We’ve begun our biweekly group prenatal sessions at the birthing center. We are so happy with our decision to go with the midwife practice. The way that it works is this: our group is made up of all the folks at the center also due in March. We arrive at the center and head into one of the triage rooms to measure our own blood pressure and weight, and hand those numbers in to the nurse. Then we all meet in the conference room to talk about what is going on with us lately, hear the midwives and peer counselors talk on that week’s topics, or chat with special guests from outside organizations. During the session, a midwife will take each of us aside one by one to measure our bellies, listen to baby’s heartbeat, and chat about any issues we’d rather not discuss in the larger group. So it’s basically a medical checkup, group chat session, and birthing/parenting class one-stop-shop. Which means we don’t have to worry about finding/signing up for/paying for birthing classes or breastfeeding help. One less thing on the to-do list!
At our first session, we all got round name tags. After we’d written our names and gotten settled and ready to begin, our peer counseler said:
Take a look at your nametags. There’s a reason why the nametags here are round and not rectangles. The circle around your neck is exactly 10cm in diameter.
MAN. I remarked that it simultaneously seemed HUGE (that quarter in the picture is for scale) and TINY (baby’s head fits through THAT?). Crazy. At our first session we also spent a long time talking about prenatal nutrition, and snacked on yogurt and trail mix. And a representative from KidsSmiles came to teach us all about prenatal dental health (hint: you still need to go to the dentist, even if you’re pregnant). At our next session, we’ll be discussing exercise and relaxation techniques. And I’ll probably do my one-hour glucose test. Yuck.
One of the things I like best about our group is how diverse it is. There are some people who, like us, are looking for a low-intervention birth experience and a supportive community, and are lucky enough that we have a number of options from which to choose, and good health insurance. But this is a community birth center, and there are other members of our group who don’t have insurance, who maybe don’t have the kind of partner/family support that I have, who haven’t finished high school yet. I am so thankful that we both have this place available to us, where we can get the same level of care, and support each other.
With this practice, we’ll have the option of birthing at the birth center or at the local hospital (where all the midwives have full privileges). We can see the benefits of each of these options; right now we are leaning toward the hospital birth, since I believe that the midwives still have some flexibility in bending the usual hospital rules (we’ll probably be able to eat and drink during labor, labor standing up/moving around, won’t have any OBs trying to push interventions on us when we don’t absolutely need them). We’ll spend a lot of time in the prenatal sessions discussing the pros and cons of each choice so we can make an informed decision, though.
Right now, the most important thing is that the care we’ve gotten from our midwives has been 1 MILLION TIMES better than the care we got from our previous OB practice. No more of this. Hooray!