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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Ooops, made a mistake....here on number 17:

" I try to tell the younger females that birth ISN'T the painful, scary experience that they have been told..."
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):Jamie

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:hospital, doctors - there were several shift changes and a doula, vaginal birth
Child B:home, 2 midwives, vaginal birth


3. Why did you choose the kind of midwife you chose (Certified Nurse-Midwife, Certified Professional Midwife, Lay Midwife, etc.)? there is only one kind of midwife that I know of in Canada

4. Why did you choose to hire a midwife? I wanted care centred around me, I wanted people who trusted birth and I wanted to give birth at home.

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 in the phone book. I chose her because I felt very calm and safe with her and I trusted her not to take any chances. I asked her about her opinions on homebirth and what her "standard" practices at a birth were. What I wanted most in a midwife, was someone who trusted the process, but wasn't a vigilante about homebirth

6. What did you see as some of the advantages to working with your midwife? Her experience and her love of what she does.

7. What did you see as some of the disadvantages to working with your midwife?I really didn't see any. After this experience I recommended midwives to every pregnant woman I meet.

8. Describe a typical prenatal appointment with your midwife.45 mins long. Chatting about pregnancy and birth. Discussion about diet. Doing my own urine test and weight. Talking about my feelings. Checking baby's growth, position and heartbeat. Discussing standard procedures - the whys and the options.

9. Was there any advice that your midwife gave you, or anything she helped you with, that was particularly helpful or unusual or thorough? Her complete trust in the process of childbirth allowed me to get through a stalled labour without any interventions. Her trust in my body helped me to trust my own body.
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?I did not take childbirth classes and my midwife did not recommend them. I did however take one with a doula client and I think I would recommend them, but it would depend where and with what teacher

12. Did you have a doula at your birth? Why or why not?I had a doula at my first birth because I thought that it was an awesome concept- so awesome that I became one!! At my second birth I didn't because there were going to be two midwives there.

13. What was your midwife like at your birth? What did she do that was most helpful? Least helpful?My midwives were great at my birth. One of them even knew reiki which was amazing. The least helpfull thing that they did was tell my husband to get out of the way. I know that this isn't comomon practice, but I was upset when I found out (he told me afterwards). The most helpful thing that they did was get me to squat to push out my daughter, Her heartrate was dropping at the end and she needed to come out faster. It did the trick!

14. Describe a typical postpartum visit with your midwife.She would come over and we would sit and chat. She would check my stitches if I wanted and she would watch me breastfeed. She would weigh the baby and ask questions about wet and poopy diapers and whether I'd pooped yet. She stayed for at least and hour each time. She would also remind me to take it easy as much as possible

15. Is there anything you wish you’d done differently, or said, to your midwife? My birth with a midwife was the best birth experience that I could have hoped for.
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? I live in Canada, but I recommend midwives to every pregnant woman I see - and the non-pregnant ones too! As a doula, people often ask me about birth and the first thing I say is "'get a midwife!"

18. Anything else you want to say about choosing, finding or working with a midwife? Meet a few and find one that clicks with you, but please, PLEASE use a midwife. You will NOT be disappointed!!

Thank you so much!
1. Nicole

2.

Child A: Homebirth with independant midwife.
Child B: Planning a homebirth with same midwife for Sept/Oct 09
Child C:
Child D:

3. Here in Australia the choice is Independant midwife or lay midwife but there are only 2 independant midwives within an hour of where I live.

4. I wanted a homebirth and someone to support me to birth at my own pace without intervention in the comfort, familiarity and safety of my own environment.

5. On a website Midwives in Private Practice, as previous there are only 2 midwives in my area. I emailed and asked alot of questions and we seemed on the same page about birth.

6. Long appointments, someone who sees birth the same way as me, plenty of time to get to know each other.

7. Can't think of anything.

8. I would go to her place mostly and we would chat over a cuppa, discuss what I want for my birth, preparing for the baby, my husband, life in general. She would take my blood pressure, measure my uterus, listening to the babys heartbeat etc. Choose some books or DVD's on birth/parenting to borrow.

9. Lots of books and DVD's to borrow.

10. Home. Should have had a birth pool.

11. I did HypnoBirthing, midwife was happy with whatever I wanted to do. Also did basic antenatal with the midwife during our appointments.

12. No didnt know about them at the time.

13. Mainly left me alone.

14. Assiating with breastfeeding mostly, checking how we were doing. Weighing and measuring baby. (She is a maternal child health nurse as well)

15. Just had more support with HypnoBirthing from midwife and partner at the end of the birth.

16. Support when we transferred to hospial for a retained placenta and post partum hemorrhage, especially when the staff were not so nice to me at times.

17. Yes but only in Australia. Joined maternity coalition, promote homebirth.

18. If more women had 1 to 1 support from a known midwife birth would be safer and better for the majority of women and babies.
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):
Andrea

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):

Currently waiting to get pregnant after first miscarriage.

