On Birth

WARNING: I tried, but couldn’t cut a long story short. This is the long version. Also be aware that I am whinging and grumbling about somewhat insignificant things in the grand scheme of things and that while I usually try not to sweat the small stuff, right now I am a pregnant woman! Don’t mess with me!

Just returned from a midwife appointment this morning and feeling a little unsettled about how things are going. But first a bit of background.

Here in NZ expectant mothers choose a Lead Maternity Carer who takes care of them during the pregnancy, delivers the baby and also provides post-natal care. For the majority of women, a midwife takes the role of the LMC. There are a few GP’s who still deliver, but not many. For women with high risk pregnancies, or medical conditions they may choose an obstetrician to be their LMC. (Actually anyone can if you’re willing to pay for it….the government only pays for an Ob. if you need one.) All maternity care in the public system in NZ is free, including all the pre- and post-natal care, the delivery, and hospital stay.

Anyway….so I have a new midwife this time around. I was pretty happy with the midwife who delivered R2, but felt like she was a hospital midwife who delivered at home sometimes, and there were some aspects that felt rushed, and not as relaxed as I’d have liked. Maybe I’m being a bit picky, but this time I thought I would choose a midwife who prefers home birth deliveries, and has a home birth philosophy.

On the recommendation of a good friend, I phoned the lady who had delivered her last two children at home. I remember her saying “You’d like Debbie, when she came to our births, you hardly knew she was there” and that’s just what I wanted. Someone who was there in case we needed help, but not interfering or making a fuss. Unfortunatlely when I phoned I found out that the lovely Debbie is away overseas until mid January when I’m due, so I made an appointment with another midwife at the same practice.

To protect her identity, (because I’m about to have a rant about her hehehe) let’s call her A. I’ve seen her three times now. Once at 9 weeks pregnant, once at 15 weeks and now today at 21 weeks. At the very first appointment I raised with her that I had some questions surrounding the due date because an early scan caused some confusion and there seemed to be a discrepancy. I know that the best time to date a pregnancy is early so I raised it then in case she wanted to get another dating scan done to be sure. But, she told me that we should go by my dates (which were not certain but pretty sure as my cycles are regular) and that she didn’t place much too much credit on ultrasound scans. That was fine with me because I was sure they’d made a mistake. (It was impossible that first scan should say 5 weeks and second scan 18 days later showed 6weeks 4 days….the baby was/is fine, so one of the scans was clearly not accurate. I reckon it was the second one (which showed a heartbeat) and it was so quick….literally on the table for about 30 seconds and all round bad service – But that is another story!) We decided on an estimated date of delivery (EDD) of 17/1/10, based on my dates.

Anyway, all was fine and then I saw her again at 15 weeks and the first thing she said to be was “Now, I have received an ultrasound report for you and I have some concern about your due date.” I couldn’t believe what I was hearing after that was the exact issue we had discussed at our previous appointment and she said she wasn’t too concerned about scans! So we went over my dates again and she decided to go with the scan EDD which was quite a bit later at 28/1/10. (11 days from the other EDD) I didn’t really believe it was accurate, but I kinda went along, not wanting to be a trouble maker. I came home feeling frustrated because I felt like she hadn’t listened to me the first time, as well as being double minded about her own practice and which method of dating she had most confidence in.

So we had the anatomy scan last week and all is well so far which is something I am truly grateful for. Anyway….the sonographers measurements put me at 20 weeks and 4 days at the time of the scan (with a margin for error of 1week either way), which is exactly where I date the pregnancy and gives me the original due date of 17/1/10. So today at the appointment we go over the whole thing AGAIN! I tried to point out that it would be impossible for the second early scan to be correct because it would mean that I had a positive pregnancy test at 7 days after conception. Anyway…I told her I was more convinced of the earlier EDD and would prefer to go with that and I explained why. She got confused about whether we were counting from conception or last menstrual period and in the end asked me if I was a mathematician! I said no, but I wasn’t happy with an 11 day discrepancy in due dates as this could have ramifications if I am very overdue or if baby comes early and they don’t want me to birth at home. The atmosphere was slightly uncomfortable but I told her I was frustrated that there was this ongoing issue because I felt like she hadn’t listened to my concerns way back when I was 9 weeks pregnant, when we could have resolved it. She apologised and we moved on deciding to settle on the earlier date and to keep the second one in mind.

