Well I finally got to meet the midwife group and it was a huge success. Daniel was irritable. He doesn't like change, doesn't like that I switched and didn't like that the walls and floors of this hospital building looked more worn than our other more shiny and redone hospital. But I'm not going to this hospital because of how it looks or doesn't look. I'm going to it for the care Zoe and I will receive. More on him in a moment.
Anyway, it was kind of strange going into this and having it play out like a first prenatal workup (minus the pap and pelvic exam) since I'm about ready to deliver! I got a little bag of pamphlets and information. The midwife gave me her birth plan and I gave her mine. She actually sat down with me (on this cool, hippie looking bed instead of a regular exam table) and went through each point. The only thing on there that she had to change was the water birth part. The hospital no longer does them. So she crossed out water birth and wrote "hydrotherapy" (labor in the tub). Her birth plan mirrored mine. It simply went through what to expect for a hospital birth versus a midwife birth and I could check what I wanted for each category (for example, for the "Fetal Monitoring" section I could choose to have constant monitoring as a regular OB would do or I could do it the midwife way and they just use a doppler intermittently).
Then she whispered to me that if I have my baby at night the night nurses usually don't care what the midwives do and if a woman has her baby in the tub then they still mark it as vaginal delivery. They're not as strict and stingy. And she also said there's nothing they can do if a baby just slips out while the woman is laboring in the tub (yeah, I want my baby to just slide right out... that sounds nice!), which has apparently happened before. If they notice a mom pushing in the tub they just have her stand and deliver out of the water, then let her sit back down in the water with baby.
She felt Zoe, who is head-down but not engaged. She estimates that she'll be around 8.5 lbs like Abigail was but remember I'm the skeptic when it comes to estimating baby weight prior to birth so we'll have to see. It was so neat because she felt around for Zoe's body and told me what all the body parts were. It was a lot more laid back and down-to-earth but not all fruity and tree-hugging, you know?
I also got to weigh myself and check my own protein/sugars (urine test they always do). Then I just report to her the findings and my weight. I thought that was pretty cool and I felt more private about it.
What else? I can eat and drink in labor. She gave me a list of recommended foods. A lot of them are fruit and protein snacks, which give you energy. She told me many women will eat in early stages of labor but once active labor hits they're not hungry anymore. And then she told me that when I don't feel hungry during labor is when we should head to the hospital (she definitely recommended laboring at home as long as possible and hopefully arrive between 5-7cm).
I'm guaranteed a midwife at my delivery unless there are complications. Then there is a "sponsoring doctor" who will take over. The midwives' c-section rate is LESS THAN 3%! You read that right. I said THREE percent! So she said if they recommend a c-section they really mean it and it is best for mom and baby.
They delay cord clamping and cutting. Skin-to-skin contact is immediate and can last 1-2 hours before the nurses weigh and clean baby up, do the eye gunk and all their other state-mandated procedures. By the way, when they put the stuff in baby's eyes, you can request that they immediately wipe it off and if they won't you can wipe it off yourself. It doesn't have to stay on there, gooping up their eyelashes and eyelids.
I can move around and use all sorts of fun gadgets (squat bar, birth ball, labor tub, etc.). Basically, labor at home. Arrive for 20 minutes of fetal monitoring and cervical check for dilation. Then get up and labor, use the tub, have a baby, hold them for an hour and... yay!
The hospital also offers a VIP package. For $150 you get three meals a day for you and your spouse including candlelit dinners, a pizza party with cake for 10 guests, a gift basket, baby blanket and a bunch of other stuff. Dang! Set me up! Ha ha! It's actually too late for me to get in on that deal and I wouldn't want to spend the money anyway.
The absolutely best part of all?! As I was checking in I noticed a letter at the front desk stating that my previous doctor (the one who broke my sweet Abby's collarbone and wouldn't help me during my last miscarriage) has moved to another practice and will not be delivering at this hospital. HUGE sigh of relief that if one of my midwives isn't available then I won't have her as a backup. WOO!
So how do I personally feel about the midwives? They're so open and friendly. They're women, they understand, they know birth and babies. I feel like I could ask them anything and they won't make me feel stupid and if I question something they won't push me into anything or make me feel uncomfortable.
There are three midwives. I was meeting with one when the other two popped in to say hello and said, "You're the new momma who switched late!" I guess I'm the talk of the office! Ha ha ha! Daniel and I thought that was pretty funny. It wasn't said in a bad way but in a way that made me feel like they were proud I was standing my ground and switching, no matter how late, almost awe-like.
Some helpful tips:
-They want me to drink a quart of raspberry leaf tea a day! Apparently this helps with blood clotting and is very beneficial to pregnant women. She told me she has her patients drink it their entire pregnancy but to have me start now would be great, too.
-There is also a tea to help with milk production. She gave me some samples! I don't have a milk production issue. I have latch issues with my babies (hopefully not this time) but I'll give it a whirl.
-A sheet of different birthing positions and how they help/don't help.
-A list of what makes contractions MORE painful and intense (like fear and wasting all your energy in early, early labor worrying about when active labor will hit).
Daniel seemed to visibly relax while the midwife was in the room. He didn't say much and still hasn't said much, which is a good thing. He's a pretty passionate and expressive guy. If he doesn't like something he doesn't hesitate to say so! I know part of him is worried but I hope God gives him peace over these next days and weeks.
Okay sorry for the novel! It was a lot of information all at once and there's probably more I'm forgetting. Oh, I do have a couple other things I want to add, for posterity-sake.
I love this hospital's pre-admittance procedures. You actually set up an appointment to pre-admit with a nurse. You fill out ALL your paperwork and even get started on your baby's birth certificate (minus their name and birth stats). You sign consent forms, you get to ask questions, you let them know your birth plan preferences, etc. So they get to know you before you actually arrive. We are going to do this on Thursday next week and hopefully tour the birthing unit. I'm one busy bee this month, don't even get me started... more on that tomorrow. This post is long enough!!! PHEW!