Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Thankful for Midwives!

Happy Thanksgiving to mothers, fathers, babies, birth activists, midwives, and advocates across the country!

Here is my birth world thankful list from 2008. I'm still thankful for many of these same things this year. I'm also thankful for two fabulously wonderful, amazing, enriching, inspiring new books. These two are true treasures and I'm thankful to have read them. The Power of Women by Sister Morningstar is an incredible gem and a testament to the strength and grace of birthing women. And then, Simply Give Birth by Heather Cushman-Dowdee (formely known as Hathor the Cowgoddess) is another new gem. I highly recommend both of them--what great holiday gifts for the special birthworkers in your lives. My complete reviews of both books will be published in the next two months, but for now, trust me. They are simply amazing and I couldn't let another minute pass without mentioning that fact.

Citizens for Midwifery has worked for over a decade promoting access to the midwives model of care. If you're reading this blog, I assume you're thankful for midwives in some way or another :)

I have never been so thankful for midwives as I was two weeks ago, following my recent second trimester miscarriage. The baby was born at home on Saturday, Nov. 7th, and by that evening I thought everything was all "over" physically speaking. However, five DAYS later I discovered that my placenta was still trying to come out, but would not fully detach (it was out of my uterus, but unwilling to leave my body). Obviously, I became very concerned because it had been so many days since the baby left us. After trying quite a few things to get it to come out, we almost dashed off the the ER, but my gut pulled me back. I did call the hospital, the OB floor, and medical clinic and they all recommended that I go to the ER for a D & C. Though I was concerned, I did not feel in danger. I didn't feel like the placenta really qualified as "retained" (because I could SEE it), I felt like a little bit of membrane/cord must be holding the placenta into my cervix and that it had gradually been working its way free since Saturday--not an emergency, but something I really desperately wanted to take care of. We had a scary night with little sleep worrying and trying to decide what to do.

The next morning, I decided to mobilize my other resources and for me that meant my midwifery contacts. It was very important for me to "do this" and avoid a D & C if at all possible and I couldn't believe I might be going to have to go that route after everything else I'd already done. I spoke with two wonderful midwives on the phone who helped quite a lot (and confirmed my own feelings about what was going on with the placenta). One of the midwives was able to ask her assistant midwife to meet me at her house and see what she could do. This midwife was incredibly kind and wonderful and gentle and helpful and helped me successfully remove the placenta--it was about the size of my fist and had deteriorated into large chunks and was being held in place by amniotic sac remnants, a little bit of which was still through my cervix and keeping it from being released (as I had suspected). I'm glad I trusted myself and my intuition. I'm also incredibly grateful for that midwife--we have no prior relationship at all, she had to drive 45 minutes one way to get to me (and I 40 minutes to get to her), and she wouldn't let me pay her.

Something that struck me particularly about this piece of the story is that this woman was able to kindly and competently do for me what the ER, the OB floor of the hospital, and my doctor's office said they could not do without surgery. How wonderful are midwives?!

CfM Blogger

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