Let me say this: I’m not a hippie. I’m not “crunchy” or “granola” by any means. I’m not even a democrat. I’m just a girl who wanted more options and more control of my pregnancy, labor and birth. I didn’t want to be told what I had to do. I didn’t want unnecessary tests, treatments or medicines. However, I probably WILL get an epidural because I’m a big pansy and the idea of birthing a watermelon out of a size of a pea hole makes me want to curl up into the fetal position and sing ‘Jesus Loves Me’.
When people find out I’m pregnant their third or fourth question is usually “So, who’s your OB?”. When I tell them I have a midwife it’s as if the images of tree hugging, naked, long haired hippies birthing babies in corn fields pops through their eyeballs. They try to cover up their sense of pure shock and anxiety with a shocked, “Oh…so you’re having it at home?” When I reassure them that I will be having it at Vanderbilt Hospital with the midwives, they seem a little bit more at ease but images of hippies are still dancing around their head.
I’ve never been a big fan of doctors. I’m not sure why, maybe because my Mom doesn’t like them either. So when I found out I was pregnant it just didn’t seem natural to go with a normal OB. I read review after review of local OBs and I got a bad taste in my mouth. My husband and I became obsessed with obtaining information about everything pregnancy and baby. This led us to watch “The Business of Being Born”.
I totally got it because it affirmed my distrust of America’s health care system AND it gave me an avenue to pursue other options. Options that I could decide on. I could have birth on my terms, not on the terms and decisions of our health insurance or doctors. Birth didn’t have to automatically mean a dose of Pitocin to start birth unnaturally or unnecessary C-sections. Please understand that I know that there are times when intervention is needed but most of the time it isn’t needed because our bodies were MADE to do this. Most of these interventions are new (within the last 10-15 years) and the rate of maternal death rises EACH year. It’s ridiculously scary and unneeded. It says something when desolate and third world countries have better statistics than we (N. America) do. (seriously, watch the documentary.)
I quickly researched Tennessee’s options for birthing centers & midwifery programs and I was overwhelmed by the accolades for Vanderbilt’s Midwifery program. I was instantly sold and assured by the testimonials and amazing statistics they hold. My husband was a little apprehensive at first but once he did his own research he was totally on board! And for all the budget minded people, it’s a LOT cheaper than going through a regular OB. Win.
It’s a perfect middle ground for those who still have a hard time shaking the images of naked hippies birthing babies in corn fields. You have the best of both worlds. You receive spectacular, individualized, personal care and you have the safety of the hospital if God forbid, you have an emergency situation. You can labor how you wish- walk around, use a birth ball, shower and even soak in the jacuzzi tub to soothe your contractions all while you have the midwife there supporting and encouraging you through it all. No doctor just coming in to catch the baby and peacing out! I am so thankful for the program and the relationship Vanderbilt Hospital holds with the Midwifery program. It gives me hope for the mama’s and babies of America!