Birth Story Part 2: The Pregnancy
Why a midwife? Unfortunately, many Americans, especially those in this part of the country do not understand or have even heard of midwifery. “Why wouldn’t you have your baby in a hospital with a doctor? That’s just what you do!” Well that is not what Chad or I wanted to do. Hospitals are were you go when you are sick. I was a very healthy woman with a low risk pregnancy. I wanted to have my baby as natural as possible with as little interventions as possible, and not in a hospital setting. I have several friends who have used midwives and some who have even had homebirths, and they would not trade their experiences for anything.
Even a couple years before I got pregnant we decided we wanted to use a midwife. After talking to people who have used them and after watching the documentary “The Business of Being Born” I knew it was the right decision for me. (Watch it…it’s on Netflix!)
Certified Nurse Midwives are trained to deliver babies, but they can do much more than that. The only things they cannot do that a physician can is prescribe medication and a caesarean. It’s not the Stone Age way of having a baby like some people think. I will talk more about this later.
For a couple years now (even before we moved to the farm) I had been looking at a Birth Center online in Tulsa. There are 2 midwives who practice there. They are both certified nurses. Ruth has been delivering babies as a midwife for over 35 years, and the other, Mary, assisted with hospital births for several years before becoming a midwife at the birth center. You have all your appointments at the birth center just like you would at a doctor’s office. The only thing you do at another location is the 20-week ultrasound if you desire to have one. The birth center has 2 rooms for delivery. One has a large bathtub if you desire to have a water birth. It’s very quaint and cozy. It’s nothing like the sterile environment of the hospital. It’s comfortable and relaxing just as a low risk birth should be.
For some reason I did not think the birth center took insurance and I thought it would be outside of what we could afford (I have no idea why I thought this because it turns out even without insurance it’s WAY cheaper!). Therefore, I decided to make an appointment with the midwives at the OU Physicians in Tulsa. That was the stupidest decision ever! After two appointments with them I decided I did not care how much it cost, but I was not using them! There were five midwives on staff, which rotated out with each appointment. They only deliver during certain hours so if you go into labor while they’re off duty some random doctor delivers your baby. And it was in the hospital too, so it was not any different than if I found an OB to deliver my baby. And at least then I would most likely know who was going to deliver my child. I left both appointments I had with them in tears. It was just not at all how I pictured it and the receptionists were really rude. One time I called them because I was having some issues and the nurse made me feel so stupid because I was concerned. Chad and I were not happy with them at all!
Thankfully my amazing husband encouraged me to call the birth center and schedule a consultation. I am so glad I did because the second I walked into the birth center I knew it was the right decision for the three of us. Mary (one of the two midwives) brought me into her office and answered any questions I had and explained how everything worked. She was great! Since Chad’s dad had to run to Tulsa anyways on that day he came with me to the consultation. He waited in the waiting room while I met with Mary. He was so fascinated by the “hippie” women in there! Supposedly, there was a mom in the waiting room with her newborn and while she was there she wrapped her baby in a boba wrap right in front of my father-in-law. He had never seen anything like that before. And I’m not sure if it was the same woman, but one of the moms in there had been backpacking around the country. Most of the time it’s pretty hippie-free in there, but much to his amusement it was not that day. Oh it was an experience for him, that’s for sure!
My first official appointment with them was on February 3rd at 14 weeks pregnant. As I’ve mentioned before, they do everything the doctors and nurses do at all your appointments. They can check your vitals at each visit. They can check your urine for protein. They take your blood and have it sent off for your prenatals. However, they cannot prescribe medication. Part of me was glad my midwives could not prescribe medication, because they introduced me to a lot of natural remedies that most doctors probably do not even know about. However, when situations arise where you need an antibiotic or an actual doctor it does become an issue. I do not have a doctor or an OB. Chad and I very rarely go to the doctor and we do not take any medication. I know doctors are necessary at times, but I have a lot of issues with them (which I could write an entire blog about from my own personal experience!). I wish someone had told me to make sure I had a doctor who would see pregnant women since I was using a midwife, just in case I got sick or an emergency happened. Who would have known I would get stung by a wasp and have an allergic reaction and need steroids and antibiotics?! And for future reference if you are pregnant and using a midwife do not see the local doctor because he will make you wait 2 hours then tell you he cannot treat you because you are pregnant and then give you a huge lecture about how you are putting you and your baby in danger because you are using a midwife…all in front of your mother-in-law who is already skeptical about said decision. Oh my goodness…I wanted to move to the most progressive country in the world after that day! I was so over ignorance by that point.
