Survey Participants Wanted: A Mom’s Guide to Giving Birth with a Midwife

Dear friends,

I am putting together a book proposal for a guide to choosing, working and birthing with midwives, tentatively titled as above. I’ve got an agent for this project and am currently working up a sample chapter and other materials, and the organization of which I’m a board member, Citizens for Midwifery, is the “organizational author.”

I am hoping to include useful quotes from actual women who chose to work with and birth with midwives, and I am wondering if you would consider answering the following questions as fully and specifically as possible. My plan is to pull quotes from real moms that illustrate or help explain points throughout the book: I think this will greatly add to the book’s appeal and usefulness. Your input would be greatly appreciated. Feel free to skip any questions that don’t interest you or pertain to you; I know you’re busy, so please focus on the questions you most want to answer if you don’t have time to answer the whole thing. I’d rather just get a couple quotes from you than none at all. You can simply fill this survey out and email it back to me at the address below. There is no current deadline, but sometime before May 1, 2009 would be excellent, and any surveys I get back immediately will be used for the proposal itself, which would be extremely helpful

Also, if you have friends who you think would like to participate and be quoted in the book, please feel free to forward this survey to them. I am especially interested in hearing from underrepresented moms, including moms of color, working-class moms, young moms, etc., in order to get as wide a range of voices as possible, so forwarding this survey to such women would be very helpful to me. However, please know that women will be identified only by the first name of their choosing, so all answers will be semi-anonymous or anonymous. I am not including the real names of midwives, either, so if your answer contains your midwife’s name, I will change it to something else.

Thanks very much,
Arielle Greenberg
ariellecg@yahoo.com

1. Name You’d Like Used in the Book (first names only; you can use your actual first name or choose another one for better anonymity):

2. Children (please state in what setting each child was born, practitioners involved, and means of birth); e.g., Child A: birthing center, nurse-midwife and OB, vaginal birth):

Child A:
Child B:
Child C:
Child D:

3. Why did you choose the kind of midwife you chose (Certified Nurse-Midwife, Certified Professional Midwife, Lay Midwife, etc.)?

4. Why did you choose to hire a midwife?

5. How did you find your midwife? Why did you choose that particular one? What kind of questions did you ask at your interview? What did you want most in a midwife you chose?

6. What did you see as some of the advantages to working with your midwife?

7. What did you see as some of the disadvantages to working with your midwife?

8. Describe a typical prenatal appointment with your midwife.

9. Was there any advice that your midwife gave you, or anything she helped you with, that was particularly helpful or unusual or thorough?

10. Where did you have your baby? Please describe a bit about what the setting was like. What did you like or dislike about that setting?

11. Did you take a childbirth class? What kind? Did your midwife recommend it? What did you think about it?

12. Did you have a doula at your birth? Why or why not?

13. What was your midwife like at your birth? What did she do that was most helpful? Least helpful?

14. Describe a typical postpartum visit with your midwife.

15. Is there anything you wish you’d done differently, or said, to your midwife?

16. Is there anything you particularly loved or were grateful for about your midwife?

17. Since your birth, have you done any activism to support midwifery in the US? What have you done?

18. Anything else you want to say about choosing, finding or working with a midwife?

Thank you so much!

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I would love to participate in this. Answers:
1. Alice
2. Child A-hospital w/OB; Child B- home w/midwife Child C- home w/midwife
3.For child B, my doctor actually suggested my lay midwife. For child C I chose a nurse whose baby I had delivered and trained her to be a midwife. My birth was her first breech.
4.The first was born in a hospital...nuff said.
5. See answer 3
6. I remained in control of my birth while being safe.
7.No disadvantages
8. For child B I still saw the dr for most appointments and reported to midwife. For child C I did most of my own prenatal care since my midwife lived 100 miles away. I saw dr for blood testing (and to make it look good..lol).
9.With B she offered birthing classes which we took and gave me lots of info and encouragement since that was my first homebirth.
10. With B I gave birth in my bedroom with my husband, a friend, midwife and her assistant. The setting was comfortable and wouldn't have done anything differently. With C I chose to give birth sitting on the couch in the living room while my midwives sat on the coffee table between my feet..great way to birth! Had lots of supportive friends and family with me and had a lovely time birthing. She was breech and the easiest birth of my 3.
11. With B my midwife offered class which we took. With C, I was myself a midwife and teaching classes of my own.
12. With B I had a friend that acted as doula..although back in then never heard of "doula".
13. For both home births my midwives were in the background. No constant hovering.
14. I didn't use my midwives for postpartum due to the fact they were so far away.
15. With B I had a friend stop by while I was in labor and wanted to see me and midwife wouldn't let her in..I wasn't in the presence of mind to override.
16.I appreciated my midwives ability to put me at ease and make me feel safe. Not easy to do.
17. While I was pregnant with B, I began studying obstetrics and midwifery and after he was born I joined an organization called Association for Childbirth at Home Intl. I studied and apprenticed with midwives and doctors and eventually became a lay midwife. I had discovered that it wasn't easy to find someone since they practiced just under the law and back in the 70s homebirth was growing and not enough midwives.
18. Find your midwife early and build a relationship. Learn learn learn all you can about pregnancy, birth, post partum. Ask lots of questions and make sure you get answers you understand.
I'd love to share my experience with homebirths with a midwife.
1. Debie
2A. Free standing Birthing Center, Dr. Rosenthal OB, Vaginal birth
B. Hospital, OB, Vaginal Birth
C. Hospital OB, Vaginal Birth
D. Home, Midwife, Vaginal Birth (2nd best birth)
E. Home, Midwife, Vaginal Birth (best birth so far)\
F. Due end of August '09- Home, Midwife, Vaginal Birth
3. I choose a lay-midwife because I really liked her and I feel that lay midwifes have a better feel for letting it all just happen the way God intends it to the CNM's have all been "medically" trained and while less likely to inferter than an OB still way to quick to interfer in my eyes.
4. My first birth was at the Upland Birthing Center and would be attended by either the OB that ran the practice or on of 3 midwifes that also worked there. It just happened that my daughter arrived on the night the DR. was on call but I felt so at ease with the midwifes that it was a bit of a let down to actually deliver with the male dr. LOL for my last two I choose homebirths with a lay midwife because my 2 hospital births were so traumatic you won't get me back into one to give birth unless you knock me out and take me in unconscious. My two homebirths were the best experiences of my life and I'll never willingly go back into a hospital.
5. I found my midwife in the phone book, I interviewed 2 different ones and I asked all the normal questions, "How many births have you attended, what's your percentage of hospital transfers, what type of unforseen circumstances are you prepared for, how do you see your role in the birthing process.
6. She had the time to listen to me, there wasn't another appt. waiting in the lobby 5 min. after I got there. As a matter of fact all my appt. were in my home.
7. there weren't any
8. She's arrive and I'd get the cup and stick to go and test my own urine, then I'd come out and find her chatting with the kids. Then she'd ask how I was doing and if I had any questions etc, then she'd do the normal ob stuff, listen to the heart beat, measure the fundus height and at the end check to see any cervical changes.
9. She said to trust myself.
10. I had my 4th baby in the living room and my 5th baby in the family room, both area's were great the children were all gathered around and watched as their baby brother's were born and were immediately placed on my stomach. By the time it the cord stopped pulsing and it was time to cut it the children were gathered all around me and one was given the job of cutting the cord it was awesome.
11. With my 1st homebirth I took Bradley Classes that my midwife not only recommended but she taught and were included in her fee. For my 2nd homebirth I took Hypno-babies hypno birthing course and it was great.
12. I had a doula at both birth the 1st one because it was included at the 2nd because we were friends and she would of been there either way.
13. She was there without intruding. I knew she was there if i needed her. She checked me every so often unobtrusively, she basically was a reassuring presence.
14. Postpartum she'd check the baby and weigh him again, then she'd ask me how I was and check my vaginal area to make sure it was healing properly and at 6 wks. she'd do a pap smear also.
15. nope
16. She let me own my births. She was just a spectatur that stepped in as needed and let me just go with what my body did and needed.
17. and 18. no just support my local midwife in friendship.
8.
1. Name You’d Like Used in the Book (first names only; you can use your actual first name or choose another one for better anonymity):
Melissa
2. Children (please state in what setting each child was born, practitioners involved, and means of birth); e.g., Child A: birthing center, nurse-midwife and OB, vaginal birth):


