Two days after seeing my positive pregnancy test I contacted three local midwives. There was no way on earth I wanted to end up in the midwife-less conundrum I had during my second pregnancy.
You see, back in 2012, when I was pregnant with my son we moved during my second trimester. All the midwives in our new city were booked plum full around my due date. They're loved. And popular. And apparently August is one of the top months for babies to arrive. They couldn't fit me in as a client and the next closest midwife who accepted my insurance was almost 2 hours away. Every pregnant mother's dream, right?
This time, with baby number three, I knew I needed to be on my game. And fast. That's why I was the chipper gal on the phone calling for consultation appointments at 5 weeks pregnant. There was no way I'd be missing out on my midwife of choice. I'd be first on her books!
I met with my top picks and finalized my decision at 7 weeks pregnant. I'm still a bit giddy knowing that I've got an amazing woman leading my birth team. She's compassionate, smart, skilled and joyfully welcomes my kids to each of my appointments. Oh, and she answers emails super fast! Such a lovely perk of this technological age! There are one hundred reasons or more why I believe she is a winner, but most can be lumped into these four reasons why midwives win in my book.
1. Midwives Are Queens of Compassion
Over the course of my childbearing years I've interacted with six midwives. The one overarching quality they all seem to have—compassion. I've never met more women who care and love all those around them. Whether it be a birthing mama, her partner, family members or other health providers they seem to instinctively know how to offer genuine concern and a feasible remedy while staying on top of their main goal to safely bring babies earth side.
2. Midwives Know Who the Boss Is
This is probably my most favorite thing about midwives. By definition midwives "assist" in childbirth; their counterparts, OBGYNs, "manage" childbirth. As the mother, I'm the one giving birth. I'm the only one who can do. I'm the only one who will. I may need assistance, but I definitely don't need management.
There are a multitude of decisions that come into play during prenatal, birth and postpartum care for my baby and I. And here is the thing. I'm an educated woman. I can read a report/ingredient list/article/data/etc and come to my own conclusions on what is best for me and my baby. I know how to analyze risks and benefits. Most of all, I know how to choose a care provider who will bestow their knowledge, wisdom and training into our conversations and guide me towards the best decision.
3. Midwives Are Always Available and Willing To Make Things Work
These gals are on call 24/7. Totally Call the Midwife style :) Seriously though, I already have my midwife's cell number as well as her back-up's. She's amazing about emailing and has, no joke, reached out just to say "I hope you're resting and taking care of yourself. Drink water on these hot days and be sure to let me know if you have any questions." She has shimmied appointments around my kid's nap times and husband's work schedule and by golly, I'm due at Christmas time and she has already assured me that I don't have to worry when I go into labor. A Christmas Eve or Christmas Day baby would make her year extra special. Wow, just wow.
It is the nature of their business after all, to be up in your lady bits. But over the years I've witnessed them do this in the most respectful way—asking for permission, talking through procedures and always acting in the least intrusive way. It's a gift, truly, to be part of something so intimate in such a peaceful way.
I'm not denouncing men who specialize in women's healthcare one bit but there is something to be said for experiencing birth alongside a practioner who has themselves experienced birth. Men have zero understanding of what it is like to dilate to the size of a bagel and then push out a baby after hours of exhausting physical labor. I mean, after that, how could I not consider my midwife my best friend?