With just eight weeks left to go, I find myself thinking a lot about the last stage of pregnancy–birth. It’s the last hurdle to jump before we get to meet our new little one, and while I’m over-the-moon-excited, I’m also beginning to get really nervous all over again. Fortunately, we have the most compassionate and loving prenatal care that we could possibly wish for in our midwives, and with their support I’m eagerly anticipating our upcoming home birth.
We had a ob/gyn that I loved for my first pregnancy, and I drove all the way to Staten Island for every single prenatal appointment, up until my induction. Unfortunately, he was in a Cesarean birth when I started pushing. If it hadn’t been for him, I would never have chosen that hospital, and since he no longer practices in New York, I have no intention of going back to the hospital at all.
I never thought I’d be the one having a home birth. I wanted to look into a birthing center or something a little more holistic, but I figured, with the cost of birth skyrocketing, I wouldn’t be able to afford anything else if my insurance wouldn’t cover it. My mind was blown when my high school English teacher (now a doula), told me that there were midwives who would take my insurance. I jumped on the phone and started scheduling appointments immediately, and was lucky to hit it off with our birth team on the first date.
Here are the top reasons why we chose midwife-led care:
1. Prenatal appointments are way longer and way more personal. Whether I was going in for birth control, an annual exam, or to plan the birth of my new child, all of my obstetrical appointments were wrapped up in under fifteen minutes. Don’t get me wrong—I really loved my doctor and felt that I was in great hands. There just wasn’t much time to address the major life change that was happening for me, and I became endlessly concerned about “wasting time” at the appointment. My midwives, on the other hand, spend around an hour to an hour and a half with me. There’s much more time to cover all the baby stuff, but some often overlooked areas of prenatal care as well, like how I’m doing emotionally and whether my toddler is handling the pregnancy well. Oh, which brings me to the next point…
2. They talk to you, not your vagina. At thirty-two weeks, I have yet to be fully undressed at any of my prenatal check-ups. It’s very hard to ask questions and feel safe when you’re pantless and cold. At these appointments, I get tea and tell them about all the things that are happening in our lives. They get to know me and my family. Oddly enough, despite the fact that there’s very little “medical” stuff going on, I feel much safer in these women’s care. I feel that they know me well enough to pick up on something being out of the ordinary, even if I don’t notice it myself.
3. The risk of unneeded interventions drop dramatically. You know what it’s like—you’re already home, so if you want to go out, you think about putting pants on and then you just find something to eat in the fridge. This is like that. If you’re at the hospital and you get one intervention, statistics say you’re far more likely to have others. If you’re at home, you’re not going anywhere unless there’s a real emergency—in which case, yay, hospitals! But barring that, if you’re committed to having an unmedicated, low-intervention birth, what better way than to keep the anesthesiologist out of it altogether? Speaking of which…
4. My house is wayyyy more comfortable than a hospital. Like, c’mon. I have my own jetted tub, a squishy king-sized bed, fantastic sofas, a (sometimes) fully-stocked fridge, and my own frigging toilet. The hospital was zillions of floors, visiting hours, shared rooms, eating from vending machines and approved menus, fluorescent lighting, cold floors, and a smaller-than-twin-sized bed to not only labor and deliver in, but then to share with my husband and newborn baby. I cannot express how excited I am to just nope the F on out of that.
5. I get to be the boss. I get to decide what I want to eat (or not) before, during and after labor. I get to take a bath without administrative approval. I get to moan and groan, or sit quietly and binge watch The Office. Playlist? Lighting? Who’s allowed in the room? All up to me, baby. It used to always be this way, but having been to the hospital, I’m glad to be reclaiming the right to birth on my terms, in a way that makes me feel comfortable, supported, happy and safe. I get to build a team that will welcome my baby into the world exactly the way I imagined it, one that doesn’t have any place else to be or won’t change shifts on me.
Mostly, we chose midwife-led care because it felt loving and safe, and I believe that babies come out best in that kind of portal. There’s nothing wrong with having your baby in the hospital, and I encourage everyone to make that choice if it feels right to them. The most important thing is knowing that a choice exists, and that you’re empowered in whatever choice you make.