3. Why did you choose the kind of midwife you chose (Certified Nurse-Midwife, Certified Professional Midwife, Lay Midwife, etc.)?
My midwife is a direct entry midwife. She just happens to be a direct entry midwife.

4. Why did you choose to hire a midwife?
I always wanted to feel a connection with the person that would help me through this time of my life. You don't quite get that feeling with doctors. Also I want a natural birth without any unnecessary interventions.

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 on the Michigan Midwives Association's website. I spoke with two. Goldie was the one that came to my house just a few days after I discovered I was pregnant. Once meeting with her I knew this would be the person to help us through our future birth. I asked questions. I actually looked online for a guide of what questions to ask. But I felt in pretty good hands when most of my questions were answered before I even had to ask.

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?
Once I discovered I was no longer pregnant she jumped right into focusing on the future.

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!
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): Lisa

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: Mia, hospital, OB, vaginal birth, pitocin and apidural
Child B: Anna, homebirth, midwife, vaginal, drug-free, ecstatic 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.)? It didn't matter to me what kind of midwife she was. What mattered to me was that she was the "right" person, meaning she was the one I felt comfortable with. It was important that she had a good reputation and her other clients were happy with her. The amount of experience she had was also very important to me. I wanted a motherly, confident, and experienced midwife who would be accepting of my wishes.

4. Why did you choose to hire a midwife? I am not comfortable with unassisted delivery; I wanted a professional to help me have a baby at home.

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? Whenever I met a mom who had birthed at home, I would ask who her midwife was and what she thought of her. I joined online forums and did the same. Many names came up, but the name of my midwife came up most frequently and with very positive comments. Later on, I saw Jeanne speak on a panel of birth experts; it was then that I intuitively knew I wanted her. She was just the right person--the kind of person I wanted to care for me and be present for my birth. I did not interview her, rather I just let her tell me about herself and I told her about myself. I loved her right away and hired her without further ado. She was warm, caring, calm, confident, experienced, nurturing, and motherly.

6. What did you see as some of the advantages to working with your midwife? She was very respectful of what I wanted and answered questions openly and honestly. She was always available by phone. I saw her at every prenatal checkup and knew and trusted her well by the time of the birth.

7. What did you see as some of the disadvantages to working with your midwife? The long drive to her house was the only disadvantage.

8. Describe a typical prenatal appointment with your midwife. Jeanne would start each session by asking me the standard questions about how I was feeling, then felt my belly and listened to the baby with a fetoscope. I would also weigh myself and check my urine for protein and glucose and report the results to her. Then we would have informal chit chat where I could ask questions or talk about whatever I wanted. Our meetings were always very comfortable, laid-back, non-invasive, and pleasant. I looked forward to them.

9. Was there any advice that your midwife gave you, or anything she helped you with, that was particularly helpful or unusual or thorough? Every time I had a fear or concern, Jeanne would ease my mind and take away my worries. She was very comforting and helped me trust myself and my body. She told me throughout the pregnancy that I would have a quick and easy birth, and I believed her. I ended up having just that kind of birth.

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? Anna was born in our living room in a rented birthing tub. I labored in the living room in various positions, but mainly on a mattress on the floor. I was with my husband; my other daughter was sleeping. It was the most peaceful and perfect setting I could have wanted. It was intimate and private. I felt completely safe and free.

11. Did you take a childbirth class? What kind? Did your midwife recommend it? What did you think about it? Our midwife did not necessarily recommend it, but since we were interested, she was supportive. I think she knew we didn't "need" a childbirth class, but didn't want to hold us back. We ended up starting the Bradley Method series, but dropped out after a few sessions. The teacher catered the class toward first-time parents doing hospital births. Since we were second-timers doing a homebirth, it clearly was not for us. I also couldn't stand having homework and listening to someone lecturing--it was like being in school again and so not fun! I read the Bradley textbook instead and followed the recommendations for diet, exercise, and relaxation and found that very helpful. In terms of acquiring self-confidence, I kind of did that on my own by reading everything I could and by surrounding myself with supportive people, like my midwife, my husband, and my best friend.

12. Did you have a doula at your birth? Why or why not? No. I did consider this at the beginning, and after discussing it with my midwife I decided not to. There is so much talk about doulas and how they are almost necessary in order to have a natural birth. At a time, I felt like maybe I had to have one, too. I decided that I did not need an advocate (which is often the doula's job in the hospital setting) since I was going to be at home. Jeanne had an apprentice who would be at my birth, my husband would be there, and also my best friend. With all of these people present, I did not feel I needed more support. In the end this was the right decision for me. I ONLY wanted my husband's support and didn't want any of my attendants present until the very end! I am glad I trusted my intuition.

