Monday, September 7, 2009

Exploring all our options

I'm not quite 12 weeks pregnant yet, and already I've run the gamut of prenatal healthcare options.

(As an aside, did you know this is what a color gamut looks like? I sure didn't, until I looked it up. Thanks, Google images!)

I started out with a visit to my OB/Gyn right after I got my BFP. I'd only seen that doctor once prior to that visit, for my yearly exam in February. I didn't have insurance at my previous job, so up until a year ago, I used my local Planned Parenthood for all my gynocological and birth control needs. So right around 4 weeks, I visited the OB's office, and had a great chat with the nurse, PIAC, and got blood drawn for bloodwork. Then she sent me on my way.

At that point, I began reading and researching childbirth. I was already pretty sure I wanted a natural childbirth. I found out from a co-worker that our local hospital has lovely birthing suites and there are midwives that deliver there - so I began to look into that option further.

Turns out in order to be delivered by a midwife at the hospital, you have to change practices. (That may seem obvious, but I was all new at this, so it was a revelation to me). So, that's what I did. I found the practice - an office of 8 OBs and 2 midwives - called for an appointment, and filled out the paperwork to have my records sent over from my OB's office.

At a day shy of 9 weeks pregnant, DH and I went in for our appointment with our "medwife." A medwife is a term for midwives who often work in a practice with doctors and treat labor management more like a doctor would. I didn't know the term until after our visit, but it definitely fits. The midwife was perfectly nice, and it's quite possible we could've had exactly the childbirth experience we wanted with her and her midwife partner - but after leaving the appointment, Mr. Citysaur and I both felt slightly uneasy. Some of the things she said during the course of the appointment just didn't match up with our philosophies of childbirth as a natural human event - and that wasn't at all what we were expecting.

So, I went home and did even more research. Fortunately, I like this research thing. I finally decided to visit the local Birth Center, a mere 3 blocks away from the hospital, and only one mile from our home. It started with filling out their online insurance information form. Two days later, I got a phone call from a very helpful employee, who spent a good twenty minutes on the phone with me, explaining what my insurance would cover, what our costs would be, and when payments would be due. She then answered some of my other questions about the Birth Center, and signed me up for the group tour later that week. I was already at ease, and very excited about my tour.

The day of the tour, I excitedly pulled up and parked on the curb - then passed a laboring couple strolling along the garden path outside the facility - housed in a charming turn-of-the-century two story home in an historic neighborhood. I walked in with a huge grin on my face and a feeling of nervous anticipation. The tour was everything I hoped it would be. We had to go a little quickly, so the laboring couple could take over the main birthing suite, but we still had plenty of time to see everything. After the tour, our tour group (a good mix of moms-to-be with and without dads-to-be in tow) sat in the parlor and had our questions answered by the tour leader - who happened to be one of the two midwives. As she began answering questions, I started to feel like a bobblehead - every one of her answers made me nod enthusiastically in agreement. We had finally found a match for our hippie/natural birth philosophies!

Before ending the tour, the midwife told us we were welcome to sign up for an appointment if we liked what we saw. I was the first person in line! I was able to get an appointment for the same day I had my other follow-up appointment scheduled - next Monday - which is fortunate, because Mr. Citysaur and I both have the day off already. I called him on the way home and gave him the recap (he wasn't able to take the mid-day tour with me due to work), and he couldn't have been happier.

So to recap, that's three different practitioners, with three different birthing philosophies. Lots and lots of paperwork - a new set for every practice. I kind of feel like this guy. But all definitely worth it!

I went on the tour the day after I outed myself at work/to the general public, and those two events together combined to bring such a wonderful feeling of peace about this pregnancy - one I hadn't felt until then. We are now one week away from our first appointment with the Birth Center, and I can't wait to finally hear our little baby's heartbeat!


  1. How exciting for you guys. I hope you can find the place that has everything you are looking for.

  2. Great to know there are so many option! Please keep us posted on your plans!