life was the reason I chose to go back to them when I became pregnant a second time.

Of course many doctors are similarly understanding.  I actually saw many doctors throughout my pregnancy at the hospital for all of my sonograms and testing, and there was also a doctor in the delivery room in case of emergency who offered tons of support during push time, and for that I am grateful.  My midwife team worked hand-in-hand with doctors on a daily basis in a large wonderful hospital.  I felt that I had the best of both worlds in choosing a midwife practice connected with a hospital.  I enjoyed the holistic approach and philosophy of the midwives that birth is a natural process while still having the safety of medical intervention if necessary.

The type of midwife I chose was called a certified nurse-midwife, or CNM, which a majority of midwives are.  Aside from delivering babies, they are also able to provide routine gynecological care, family planning services, preconception care, plus prenatal and post-partum care.  While many deliver in the home or in birthing centers, most actually deliver in hospitals.

Insurance fully covers midwifery care, so it’s no added cost to use this type of provider.  People who have chosen midwives have reduced cesarean rates and also reduced rates of other medical intervention without compromising safety.  I really wanted to have a vaginal birth if possible, and although it was difficult and took a very long time, my midwives did everything they could to make that happen for me while still making sure the decisions were in the best interest of myself and my baby.

My favorite part about using a midwife is that I felt my options were open.  They really help you figure out your birth plan and they want you to feel empowered by your experience and make it what you want it to be.  Of course, baby will end up coming however he or she sees fit, but to at least go in with a plan and know that I had options if I wanted to change my plan at any time was a huge comfort to me.  The communication between the midwives and myself was open through my entire labor and delivery experience as well as the entire pregnancy.  I felt as if I was in charge of my experience, and they were there to guide me along the way as opposed to just following along with whatever someone told me to do.

I wanted to try to have a natural un-medicated birth, but it ended up that I needed to have an early induction.  This also made for some extremely intense labor pains, and I opted to have an epidural late in the process.  Part of me felt that since I was using a midwife, she would be disappointed in my decision, but I was wrong.  She did nothing but cheer me on and tell me how strong and amazing I had been throughout the entire experience.  I was really appreciative at how encouraging and supportive the whole midwife team was throughout my pregnancy, labor, and delivery.

I would go back to my midwifery practice in a heartbeat, and I plan on seeing them for my annual visits from now on.  Looking back I can hardly believe I didn’t see myself using a midwife. provide.  I am grateful my mother-in-law encouraged me to pay them a visit.