13. What was your midwife like at your birth? What did she do that was most helpful? Least helpful? She was wonderful. It was a comfort to have her there. She made it about 20 minutes before I started pushing and was very busy setting things up and getting ready. She was quiet and attentive, accommodating to everything I was doing. I did whatever I felt like doing, started pushing when I felt the urge, got into the tub when I wanted, and so forth. I never had an internal exam. Jeanne was right there the whole time, quietly doing her work. While pushing, she said some encouraging words and I think she did some perineal massage to help with the baby's crowning. She told me that I could feel the head if I wanted to, and I did, and this was very encouraging and helpful for me. At one point Jeanne asked me to spread my legs as far apart as I could (in a squat) but I just couldn't do it--it killed my pubic bone and felt all wrong. I guess that was the only thing she did or said that wasn't helpful, but after I said "I can't", I think she just let me do whatever I was doing without giving advice. A lot of that stage is a blur; I was so involved in my feelings and what I was going through that I was unaware of what everybody else was doing much of the time. When Anna was born, Jeanne put her on my chest and let me be with her. My daughter, Mia, checked to see what sex Anna was and made the announcement. It was special to discover that on our own. Anna was never poked or prodded, and was not held by anyone but me. Our space was respected. It was a sacred time, and I felt that everyone present was aware and respectful of that. Jeanne and her apprentice stayed with me for a few hours after the birth, monitoring and caring for me. I felt loved and respected in a way I have never felt before.

14. Describe a typical postpartum visit with your midwife. Wonderful. I could have had 50 more postpartum visits with Jeanne! I love being in her presence and having her care for me. Jeanne puts me at ease and has such an expert wisdom. She is open and honest about herself and has great stories to tell. I love asking her about the births she's attended and hearing about them. I felt I had a real relationship with Jeanne and knew her as a person. I felt that we had a mutual respect. Our visits were casual. Jeanne would do the standard medical checks and ask me the usual questions, and then we would chat a little. She always gives me a hug when I/she leaves, and I love that!

15. Is there anything you wish you’d done differently, or said, to your midwife? If I could better express my appreciation for her I would have done that.

16. Is there anything you particularly loved or were grateful for about your midwife? I love who she is as a person--her whole personality and aura. I love how casual everything was and that there were no formal forms to fill out and the payment schedule was up to us. The visits were in her home, which was always very welcoming and comfortable. Nothing formal happened at all, and I loved that. That made it feel human and real.

17. Since your birth, have you done any activism to support midwifery in the US? What have you done? Gosh no! I can hardly find time to bathe. I do believe that every woman who hires a midwife is an activist by example, though. Everyone I know is aware of my views on midwifery and why I chose a midwife-attended homebirth. They know how ecstatic I feel about my experience and how sad I was when my last postpartum visit was over. I've set an example that could potentially influence another woman. One person at a time. Eventually, the positive attitude about birth and midwifery could spread to pandemic proportions.

18. Anything else you want to say about choosing, finding or working with a midwife? Everyone has different needs and desires for their births and attendants. Know exactly what you want and who you want present and settle for nothing less. Choose the person you feel right about; don't choose someone based on price or proximity to your home or peer pressure. Choose the location you want and find a way to make it work. You are going to have a life-altering experience, and you will want only the "right" people present and you will want to be in the place you feel most safe. Be selfish and it will be wonderful.
1. Carmen Rojas

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: Faith Edwards midwife at a birthing center
Child B:
Child C:
Child D:

3. I meet her and from the first time we spoke I knew she was the one I wanted to care for me and my daughter.

4. Why did you choose to hire a midwife? I was with an ob at Mercy Hospital Dr. Albert and did not feel like he got to know me or gave me time to ask questions. When I did ask questions I got the look like he wasnt in the mood to talk. I would wait for a long time to be seen then get less than 5 minutes with the ob.

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 her when she sent me a postcard about her office I called and went to go meet her the next day I felt safe and informed. I asked her all about what she thought told her about my history and wanted to make sure she would be able to give me that more one on one time that I did not get from an ob. I wanted my midwife to be open to work with anything I might want but also give me her opinion when I needed it. I also wanted to be able to ask questions and get answers and not the run around.

6. What did you see as some of the advantages to working with your midwife? Everything about working with her was great!! I got the time and support I needed and made a friendship.

7. What did you see as some of the disadvantages to working with your midwife? I can't say I found any.

8. Describe a typical prenatal appointment with your midwife. I would get to the office and go right in we would check the heatbeat on the baby, measure my belly, weigh myself, check my protein but at the same time talk about how I was feeling any questions I had and my appointments would be about 30 minutes to an hour.

9. Was there any advice that your midwife gave you, or anything she helped you with, that was particularly helpful or unusual or thorough? Yes, I had low iron and she helped me get it higher within normal range

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 daighter at M.O.M Maternity Center I was in a room that was dimmed out I had both a bed and tub. I liked that my family was there and it was very relaxing.

