It's been a little over a week since our little fella was born, I'm STILL on cloud 9,999! I've gotten a lot of questions about home birth, particularly prenatal care with midwives. I'm going to address some of those questions here.
My prenatal care was handled 100% by Midwives. Maybe the thought of midwives conjures up image of a wild haired woman, armed with juices, berries, herbal concoctions, with gloves, towels, and a pot of boiling water as her only tools to deliver a baby, LOL! While we had all of those on hand for birth, by definition, a midwife is a TRAINED professional with expertise and skills in supporting women to maintain healthy pregnancies and have optimal births and recoveries during the postpartum period.
There are two types of midwives: Certified Nurse Midwife and Certified Professional Midwife, we were blessed to have both on hand during our labor and delivery.
A Certified Nurse Midwife is a registered nurse who has graduated from a nurse-midwifery education program accredited by the Accreditation Commission for Midwifery Education (ACME) and passed a national certification examination to receive the professional designation of certified nurse-midwife.
A Certified Professional Midwife is knowledgeable, skilled and professional independent midwifery practitioner who has met the standards for certification set by the North American Registry of Midwives. The CPM is the only midwifery credential that requires knowledge about and experience in out-of-hospital settings.
In my personal experience, A GOOD midwife has an expertise that includes an understanding of a wider range of what a "normal" pregnancy looks like. There are midwives who are adept at birthing multiples vaginally and delivering breech babies without a problem. They are more patient and understanding of the natural variability that can occur in mother and infant during pregnancy and labor, and they are more inclined to let the mothers body do what it can do without unnecessary intervention, AND without being on a clock.
Once we decided on a home birth, we chose Riverside Midwifery for our prenatal care. Here are my top 5 reasons why:
They came recommended by trusted Midwife Warrior, Claudia Booker, CPM. Mama Claudia has been with us since the birth of our first daughter as a doula. Now, as a Certified Professional Midwife, she comes with a WORLD of experience, ancestral energy, and intuition. Since the state of MD is finally on board, she will be legally covered to practice homebirths here by January 2017!
They are licensed with a staff of three Certified Nurse Midwives who specialized in home births. These midwives are not affiliated with any hospital, which means they are completely autonomous in their decision making, that's a good thing!
They have experience delivering vaginal births after cesareans, with a high success rate.
I felt good energy when I met them. They treated me, my husband, and children with respect. It may seem silly, but I didn't want anyone with whom I didn't vibe with in our home, let alone assisting in delivering our child!
They took our insurance. We're adults, we have to be practical!
The MAJOR difference is prenatal care between the midwives and OBs I have seen in the past is the attention to detail and the lack of excessive technology. Our prenatal visits lasted about an hour. They took my vitals: blood pressure and pulse. I recorded my weight. . .I gained 47lbs during this pregnancy; remarkably the least amount that I've gained in all three pregnancies! My favorite part of each visit was the manual exam where we would feel the position of the baby, measure his growth using a tape measure from my pubis to the fundus of the uterus, and listen to his heartbeat with a dopler machine.
Sometimes there were special group talks or presentations. Earlier on, when the baby was breech, coincidentally, the same day there was a presentation on the types of breech positions, which ones they could and could not deliver, followed by hands-on demonstration of exercises and techniques to get baby to "flip" en utero and engage in the optimal position. They didn't collect any labs, and no ultrasounds are performed in the office. I did all of the standard lab work at LabCorp, and had a 20 week anatomy scan that was done at a neutral ultrasound location, with the results reported back to the midwives. They always took the time to address our concerns, and answer any questions we may have had.
The prenatal care appointment schedule with a midwife is very similar to that of an OB.
Weeks 4 to 28: 1 prenatal visit a month
Weeks 28 to 36: 1 prenatal visit every two weeks
Weeks 36 to 40: 1 prenatal visit every week, including 3 in-home visits.
The in home visits served two purposes: 1) The midwives learn where we live while making sure we had all of our supplies for birth and postpartum (a post about that later). 2) I didn't have to go anywhere! Fine by me, as sitting became a little more difficult later in pregnancy.
Out of all three pregnancies, this was my best experience with prenatal care, and not just because of the positive outcome of the home birth. It was the first time that we found a provider that we liked and stayed with for the duration of the pregnancy the one-on-one attention I received made me feel like I was an active participant in my birthing process, can assure you that if it becomes a necessity in the future -- if The Lord is willin' and the creek don't rise -- we WILL be calling on the midwife again! I highly recommend you do to 😉