Ya see, I am really good about doing things that are a little different than the norms of society around these parts, but when someone has an opinion about them I freak out and cry like a big baby. So the decision to use a midwife was not easy because I had to listen to people’s opinions (which I did not ask for!) and try to explain our decision to do so without getting defensive and upset (and I am not good at that!).
So after a visit to the ER I got my wasp sting taken care of. The rest of my pregnancy, up until about week 36 was absolutely perfect! I had occasional morning sickness during the first trimester. I continued to do everything around the farm I had done before. I learned from this pregnancy that I probably should take it a little easier with the next one. Lifting 50 pound feed sacks probably wasn’t the smartest thing in the world. I did start having serious lower back pain towards the end of the second trimester. My midwives recommended a chiropractor and gave me the name of one they refer all their patients to. And let me tell you, she is a lifesaver! Even if you are not having back problems I definitely recommend finding a chiropractor who works specifically on pregnant women and going once a week while you’re pregnant. It helps to get the baby in the right position and I genuinely believe it speeds up your labor and delivery (which you will learn more about later!). After seeing the chiropractor a few times and gradually decreasing the work I did on the farm my back and body felt a lot better.
During the first trimester I did start exercising a bit more and eating healthier. I cutout almost all caffeine and soda during my entire pregnancy. Everyday I took a non-gmo prenatal vitamin made with whole-food and no artificial ingredients. I also took Vitamin C, Vitaim D3, Floradix (a liquid iron), and Chlorophyll. I also drank red raspberry leaf tea. Other than that and going to the chiropractor regularly, I did not do anything else super crazy. I was not a health nut or fitness guru during my pregnancy, but I was careful to take care of myself and prepare myself for labor the best I could.
Let’s back up a bit to my 20-week ultra sound. I’m thankful that I only got one ultra sound during my pregnancy. I genuinely believe too many ultrasounds can be harmful to the fetus and these days doctors are doing unnecessary ones at every single appointment. Until the ultrasound we just knew we were having a boy. Chad wanted a boy so much. And I wanted a boy so I would not have to do so much work around the farm (ha ha!). I would rub my belly and call it by the boy name we picked out (which I am not telling you because we are still using it for the next one!)
Well as you all know the ultrasound showed a precious baby girl. With tears in my eyes I looked over at Chad and asked if that was okay. Of course he said it was and I loved him so much at the moment. We were having a baby girl! I think he was freaking out a lot inside at the moment. He didn’t think he would know what to do with a girl. I knew he would be just fine.
My little sister was on Spring Break when we had the ultrasound so I asked her if she would like to come with us. The three of us were able to see our baby girl for the first time on that little screen and as creepy as she looked, she was so precious too! I am so thankful my sister was able to experience that moment with us.
All the way home we gently argued about the name. I just wasn’t able to come up with a lot of girl names. I loved the name Evolette (from the movie 10,000 BC). And so that is what it was going to be right?! Well Chad brought back up a name I had tossed around a few weeks later, but when I learned my cousin and his wife had the exact first and middle name picked out for their future baby I just couldn’t keep it. After we found out it was a girl Chad just could not let go of that name. And after all, the Garden of Eden is very significant to us since we are vegetable farmers. And I love the name Grace so much! So after talking with my cousin we finally decided on Eden Grace. I’m not going to lie, for a few weeks I was still really sad that she wasn’t Evolette, but we’ll have another girl someday I’m sure!
At each midwife appointment I had, my midwives kept telling me how perfect the baby and me were doing. My blood pressure was great. I was gaining the right amount of weight. The baby was great. They do not do ultra sounds at the birth center, but they send you to another location for your 20 week one. They have an old one that was donated to them that they use if they need to see what position the baby is in. They do check the baby’s heart rate at each appointment and they measure the uterus.
Along with my midwife appointments, we took a birth class in Tulsa. The 8-week class is about having your baby naturally, but it also teaches you about any interventions, whether necessary or not that you could have during your labor. It is so important to know all of your options when giving birth. Things do not always go as planned and you may have to do something you did not want. At the end of the day you want you and your baby to be healthy. However, you have control over what happens to you and your baby. The doctor is not the final decision maker, you are. And if pregnant women and their partners are not educated then they may allow a doctor to make a decision for them that is not necessary. I’ll talk more about this later, but my incredible husband listened so attentively in our class that he was able to make good decisions for me and our baby while I was in labor and halfway incoherent. Though the doctor was delivering my baby, we were in charge! Thank God for that birth class and our instructor Brooke at Better Birth Now in Tulsa. If you are having a baby in the Tulsa area look up Better Birth Now. They offer all kinds of wonderful services!