11. Did you take a childbirth class? What kind? Did your midwife recommend it? What did you think about it? My midwife did a class with me and everyone who wanted to attend the birth. It was nice because it was a small group.

12. Did you have a doula at your birth? Why or why not? Yes, she was amazing with me and talked me though everything. I meet her on a meetup group called the Natural Mamas.

13. What was your midwife like at your birth? What did she do that was most helpful? Least helpful? She was very relaxed helping stay warm in the tub while I was having contractions. She also let me take my time after the baby was born when I was having a little trouble get my placenta out.

14. Describe a typical postpartum visit with your midwife. I have not gone yet my daughter is 3 weeks old.

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? EVERYTHING!! She was there when I called her during and after my pregnancy. Even on those late nights when I thought my water broke but hadn't. I not only have my midwife for all of my next births but also a new and amaxing friend.

17. Since your birth, have you done any activism to support midwifery in the US? What have you done? I have joined as many groups as I could find, signed peitions, donated money and attending fundraising events I am also part of a group of amazing midwifes, doulas and mamas who are trying to put together a brochure with information on birth options women have here in miami. My doula has also started a non profit organization called birthgirlz.com with information for women.

18. Anything else you want to say about choosing, finding or working with a midwife? My midwife Daymarys DelCastillo was amazing my doula Michelle Fonte and all the women I have met have opened my eye's to all my options from birthing to breastfeeding and beyond. I am 21 years old and have learned more than the average person my age.

Thank you for the time and I really hope you find this information usefull.

Carmen Rojas
Faithsmommy2009@hotmail.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): Erin Tidwell

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: Hospital birth with a midwife (CNM), unmedicated vaginal birth
Child B: due in October - planning a birth center birth with a CPM/CNM team

3. Why did you choose the kind of midwife you chose (Certified Nurse-Midwife, Certified Professional Midwife, Lay Midwife, etc.)? With my first birth, I didn't really know what the difference was and picked my midwives (a group of 4) because they had been recommended and I liked the midwife I met on a meet-and-greet. For my second birth, I looked hard for a CNM who would deliver at the birth center, because I want a birth center waterbirth but I had hyperemesis in my first pregnancy and had a lot of prescriptions to be managed. My insurance company wouldn't give me more than 4 days of Zofran at a time and it was a real prescription PITA.

4. Why did you choose to hire a midwife? Because I wanted a natural vaginal birth and I believed I would be more likely to achieve that with 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?
My best friend, who gave birth to her first child around the time I got pregnant, was seeing a group of midwives and recommended them to me.

6. What did you see as some of the advantages to working with your midwife? Less rushed appointments, a more natural-minded view of birth, lower intervention and c-section rate; but with my first birth I also wanted the safety net of a hospital.

7. What did you see as some of the disadvantages to working with your midwife? It turned out that I really didn't like one of the 4 midwives on the team! She just rubbed me the wrong way.

8. Describe a typical prenatal appointment with your midwife. Pee in a cup for the nurse, then go into the consultation room and chat with the midwife, discuss any test results, discuss my perpetual nausea and weight gain issues (didn't gain any until 25 weeks), listen to the heartbeat, measure the belly...

9. Was there any advice that your midwife gave you, or anything she helped you with, that was particularly helpful or unusual or thorough? I've never seen an OB for pregnancy so I can't really compare.

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 Evergreen Hospital in Kirkland, WA -- a certified baby-friendly hospital. I felt like the hospital was really a fine place to give birth, their policies were pretty relaxed and the nurses I interacted with were respectful. My only complain was that I wasn't allowed to waterbirth, and when it came time to push, I reaaaally didn't want to get out of the bathtub!

11. Did you take a childbirth class? What kind? Did your midwife recommend it? What did you think about it?
Yes, my husband and I took a ton of classes! We went to a childbirth class (it was decent, they actually talked about pros and cons of medication and showed 3 birth videos -- epidural, natural, and c-section). We also went to a newborn care class, breastfeeding class, and a postpartum care class. They were all relatively useful.

12. Did you have a doula at your birth? Why or why not?
Yes. At first I wanted one to buffer me in case the midwife I didn't like was the one on call when iI went into labor, and also because I felt like I would want extra support at home so we could stay home as long as possible. I was afraid I wouldn't know when it was time to go to the hospital. She was awesome and really helped me out. I really zoned out completely during labor and I was glad she was around to make helpful suggestions because I never would've thought of anything myself.

13. What was your midwife like at your birth? What did she do that was most helpful? Least helpful?
My midwife was great. She stayed out of the way and let my doula do her stuff, but she was always present when I wanted something from her. She was respectful of my desire for a natural birth and at the end, when I had decided I needed the epi (transition talkiing!) she bargained me out of it.

