On Saturday I went to an informal meeting at our local natural birthing resource – Bab.y Mo.on.
I’ve been going to yoga classes at Ba.by Mo.on for quite a while now, first with their infertility classes and now with their prenatal classes. I was always knew that this was where I wanted to go to prepare for my natural childbirth experience – should it ever come.
Fast forward two years and I’m 15 weeks pregnant and still freaked out. While at my prenatal yoga class (hiding in the back because I still feel like a fraud) the instructor mentioned the informal workshop coming up the following week that would introduce us to the classes they offer, give us an opportunity to sign up for classes and answer a lot of our questions about area hospitals, practitioners and doulas. “Fantastic,” I thought. “This will confirm that I’m doing everything right, I’ve chosen the proper hospital and I’m seeing a great midwife!”
HA! Turns out I have no idea what is going on. It also turns out that my hesitance to sign up for Hypno Babies earlier has now made it impossible – all classes are full until April when we have extensive travel and showers planned. I had to fight back tears as I watched my dream of learning Hypno Babies in a classroom setting fade and be replaced by horus of home study and trying to convince the Professor that he must participate.
Fine, let’s turn my focus to something I am certain I’m doing well.
“What red flags would you say to watch for with your practitioner? I’ve had some less-then-stellar medical care in the past and am wondering if those red flags are the same with a midwife or OB.”
The FIRST thing they said that is a MAJOR red flag is if you go into your first prenatal appointment ready to talk birth – like I did – and your practitioner says, “There is plenty of time for that. Let’s focus on the present instead.” – which she did. If this happens, you and your uterus should take your business elsewhere.
What? Really? The group leader pointed out that while you can still change practitioners late in the game, it is not advised. You need to know upfront what your practitioner’s stance is on things like natural childbirth, episiotomies, birthing positions, etc. A dodge of this question is your No. 1 red flag.
“What hospitals would you say have the highest c-section rates in the area?” I asked.
Shit. Really? That is where I was planning to deliver. The leader explained that while CB might have the best birthing tubs in the area, they are consistently the quickest to intervene and have, hands down, the highest c-section rate.
I just stared and felt completely defeated. What the hell what happening? Was I REALLY this unprepared?
Another woman asked what hospitals offer the best and worst breast feeding support. You know what was the worst? You got it, Cen.tral Bap.tist. Holy shit, y’all. I know that the size of the ta-tas have no bearing on the success of breast feeding, however, after all the garbage we went through to get pregnant I feel like I should prepare for breast feeding to also be a struggle. This means I want to be in the place with the best support.
Now on the brink of complete collapse, I timidly raised my hand yet again and asked what hospital would they say outperforms all others? What they said pushed me over the edge and my eyes began to well up with tears. UK hospital is the leader in natural childbirth in our area. What? You mean the hospital that has given me HORRIBLE care in the recent past? The place where a looming rheumatology appointment sends me into a depressive stupor 7 days before I even see the doctor? The place where my retna specialist responded to my Trisomy 15 miscarriage by saying, “Bet you are glad that happened! You sure dodged a bullet!” WHAT?
I did not believe these people. At. All.
So yesterday I spent some time digging around looking for a few doulas in my area to interview (evidently I’m also late to the draw for this one, too) I emailed three and all responded within two hours. The first response was lukewarm and left me uncertain she was worth meeting with. The second was encouraging and I quickly responded to set up a time to meet. The third, however, was outstanding. She wrote a long email back answering all my questions about providers, c-section rates, breast feeding support, natural childbirth options, etc. And you know what she said?
The same damn thing I learned on Saturday at Bab.y Mo.on. Cen.tral Bap.tist is the worst and UK is the leader.
This morning I responded to all three doulas and am in the process of setting up two interviews. I’m also waiting on a call back from UK to have a consultation and see what my gut reaction is. I’m so very fearful that I’ll end up in another rheumatology situation, though. You know, that situation where they swear I’m dying from some yet unidentified but most certainly dreadful autoimmune disease and proceed to scare the shit out of me every time I have a checkup (for the record, I have a rheumatology checkup tomorrow morning at 8 a.m. and I am NOT super happy about it).
So back to Square One I go to again search for a provider and hospital.
I am also terribly afraid of getting tangled up in the cascade of medical interventions during birth. Unlike many of my fertile friends, I don’t get to re-do my birth experience with a second child. This little Chicken is it for me and I want, more then anything, for his or her entrance into this world to be perfect, peaceful and, preferably, not to require the use of a vacuum or worse!