Ep 18: Sarah’s Search for a Certified Midwife

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Show Notes:

    • Sarah and her husband have been together for 10 years now, and have lived all over the world.


    • She has two children: Manning and Alex


    • Sarah’s first birth was in a birth center setting. As a child and teen, she never had exposure to out-of-hospital birth.  However, her mother did refuse epidurals, chose to breastfeed (in the 80’s- when breastfeeding was going through quite an uncommon spell).


    • Sarah and her husband had their eyes opened to the idea of natural childbirth outside of the hospital.


    • “Birth is a natural, healthy process. There’s no need for it to take place in a hospital.”


    • Of course, hospitals can be a fine place to give birth- and especially important for emergencies, but Sarah certainly sees the benefit of the out-of-hospital experience.


    • Her first birth, which took place in Alaska, was attended by a number of Certified Nurse Midwives, as well as Certified Professional Midwives.


    • Sarah’s first birth was long- 36 hours from her first contraction until baby was born.


    • Sarah’s friend attended her birth as her very first doula training birth, and now she is a very successful midwife!


    • Sarah’s midwife, after quite a while, called her directing midwife to check and see if all was well, or if they needed to transport. The head midwife came and assessed the situation, saying that all was well and a transport was not necessary.


    • The setup of this birth center is incredible: Being able to call other providers to come help and support, even though her original midwife did stay all the way until the very end.


    • Sarah and Katelyn discuss the “what if’s” of had she gone into the hospital at the time she went to the birth center, she very possibly could have ended up with a c-section.


    • Sarah’s second child, Alex, was quite a surprise! Sarah began searching for options in Mississippi, where midwifery is not regulated.  Certified Nurse Midwives are unable to practice outside of the hospital at all.


    • Luckily, Sarah was able to locate a CPM in the lower part of the state of Mississippi. At least at that time, she was the only CPM that Sarah could find who resided in Mississippi.


    • “She had not only a level of training, but also a level of accountability that I appreciated.” -Sarah on selecting a CPM


    • This midwife does not take on many clients, and even more difficultly, she lived 3 hours away from Sarah. Upon agreement of working as her care provider, her midwife required Sarah have an OB backup care provider who would be able and willing to take care of her in a hospital should any situation arise.


    • Having an OB backup made Sarah feel even more comfortable with the process, and it helped space her visits out, especially towards the end. She was able to see her OB for some of the prenatals as they got closer together, allowing her not to have to drive the 6 hour round trip drive bi-weekly and weekly.  Her OB would not officially condone her blessing for Sarah having a homebirth, but she did not try to strong-arm her into the hospital setting, which was quite a relief for Sarah.


    • Sarah and Katelyn touch on the accountability of a CPM and how these care providers are held to a certain standard based on their credential- no matter what their state regulations may be. This allows for consistency and trust between midwife and clients.


    • Before committing to using a midwife, Sarah toured the local hospital first and met with an OB practice. The pamphlet that they gave her stated two things that made her very uncomfortable: 1. Patients could not eat or drink during labor (this would not be feasible if she had another long labor like last time) and 2. Photography was not allowed during the birthing process.  This made Sarah feel very unhappy and uncertain, especially because some of her most precious photos she has are directly during and after the birth of her first child.  She sent a picture of the pamphlet to her husband without mentioning her concerns, and he immediately responded saying that was not going to work for them!


    • When it came to estimating her due date, there was a small level of uncertainty on Sarah’s end, though she felt fairly confident about her dates. She measured along with her dates, too. However, when she had an ultrasound, the results said that she was actually about 2 weeks further along than expected.


    • Based on Sarah’s calculated due date, Alex came 2 weeks early, though based on the ultrasound estimation, he came right at 40 weeks.


    • As labor approached, Sarah did not notice much different in her level of activity. However, when she looks back, she realizes, “I did actually clean out my car and my husband’s truck and install the baby seat!”


    • Alex was born very quickly. She went to bed on Sunday night with no indication that anything was coming.  Around 11:45, she went to the bathroom and though, “Oh, what was that?  Did I pee myself?  Nope, something’s definitely still coming out… oh, there’s more….”  She then realized her water had indeed broken.  Sarah called her midwife to let her know that her water had broken, and no, she was not having any contractions.


    • Sarah called her mother who was in Dallas, and told her to head their way.


    • Sarah’s midwife’s assistant, who lived about an hour away, began to head their way to check on Sarah.


    • About an hour later, contractions started. By the time her birth assistant arrived, they were getting stronger, though she was able to still speak.


    • Sarah’s midwife arrived and was very pleased with the way she was progressing.


    • At some point, Sarah got into the bath tub, which was helpful in some ways, but did not help with her back labor (which she had with both labors).


    • Alex was born at 5:50 in the morning, so only about 6 hours of labor as opposed to 36!


    • “My body eased me into labor and my brain was able to keep pace with what was going on.”


    • Though Alex, like his brother Manning, came out with his hand up over his face, Sarah had no problems with the pushing phase.


    • Once Alex arrived, Sarah found out that he was a boy! She had not wanted to know his gender beforehand.  However… Her husband Thomas had found out the gender earlier on in the pregnancy!  He was able to keep it a secret from Sarah for the remainder of the pregnancy!


    • Alex was born on their anniversary!


    • Back to the first birth:


    • Early in the morning on New Year’s Day, Sarah began contracting. These were slow building, and they did not initially stop her from doing anything.


    • After a while they decided to go to the birthing center, and stayed there for the rest of the labor. Manning was in an awkward position, and Sarah had a cervical lip.  This all culminated in quite a long labor… and quite a lot of pushing.


    Manning came out facing Sarah’s right side with his hand up by his face.

Episode Roundup:

1. Just because your labor is long or arduous the first time does not mean it will always be that way.  Each labor is different.

2. Sarah took the time to see out a CPM even when it was difficult.  She felt it important to have a certified midwife who is held to very specific standards, no matter what the state requires or does not require.

3. Disclaimer: I will begin adding a disclaimer at the beginning of each episode to remind you that the views expressed in these interviews are not necessarily my own, but this is a space for all to share their stories.