My last pregnancy I could hardly wait to schedule my first appointment with my midwives at the Central Texas Birth Center. Having a natural, un-hospitalized birth was totally new and I was intrigued -no, I was giddy- to begin this adventure.
About four weeks ago I serendipitously bumped into my midwife, Salli, at the grocery store. “Come in as soon as you want! We can usually hear the heartbeat at about 10 weeks, but you are welcome to come in before then -bring Tennyson!”
I decided not to have an ultrasound, wanting to keep everything on the natural side, so I wasn’t in a rush this time. Waiting until 10 weeks, I could do that! (Me, one of the most impatient people on planet Earth.) Well, I managed it. And today I got to hear one of the sweetest, most amazing sounds in the world.
The difference between my OB/GYN+hospital births and the midwife+birth center/home birth experience is drastic. And the stark contrast just now hit me in reflection of today’s visit. Now, don’t get me wrong, I had the BEST OB/GYN and I love her dearly. She brought joy, energy and comfort to the process. But that is what it was -a process. Sitting in the waiting room for an average of 30-40 minutes, getting vitals checked by the (lovely) nurse, waiting again in the exam room, disrobed, for another 20-30 min. And then, a 15 min. check in with my doctor. Traditional, business-like, and I know probably one of the better experiences when you compare OB/GYNs.
With my midwives, I enter the birth center and am greeted by ALL the staff so warmly. My kids are invited to come and play with the toys and other kiddos there (some are the staff’s children, some are other expectant mothers’.) During my visit in the exam room my children are invited and encouraged to come and be part of the check up if they’d like. My midwife and her assistant check my vitals, go through some questions about the pregnancy so far and my current lifestyle/habits. We end up visiting for a good 20 minutes more, talking about life and families. When we finally wrap up, I feel completely at ease, have all my questions answered -no matter how trivial- and know that I am loved, valued and they are so excited to join me on this journey. And that’s the difference: A journey, not a process or a procedure.
I am so thrilled for next month’s visit, and the month after that, and so on. Because I am thrilled to be journeying with these women, to have them in my corner and to celebrate this new life together.