Sunday, October 11, 2009

Epic birth story, and a tribute

I've heard women say that getting in the car was the worst part of their labor. Well, if you think your 30 minute drive was bad, think again. One woman I've been corresponding with, Shaye Miller, drove across two state lines in order to birth with a supportive care provider. In the winter. On icy roads. But it worked out well for her, and she was able to give birth vaginally for the first time after having two cesareans (the first for "failure to progress" and the second an "elective" repeat cesarean). Read her epic birth story here.

For National Midwifery Week, she wrote a tribute to the CNM who attended that birth. An excerpt from her article:
Over a series of hour-long meetings, we discovered that the focus of a midwife isn’t solely on my uterus and vagina. A midwife seeks to assist, educate, and collaborate WITH the mother to achieve the healthiest birth possible. My mind was just as valuable to her as my pregnant body. On my couch we’d sit discussing the birth literature my husband and I were reading each week. She readily listened to my concerns and offered options for consideration. We discussed safety measures and what would happen if the need arose for a hospital transfer. In due course, I learned to listen to my body and to recognize when something wasn’t right. The power of posture and attitude was revealed to me as I worked through optimal fetal positioning methods. Our skeptical minds opened significantly during those hours of preparation and I loved it…every minute of it.

I also enjoyed the hour or two-hour long visits with the CNM who attended Dio's birth. I loved having someone to talk with about all of my concerns, fears, and hopes for the birth. And this kind of care isn't restricted to home birth midwifery. Remember, for example, Ruth Lubic's midwifery clinic for low-income women in Washington D.C. Doctors can also practice the midwifery model of care (and earn the title of MD--Midwife in Disguise).

The Midwives Model of Care can--and should--be found in any birth setting: home, hospital, or birth center.  Don't settle for anything less.


  1. "The Midwives Model of Care can--and should--be found in any birth setting: home, hospital, or birth center. Don't settle for anything less."


  2. ^^ Yes, totally.

    The CNM that Shaye describes in her tribute is exactly the kind of midwife I will strive to be someday.

  3. I absolutely loved (and love my current) midwives for the very fact that I'm not just another vagina that a baby will *maybe* come out of. I'm more. I have thoughts and feelings and I have knowledge that they appreciate.

    When I presented my iron concerns to my perinatologists office, and told them I knew something was up because my legs were tingling. (i have prior experience with this) the nurse told me that low iron would have nothing to do with my tingling legs and just to take more calcium at night.
    they did an iron test anyway and what do you know?? I'm pretty anemic!! They've put me on HIGH doses of iron, and the tingly legs have stopped.

    I wish that more doctors would be taught to listen to their patients.
    I don't often watch The Doctors... but there was one show I caught, in which Dr. Sears (pediatrician) said (loose quote) "number one thing I learned... to listen to the moms! they know what's up. if they have a concern it's probably pretty valid". this should apply to all clients.

  4. Yes, exactly!

    Having had both cookie-cutter CNM-under-an-OB care, and real midwifery care, the differences are really like night and day. I could go on about them for hours! It doesn't just illustrate a difference in a mass-produced, impersonal style of care vs. exclusive one-on-one spells out very clearly the approach that the care provider believes in. Do they care about YOU as a PERSON or do they just see you every two weeks so they can jot down more code on your chart?

    This is why women succumb to the temporary, but common, sensation of "falling in love" with their midwife. It's such an intimate relationship, she becomes your best friend, even if only for 9 months and a little while afterwards. :)

    MommyMichael, I wanted my iron levels checked one day at the CNM's office...the nurses all thought I was nuts! The one who I'd asked for the stick went out in the hallway and I could hear her whispering with the others, "Why does she want that?" etc. etc. Gee whiz, is it that weird for a woman to take an active role in her own care? I guess so.

  5. Thank you, Rixa! I'm glad so many were willing to read through my entire epic story yesterday (my reader showed most went through all 4 pages reading for over 15-20 minutes - WOW!). I've been enjoying, very much, the comments and emails over the last 24 hours. I'm just sorry that my comment form was requiring a questionnaire be filled out (after commenters hit submit) before finalizing comments to me. I'm confident I missed a number of you. :(

    I've heard other women say they don't want to go to such "extreme" measures to have the best birth possible. I totally understand not WANTING to, because I certainly didn't want to, either. However, if push comes to shove, are we WILLING to go the extra mile, or two, or 300? Because I have to tell you, I'd much prefer being called an extremist than being unnecessarily cut open on the operating table again (or even being offered a tentative TOL in a completely fear-filled environment.)

    For a future birth, I really don't want to leave my own home. I believe that long drive we took, as necessary as it was, messed with my labor a bit. And we have loads of women here leaving the state just to give birth out-of-hospital. That's just one reason why it's so important to get our Nebraska legislation pushed through THIS YEAR! Currently, the the US, only Nebraska and Alabama have such oppressive laws on midwifery and home birth. We'll need all the help we can get when it hits that legislative time of year again. We hope our bills will make it not only to the floor, but all the way!!

    Thanks again!


  6. I feel bad for my friends who have to sit for a long time for a 10 minute visit with their docs. I know women who despise their prenatals. I adore mine, and the clinical stuff only takes up about 5 minutes of our time together. I love the time to sit and talk about my pregnancy, and think ahead to the birth. I can't imagine birthing with someone I don't know well.

  7. THis is amazing. And inspiring. I have been curious about VBAMC for obvious reasons...

    I also want to add that my CNM's were very attentive to me. They ALWAYS listened to everything I had to say. We have a unique hospital setting in our community. They are definately not a cookie cutter birth center.

    Also, Rixa. Do you know where I might find info about Bandels Ring?


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