The morning that I found out I was pregnant, after a few hours of soaking it all in and Googling due date calculators, my thoughts quickly turned to finding prenatal care. I hadn’t lived in Virginia too long at the time, so I didn’t already have an OB/GYN lined up that I could call.
I asked a few friends for references and ended up seeing an OB group for the first 13 weeks of my pregnancy. But when we found out we’d be moving to Seattle and I’d need a new practice anyways, I started reconsidering my options.
For a number of reasons, I ended up choosing a midwife group to help me through the rest of my pregnancy journey…
One of the biggest influencers of my plans and hopes for labor and delivery was actually a movie I saw long before getting pregnant. The Business of Being Born opened my eyes to all the different options for childbirth and and prenatal care. While I knew the basics from other moms and books I’ve read, I wasn’t aware of how invasive and unnecessary many “standard” procedures of labor and delivery can be.
While I have hesitated to make an actual “birth plan” since I know so much will end up coming down to circumstance, I do have birth hopes - and those hopes are that I can have a delivery experience that is as natural and non-invasive as possible. Being my first pregnancy, I was not comfortable with the idea of a home birth or delivering outside of any sort of medical facility, as my pregnancy anxiety will be off the charts should something go wrong.
My experience at the OB/GYN office in Virginia wasn’t necessarily bad, but it wasn’t good either. It felt very clinical and I felt more like a chart than a patient as each time I was measured, poked, prodded and then sent on my way without much face to face interaction. I was amazed at how little the asked me and how quickly I was in and out the door with each visit. As a newly pregnant woman, I looked forward to these visits with so much anticipation and excitement, and after each one I left a little disappointed that the care didn’t feel more personalized or intimate.
When I found out we were moving to Seattle and I would need to find a new doctor, I immediately started researching new options. After many phone calls and recommendations from friends, I ended up choosing a midwife group and hoping that perhaps this would be a better fit for me. Within just a few minutes of my first appointment, I knew that I had found a great group of women who were exactly what I was looking for all along. My appointments have been long, personal, and conversational, and I’ve felt comfortable sharing all of my questions, concerns, and emotions on my experience thus far.
I am sure there are many OB’s who have similarly caring and individual bedside manners, and who others feel equally as passionate about. I have nothing but respect for the entire medical profession, especially for those specifically involved with handling such delicate and fragile new life. For me personally, I like knowing that while the ultimate goal for my midwife will be a safe and healthy delivery for me and the baby, she will also let me labor as long and as naturally as possible before discussing any sort of interventions. And if any complications do arise, my birthing center is located directly within a hospital with OB’s and surgeons working in close proximity.
For me, the midwives and birthing center feel like a perfect fit. For others, it may be a home birth, an OB, or something else. When considering prenatal care and childbirth options, I think it’s best to apply the rule that can pretty much sum up all of those important pregnancy-related questions and decisions…
You will get a lot of advice and hear many opinions. Ultimately, the best (and only) choice is the one that makes you feel safe, confident, and comfortable.