Child A: Abigael, registered midwife, hospital, vaginal birth
Child B: Agnes, registered midwife, hospital, vaginal birth
Child C:
Child D:

3. Why did you choose the kind of midwife you chose (Certified Nurse-Midwife, Certified Professional Midwife, Lay Midwife, etc.)?
Only Registered Midwives are available in my province.
4. Why did you choose to hire a midwife? I knew that my chances of having intervention and medication free birth were maximized by having midwives. I also liked the continuity of care and the raport established with the midives. I wanted to have a natural birth with no interventions and medications. I especially wanted to avoid epidurals and external monitoring, and maximize my chances of a successful breastfeeding relationship.


5. How did you find your midwife? Why did you choose that particular one? What kind of questions did you ask at your interview? What did you want most in a midwife you chose? There are two busy practices in my town. I met the midwives who had availablity and chose the one with whom I felt the most affinity. She placed particular emphasis on the importance of breastdfeeding. Also, her sense of humor and practical approach made her very likeable to myself and my partner. My second child is named after my midwife.

6. What did you see as some of the advantages to working with your midwife? the respect she had for my values and desire to achieve a natural birth.

7. What did you see as some of the disadvantages to working with your midwife? She had a very bust office!



9. Was there any advice that your midwife gave you, or anything she helped you with, that was particularly helpful or unusual or thorough? My midwife knew that I had an excellent milk supply, and she put me in touch with moms who needed milk for their newborns. I thus became a breastmilk donor for several of her clients.

10. Where did you have your baby? Please describe a bit about what the setting was like. What did you like or dislike about that setting? I had both my children in hospital where the midwife had privileges. I saw no doctors or nurses and was able to leave trhee hours after the birth. I really liked the jacuzzi tub I labored in.

11. Did you take a childbirth class? What kind? Did your midwife recommend it? What did you think about it?

12. Did you have a doula at your birth? Why or why not? My mother in law and the midwifery student were my doulas.

13. What was your midwife like at your birth? What did she do that was most helpful? Least helpful? My midwife was very relaxed and nurturing,and soothing. She let me have all the space I needed. She was very gentle and respected my wishes for me to labor on my own.

16. Is there anything you particularly loved or were grateful for about your midwife? I loved her sense of humor, and that she mothered me and respected me.

17. Since your birth, have you done any activism to support midwifery in the US? What have you done? Not in the US, I am in Canada.

18. Anything else you want to say about choosing, finding or working with a midwife? It was wonderful. I have three doctors in my immediate family, and I would not choose to birth differently. My births were empowering and wonderful events, thanks in part to my midwife.

Thank you so much!
1. Name You’d Like Used in the Book (first names only; you can use your actual first name or choose another one for better anonymity): Monique

2. Children (please state in what setting each child was born, practitioners involved, and means of birth); e.g., Child A: birthing center, nurse-midwife and OB, vaginal birth):

Child A: Birthing center, 2 nurse-midwives, vaginal birth
Child B: Pregnant, due in August, will be a home birth with a nurse-midwife
Child C:
Child D:

3. Why did you choose the kind of midwife you chose (Certified Nurse-Midwife, Certified Professional Midwife, Lay Midwife, etc.)? I was actually looking for a birthing center as that was what I insurance required (wouldn't authorize a homebirth) and so I looked for the best one I could find and found one that I loved (an hour away from my home). I didn't look for a particular type of midwife.

4. Why did you choose to hire a midwife? Because I wanted an out of hospital birth.

5. How did you find your midwife? Why did you choose that particular one? What kind of questions did you ask at your interview? What did you want most in a midwife you chose? I found my midwife through a friend. I was looking at all the birthing centers close by and wasn't finding anything that appealed to me. I had a friend who was having her baby down in OC and she said maybe her midwives could at least help me figure something out. When I spoke to the office staff they were super helpful and I decided to just go check the birthing center out, just in case. Even though it was an hour away in good traffic. We went down there and I fell madly in love with the midwife that did my tour. She was quite, kind, professional, but not serious, just incredibly nice. I knew right then and there that that was who I wanted to have my baby with. I was very comfortable with her. I did ask about subjects that were important to me, such as being able to keep the room dark and quite, having minimal to no talking, etc. I knew I could have my baby. I just needed a setting that I was comfortable with and someone who could help guide me that would respect my wishes and really be as unobtrusive as possible (while still telling us what to do!)

