Saturday, November 6, 2010

Theoretical Questions

I love theoretical questions! I think them up constantly, and then fire them at DH while he's showering or similarly unprepared. "Hey! Say that such-and-such happened. What would you do then?"

DH, in true spousal opposites fashion, despises theoretical questions and avoids them like the plague. That's why I catch him in the shower, when he can't get away. :)

So tonight I threw some really good ones his way, concerning birth. We couldn't quite think of the answers! What are your answers?

(1) Say you were in an area with only one midwife.... but you didn't like her or get along with her. Birth with a midwife you don't like, birth in-hospital, or go unassisted?

(2) Say you were in an area with only one midwife... but you disagreed with her over some point or belief that was absolutely vital to you? (i.e. pro-life v. pro-choice, etc.) Birth with a midwife you have deep disagreements with, birth in-hospital, or go unassisted?

(3) What if you're in an area with NO midwife? Birth in-hospital, or go unassisted?

(4) What if you're in an area where homebirth midwifery is illegal? Birth with a black-market midwife, birth in-hospital, or go unassisted?

Can you think of any other theoretical questions to add to this list? What are your answers to the ones above?


  1. #1 - depends on how I "didn't like or get along with her". Some things might not matter, whereas other things might. Plus, it would depend on how bad things would be at a hospital. If I had to choose between a good doctor (one of my friends in my area found a doctor who seems almost like a midwife; and this friend had a previous home-birth and still supports home-birth) and a midwife with whom I didn't get along, I'd probably go with the [gulp] doctor.

    #2 -- I probably wouldn't know her views on that topic. I don't think abortion ever came up with either set of midwives I had; but if I had to guess, I would lean towards thinking that the midwives in both my pregnancies probably leaned towards the "pro-choice" viewpoint, but I just don't know. I think it's more important how the midwife would be during labor, than what her social, political, or personal views are. If she makes her (opposing) views intrude into prenatal care and/or during labor, I'd have a big problem with it.

    #3 & 4 would have similar answers/reasoning as #1 -- depends on how bad the hospital is, and how good the black-market midwife is, or how I felt about an unassisted birth at the time. I think of how Rixa felt strongly pulled to UC with her 1st pregnancy, but felt strongly pulled to having a midwife with her 2nd. I tend to trust intuition, so I wouldn't want to set my opinion on these things now because something might happen during pregnancy that would change my way of thinking. With regards to #3 particularly, if I didn't have a midwife, I'd have to have a doula. I've had an unassisted birth (unplanned), and really missed having someone to rub my back and do those physical comfort measures that helped labor along.


  2. Hi, Kathy! Great answers, as always! As you say, a lot of these situations would really depend on the at-the-time specifics, things that couldn't be planned out ahead of time - one would just have to evaluate each situation as it arose. Hopefully I'll never be in any of these! I am so thankful that we have a great community of midwives to choose from here.

    Here are a couple more I thought of:

    (1) You want to VBAC, but your state doesn't allow midwives to attend at-home VBACs. Unassisted or hospital? (A common problem for Arizona moms.)

    (2) Your local hospital has a VBAC ban. Move out of state for the birth, unassisted, or try to show up pushing? Unfortunately I know of many mums in this situation.

    On #2 - I meant something that REALLY is a problem belief-wise. Such as - you are 100% pro-life and your midwife is working on a team to get partial-birth abortion legalized. Something that really, really, really can't work together. Does one swallow one's beliefs, or move on to an unwanted birth place to avoid that conflict?

    As always, one would really have to be in an individual situation in order to begin evaluating the true pros and cons.

    I miss your blog!!!!!!!!! :) Oh, and great job on that conversation at the Unnecesarean! WOW!

  3. I would travel far and wide to get the birth I wanted!

    Thankfully, I have a midwife I love, AND she will support me regardless of my past birthing history.

  4. My husband is the same way about theoretical questions :)

    I have not had a homebirth yet, so my responses will be colored by the fact that I've had two "okay" hospital birth experiences, one with a CNM, and one with a wonderful natural birth friendly OB. I'm much more open to the idea of unassisted birth now than I used to be, but I think it is a choice that should be made freely, not forced by lack of options. Interestingly, in my current area there is only one partnership of midwives who attend births (and they actually live about an hour away), and I have not met them yet.

    1) I think it's important who you let into your space for birth, and I don't think I'd hire a midwife with whom I felt I had a serious personality clash. I would consider the hospital first, before UC, and would find the most supportive hospital provider I could find.

    2) That's a tough one. If it was big enough to cause a situation like #1, then what I said there would apply

    3) I think I would have to look into my options and pray about it. I'd look for a hospital provider first, but if it wasn't a good option, I don't think I'd let a midwife being "underground" stop me from hiring her, as long as I felt she was competent.

    for the VBAC questions, having not had a C/S, I'm not really qualified to answer, but

    1) I think I'd personally feel more comfortable with a hospital option, given I could find a provider and hospital that was NCB and VBAC friendly

    2) I think I would travel, especially if it was only a few hours or if I could stay with family who had something close to them that was a good option

    2) I'd travel

  5. Well, I gave birth attended by a midwife who I don't particularly like, disagree with on many things vital to a health birth process, AND she's not legally regulated (homebirths aren't, in our parts), For the next birth, I chose to go unassisted, and it was a great decision for me.

    Now, to add my own (not so theoretical) question: You want to give birth unassisted, but you know that it will lead to problems obtaining a birth certificate. Do you go to the hospital (no informed consent, pitocin obligatory, baby separated from mom for days on end, no support person allowed at birth), hire the midwife you don't like, or go unassisted?

  6. Write About Birth - Wow, good question! Well, I'd probably avoid the hospital (esp. for an uncomplicated pregnancy/birth) and either go UC or take the non-perfect midwife. Which would probably depend on how much conflict I had with the midwife and my history or non-history of birth complications. Always such a difficult decision!

  7. Diana, I answered my own question. If I ever get pregnant and get to birth again, a cool-headed, supportive, wonderful friend agreed to come to my house during a UC, stay in another room the whole time, and then be a witness for administrative purposes. Great friends rock!


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