Wednesday, June 13, 2012


Attention all women! Midwives do more than catch babies!

Donna and Jess come to help Owen out!
 Meet one of my midwives, Donna. Donna and Jess cared for me while I was pregnant with Owen. They answered every single one of Marin's questions, and let her use the doppler to find the baby's heart beat. They came to my house for all of my prenatal visits, and they came to my house for the birth of little Owen. 

Owen gets his first Well Child Check-up right on our bed, no bright lights or cold hospital rooms for this baby
 After Owen was born Donna and Jess came back to care for me in my house. Bonus, postpartum care in your house, AMEN!

So you might be asking why I am talking about my midwife again? You all know I had a home birth so what's this about? 

When I was a teen and about to get my first Well Woman Exam my mother decided the best way to introduce her daughter to obstetrics was under the care of a midwife. She found a local midwife, set us up an appointment and one day this woman arrived at my house. We were introduced to each other and then she and I sat out on the porch for a while and talked about growing up, the components of the girl body, boobs and such, and about taking care of yourself, and boys, and how pregnancy works (I had known about this for a long time because when I was five I found a book hidden on a shelf in our house called Susie's Babies by Edith Clarkson. Susie's Babies: A Clear and Simple Explanation of the Everyday Miracle of Birth 
   So I read most of the book and when my mom found me with it she sat down and we finished the book together and talked through Susie having babies. I then informed every child in my kindergarten class as to how babies are made and delivered, in the hamster world that is. 

My first experience with obstetrics care was in the comfort of my home, with a woman who cared about my personal health and emotional experience in growing up. She was nice and chatty and made it anything but awkward, even though I was nervous about it, she made it less scary. She made it easy to ask questions I may have felt weird asking my mom, not because my mom was critical of me but she was my mom. 

So a few weeks ago I called Donna and said, "I haven't seen a doctor in over two years, can you do my Well Woman Exam?" she said yes. I was supposed to meet her at her office on Monday, but Owen was asleep after a morning of swimming, so I called her and asked if she was able to come over (my house is a mile from her office). She said, "Don't wake the baby!" and arrived a few minutes later. Marin did crafts at the table and Owen took a nap, and Donna did my entire exam in my room. She went through everything an OBGYN would have, sent off my labs to the same place, everything was the same, EXCEPT I was in my own house, my baby was napping. I didn't have to set up a sitter, drive across town, pay for parking, use stirrups, sit on that crinkly white paper, wear a paper gown (I wore my own comfy things). 

I paid her my normal co-pay and a bag of fresh garden tomatoes.

So if you don't like going to an office for your Well Woman Exams, if you have a daughter who is approaching the dreaded first exam, check out your local midwifery care. Midwifery care is not some hippie, back woods type of care. A midwife cares for the whole woman, she takes care of her when she is expecting a baby, she takes care of her when she has a miscarriage (and stops by to talk, listen and make you tea), she listens when you feel like your hormones are out of whack, she frequently visits when you are postpartum, she knows how to look for things that might be abnormal and can recommend good further care, she comes to your home and believes your care should take place in your habitat where you can be most comfortable, and she can do your well woman care forever. She can care for your growing daughter and she sees caring for you as whole family care. Midwives do house calls! 

I wanted to post about this because I feel like its often overlooked at how vital midwives have been and still are in female health care. I also have been thinking about how I will handle this some day with Marin. I'll probably just call Donna. Who will probably still come over even though by then she will be retired.

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