6. What did you see as some of the advantages to working with your midwife? The comfort in knowing that when it was time for the baby to come, I didn't need to worry about any unneeded interventions. And knowing that I could trust her decisions as being in my and the baby's best interest, not done for the need for speed or convenience. I also loved that I didn't have to wait at all for appointments, my appointments were lengthy and informative. I never felt rushed or that I was an inconvenience.

7. What did you see as some of the disadvantages to working with your midwife? In my particular case, she was far away. That was the only disadvantage. She actually ended up moving out of state shortly after I had my son, so my current midwife is 5 mins away and there are zero disadvantages so far with seeing her!

8. Describe a typical prenatal appointment with your midwife. I would go in a weigh myself and pee on a stick to test all the things they normally test at the OB's office. I would then go into one of the birthing rooms and tell the assistant my results. The assistant would take my blood pressure and note all the info down for the midwife. The midwife then came in and would check the baby's positioning, check the size of my uterus, etc. Listen to the baby's heartbeat, etc. Each stage of the pregnancy was a bit different and we would discuss different subjects, such as health, exercise, etc. She would also answer all my questions (and I had a lot of them!). That's pretty much what I can remember. The biggest differences between the midwife prenatals and the OB prenatals I did (I switched to a midwife partway through my pregnancy) was the lack of waiting and the lack of being rushed. I could ask a million questions and never feel like I was wasting her time.

9. Was there any advice that your midwife gave you, or anything she helped you with, that was particularly helpful or unusual or thorough? Not that I can recall.

10. Where did you have your baby? Please describe a bit about what the setting was like. What did you like or dislike about that setting? I had my baby at the birthing center. They had two birthing rooms and I had my choice of either one. I chose the bigger one with a jacuzzi tub and toilet. When I went in they shut the birthing center down, canceling the rest of the appointments for the day so I had the run of the whole place. My room was comfy with candles, a queen sized bed and dresser. I liked everything about the room and center. The only thing I disliked was that it was on the 2nd floor and leaving after the baby was a bit of a pain. But the stairs sure came in handy during my labor!

11. Did you take a childbirth class? What kind? Did your midwife recommend it? What did you think about it? I took a Bradley class. My sister (who was also my doula) recommended it, the midwife didn't need to recommend it as I'd already planned to take it. I loved my Bradley class. The instructor was super laid back and also a doula and working on getting her midwife certification. She was very realistic and not judgmental at all. The classes were incredibly informative for both my husband and me.

12. Did you have a doula at your birth? Why or why not? I had my sister in addition to my husband. She's attended about 16 births and I considered her my doula. Both my sister and my husband were incredibly helpful, but it was nice having my sister there as she knew what I was going through and understood the pain I was in.

13. What was your midwife like at your birth? What did she do that was most helpful? Least helpful? My midwife was awesome. She was very calm and in charge the whole time without being controlling. She was very go with the flow and was interested in making the most comfortable physically and mentally and she could be. The most helpful thing she did was be calm. She never seemed rushed or concerned, even when there were points where we ran into some trouble it always felt like she knew what she was doing and I didn't have to worry about it. The baby just would not drop and I was stuck at 8cm for a long time. She always had me doing something to try to fix the situation. There was never a moment where we didn't have something to do to keep my mind off of the fact that I wasn't progressing. The only thing that happened during my entire labor that I feel could have been better was the 2nd time I was in the tub, pushing, I was in it for a long time and it somehow didn't occur to anyone to reheat the water...I was freezing and way to exhausted to mention it to anyone. That's the only thing during my very long labor that I feel could have been done differently, and obviously it's pretty minor.

14. Describe a typical postpartum visit with your midwife. They checked my bleeding and how my stitches were healing. They also checked how breastfeeding was going with the baby and checked the baby out (weight, etc.). They were very interested in helping me do the best I could for those first few weeks and helped me find a lactation consultant when I needed one, as I was having some major issues with breastfeeding.

15. Is there anything you wish you’d done differently, or said, to your midwife? No

16. Is there anything you particularly loved or were grateful for about your midwife? She made my birth experience an amazing and wonderful thing. Even though my labor was rough and long, I can easily look back on it with fond memories. The thing I liked the most, really was at the very end, I'd been pushing for 2 hours and the baby's head finally came out and she told me to wait so she could check the cord. Well, I didn't wait. I pushed the baby right on out with one more quick push. And my midwife just said, "Or don't" very good naturedly. I LOVED that. It was said with a sense of humor at a time when all of us were beyond exhausted. She didn't get frustrated with me that I completely and utterly ignored her instructions...And I had an amazing and beautiful son.

17. Since your birth, have you done any activism to support midwifery in the US? What have you done? Not particularly. I have forwarded information on to people I know about the birth survey and told as many people I can about my experience. I've also recommended the Business of Being Born to friends of mine. But that is about it. I'd love to do more.

18. Anything else you want to say about choosing, finding or working with a midwife? Just that it was best decision I made regarding my birthing experience. I'm fairly positive I would have ended up with a c-section if I'd had my son at the hospital I was originally planning on. Instead I had amazing natural birth that was good for both my son and I.
1. Name You’d Like Used in the Book : Anisa
2. Children
A. Hospital, OB , Vaginal Birth
B. Hospital, OB, Vaginal Birth
C. Hopsital, Mid-Wife and Waterbirth Birth!
3. Why did you choose the kind of midwife you chose : I have 3 children, 16 yr, 14 yr and 18 months. When we found out we were expecting my now 18 month old we were for a better word, SHOCKED! But having been around La Leche League for many years as well as just being older and knowing what options I had I wanted a very different experience. I chose to have a Waterbirth and was REALLY lucky to find my certified nurse- midwife on the internet with tons of experience and get to have the experience I always wanted!

4. Why did you choose to hire a midwife? After meeting with her I knew right away that she was going to be supportive, empathetic (being a mom) and warm! She made me comfortable. I have never had a "doctor" make me that comfortable.

