Monday, April 7, 2008

Why I loved my midwife! 12-06-08

Why I loved my midwife!
I guess I should say “midwives” since I had quite a few of them. It began with Sharon, who is a midwife at The Farm in southern Tennessee. She talked with me about so many issues and questions I had over the telephone in the early stages of my pregnancy. We also met with her in June, when we were trying to decide where to deliver the baby (actually Will & I were in complete disagreement with each other about where). She talked to me via phone for the next two months, and I called her my midwife after I made up my mind to have the birth there at The Farm. Then, in August we found out that financially it just wasn’t feasible to for us to take out another loan and have the baby there. So I had one finally conversation with Sharon, and as always, she was very confident and reassuring about what would happen and how fine it would all work out. So, I began to search for other midwives in our area that accepted Medicaid insurance. That’s when I learned about the Vanderbilt midwives. I called them, and they answered my questions in all the right ways (Can I decline tests? Will you help me have a natural birth? etc…). But then I was told that they were not accepting patients at the Women’s Center, and if I wanted a midwife I would have to go to the Vinehill Clinic. That sounded nice. So I made an appointment with them. Then I realized that they were located in a not-so-great part of Nashville (it sits across the street from the “White Trash Café”-which I’m sure really does serve great food). I wondered how these midwives came to be here.
Inside the Vinehill Clinic I became amazed. I heard several different languages and accents and saw people of every color it seemed. Some old, some babies, some in between, some crippled, some capable, some pregnant, and some sick. And some with their heads covered in the Islam dress were almost always in there. I liked seeing and hearing so much diversity in such a small waiting area. No one noticed me. I noticed everyone.
The team of midwives that work out of the Vinehill clinic consists of five wonderful women who have devoted their professions to assisting and empowering women to care for their bodies and to birth their babies. One can have all of their natural birthing desires advocated for them by these midwives, or one can have a completely medical birth. Of course if I’d have wanted a medical birth, then I would still have been in Clarksville seeing and OB/GYN there. The drive to Nashville was more than worth it. I first met Melissa, who was perfect. She answered all of my questions, never made me feel like she was in a hurry, and truly listened to what I was saying. I saw there the first few times, but she would not be delivering my baby. She didn’t give be any hassles about my wishing to decline all of the tests that are standard procedure in the U.S. (even the ultrasound). Then I met Lisa, who was perfect. She whirled her chair right up in front of me, to look directly at me, and asked me lots of questions about myself. And she really listened to my answers. I wanted her to deliver the baby. Then I met Bess. I was having an emotional day when I met Bess and I was only a few weeks from delivery. She asked me if I wanted to talk about it. Since it was personal, I assumed it wasn’t relevant to Bess, so I said, “no.” And Bess let it go. But later, she asked me again, and I just opened up and let it all out. And Bess said that it’s all relevant, and she helped me with some of it, saying that was part of her job as well. That’s a true midwife. Next I met Erin. Erin was busy that day and I wasn’t really sure if she and I truly connected like I’d hoped we would. But she was nice and I liked her too. In the beginning I had worried about having so many midwives see me that it would be harder when it was time for delivery and only one of them would be on call. But I reminded myself that even if you see your own doctor through your prenatal care, you can still end up being delivered by the doctor on call. And I would much rather take my chances in ending up with any of these wonderful women that I’d met so far, rather than a doctor I didn’t know. I had also learned that Melissa had sent out an email to this team of midwives about my desires for a natural birth and my wishes for immediate post partum care.
It ended up that Erin would be the midwife on call that wonderful day. Of course, Bess and Melissa were on the phone with Kelly (my doula who was in the care with me) while we were driving to the hospital, because of the baby’s urgency to birth herself. And when we arrived at the hospital’s emergency entrance, Erin was right there waiting for us. It turned out that she was the perfect midwife for the situation that had evolved and she jumped right into the vehicle and delivered the baby. She had about five or more emergency persons behind and around her, but she was in total control and command. She handled it all wonderfully, and exactly to my wishes.
But I don’t feel like it was just Erin who assisted in the delivery of Brielle. I felt like it was Erin, Bess, Lisa, Melissa, and Sharon. A wonderful combination of dedicated and true midwives who chose their profession out of a desire in their hearts to help women bring forth their babies to the best of their abilities. Bess took care of my postpartum needs, and also helped us with our breastfeeding struggles. I saw Melissa at my check up, she had also sent me a card, and Erin had sent an email. I called Sharon to let her know how everything had transpired. What wonderful women can do! And what a wonderful thing to have midwives in this area that aid and assist women like myself. It took a little bit of researching on my part to find them, but obviously it was more than worth it. I wish everyone could have the prenatal, labor, birth, and postpartum experiences that I had with all of these wonderful midwives!

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