One of the first decisions Mr. Wetzel and I made about our pregnancy, even before we got pregnant, was that we wanted to use a midwife instead of an OBGYN. The biggest factors that influenced us were: talking with friends that had experienced both births (midwife birth and stereotypical hospital birth); sharing feelings with each other about how we were unhappy with the over-medicalization of birth; and learning more about the work and stories of Ina Mae Gaskin, a key figure in the field of midwifery.
Sometimes I think the decisions that you are meant to make find you. We were not happy with the way birth is typically done in America, but we weren’t even aware of another option. A bit of thinking and chatting led to a few Google searches, and those led to several Library books, which opened up conversations with friends. And we were in. We found the “not hospital” path we hoped existed. Or, it found us. Either way, we were happy to feel at peace with the direction in which we were headed.
No matter where you birth, I believe this feeling of “a fit” is truly important to a peaceful pregnancy and birth.
When we watched the documentary film The Business of Being Born, it sealed the deal. The film didn’t motivate us out of fear the hospital birth process. Rather, we fell in love with how relaxing, peaceful and sensible the homebirths were that were shown in the movie. They were intimate and unique. The mothers were cocooned with family and support. It was better than any birth picture I could have ever imagined for myself.
I was left wondering who would choose “clinical, cold, bright hospital” when offered such a peaceful alternative.
Before I did my research, I always had a visual image of a midwife as being like the witch in Hansel and Gretel: an old lady, dressed in black and hunched over, with boney wrinkly hands, reaching out to grab the baby and steal away with it. Ah! In truth, midwives are not scary, but warm and nurturing personalities. They have medical training, and have the necessary supplies to treat emergencies during the birth. They are savvy, modern women who are strong and full of life. They do not steal away confidence or trust, but they are supportive emotionally, physically and intellectually.
Reasons Mr. Wetzel and I Like Midwifes:
(1) Cheaper than hospital care
(2) More relational than hospital care
(3) Less invasive than hospital care
(4) More control is willingly and voluntarily handed to the parents with a midwife birth (We do not have a birth plan to defend our choices. We just have our choices understood & respected).
(5) Environment/Setting for birth is more comfortable
(6) Invasive or medical procedures are not the norm, but are only turned to after attempting natural methods and giving the birth time to work its way out.
We knew we wanted to use a midwife, but the idea of birthing at home seemed a little overwhelming, especially since we just moved into a new house. I think the idea of clean-up was daunting, and having not settled in our new home, we were clueless and a little stressed when thinking about what room we’d use for the birth. We decided to use the Birthing Inn of Tacoma, in which the birthing rooms are very much like posh hotel suites. We feel comfortable there, and I’m actually looking forward to greeting guests after birth in one of those sunny, big rooms. Then we can go home to cocoon and recuperate.
And be: parents!