5. I found her on the internet and she was close.
6. The advantages were that she listened to me. I never felt like any of my questions were stupid! She gave me personal attention and knew who I was!
7. none
8. Typical appt with her was weight check :( , measurments of my belly, discussion of any questions or concerns I may have. She also would listen to the baby's heart beat. All the EXACT same things an OB would do in an appt but with feeling!
9. She was amazing! During my last few months of labor I was having a lot of back pain, she showed me different positions to move in, ways to sit on my couch and in bed to help. As well as ways to position my body to help the baby get in the right position for birth. She also helped me after my daughter was born. My daughter was born with Jaundice. They wanted to keep her in the hospital but of course not me. Our hospital was about an hour from our home and I was exclusively nursing so keeping her was out of the question. The hospital was giving me a hard time and wouldn't help me find a company that I could rent a billi blanket from, MIDWIFE to the RESCUE!! My midwife's partner had just called me to see how everything went and I was telling her my situation and she so effortlessly said " Do u need a number of a company who will help?" she had the number in her phone and in minutes I was signing my discharge papers baby in hand!
10. I had my baby at a hospital that offered a birthing room with a big beautiful birthing tub! It was quiet, relaxing and just perfect!
11.No childbirth classes although my midwife and her associates offer classes free of charge once a month at their locations. The have what they call Birth Wisdom classes that topics range from Waterbirths to Breastfeeding and V-bacs !
12.No Doula, 3rd baby had husband and 2 older children to help!
13. She was very calming. I didn't think I was going to be able to really give birth without any meds and she reassurred me. She rubbed my back and feet when my husband was filling out papers or tending to my big kids. She rubbed my hips and rocked with me and my husband through EVERY contraction! She was amazing!
14. She checked me, asked if I had any questions and took pictures of my baby!
15. Nothing
16.I loved everything ! I wish I was better educated the first two times I was pregnant. I would have been with her every step of the way!
17. I am actively involved with LaLeche League. We have discussed the Business of Being Born many times with pregnant moms that attend our meetings.
I absolutely love that you are trying to get more info on midwifery out there so I would love to share my opinion and experiences.

1. Samantha
2. Child A - hospital w/OB, induced 3 weeks early, epi.; Child B - Free standing birthing clinic (Austin Area Birthing Center) with a midwife, natural, vaginal. Amazing experience!
4. I had the first at 19 yrs. old and didn't really know I had options. It was that thing where you've heard all your life that you get pregnant, go to the OB, go into labor, get hooked up to all sorts of things, epidural, and have a baby. That's how it's suppose to be done and always had be done. Or so I thought... After the first, I really got to know my MIL and my husband's aunts and found out that they all had they children at home with a midwife. I did my research and fell in love with the idea of a natural birth with a midwife.
9. I had preeclampsia (sp?) with the second and my midwife did everything she could think of to get my BP down. Drinking tinctures and taking herbs was unusual (to me at least - not something my previous OB would have ever done!). She was so patient and would take my BP several times during my prenatals. She'd have me drink tinctures, lay down and chill... I got really nervous about the high BP and she was always there to reassure me and give a hug.
12. My MIL use to be a labor and delivery doula. She was there and was so wonderful. I could lock onto her eyes through the really tough contractions and she would start to breathe and I would be able to just follow her.
13. She was very patient, gentle, encouraging. She didn't say much and she stayed out of the way unless I was asking for her. She did suggest different positions and did a great job easing the pain of back labor by pressing down hard on my lower back. My hubby was afraid to push too hard, but she wasn't, lol, and it was sweet relief.
1. Angela

2. Child A: Home, CPM, water birth
Child B: Due mid-August, intention: home, CPM, water birth

3. I am 'lucky' enough to live in IL, where CPM/lay midwivery is not a licensed profession. With quite a bit of effort, I was able to find a CPM in the area who was willing to assist in my home delivery. CNM's only deliver in hospital or birthing centers.

4. As a chiropractic physician, I have a strong background in conservative healthcare...I wanted a birth that was a free from unnecessary interventions. I felt that this would be easiest in a home environment, as there are no birthing centers reasonably close to my home, and the hospital environment seemed to pose certain pressures....I really had no interest in a hospital birth; obviously, had it been necessary, I would have had no problem transporting to the hospital.

5. I really had to dig...I didn't realize how complicated the situation is in IL until I was actually looking for my midwife. The midwife that I chose is well-known and active in midwivery community. As far as questions, my husband had a lot more than I did (he was a little more nervous about the home birth than I was; he has a daughter but it was a hospital birth in every way)...But basically things like how many births has she attended, what if something goes wrong, how often has she had to transport to the hospital...etc!

6. The birth was basically just my husband and I....we were in charge...the midwife was there to monitor the baby's heart rate intermittently, and to make sure things were going as they should. I think my husband was sold on the idea of homebirth when he 'delivered' our daughter.

7. What disadvantages!!?? Nothing with the midwife...the only disadvantage was more of an issue with where we live...if we did have to transport, the nearest hospital was a bit of a drive!

8. I went to her home for most of the prenatal appointments. I would use a dipstick to check for protein or glucose in my urine. She would take a basic history (how are things going, any questions), my vitals, baby's heart rate, and fundus height. She would also palpate the position of the baby as it grew. She would also inform me of tests, etc, that would be done along the way in a more traditional hospital birth and why, so I could make informed decisions.

9. The one thing was more of a postpartum thing; olive oil to baby's bum with each diaper change; it made meconium clean-up SO much easier! (I know, I forgot...but only once!) Funny that this is the biggest thing standing out to me...there was a lot of advice throughout the labor and birth process, but this was something I never would have thought of, and I had never heard! I also felt that her newborn exam was very thorough...I only mention this because when I took her to the pediatrician, despite bringing a copy of the midwife's exam and findings, they acted as if she hadn't even been looked at yet...all those 'bad mommy' vibes I was catching!!

10. She was born at home; we have a small house, but our downstairs bathroom is quite large, so we were able to set the pool up in there. My parents and grandmother were there, although only my mom stepped into the bathroom from time to time. The rest stayed in the dining room. My 8 year old stepdaughter was also there and was very helpful, bringing me whatever I needed (mostly gatorade!) so my husband didn't have to leave my side! She tried so hard to stay awake, but the baby wasn't born until 5:25am...she fell asleep shortly before the birth! Absolutely loved the setting...like I said, it was basically my husband and I the whole time! Then after the birth, I sat in the easy chair, munching on some grapes while the midwife did the newborn exam and my postpartum exam...my husband went out to get everyone some breakfast...it was just so comfortable, warm, relaxed!!

