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 up....it'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 cuff...to 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 pork...it 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!