I had the pleasure of sitting with a friend for lunch after our prenatal appointment. Over the course of her last 2 pregnancies and the space in between we have become friends. I feel that, as a Certified Professional Midwife, I have the very unique opportunity to truly get to know a woman and her family as her pregnancy progresses and, most often, the relationship continues after the 6 week post partum visit.
As we sat in the country restaurant, one of many with a buffet in the town, we sipped our half cut sweet tea (and even that was too sweet for me) and nibbled on salad, macaroni and cheese, various cooked vegetables and fried items and talked. We had a real conversation between friends. Of course there was the occasional "midwifey" thing thrown in there as we ate said foods, but mostly it was very nice banter. We spoke of our children, friends, family activites and then it hit me (again for the millionth time) why I LOVE MY JOB.
When I was pregnant with my first child in 1995, I had to explain to the (different) provider at every appointment that I wanted a natural birth. I wanted a midwife (the large practice had 2 CNMs on staff at the time), and that I was planning on breastfeeding. Every time I went I repeated myself. Then, at the hopsital, I realized that my (handwritten, 3 times- this was 1995 remember) birth plan was not a shared document. The hospital staff and the prenatal staff didn't communicate, they just did their jobs without taking a moment to realize that I was a young, yet educated woman with an idea of how I wanted this to go. I felt that it didn't matter to them and sadly, 21 and a half years later, it hasn't changed tremendously. Sure there are a few hopsitals that will allow water birth, mom to labor without IVs or constant monitoring, but there is still that factor of not knowing who your actual birth team will be and largely the fact that interventions happen all too often because that is all that the staff knows. Not to mention the "see you in 6 weeks" talk at around 24-48 hours after the birth as opposed to the minimum of 4 post partum visits I make sure to have with my clients.
I chose this profession over the mainstream options in maternity care for this one of many reasons- to forge and foster relationships and trust with women during their pregnancies and to attend them throughout their birth, with the bonus of being a friend and a resource beyond the ever so fast 6 weeks after the birth. She doesn't get switched and swirled around an office full of providers not knowing who will be at her birth. I give her the time at each appointment and I am at her fingertips in between. I may have picked the job that some folks raise an eyebrow to, but I ask them have they ever experienced Tea time over Tee time.
This photo was taken at one of the post partum visits with the aforementioned client/friend. My teenage daughter (that is her in the black) went along for the ride and played, for a couple of hours, with the siblings after snuggling the new addition, of course. They even made a mini-film using light sabers! I think they would have kept her if I would have let them...