11. I took a Bradley class. My midwife had recommended it, but it was the birthing class that I had wanted to take anyway! I enjoyed the class, learned quite a bit about relaxation, which is not exactly my strong point!!

12. No, I had a couple of offers, but I kinda wanted to enjoy this birth as just my husband and I...I felt like adding someone else into the birthing room would have just been crowded. I thought long and hard about it though, because I really like to idea of a doula.

13. She was there for reassurance and to monitor vitals...but one of the best things she did, I think, was that she let my husband and I take charge of the birth of our child!

14. She took a brief history, checked my vitals again (I believe!), I also had a small, strange 'tear' that she checked on.

15. I just wish I could have figured out the pushing stage earlier!

16. Just the fact that she was willing to do the homebirth for me...meant a lot!

17. I've tried to help where I can...I have tried to make the trip down to Springfield a couple of times, but with everything I had going on, it fell through....I have, however, kept in contact with my representative to try to secure his support for the homebirth legislation. I am also working on raising money to help pay for the legal costs incurred while trying to get legislation passed.

18. Do your research!
what a great idea for a book! i am happy to participate.

1. Stephanie
2. Child A - At home with midwife, vaginal birth
Child B -Hospital with a midwife, vaginal birth
3.My first midwife i chose because she only lived a few blocks away from me and several of my girlfriends had used her.
4. I chose a midwife for my first birth because i intuitively knew that a home birth was what i wanted and that was that. when i became pregnant a second time, we needed to go through our insurance and that's when i found out about the midwives at ucla. i was thrilled to find them!
5.My first birth i had no idea what i was doing, i mean choosing a midwife because she lived close to me? in hindsight that was just crazy.
6.i trusted my midwives completely to give me the care i needed and to alert me if there was a problem. i did not see an OB in either one of my pregnancies or births (2). plus, with the first birth the fact that she had been practicing for almost 30 years was impressive to me. it ultimately turned out that we felt she may have been burned out by all those years of birthing babies, as she was little unconscious a couple of times during my birth. more about that later.
7.i saw no disadvantages.
8. go to the bathroom and get a urine sample, chat first, share about what's up with my body, like things like getting constipated, anemia/iron intake etc. then we would weigh me, measure my belly, she would check the babies position and we would listen to babies heart beat. and then i would pay her.
9.yes, with my second birth i wanted to know why do some women tear and not tear, and if i would tear or not and i was told that there are no guarantees, some skin stretches and some skin tears.
10. my first birth was at home in my bed, moving back and forth between the toilet to labor and my bed. the room was dimly lit. the second birth was at the labor and delivery room at ucla westwood hospital and again, the room was dimly lit. what i liked about my birth at home was the comfort of being home. what i disliked was my midwife and my sister talking at the foot of my bed when in retrospect i would have loved to have been alone with a doula, which i didn't know to hire back then. a doula did show up in the form of a woman training to be a midwive's assistant. she was fantastic and everything i had hoped my midwife would be; tuning in to me, holding my hand, talking me through the experience of transition and ultimately supporting me in birthing my boy. what i liked about my second birth was how swift it was. i was dilated 7 cm when i arrived at the hospital. my midwife checked me in the triage room and then i wash ushered into a labor and delivery room where i sat and rocked in a rocking chair. i loved my doula, amanda. she worked with me doing breath work as the birth became near. she reminded me of my desire to have an ecstatic birth. it wasn't ecstatic but it was electrifying. i've never felt so alive as i did giving birth to my second son. what i didn't like at the hospital was the the fetal monitor - it was loud. the nurse was fine and the midwife was barely there because she was so busy with so many other births that day. as my boy's head started to crown i had to tell the doula, you better go get anne, because baby's coming! she made it, thank heavens, and was there to coach my husband in catching our little man, zephyr.
11. i took a childbirth class at my midwife's home. it was great, we bonded with other parents and learned about vaccination videos, pitfalls of pitocin etc. i loved it, but did not feel i needed a second one with my second pregnancy.
12.see question 10. i highly recommend using a doula, both times they totally helped my birth experience.
13.see question 10.
14. my postpartum visit with my first midwife was mostly social, as i recall. i think she needed to check on my stitches for my tear but i don't remember exactly. she also noticed my boy was a little jaundiced and so needed sunlight. i don't remember a postpartum visit with my second birth. i'm not sure if one happened or not. we saw a pediatrician i recall, but not my midwife.
15. well, yes, with the home birth we actually wrote a letter to the midwife, in as loving a way as possible. she just could have checked in with me a little bit more on several fronts. in checking my dilation at one point she told me what she was doing without waiting for my verbal or visual permission, i winced because i felt violated and my husband was furious. she also spent many hours talking about her university studies and at one point when she did check in with me and made eye contact, i told her i had no idea the labor would be so intense. what she said was 'ya, labor sucks' and walked away. it wasn't until her assistant arrived and proceeded to 'doula' me that i really understood how disconnected this midwife was from my experience. my husband's and my sense was that perhaps she had actually been practicing too long and was burned out. we said as much in our letter and wished her well with her other clients. we honestly hoped that she took our words to heart so that she would be a little more conscious with her other clients. she never contacted us again.
16. with the hospital midwife i was grateful that she was a wonderful advocate for us to go home that day. we were up against the head of pediatrics who wanted me to stay the night so baby could be checked the following morning and my husband and i were like 'NO WAY'. anne helped us out and we were out of the hospital within a matter of hours.
17. oh yes, my births changed my personal life and my professional life, i teach what i call sacred birth workshops to support folks in having the birth of their dreams. i tout the midwifery model of care as the best and have also started a sacred birth group on facebook which also touts the midwifery model of care. it is global. midwives deserve so much more attention and appreciation. i think midwives are amazing and am so grateful to have had them at my births.
18. i have a bunch of questions that i counsel my clients to ask midwives and doulas, but you'll have to check out my sacred birth workbook to find them and then credit me! go to www.stephaniedawn.com

peace and blessings and much success with your book!

stephaniedawn
I'd be happy to answer these for you...

