Thursday, October 25, 2007

midwife visit- week 10

Yesterday was my first appointment with the new midwife. There's an alternative birthing center that opened up nearby. Sort of nearby. Ok, it's like an hour and a half drive through winding mountain roads. Good thing my labors are long. Holy cow, did I really just type "GOOD THING MY LABORS ARE LONG"?

Anyway, brief history here,,,Maria was a military hospital birth. It was about as far from a natural birth as you can possibly imagine, short of an actual c-section. It was an anti-birth. I have a hysterical labor picture somewhere I'll have to dig's of me in a hospital bed with no less than 7 tubes and wires coming from me-- oxygen mask, pulse ox, epidural, IV, internal monitor, external monitor, blood pressure say I was bed-bound for those 25 hours of labor would be a bit of an understatement. I couldn't even roll over without setting off 4 of the 7 alarms.
And after I started running a fever, they wouldn't even let me have a blanket or any pillows but the one behind my head.

For my next birth, I knew I wanted something radically different. I quickly learned it was not going to be had in any hospital around here, where the c-section rate is a staggering 35%, several doctors flat out refuse to let you use a doula, and one doctor even refuses to take patients that have taken Bradley childbirth classes. So, Jack was a homebirth. Mostly. After 3 days of labor, I kind of lost my mind during transition and went to the hospital. Demanded to go the hospital. Out in the car, laying on the horn, screaming for drugs at the hospital. I was pushing on the elevator with a bewildered security guard behind the wheelchair mumbling, "I don't think she should push yet." He was crowning before they could even get the IV started, and it was all over. This was followed by really ugly treatment by the staff as punishment for daring to attempt a homebirth.

On the whole though, I preferred the homebirth. Most of my labor was easy, in spite of being so long, and I enjoyed sitting around my house making scrambled eggs and watching MASH reruns better than being tethered to a hospital bed while 3 shifts of nurses and doctors did cervical exams and shook their heads disapprovingly at my slow progress. I enjoyed having a labor and delivery that was treated as a postive family experience as opposed to a medical event to be managed. I felt like my next labor wouldn't necessarily be as long as Jack's either. I had a cervical lip with Jack, and that slowed things up quite a bit, as well as contributing considerably to the pain there at the end. Oh, and he weighed just under 10 pounds. That slowed things up a bit too I imagine. I did know that I never wanted to set foot in that hospital again after the treatment I had received, and a hospital transfer is always a possibility.

So, that's how we arrived at this birthing center. Birthing center is probably a pretty loose term in this case. It's basically a house across the street from a (different) hospital and owned by a midwife. She has a couple of other midwives that help cover her patients as well. She has a lot of great experience, and we are excited about this alternative. She assures us the nearby hospital and their doctors are quite used to taking homebirth patients when needed and are not ugly about doing so. And for all intents and purposes, it's a homebirth. There's no staff, no doctors or nurses, you have to sign homebirth release papers for the state, etc.

Before our vacation, we went in for a consultation with her, but yesterday was my first actual appointment. John was working, and I didn't have him request off for this one. I knew it would be too early to hear the heartbeat or anything fun like that. Lots of paperwork, involved history, some lab stuff, a quick exam...this midwife is also a nutritionist and a naturopath, so she talked to me a while about nutrition during pregnancy---

---"I'd like you to change you're prenatal vitamin to a brand with organic iron." Sure.

---"And avoid sugar...I'd like to try for a smaller baby so you'll have an easier labor." Rockin'.

---"Eat raw food every day, a salad, raw fruit." Already done.

---"No fish at all..there's too many toxins in fish for pregnant women to fool around with." OK.

---"I advise against eating has too many parasites." Hmm. Ok...

---"Ground beef isn't good either. You don't know what's in it. If you must have beef, only round steak." Umm....

---"And I also advise against cow's milk. It's just a bad food." (sigh)


I'm happy to report that so far everything is looking good and we are looking forward to possibly hearing the heartbeat at the next visit!


Mary Nappi said...

oh dear - the rules have started. the hardest part about my pregnancy was that I wasn't allowed to eat anything - no fish, no deli meat, no more than one serving of red meat a week - which had to be cooked hockey puck style, no unpasteurized cheese. Don't eat too much peanut butter, it could trigger a peanut allergy. Then, when my gestational diabetes test came back borderline - no sugar. I used to call my husband up crying saying, I am sooo hungry, but I am not allowed to eat anything in the house.

Navelgazing Midwife said...

Yes, but the benefits of watching the diet are a quicker and more fabulous labor!

(Those have nothing to do with the foods the commenter is speaking of - those have to do with the actual HEALTH of the child... one doesn't want a kid filled with mercury and listeriosis, now does one?)

Over and over, I have watched as women who have struggled through pregnancies and births completely change their diets the next time and are transformed for their next experience. I hear it all the time! "I can't believe I feel so great!"

Even myself, a 17-hour induced labor after gaining 70 pounds the first time... 39 hour labor to birth a 10 pound 6 ounce daughter after eating "good" food, but a LOT of cheese and bread (I was a veggie)... and then, with the third, walked like crazy, gained 30 pounds, ate a wide variety of foods and had a delicious 8 hour labor for an 8 pound 13 ounce child. What a difference! I *loved* that labor!

Meat has SO many hormones in it, I see babies grow hugely from large meat and milk consumption. I ask women to eat their meat as organically as possible to minimize the growth hormones.