There are a few other minor concerns that added to this one make me uncomfortable with the idea of her attending the birth. I don’t feel like we have a good rapport, that she’s a bit scatterbrained and forgets stuff. (What if she forgets our discussion about not breaking my waters, or other interventions? I really won’t feel like discussing it again on the big day!) She hasn’t even listened to the fetal heart yet. It doesn’t bother me too much because I can feel baby moving around all the time and the scan last week showed a perfect little four chambered heart etc. but still….it makes me unsure of how confident she is at assessing a fetal heart beat?

So, it’s been bugging me for a while that I just don’t have confidence in this lady and this morning in the shower I gave myself and ultimatum…..if it doesn’t go well today then I’ll try to find another midwife. So… now I’m pretty sure I’ll have to try to find another one. It’s not going to be easy this far along….most midwives are booked up very quickly and people usually book a midwife as soon as you find out you’re pregnant. I will probably go back to try the lady who delivered R2 and hope she’ll have me.

But actually. I really don’t want anyone to do anything. I just want to be left alone and get on with it. Part of me wishes it was like the old days when the midwife was and aunty or sister or mother who had some experience. Not because I don’t value professional care, but because I want someone who know’s me and won’t try to speed things up just so they can get to their appointments on time. I would be quite happy for a midwife to come and just sit drinking tea in another room, check the fetal heart from time to time if I wanted it, and who could step in to help in case of trouble. I wonder if I’ll find anyone who agrees with me? I’m vaguely tempted to have an unassisted birth…????

OK. I’m done. Rant over. Now hubby won’t have to listen to it again ;) I feel better now.


7 thoughts on “On Birth

  1. I had an unassisted hb with #3 – hb bit was planned (first 2 were also hb) the unassisted bit was not planned but was awesome. happy to chat on email if you think it would be helpful. FWIW I think a homebirth midwifery practice is what you need. what you describe in you last p/graph is my #2 birth and I credit that to the m/w’s being focussed on hb rather than a midwife who will come to you at home. kwim.
    I also think you need to have 100% faith in your LMC – if you dont think she is the right one then maybe you need to have another look around x

  2. i’ve had 3 bubbas nearly-in-the-car on the way to the hosp and two at home.
    the last one, hubby and a friend “delivered” as he was in such a hurry to enter the world (55 mins from go to woah – took us completely by surprise).
    thinking about unassisted: have your other labours been uncomplicated? ikwym about the “hospital midwife variety” – kind of business-like and less in tune with mama. having said that, i have a friend (not near you soz) who is incredibly intuitive and is currently at a birthing centre.
    maybe the midwife who is away til jan would understand and recommend someone else (off the record)???
    as always, lots of swirling thoughts with moi.
    of course, as the birthing mama, the central thing is *your* happiness, *your* comfort.
    anyway – all is not lost – you may know someone who knows someone.
    sending sunshine thoughts to you babe X

  3. Although I’m not sure I’m brave enough to have a home birth, if that’s what you want, your wishes should absolutely come first. And having a midwife that you trust to carry out your wishes will absolutely make your birth experience better.

  4. I had the same experience as SweetP- my #2 was planned HB but ended up being unassisted since the midwife came late. But I was the one who kept telling her not to come yet, and she respected me which I am sooo grateful for- it was a wonderful experience! But back to your situation: I think SweetP said it very well, you really need to have complete confidence in your LMC/midwife. Can you keep her on as your person but sort of call around a bit to see if anyone else is available/willing to take over?

  5. Thanks all, SweetP. I will email you ;)
    I think I’ll keep her for now but see if I can find someone better. I love the idea of an unassisted birth, but not sure I’m comfortable with a planned unassisted birth. hehehhe….

  6. That’s it…I’m on my way! January in NZ here I come. I can sip tea on my own quite well and be in the background while you and Douglas deliver your sweet little child. Nope, no midwifery training for me, but something tells me I may be able to date an u/s AND check for a foetal heart rate A LOT better than this lady. I’m going to pray for you over this, because I am so passionate about what you are explaining and feeling.

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