1. Name You’d Like Used in the Book (first names only; you can use your actual first name or choose another one for better anonymity): Mara

2. Children (please state in what setting each child was born, practitioners involved, and means of birth); e.g., Child A: birthing center, nurse-midwife and OB, vaginal birth):

Child A: home, midwife and midwife in training present, natural vaginal birth - pushed for almost 3.5 hours due to my daughter crowning on the side of her head
Child B: still in the oven so to speak, but plan to have him/her at home as well
Child C:
Child D:

3. Why did you choose the kind of midwife you chose (Certified Nurse-Midwife, Certified Professional Midwife, Lay Midwife, etc.)? My husband and I chose our CPM because we felt at ease when we met her. I describe our midwife as "quietly confident". She had exactly the type of presence I felt could guide me through the most personal and powerful experiences I'll ever had. And since we wanted to birth at home, a CPM was what we needed.

4. Why did you choose to hire a midwife? Because we wanted a natural home birth. We believe birth is a natural process, not a medical diagnosis. Plus, I know I'm the type of person who could never be comfortable in a hospital and giving birth, you need to be at ease and as calm as possible. We wanted the transition from womb to earth to be as natural for our child as possible. And we also choose not to vaccinate, so this was another battle we didn't have to fight since we weren't in the hospital.

5. How did you find your midwife? Why did you choose that particular one? What kind of questions did you ask at your interview? What did you want most in a midwife you chose? We found our midwife through a birthing center in Menomonee Falls, WI (Well-Rounded Maternity Center) - they had a birthing options seminar and we met our midwife there. We wanted to know about her experience and training. I wanted to feel comfortable with our midwife and trust her completely.

6. What did you see as some of the advantages to working with your midwife? The time we spent together at each of our prenatals - she really knew me and all about my life.

7. What did you see as some of the disadvantages to working with your midwife? none

8. Describe a typical prenatal appointment with your midwife. Greet each other warmly, talk about day to day living, then she'll ask some questions and talk about how the pregnancy has been going. Our midwife will check blood pressure, my iron, my urine (actually I do the stick testing myself and let her know the results which I find kinda cool and empowering), weight, etc. But mostly it is talking about how I'm feeling, what I can be doing, etc. I look forward to these appts. And before we leave, we always hug:)

9. Was there any advice that your midwife gave you, or anything she helped you with, that was particularly helpful or unusual or thorough? Eating enough protein since it can help prevent preclampsia, getting lots of iron!! She is really helpful this time around since I got pregnant just 3 months after giving birth (oops!)

10. Where did you have your baby? Please describe a bit about what the setting was like. What did you like or dislike about that setting? We gave birth at home and I birthed in our living room, bathroom, and eventually gave birth in our bedroom. I loved being at home! I was able to get outside and walk to help my labor along and move around/listen to headphones, etc.

11. Did you take a childbirth class? What kind? Did your midwife recommend it? What did you think about it? We took a Bradley method class and loved it. It was very intimate and informative...much more so than a weekend Lamaze class (this was 8wks)

12. Did you have a doula at your birth? Why or why not? No, didn't feel it was necessary

13. What was your midwife like at your birth? What did she do that was most helpful? Least helpful? Wonderful, helpful when we needed it but mostly let my husband and I do what we needed to do to move things along. She was encouraging and supportive.

14. Describe a typical postpartum visit with your midwife. She came to the house twice after I gave birth and checked up on me. That was wonderful since I was very sore and got depressed shortly after - it was nice not to have to go anywhere. And I spoke to her over the phone a lot when dealing with some PPD.

15. Is there anything you wish you’d done differently, or said, to your midwife? Just wish it could have gone a little faster:) Also want to prepare more with meditation this time since I got fearful during labor and pushing. I didn't want to fear it but I was unprepared for the intensity and pain!

16. Is there anything you particularly loved or were grateful for about your midwife? I love my midwife. I feel like we are good friends. I was very fortunate to be able to call and talk and cry to her in those really tough weeks after giving birth. Our daughter was very fussy and I was depressed. Having her was a lifesaver.

17. Since your birth, have you done any activism to support midwifery in the US? What have you done? Mostly just talking about my birthing experience. Would like to get more involved.

18. Anything else you want to say about choosing, finding or working with a midwife?
Hats off to you for doing this. Here you go!!!

1. Name You’d Like Used in the Book:April
2. Children
Child A: Hospital with OB
Child B: Birth Ceneter with midwife CNM
Child C: Birth Center with Midwife CNM
Child D: Hospital with Ob
Child E: Due in 7 weeks, hospital with OB

3. Why did you choose the kind of midwife you chose (Certified Nurse-Midwife, Certified Professional Midwife, Lay Midwife, etc.)? That is who worked the BC

4. Why did you choose to hire a midwife? I had a HORRIBLE first birth with an OB. Three broken ribs and a fourth degree lac.

5. How did you find your midwife? Why did you choose that particular one? What kind of questions did you ask at your interview? What did you want most in a midwife you chose? I found the Bc online. It was the closest to where I live in AL which midwives are "illegal". I had to cross state lines. I asked about experience, money, birthing options, people invloved in the birth, hours, etc.

6. What did you see as some of the advantages to working with your midwife?
Very personal. Apts were atleast an hour long and she knew everyones name. not just mine. She taught me how to trust my body

7. What did you see as some of the disadvantages to working with your midwife?
- Long haul to the BC, sometimes she was TOO laid back for me

8. Describe a typical prenatal appointment with your midwife.
- Talking about last few weeks, fears of birth, vitals check, concerns, questions, what to expect next time

9. Was there any advice that your midwife gave you, or anything she helped you with, that was particularly helpful or unusual or thorough? She used herbs for everything. No meds were ever given during pregnancy and she directed me towards a waterbirth to help with tearing

10. Where did you have your baby? Please describe a bit about what the setting was like. What did you like or dislike about that setting?
It was like a home room. I had waterbirths in large spa tubs with just candles lit and after the birth I went to a full size bed and slept with my baby and husband, although the medical stuff was there, it was locked away and not seen

11. Did you take a childbirth class? What kind? Did your midwife recommend it? What did you think about it?
No I teach the classes
12. Did you have a doula at your birth? Why or why not?
OH YES, Doulas rocka dn are very effective at births. I never have a baby without one

