Friday, July 25, 2008

An Explanatory Note

I felt that I should add a note (probably a long note!) to explain how this blog came to be, i.e. how my passion for homebirth midwifery was developed. Actually, I'm not quite sure myself. It truly was God-thing. But here are the basics.....

Up until about four years ago, my conception of childbirth was the stereotypical image from the 1950's that most women have in their minds and that is, unfortunately, still quite accurate in many places. Woman in a hospital gown, draped in green cloths, lying on her back with feet in stirrups, nurses yelling "push," heroic doctor poised to catch the baby, hold it up by its feet and spank it, then hustle it off to the newborn nursery. Childbirth very much as an emergency, a crisis, etc. etc. etc.

And then I got pregnant.

We didn't have maternity coverage at the time - insurance, yes; maternity, no. I had heard of homebirth somewhere (online?), and not having any objections to it, I investigated it a bit further, found some midwives, and off we went to see them!

That was the beginning of my foray into midwifery, homebirth, and eventually, naturopathic medicine and a more holistic, natural way of thinking and living. I didn't intend to go there, but after diving in unintentionally, I realized that I had come home. This is where I was meant to be, and I have never looked back.

Having a midwife was the most wonderful experience of my life. First of all, I loved having the boundaries of hierarchy erased. I had always enjoyed the formality of saying "Doctor So-and-So," but oh, how much more I enjoyed receiving care from caring, loving persons who were on the same level as I was. I call my midwives by their first names. While they were my superiors in terms of knowledge, in actuality we operated on the basis of friendship rather than doctor-to-patient.

Then there was the time. Midwives give one-hour visits, something that I just couldn't (and can't!) get enough of. When I visit any medical professional, I want to connect on a deeper level than time constraints allow with most doctors. I usually also have a laundry list of questions to be answered and discussed, and an hour is usually just enough time.

Then there was the holistic type of care. Pregnancy was not seen as an accident waiting to happen or a bomb waiting to go off. Pregnancy was a normal, natural, physiological process to be supported and monitored, but not something to be controlled and actively managed. I LOVED that. No fuss over due dates. No threats of induction. No pressure to have unnecessary tests. (And when things did happen, the first line of defense was often herbal or homeopathic! I loved that.)

Which brings me to another thing I loved - the respect for my decisions. My midwife paid me the compliment of giving me information and then respecting my decisions, rather than browbeating me into compliance with her wishes. With my pregnancy, I (after doing the research) decided to refuse the gestational diabetes test, the GBS test, ultrasound, amniocentesis and other genetic testing, vitamin K shot, antibiotic ointment, etc. - and she was fine with it all. No power struggles!!!

When combining that with a great birth experience (no vaginal exams, no continuous monitoring, no IV, no time limits, continuous emotional support and respect and hands-off management, with plenty of love), I fell in love. Head over heels in love.

This combined with my growing disillusionment with western medicine. Firstly, I found that whenever I visited a doctor, I came away disappointed. The doctor was too busy to answer my questions in depth (if at all), and visits consisted of five minutes with a rushed and distracted professional whose mind was already in the next room.

You can't blame them. Insurance costs have pushed doctors to the limit in terms of client loading. It is not their fault - but it does result in really bad service to clients.

I also found fault with the operating procedure of most Western medicine. The focus seemed to be on popping pills to fix problems which usually could have been avoided with lifestyle choices (diet, herbs, etc.). I much prefer preventative maintenance over pharmaceuticals which tend to come with a myriad of side-effects. (Not erasing, of course, the obvious need for drugs in some cases - just noting the overuse of drugs in Western medicine.)

Without any further ado, I headed down the road to natural living and haven't regretted it since. I love my midwives and use them for all well-woman care. I have started frequenting other types of medical professionals rather than doctors (such as naturopaths and chiropractors) and am much more satisfied. I have begun to rearrange my own life to follow natural pursuits (whole foods, homemade natural cleaners, etc.) and am excited about the new avenues which are constantly popping up before me.

With that in mind, I have created this blog to promote midwifery, especially homebirth midwifery, to provide information, and to dispel myths. Homebirth families are beset with unfortunate public beliefs which name homebirthing families as foolish, dangerous, irresponsible and even criminal, and I want to make as much information available as possible to dispel those myths.

I should add a disclaimer here that I am not anti-OB or anti-hospital birth. We need 'em both. There are great OB's out there and women who have had great hospital births. Agreed! So this blog is not so much anti-hospital as pro-homebirth. Without tearing down the one, I just want to praise the other!!

And that's the whole story! (Or most of it, that is.) And now, onto more mundane things such as washing dishes.....

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