14. Describe a typical postpartum visit with your midwife.
I really can't remember! The first postpartum visit (at 5 days) was with an RN in the postpartum & breastfeeding center at the hospital, not with my midwife. Then I went in at about 2 weeks to talk to a midwife about PPD.

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? I am very grateful to the midwife who attended my daughter's birth because she was respectful and really supportive. And I am also very grateful to the midwife I saw at 2 weeks postpartum about PPD -- she was so supportive and caring, her attitude alone was really helpful.

17. Since your birth, have you done any activism to support midwifery in the US? What have you done?
I'm not sure about activism, but I have posted a lot of pro-midwife stuff in my blog and recommended both my midwives and doula to others.

18. Anything else you want to say about choosing, finding or working with a midwife?
I would highly recommend a midwife for most women. My experience was spectacular. I felt empowered by my birth experience and often tell people it was the best part of pregnancy. (I spent the other 9 months barfing... labor was seriously way better!)
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):
Beth

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 Birth, OB Physician Attended, Vaginal Birth, 1978
Child B: Home Birth, Midwife Attended, Vaginal Birth, 1981
Child C:
Child D:

3. Why did you choose the kind of midwife you chose (Certified Nurse-Midwife, Certified Professional Midwife, Lay Midwife, etc.)?
Referred through Home Birth Society associated at that time with Le Leche League.

4. Why did you choose to hire a midwife?
Wanted to birth at home. Husband Chiropractic Physician also attended. Did not want my children exposed to the germs, bacteria, etc., that can be present in the hospital environment. Wanted calm, positive, caring environment so went with midwife. No birthing centers at that time near me.

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?
Loved her from the start. As advised prior, found her through Home Birth Society.

6. What did you see as some of the advantages to working with your midwife?
She was loving, caring, and skilled.

7. What did you see as some of the disadvantages to working with your midwife?
No disadvantages.

8. Describe a typical prenatal appointment with your midwife.
Positive environment. She brought her children with her. Answered all my questions, and kept me up to date on my progress. Very relaxed and natural.

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 advised me on drinking natural teas, and nutritional information to help curb bleeding after the birth. She was very nutritionally educated.

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?
Babies both born in the home in the bedroom. Dimmed lighting, not water births, very relaxed atmosphere. Minimal trauma to child at birth. No bright lights, no loud unfamiliar voices. Could have anyone present that I wanted. Shared my experiences with those females who had never gotten to witness a live birth.

11. Did you take a childbirth class? What kind? Did your midwife recommend it? What did you think about it?
Yes, took classes in CPR, Home Birth procedures and preparation, breast feeding, post-natal care, etc.

12. Did you have a doula at your birth? Why or why not?
No. Not aware that they existed at that time.
13. What was your midwife like at your birth? What did she do that was most helpful? Least helpful?
Midwife was wonderful. Like a professional and a good friend all rolled into one. Helped me with positioning to alleviate labor pain, and to help labor progress. Kept me informed and reassured.

14. Describe a typical postpartum visit with your midwife.
Very relaxed and informative.
15. Is there anything you wish you’d done differently, or said, to your midwife?
No, completely positive experience that I would not change for the world.

16. Is there anything you particularly loved or were grateful for about your midwife?
Just her overall presence and being. A wonderful and informed person. Very supportive.

17. Since your birth, have you done any activism to support midwifery in the US? What have you done?
No, I have not. I have had very positive home births. I took a lot of negative feedback from friends and family alike, which I ignored. Had I had more children, I would have done it again. I knew I did not want to birth children in a hospital. Hospitals are for sick people, and I was not sick. Birth is a natural process and I wanted a totally natural experience. In the late 70’s and early 80’s there was not a lot available in my area as far as birthing centers or natural settings.