13. What was your midwife like at your birth? What did she do that was most helpful? Least helpful?
Very handsoff. just let me labor and checked on baby every once in a while. After wards she cheered me on

14. Describe a typical postpartum visit with your midwife.
Vitals, recap of birth, oooo... over the baby and questions

15. Is there anything you wish you’d done differently, or said, to your midwife?
nope

16. Is there anything you particularly loved or were grateful for about your midwife?

17. Since your birth, have you done any activism to support midwifery in the US? What have you done?
-joined groups and been to state capital to back turn the midwifery laws in Alabama

18. Anything else you want to say about choosing, finding or working with a midwife?
- choose carfeully someone with experience. There are TOO many internet midwifes that are not practicing safe midwifery skills. PLEASE be careful when choosing a care provider
I would be proud to participate.
1. Name You’d Like Used in the Book (first names only; you can use your actual first name or choose another one for better anonymity): Victoria J. Leone

2. Children (please state in what setting each child was born, practitioners involved, and means of birth); e.g., Child A: birthing center, nurse-midwife and OB, vaginal birth):

Child A: Jade- Birth Center, 3 midwives involved
Child B:
Child C:
Child D:

3. Why did you choose the kind of midwife you chose (Certified Nurse-Midwife, Certified Professional Midwife, Lay Midwife, etc.)? I wanted to birth at the birth center and didn't have a choice of what kind of midwives they were, at the time, I didn't really know the difference.

4. Why did you choose to hire a midwife?
Because to have the kind of birth I wanted, a water birth, I wanted someone who knew what they were doing and would let me birth the way I wanted, that did not include an OB in my case.

5. How did you find your midwife? Why did you choose that particular one? What kind of questions did you ask at your interview? What did you want most in a midwife you chose?
I searched for birth centers in my area (San Diego) and found only one certified so I went with that one. I didn't really have an interview, I did go for a tour and I asked a lot of questions about their practices etc. I most wanted a midwive/birth center that would let me birth how I wanted without interfering too much.

6. What did you see as some of the advantages to working with your midwife?
I could birth MY way as long as I wanted, she/they were caring, calm, knowledgeable and let my husband and I take control of our birth.

7. What did you see as some of the disadvantages to working with your midwife?
The only disadvantage I feel was that since I was at a birth center we had to drive whilst I was in labor and after I gave birth which was very uncomfortable.

8. Describe a typical prenatal appointment with your midwife.
Unfortunately I would have to wait 30 mins to an hour for my appointments because they were always running late. I think they need to expand but lack funds. I would check my own urine and weight and tell the midwive on duty, she would check fetal heart rate with a doppler, ask how I was feeling, check fundal height, note everything down and ask if I had any questions.

9. Was there any advice that your midwife gave you, or anything she helped you with, that was particularly helpful or unusual or thorough?
They gave me plenty of information on birthing classes that they held, I never went to any though, it wasn't our thing. The midwive I had for my labor was a redhead and so am I and she told me throughout my labor that I would have an easy, short labor compared to most, and I did!

10. Where did you have your baby? Please describe a bit about what the setting was like. What did you like or dislike about that setting?
In one of the tubs in the birthing center. It was the en-suite bathroom so it was a large tub, they lit candles and kept the room dark and quiet. It was extremely peaceful and I kept falling asleep in between contactions. I loved the setting, I just wish it was in my house so I didn't have to drive home!

11. Did you take a childbirth class? What kind? Did your midwife recommend it? What did you think about it?
The birth center and midwives recommended birthing classes all the time but I went to one free one at a hospital and hated it. I read The Bradley Method of Childbirth and so did my husband and I read numerous articles and information online.

12. Did you have a doula at your birth? Why or why not?
I did not. I did not feel I needed one because I had a midwife, her assistant(s) and my husband, that was more than enough support for me!

13. What was your midwife like at your birth? What did she do that was most helpful? Least helpful?
She was very helpful, patient, calming and informative. She gave me tips to encourage my labor along which was great. She had my husband cut the cord before it stopped pulsating I think which I regret. And they forgot to bring me my placenta at home so it was taken to be disposed of.

14. Describe a typical postpartum visit with your midwife.
I had two postpartum visits where she just checked the babies weight and height, helped with breastfeeding, answered any questions I had.

15. Is there anything you wish you’d done differently, or said, to your midwife?
I wish I would have made my post birth wishes more clear, like what to do with the cord, when to cut it, that I wanted to keep the placenta etc.

16. Is there anything you particularly loved or were grateful for about your midwife?
I loved the birth center, it was very comfortable and they really do care about each and every birth, they make each one special.

17. Since your birth, have you done any activism to support midwifery in the US? What have you done?
I would love to do more. I haven't found any was for me to participate. I now live in Guam on a Military base and there is not much out here. I did volunteer my Graphic Design services to The Business of Being Born and created some postcards for them and continue to stand by if they need my services again.

18. Anything else you want to say about choosing, finding or working with a midwife?
There is always a midwife in your area no matter where you live, it is worth every penny even if you have to pay out of pocket, the ensure that your baby comes into this world in the most peaceful way possible.
1. Name You’d Like Used in the Book (first names only; you can use your actual first name or choose another one for better anonymity):
Melanie

2. Children (please state in what setting each child was born, practitioners involved, and means of birth); e.g., Child A: birthing center, nurse-midwife and OB, vaginal birth):

Child A:
Miles. OB induced birth 4 days after due date because she determined "the head was too big". It was in a birthing center in a hospital. I was so naive, I thought the doctors and nurses knew everything, although I was nervous and felt like "something couldn't be right about forcing a baby before it's ready." It ended up being a horrible experience: excrutiating labor from the Pit, no-choice epidural, 4 hrs of pushing, forced birth via 3 vacuum-extracts, tearing so badly was I on bedrest with infections for a month after birth, trouble breastfeeding (but I stuck with it and ended up nursing exclusively!), and Miles had awful colic for 8 months...of which I am suspicious because of his traumatic birth. He still has sensory issues, at 2.5, and I'm still suspicious.

