Thursday, June 25, 2015


I cannot pinpoint in my timeline when I became interested in midwifery, but I think it had to have been back in 2010 when I studied abroad in Guatemala. For some reason I feel like it was before this, but it couldn't have been because I had no reason to be thinking of child birth. 

Part of our trip was learning about the indigenous Mayan culture. We stayed in a Tz'utujil village where we did a Mayan cleansing ceremony. I was such a dumb youngster back then that I remember trying to hold in laughs while the shaman swatted my friends with plant leaves. Now I'm so interested in that stuff. 

We learned about the local comadronas or midwives. Form what I remember people in the village have different gifts or callings and being a midwife was one of them. If  a baby was born en caul or still enclosed in their amniotic sac it was a sign that they had the gift to help deliver babies. Midwifery in Guatemala is a hands on learned skill. While on this trip an 8 months pregnant mama-to-be went with us. A local midwife did an examination of her belly for our group. She confirmed that the fetus was about 8 and half months and I swear she said it was a boy. The parents weren't finding out until it was born and it turned out to be a boy. I was fascinated and talked to one of my new friends about it. He told me that his son was delivered by a midwife in our city back home. I had no idea and this opened a whole new world for me. I think this was the first time I ever heard about natural childbirth too, because that was the mom's plan.

Since then I've always scheduled my yearly check-ups with local midwives to get a feel for who I'd like to be my midwife when the time came. 

This pregnancy I decided to go with Rebecca Vance in Layton because I liked her and she was close to my work so I could easily make it to appointments on my lunch hour. I saw her 3 times before pregnancy and 3 times during. I remember during my first prenatal appointment I asked her if she had any doula recommendations and she replied that she couldn't even remember the last time she delivered with a doula present. I thought that was odd, but didn't worry too much. I also asked her if she would let me squat birth and she said that was fine but she had to do what was best for me and the baby. I understand that completely, but I still felt uneasy. After briefly mentioning this to a natural childbirth educator she told me to continue asking questions to see if she was the right fit for me, but ultimately I needed to trust my instinct. 

While reading Ina May's Guide to Childbirth she hit the nail right on the head for me. "There are two distinct ways of thinking about pregnancy in the US, the midwifery model and the techno-medical model. Midwifery is female-centered, birth is something women do--not something that happens to them. The midwifery model of care recognizes the essential oneness of mind and body and the power of women in the creation of new life." Yes, and yes, that is so my thinking too. The model also conceives pregnancy and birth as inherently healthy process and each mother and baby as an inseparable unit. Emotions of the women have a very real impact upon the well-being of the baby.

On the other hand, the techno-medical model is male-derived and a product of the industrial revolution. The model assumes the human body is a machine and that the female body is a machine full of shortcomings and defects. Pregnancy and labor are seen as an illness, which in order to no be harmful to mother or baby, must be treated with drugs and medical equipment. That mean, drugs, cutting you, rushing you, and not acknowledging any mind body connection. I'm not going to get worked up and write any more about the techno-med model. If you want to read more check out Ina May's book.

After reading a portion of the book that explained how many midwives work for large hospital practices where the techno-medical model is the rule; therefore the midwife is constantly pressured to follow the techno-med model rather than a true midwifery model. Reading that I instantly  knew that was probably how Becky's practice was and it wasn't going to work for me.

Previously I had had a yearly check up with Christy Francis and had read through her blog. I thought it was pretty neat she had a blog and I actually sent her inquires about topics I wanted to hear more about and she either wrote a post about it or personally emailed me back. Now where can you find a practitioner that does that.

I started seeing Christy at week 21. I like that she does ultrasounds on every visit. I know there's controversy about that, but I like seeing my little guy. Christy was able to answer my question of which hospital will likely be able to suit my needs and wishes of having a natural birth. So far I'm feeling good about the birth team I'm putting together.

In the future I'd like to go to Chris Miller who specializes in home births, but for our first one my husband feels more comfortable being at a hospital in case we need medical attention. Also the downside of home birth or at the birthing center is we'd have to pay for it out of pocket, insurance won't cover it.