18. Anything else you want to say about choosing, finding or working with a midwife?
I would advise it to anyone who does not have any complications or high-risk during pregnancy.
1.lorri
2. Child A-Aniya at birth center with midwife vaginal birth water birth
3. Certified nurse midwife- i felt at ease with knowing they had experience and was certified in this kind of practition
4. i liked the idea that anybody and everybody i wanted was able to be in the room with me and that i was getting one on one care with the nurse and midwife
5. i did a search online to see what places offered a water birth and found that there was only 1 place in all of san diego that offered it, and it was a birth center with CNM's
6. ease of knowing that i would meet every midwife there so that i would be comfortable with all of them at the time of my delivery and that they all knew everything that had happened in my pregnancy, being able to leave with my daughter 4 hours after delivery, knowing that my daughter would not leave the presence of me or my husband the time that we were at the birht center
7. i didnt see any disadvantages of working with a midwife if i did i would have chose to go somewhere else
8. they would check the circumference of my stomach to make sure the baby was growing accordingly, listen to baby's heartbeat, urinalysis, weight check, answer any questions and concerns i had
9. they all said to stay calm the entire labor process from time water broke to the time that my daughter was born and that helped i stayed at home for 3 hours after water breaking until i went to birth center and then my duaghter was born 2 hours later
10. she was born at the birth center in water (water birth) my husband and i were both in the bathroom with my nurse who did not leave my side at all i felt like i was in my own bedroom and bathroom at my own house
11. my midwife recommended we take classes but we didnt we decided to let nature take its course and we would handle it as it came afterall everyone tells you to listen to your body and thats what i did
12. i did not have a doula i felt that the help of my husband nurse and midwife i was able to be comforted enough with just them to me it was more physical and emotional
13 my midwife was awesome as was the nurse and my husband they all kept me calm and allowed me to do what i wanted and helped me when i needed it
14. we had a 2 day home visit when the nurse would come and examine myself and my daughter and answer any questions i had, a 1 week birth center visit when they let me nurse my daughter and helped me in areas they thought needed weighed my daughter, questioned me about any concerns i had and answered them
15. i wouldn't have done anything different
16. i loved the fact that my whole pregnancy i got to be comfortable with everyone there and they made me feel more like family than a patient
17. i joined my best birth and have told everyone i know that is pregnant or thinking of becoming pregnant to think about the birth center i went to
18. i think i have said everything i can about my midwife and delivery
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): Ashley

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: Hospital, CNM, vaginal birth
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 think CNMs are the only ones insurance covers or it's the type of certification my state requires.

4. Why did you choose to hire a midwife?
I was very displeased with the way my OB (who I saw up to 37 weeks) didn't take time to answer my questions and refused to let me birth as naturally as possible.

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 asked around and set a few appointments. I wanted to make sure she'd support my birth plan, specifically Hypnobirthing.

6. What did you see as some of the advantages to working with your midwife?
She took time to make me feel like a person instead of a number. She supported me in my wishes.

7. What did you see as some of the disadvantages to working with your midwife?
She wasn't the actual one that attended my birth and her partner refused to follow my birth plan. She is also very overbooked so you wait several months to get in to a non-pregnancy check-up (including post-partum) and days for a semi-emergency (mastitis, infections, etc). When you arrive for your appointment (no matter what time it is) you wait at least 1.5 hours. I waited over 3 hours one day just in the waiting room. Needless to say I'm finding a new midwife for my second child.

8. Describe a typical prenatal appointment with your midwife.
I started going at 37 weeks and was already dealing with preterm labor so she spent time addressing my questions, did an ultrasound at each appointment to take measurements, checked my cervix, spent some time answering more questions. She always made sure to slow down and make sure I didn't have 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?
In labor (so my midwive's partner) when I was getting ready to push we used a sheet to play "tug-of-war" to help me push because I ended up getting an epidural at the end.

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 a hospital. The rooms at the hospital are nice. They had little showers in the attached bathroom but the water was only hot for about 5 minutes. They had birthing balls and other equipment available. The particular hospital I was at had some really strict policies that REQUIRED an IV to be started and the line left in regardless of philosophical belief or your birth plan. They also wouldn't let me walk or be free as much as I wished. Now that I've gone through the experience once I feel more confident in voicing my opinion and going somewhere else.

11. Did you take a childbirth class? What kind? Did your midwife recommend it? What did you think about it?
I went to a young mother's class because it was free. I found out about Hypnobirthing at 35 weeks and read the book but wasn't able to attend a class since I was on bedrest.

12. Did you have a doula at your birth? Why or why not?
No. I didn't know much about doulas. In attending La Leche League meetings since my birth though I have learned the advantages and have already picked out my doula for next time.

13. What was your midwife like at your birth? What did she do that was most helpful? Least helpful?
My midwive's partner didn't show up until right before I started pushing. She didn't say much and didn't read my birthplan. After my son was born I didn't get to see him until he was over 5 minutes old because she didn't hold him up. He didn't have complications she just didn't care. I was hemorrhaging and asked to nurse my baby and they said he had to be cleaned up before I could even see or touch him at all and since I was hemorrhaging I couldn't (which I knew would have helped the problem). She simply just wouldn't look at my birth plan.
14. Describe a typical postpartum visit with your midwife.

15. Is there anything you wish you’d done differently, or said, to your midwife?
A lot! I know for next time to leave several copies of my birth plan by the door, have a different midwife, have a doula that can speak for me since no on listened to me. I also know next time what to expect in transition and to hold on a little longer instead of listening to everyone tell me to get an epidural.

16. Is there anything you particularly loved or were grateful for about your midwife?
She was encouraging while I was pushing and was really nice when she checked on me after I gave birth. I liked the idea of having the midwife because my OB had already said if my baby wasn't in the 100% perfect position she would do a c-section and she did episiotomies on every patient.