Child B:
Celene. Born vaginally at home with a lovely, well-experienced Certified Nurse Midwife. My husband and I were determined not have the same experience as our first birth. We got suprised with Celene's pregnancy when Miles was only 9 mo old, and I was so scared of repeating the same thing. I started reading books and researching online, and found too many parallels to my own experience. I knew there had to be something better out there. I tried to find different types of birthing clinics online. The closest midwife-run clinic was as 2 hr drive, so the lady in charge gave me Ginnie's number (who lived 45min drive away.) We fell immediately in love with her.

3. Why did you choose the kind of midwife you chose (Certified Nurse-Midwife, Certified Professional Midwife, Lay Midwife, etc.)?
She is the only one in the area, so there was no choice for us. Not that it would have made a difference for us because she is the local miracle woman. :)

4. Why did you choose to hire a midwife?
Because we couldn't imagine having the same birth experience as our first. I couldn't even bring myself to see an OB without extreme nerve reactions, and therefore didn't even make an appt until I was 5 mo along.

5. How did you find your midwife? Why did you choose that particular one? What kind of questions did you ask at your interview? What did you want most in a midwife you chose?
I got her name from the lady that runs the closest birthing clinic in our area. Turns out, she delivered many babies from our town and church group, and we knew many of those kids and parents personally. At our first interview, we had already made up our mind about using her services, so she did most of the asking. She wanted to make sure we were comfortable with this decision and ready to do it wholeheartedly. We had read many of Ida Gaskin's books, the book "Pushed", and others about international birthing. There was no way we were going with a medical birth after reading the amazingly beautiful experiences so many women have around the world. We couldn't wait to get started with Ginnie. One question we did ask is if she did waterbirths, which she did, so we were thrilled about that. The most thing we wanted in a midwife was someone who had the experience to calmly talk me and walk me through labor. I wanted someone who knew herbal and other natural calming techniques such as massage, heat vs ice, labor positions, aromatherapy...basically someone who would instictively know how to guide me through labor even if I couldn't verbalize what I needed. Ginnie was more than that.

6. What did you see as some of the advantages to working with your midwife?
EVERYTHING was an advantage with Ginnie. She was so calm and sweet, easy-going, and she always had plenty of time for us. She has so much experience, and we felt so taken care of. She would treat other things, like when Miles was sick she would offer herbs, and she helped me with water-retention. She guided us to the local organic food farm where we could get goat milk for Miles, who was allergic to cows milk. There are just so many great things about Ginnie.

7. What did you see as some of the disadvantages to working with your midwife?
Absolutely none.

8. Describe a typical prenatal appointment with your midwife.
If it was nice outside, she would guide us out on her covered stone patio which was draped with ivy and ferns, and serve us lemonade. She ask if we had questions about anything. She'd ask about the rest of the family, and play with Miles. Then would ask me to weigh myself and take a urine sample. I would tell her, and she would write them in her file. Then she would talk about the current objective of the visit (whether it was a diabetes test, etc.) and ask me to lay on the bed so she could measure, feel for the baby's position, and listen to heartbeat. The "baby room" was just inside the patio doors, and that's where she kept the bed, photos of the growing baby in the womb, all her equipment, and a library of books we were always welcome to.

9. Was there any advice that your midwife gave you, or anything she helped you with, that was particularly helpful or unusual or thorough?
Everything was wonderful. She always had herbal and vitamin treatments for everything under the sun, from muscle aches, headaches, nausea and heartburn, water retention, going too far over your due date, you name it. She would also tell me what I should eat (ex. watermelon to ease swelling) and shouldn't...and if I wanted sugar, to eat a protein first, so to slow the blood sugar high I would get from it. So knowledgable.

10. Where did you have your baby? Please describe a bit about what the setting was like. What did you like or dislike about that setting?
We had Celene at home in a small playroom just off the bathroom. It was decided I would camp there for a while because our bedroom and the bathroom are on different levels, and she didn't want me taking the stairs for a week or two. We just put a mattress on the floor. I wanted a waterbirth, but my labor was so fast (1 hr 45min!), they didn't have a chance to set it up. I started feeling ctx about 7am in the morning, so I took a bath with Miles to get him clean for church (it was Sunday.) By the time I got out, I could barely stand up, so I collapsed on the mattress because Ginnie wanted to check my progress. I was already 8cm, and pushed Celene out right there, a little while later. The location was fine...I would have had her anywhere and been happy. :)

11. Did you take a childbirth class? What kind? Did your midwife recommend it? What did you think about it?
We did through the hospital for Miles pregnancy. What a joke. With Celene's pregnancy, all we needed to know came directly from Ginnie.

12. Did you have a doula at your birth? Why or why not?
Ginnie brought along a girl who was training. She held my hand and showed me how to calm myself and open up to allow Celene out. I guess she acted as a doula, as well as Ginnie.

13. What was your midwife like at your birth? What did she do that was most helpful? Least helpful?
She was a calming, steady presence for me. I loved it. I loved when she massaged sections of my back or hip and told me to focus on those areas to give myself a break. She also knew just where to put heat to relax a strained muscle. I also loved her excitment afterwards when Celene came flying into her lap, and then tipped the scale at 10lbs!

14. Describe a typical postpartum visit with your midwife.
We would sit on the patio and she would rock Celene, touching her soft baby skin and enjoying her. She'd ask me about my physical health, mental health, how I was sleeping, how breastfeeding was going...and she would give lots of encourgement. She also helped with any issues, such as how my fast letdown was irritating Celene, and what methods would help her to cry less and sleep more. She also did my 6wk Pap.

15. Is there anything you wish you’d done differently, or said, to your midwife?
Absolutely nothing.

16. Is there anything you particularly loved or were grateful for about your midwife?
I think I explained most of that in the above answers.

17. Since your birth, have you done any activism to support midwifery in the US? What have you done?
I have talked to any receptive ear about Ginnie: men, women, young girls, grandmas, etc. I hope that they may relay the info to someone, and that it will help them. I try to tell the younger females that birth is the painful, scary experience that they have been told, but that it is beautiful, wonderful, amazing, and so very fulfilling. I have also joined this forum today, as well as ordered "The Business of Being Born." I'm trying to get my friends to watch it, but so far, they are all "stuck in their ways", and view me as a little bit of a "crazy hippie." LOL!

18. Anything else you want to say about choosing, finding or working with a midwife?
I would recommend every mother-to-be to please, please try to find a midwife, and at least meet her. You always have the option of a doctor/hospital, but just once, let your body (and your baby), do the talking!

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