Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Varieties of Birthing Experience

I am a member of the City Club of Eugene's program planning committee. A few months back during a meeting I had to step out to take a phone call and while I was out it was decided that I, being about 5 months pregnant at the time, would plan a program on birth. This is always the risk you take stepping out of a meeting:)

The program I planned took place on Friday. Unfortunately I couldn't attend due to my bed rest but I was able to listen to the program on the radio. Here is the link
http://www.klcc.org/OnlineAudioFeature.asp It's called WELCOMING BABY TO EUGENE: Varieties of Birthing Experiences. And it features a child birth educator, Carolyn Jenkins, Colleen Forbes, Certified Professional Midwife, Michele Peters-Carr, Certified Nurse Midwife and Kay Yanit, Labor & Delivery Nurse at McKenzie Willamette hospital. I was so pleased with how the program turned out.

I have to say that when I first started planning this program I was very irritated. I was irritated that people assumed just because I was pregnant I wanted to plan a program about birth. However, as I worked to put it together I really enjoyed it. I've become very interested in issues around labor and delivery since I've been pregnant and preparing for my own birth. I was able to use a lot of my experience to shape the panel. One thing I wanted to highlight in the program is the outside things that influence a families decision about how they birth their baby. When Chris and I found out we were going to have a baby our first instinct was to use a midwife. We are both very interested in natural and preventative medicine and I have been seeing a naturalpathic doctor for years. A midwife who would be more focused on helping us have a natural delivery seemed like the best option. However, we soon learned it was not that simple.

In our area there are four options for your birth. An OBGYN in the hospital, the Nurse Midwifery center which is next to one of the hospitals, an alternative midwifery center, or a home birth. Our insurance only covers an OBGYN in the hospital or the Nurse Midwifery center. When we called the nurse midwifery center we were very disappointed to learn that you don't work with one midwife. You see whichever midwife happens to be on call during each of your visits and when your baby is born. Furthermore, if there are complications you may be transferred from the center to the hospital and be transferred to the care of whichever OBGYN is on call. We felt very strongly that we wanted to have the opportunity to establish a relationship with our provider. Yet going outside our insurance was not an option for us. So we ended up with an OBGYN in the hospital. We have been very blessed to find a wonderful OB who we love and who has been very supportive of our desires to have a natural birth. We've also been grateful as we've faced complications for her skills and knowledge.

It was very interesting to us how much our choice was limited by these conditions. In planning the program I wanted to relate what the different childbirth options were and what factors impacted families choices. I also didn't want a presentation that favored one method. As I have learned about birth I have realized that different models are right for different families.

For us we believe a natural birth is best and we are doing everything we can to prepare for that. But given the complications we've already had we are also grateful to birth in a hospital that will be equipped to intervene if it becomes necessary for either me or our baby.

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