17. Since your birth, have you done any activism to support midwifery in the US? What have you done?
No

18. Anything else you want to say about choosing, finding or working with a midwife?
Get a lot of opinions from people. Ask people in your local La Leche League. I found their opinions and those in an attachment parenting group the most helpful. Be clear in your expectations for your birth and have someone voice them multiple times (every appointment, many times during your labor and birth).
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): Angela A.

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: Hospital, OB, natural/vaginal, no drugs, pitocin induced
Child B: Home birth, doctor and midwife, natural/vaginal
Child C: Home birth, midwife, natural/vaginal
Child D:

3. Why did you choose the kind of midwife you chose (Certified Nurse-Midwife, Certified Professional Midwife, Lay Midwife, etc.)? I knew from having a hospital birth that I never wanted to do that again. We went with our home birth doctor for our second birth and loved that birth. It gave us the courage to go with a midwife only for our third birth. Our home birth doctor stopped doing home births and so we really only had the option of a midwife or hospital, and as I said earlier, I'd never willingly do a hospital birth again.

4. Why did you choose to hire a midwife? I felt comfortable enough with my body to have a midwife assist. I love the power home birthing gave me and I loved the ease I felt at birthing in familiar surroundings.

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? It was actually quite a pain. In IL, it is illegal for a midwife (not a CNM) to do home births and if anything happens, she can be charged with a felony. Therefore, you can only find midwives, really, through referrals and word-of-mouth. This is how I found my midwife. We mainly asked how many births she has attended, which one she felt was her hardest, which was the easiest, most memorable, where she trained, who she trained with, how she feels about herbs and other natural forms of alternative health care, etc. I wasn't as concerned with total specifics as I was in my "feeling" about her.

6. What did you see as some of the advantages to working with your midwife? She gave me the control over my pregnancy and birth. She was my assistant, reassuring me that I was completely capable of having a safe and nuturing birth. She was there to encourage me, guide me, and assist me, but in the end...it was all me.

7. What did you see as some of the disadvantages to working with your midwife? None. I would do it again, in a heartbeat.

8. Describe a typical prenatal appointment with your midwife. Checking my urine, listening to my heartbeat and baby's heartbeat. Mainly the appointments were spent discussing how I was feeling, giving advice to ease discomforts, etc.

9. Was there any advice that your midwife gave you, or anything she helped you with, that was particularly helpful or unusual or thorough? When my baby was 37 weeks and he still hadn't flipped, I did everything I could to encourage him to flip, but she recommended Moxibustion and it worked like a charm. I also went into labor and it would keep stalling out. She recommended I get accupuncture, which I did, and a couple hours after that accupuncture session, I hit full blown labor and my son was born the following morning.

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 son in my living room. I have no dislikes about it. I loved that I had control over the lights, the sounds, the temperature. I liked that I could move freely (the constant walking helped me immensely), I liked that I could get into the shower or tub if I so felt inclined. I liked that I had access to everything that comforted me (my birthing ball, my blankets, my pillows, etc). I had free run of my house and I loved it.

11. Did you take a childbirth class? What kind? Did your midwife recommend it? What did you think about it? We did not take a childbirth class with my 3rd birth. We did take one (Bradley Method with Reiki) before the birth of my daughter (1st child). We just went over the sessions in our subsequent births. I really loved this method. It was a perfect fit for me.

12. Did you have a doula at your birth? Why or why not? I did not have a doula for any births. I was going to have a friend (who was training to be a doula) attend my 3rd birth, but it didn't work out that way. My husband was, basically, my doula for all of my births. He was so supportive, strong, and encouraging. I really don't think I would have been able to have the births I had without him standing by me. He was wonderful!

13. What was your midwife like at your birth? What did she do that was most helpful? Least helpful? She was great. She just melted into the background. She only spoke to me if she felt that she needed to (usually to give me a different position suggestion). She would come by every few minutes and just put the water straw in front of my face. Everything she did was as support and she did not act like she was taking charge.

14. Describe a typical postpartum visit with your midwife. She would come and check my son. She pressed on my abdomen to make sure my uterus was contracting/shrinking properly. She would sit and talk with me...she was really just great in all aspects.

15. Is there anything you wish you’d done differently, or said, to your midwife? No, I am a pretty straight forward person. I asked every question that came to mind, and the great thing about her is that she answered straight back. She didn't act like there were any stupid questions. She just gave the information willingly and lovingly.

16. Is there anything you particularly loved or were grateful for about your midwife? Everything. She is a wonderful woman who helps women have wonderful births.

17. Since your birth, have you done any activism to support midwifery in the US? What have you done? I support Citizens for Midwifery. As my children become a bit older, I will be moving into a lobbying role to help legalize CPMs in Illinois.

18. Anything else you want to say about choosing, finding or working with a midwife? It was, simply, the best decision I've ever made. I've never regretted it and I would totally choose to do it again.
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): Mary

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):

Birdie: At home, CPM, vaginal birth

3. Why did you choose the kind of midwife you chose (Certified Nurse-Midwife, Certified Professional Midwife, Lay Midwife, etc.)? I wanted to have a home birth right from the start. I knew I wanted someone there with experience so a CPM was my only choice. In our state CNMs don't attend homebirths.

