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*The testimonies and opinions expressed on www.teammidwife.org are those of each post author and do not necessarily represent the views or practice standards of the American College of Nurse-Midwives.

The only way I would have chosen to have my babies

I'm sure that most of the stories being told on this site are of mothers who have given birth recently. I am an exception. I gave birth to my two children in 1992 and 1993. I had always felt strongly about pro active care and it was not extremely common during that time for an expectant mother to ask too many questions. It was certainly better than it had been in my mother's time, but when I interviewed Drs., I was not feeling intuitively that it was going to be something I could be happy with during my birthing process. I had a friend who was midwife who mentioned to me that maybe I should consider using a midwife in a hospital setting. I found out about a brand-new clinic at a major university in the city where I live And, after interviewing with them, I realized that they were an exact fit for me and my husband. My entire prenatal care was handled by the midwives and they included us in the decision-making and in the entire process. They were wonderful. When it came time for my labor and delivery, I was in a hospital setting that looked much like a bedroom at home, with a rocker, curtains and other amenities that made it seem less institutional. The thing that I liked most about this program was that it had the wisdom and practice of midwifery, combined with the hospital and doctor availability to assist me if I had trouble during delivery. In truth, I never saw the doctor more than once. He was not needed, because my midwife did everything that needed to be done. The program was very new and the nurses in the facility had not yet become used to working with midwifes yet. They were accustomed to doing most of the work, and then a doctor would come in at the very end and deliver the baby. The midwives stay with you the entire time, and I could sense a bit of tension initially from the nurses, Who were not used to some of the methods employed By midwives. The midwives had a philosophy of using positive visualization and calming breaths to reach a place of contentment during labor. They included my husband in the process. For my second delivery, my husband actually delivered my son, with the midwife looking on. I was given a heat pack, applied to the vaginal area and vitamin D oil massage to prevent tearing. For my first and second deliveries I had absolutely no tearing, no stitches, and no episiotomy. The nurses didn't understand this non-traditional approach initially, but by my second delivery the next year they had become very accustomed to working with the midwives. I was up in about almost immediately after giving birth and I felt very much in charge of my own care. They let me decide along the way if I wanted a spinal block or if I wanted painkillers. I chose to do it naturally with the first and I chose a spinal block with the second baby, who was 2 lbs heavier. The midwives give you the information and you decide what is best for you. You have a lot of say in how your care in labor and delivery goes. After my babies were born, I did not want them to leave the room and though there are laws and hospital guidelines that say they have to take the child to get their tests done, the clinic made arrangements for the machines to be brought in our room. It was a wonderful experience! You get such a personal touch with midwives that you really might not have an opportunity to get using a conventional doctor. Our midwife sent a birthday card to my kids every year!

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