I beg my women to not eat dairy products *at all* the last 6 weeks of pregnancy if they're showing signs of a bigger baby or if they've a history of a 10 pound baby. Dairy has those same growth hormones, plus the addition of being pure glucose (milk) in the body. Milk turns right to glucose and babies utilize this and grow fatter and fatter. Ice cream, yogurt, cheeses... all non-foods that humans don't need to function and do just fine without. Remember, we are the only mammals that drink milk past infancy... and it isn't even our own species' milk! And one last piece to the puzzle: the darker the skin, the less tolerant the woman is to milk, so that is yet another reason to limit milk in a diet. Some bodies just don't even make the enzymes to process it... and doesn't it seem a tad odd that we'd have to *buy* the enzymes? Wouldn't it be wiser to not eat the food in the first place?

Okay, that soapbox done. ;)

I hope you don't see what the midwife is doing as "rules," but as sharing her experiences with you. Sometimes, I know, they do come across as rules... and perhaps some things are... but *I* want you to have the glorious birth I know you can have, too! I know you could do it at home this time, too. You might say for all intents and purposes this is at home, but when you are pushing in a car, you won't feel that way! I also had a baby in the car... that was NOT fun. A birth center birth is a birth center birth. A home birth is a home birth. I'm sorry you feel it will be better for you to be in a birth center closer to the hospital... where, earlier in labor, you can put your clothes on and walk across the street for an epidural. I'd MUCH rather see you further away and have to beg to go again... and then squat at the car door and push your baby out.

But, that's just me.

And my own memories. :) I remember how hard it was. And you can do it, too.

Angela Messenger said...

My mom was born at home, in Europe, during WWII, before the doctor could come. She was fine. You will be too!

mel said...

Oh, well...I don't think I'll be pushing in the But no, I'm not looking forward to the long drive while in labor. This is a middle ground after our last experience. If it goes well, maybe we'll have enough confidence to birth at home for the next one.

Ok, well, the meat thing I can get. I know there's a lot of junk in most meats. But milk,,,2/3 of what I read says drink milk, eat milk products, you need it when you are pregnant, your kids need it, etc. And I've also read that it's hard to get enough protein when you are pregnant without having some animal protein, and that not having enough protein puts you at risk for eclampsia. Even the Bradley book my dh is reading says this, so he's leaning on the protein too. :) Do you have any good nutrition/and or cookbooks to recommend for changing your diet away from the animal products?

Michelle Halpin said...

Eggs are a good source of high-quality protein, Melanie. Pay for the good range, etc. Chicken is pretty safe, too.

You do want to stay away from seafood. Jack's lab testing came back with way-high, out of range mercury poisoning because of all the tuna I ate during pregnancy and nursing with him (that, plus the RhoGam shots and the dental work I had done while pregnant too). We are still trying to straighten out his ADHD and other allergies b/c of all that I did during his pregnancy and breastfeeding time, which was 2 1/2 years. So stay away from seafood, even tuna, if you can...your midwife gives good advice on that one.

mel said...

I get rhoGam too! And get this...with my first pregnancy I got TWELVE rhoGam shots. Long story there, but isn't that terrible? I never would let them do that now, but I was very young and had no idea there was mercury in them or anything. :(

Michelle Halpin said...

They are SUPPOSED to be mercury-free now, but check that out yourself, to be sure. IF you want info on waiving the shot during pregnancy, just checking antibody levels instead, let me know. I did that with Liam, and waited until he was born to see what his blood type was, before I got the postpartum shot.

Kelly said...

Those are some interesting guidelines. I'd love to see what research she's looking at to recommend the no meat, no dairy for pregnant women.

The birthing center sounds great though!

mysteryhistorymom said...

I have RhoGam babies too! I was so surprised to hear of this- after I got pregnant. I had no idea that Jeff and I had different, incompatible blood types. But 12 shots of it??!! I want to hear that story... Lori

Anonymous said...

Hi Mel! I just came across your blog by accident (providence?)
I am a Catholic midwife. Here is my pet peeve:
I get plenty of "Plain" clients (Amish, Mennonite, German Baptist) and other conservative Christians. But where are my fellow Catholic clients? I've only had a handful of them in all these 36 years of practice, and not a one from my local parish,in spite of the fact I had an adverttizement in the bulletin for years. All my local clients are from a small non-denominational church. I always tell Father about May 5th being International Midwives Day, but never does he say anything at Mass or even put anything in the bulletin about it. I even had a Meet the midwife open house at the parish hall once and not one person came. Sometimes I feel like joining the other n-d church!
Why aren't other Catholics having homebirths? What could.should I be doing differently to minister to my fellow Catholics? I feel like a stranger in a strange land!

mel said...

Move here! heh...I don't know, I guess it depends on the area you live in. Catholic moms aren't necessarily a very crunchy bunch unfortunately...but there are still some of us out here! There are two other moms in my Catholic homeschool group that have had homebirths..but still, three moms does not a practice make. Most of the moms who have homebirths around here are very crunchy types that go to a non-dem church or are even into wicca or other new-age type of religions. I'm sorry you haven't had more Catholic interest. It's lonely being a Catholic crunchy mom too. I wish there were more of us...I love being around other crunchy mommas, but the Catholic-ness is often an issue.

Genie Elizabeth said...


We are looking for a Catholic midwife in the DFW area that only supports NFP. I don't know where Mel or Anonymous are located, but if either of y'all or anyone that reads this knows of one the info would be greatly appreciated!

Thanks so much!

Abby said...

I am looking for a Catholic midwife in GA. Hard enough to find a pro-life Gyn (only 2 in the Atlanta area that are "anti" birth control) and neither one does obstetrics. I am more than slightly crunchy and 300% Catholic and want to have a home birth (June 2014). Praying I can find a good midwife. Perhaps I should look into going back to school? I have a DVM and a DC, how hard would it be to get certified as a midwife? Why is there not a database of Catholic health professionals or even christian professional that one could search by area?