4. Why did you choose to hire a midwife?
I wanted a vaginal birth. Our local hospitals have c-section rates of almost 40%. They have a bad habit of inducing first time moms before they are ready and then sectioning them for either fetal distress or failure to progress. I knew that the only way to make sure I wasn't herded under the knife for dubious reasons was to have a homebirth with 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?
We had very little choice around here. The midwife I chose was the ONLY midwife that travelled or did homebirths in our area. We had to drive two hours to find her. I first found her on the internet, then we corresponded by email until my first appointment with her at 12 weeks. For me, the fact that she would do a homebirth made her the midwife for us.

6. What did you see as some of the advantages to working with your midwife?
I felt much more comfortable in her care. My backup OB was always looking for pathology whereas she was more accepting of the variations of pregnancy. I was larger to begin with so my OB was always going on about obesity and pregnancy and how I would need to be induced or sectioned. She was more willing to work on my diet and exercise to help me attain my goal of a natural birth.

7. What did you see as some of the disadvantages to working with your midwife?
The main disadvantage was that I was always fighting the medical system. She required that I have a backup OB but it was very difficult finding a doctor that was supportive. There were bloodtests and sonograms that she couldn't order so I had to find a willing doctor. I ended up firing my backup at 37 weeks and having to find another. Thankfully I found one that was willing to see me if necessary.

8. Describe a typical prenatal appointment with your midwife.
We would arrive at her house and she would see us within about five minutes of our appointment time. I would go and test my own urine and record my weight. We would sit in the exam room (a really comfortable bedroom decorated in a seascape) and just visit about how things were going, how I felt, baby's movements etc. She would take my blood pressure and then have me lie down on the bed so she could get heart tones and assess the baby's position. After that we would visit some more about my diet, if I needed any more supplements, things I needed to do differently and the such. We would schedule the next appointment and we would be on our way. The visits usually took about 30-45 minutes.

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! I learned so much about nutrition, how the body uses the food we eat and how to make sure that I was doing the best I could for me and my baby. I always asked a million questions and she always answered every one.

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 home in my bedroom. We didn't do anything special for ambience. I labored all over the house: The living room, kitchen, bathroom (alot) and bedroom. I loved the fact that I was in my element and ther were no rules about what I could or couldn't do. When it came time for me to give birth the bedroom was a little crowded (three midwives, a husband, a best friend, me and the baby) but it was cozy. I wouldn't have changed anything.

11. Did you take a childbirth class? What kind? Did your midwife recommend it? What did you think about it?
My midwife had her own birth preparation classes. They were required for her first time clients. The classes were informative but a little more religiously based than what I would have preferred. Our midwife made no bones about the fact that she was a Christian based provider.

12. Did you have a doula at your birth? Why or why not?
My best friend acted as my doula. We thought long and hard about adding another person to the team. We weren't sure if we wanted to share our day with anyone besides us and the midwives. In the end she was invaluable. She was able to help me when my husband needed a break and was an extra set of hands for the midwives. We couldn't have done it without her.

13. What was your midwife like at your birth? What did she do that was most helpful? Least helpful?
My midwife was a bit like a drill sergeant. She knew what she was doing and there was little room for deviation. I wasn't particularly thrilled with her demeanor (she was a little rough at times) but it was all for a good cause. When I would get whiney (which I was) she would tell me to straighten up. She was the way she was because it was how she needed to be to get me through my birth. I would have liked more information from her at certain times, but now I'm not sure it would have helped or that I would have cared. Some women need a soft and caring provider, I wanted someone who would get me through a vaginal birth at home with no medication and thats what I got.

14. Describe a typical postpartum visit with your midwife.
It was very much the same as the prenatals except that she would examine the baby and go over various baby care subjects with us. The visits lasted about an hour.

15. Is there anything you wish you’d done differently, or said, to your midwife?
I wish I would have taken more time to research my backup OB. I thought that just having anyone to sign off on me would be enough but in fact you need to find something that really wants you to have the birth you're after. Otherwise they can end up being more of a hinderance than a help.

16. Is there anything you particularly loved or were grateful for about your midwife?
I'm glad that she was as tough on me as she was. If she wouldn't have been then I likely would have transferred to the hospital because I was tired and cranky. She recognized that and told me to tough it out. I had my baby less than 30 minutes later.

17. Since your birth, have you done any activism to support midwifery in the US? What have you done?
I blog about my experience and tell everyone I can about their options. I have written legislators and leaders.

18. Anything else you want to say about choosing, finding or working with a midwife?
Research your backup staff. They are just as important as finding a midwife you can work with and will support you in your goals.

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