Believe it or not, growing up I don’t remember hearing horror stories about birth. All the women in my family gave birth naturally and it never occurred to me that I couldn’t do so as well. As an adult, I was horrified by images of women giving birth in hospitals, w/ their legs in stirrups. It just seemed so cold and sterile to me.
When my husband, Allan, and I began contemplating having a baby, I knew my best chance of having a natural childbirth was w/ a midwife. Especially since nearly all of my pregnant friends had had induced labors in the hospital, thus requiring epidurals. When I found out there was a birth center in town, I knew I had to find out more about it!
So, I met Linda for a consultation appointment even before I got pregnant! I was impressed that she gave me a copy of their excellent statistics right up front at the first meeting. She was willing to address any questions I had and gave me a tour of the birth suite. I went home and told my husband, “I know where I want to give birth!”
Several months later I became pregnant and met Beth at my first prenatal appointment. Through most of my pregnancy I alternated appointments with Beth and Linda. I really appreciated their evidence based approach to care and the time they took at each appointment to answer my questions. Where most doctors get a little sweaty when I walk into an appointment w/ a pad and pen, Linda and Beth where enthusiastic: “Oh good! You brought questions today!” No subject was off limits. They gave me the pros and cons of every prenatal test and procedure, yet always respected my decisions to consent or refuse. As the big day neared, my husband and I made a last minute decision to hire a doula as well. We thought since we didn’t have any family near by, it might be nice to have an extra pair of hands. Linda and Beth were supportive of whomever we chose to have at our birth.
Our main concern was weather since I was due in early December! As it turned out, we went to the birth center while I was still in very early labor because we were worried about the slick roads. Linda and our doula, Lisa, met us there. Both gave us some suggestions to move labor along. Eventually, we decided to try to get some sleep. When it looked like the roads had cleared up, and I was still only three centimeters, we decided to head back home. The only problem was our doula, Lisa, had to go to work at her regular job in the morning. I was glad she had arranged for me to meet her backup, Bobette, so I felt very comfortable about calling her the next morning when my contractions picked up, yet I was wanting to allow Allan to get some more rest. Allan and Bobette supported me as I labored and checked in periodically w/ Linda attending another birth.
When we arrived at the birth center several hours later, Linda was finishing up w/ the other couple. I sat in the rocking chair in the living room as the contractions required all of my concentration at this point. Linda prepared the birth suite and began running a bath. She asked if she could check me real quick before I got in the tub. Lo and behold – I was ten centimeters! “Well, you want to get in the tub and push out a baby?” she asked.
Pushing turned out to be very hard work for me. Linda suggested different positions and gave me tips in technique. After about an hour, she suggested I get out of the tub and move to the bed. I leaned against Bobette, as we were planning to have Allan catch. Linda allowed me to continue pushing since the fetal heart tones were good. Eventually, though, it seemed that my perineum just wasn’t stretching. Linda suggested that maybe we should do an episiotomy. Now, having seen her statistics, I knew that this was not something Linda would suggest lightly. I felt that if Linda thought I needed an episiotomy, I really needed one. I told her to go ahead. Yet, she waited a few more contractions before asking me again, to be sure I was okay w/ it. The last thing I remember is Linda saying “I see eyebrows” before she put a warm, wet, wiggly body on my stomach. Actually, though, Hunter’s shoulders got stuck on the way out. Linda worked very quickly and with a little elbow grease on her part he slipped out – which only goes to show how important it is to hire a competent birth attendant, such as Linda. Soon, Hunter looked up at me and we looked into each other’s eyes – a moment that will be forever ingrained in my memory.
I truly feel that the relationship I established w/ Linda and Beth during my pregnancy allowed me to relax during labor. And their postpartum care can’t be beat! This was my doula’s first birth w/ Linda and she was so impressed by how long Linda stayed w/ me afterwards to make sure everything was all right. And w/ the Spokane winter, I really appreciated them coming to me for postpartum checks, rather than me having to take my new baby out in the cold.
I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend Spokane Midwives to anyone looking for a caring birth attendant!