|"hey, You...stop that!" by ElmWolf, used under CC BY 2.0 / Text bar added by Syncopated Mama|
When we got home from our troubling appointment, I immediately opened up the computer to see what I could find relating to natural birthing in our area. At this point, I was assuming I'd have to remain with a doctor due to my "high-risk/advanced maternal age" status and so I tried exploring the hospitals in the area and looking for certified nurse midwives that worked in OB/GYN practices.
It was a lot of work.
My mind was swimming with statistics and opinions that ranged from one extreme to the other and, with a headache and a clock displaying a time that was way past my bedtime, I closed the computer and headed to bed.
The next day at school, I was able to push my anxieties out of the way while the kids were in class, but at dismissal, the worries came flooding back. A few minutes after I returned to my room to plan, God did something cool. I didn't think of it that way at the time, but looking back, I totally see His fingerprints all over that afternoon.
A dear friend stopped in, out of the blue, to see me. She had recently left her position at our school and was stopping by on her way home just to say hello to a few of her favorite pals. I poured out my woes to her and she gave me the name of a friend she had who was a doula and very involved in natural birth topics. She told me to look her up on Facebook and see if this friend could help in any way.
So I wrapped things up in my room and headed home. I sent this gal a friend request right away, explaining who I was and that I was hoping she might be a friendly resource for the world of natural birthing practices. She accepted my request right away and said she'd be happy to help in whatever way she could. She gave me her number and told me to call any time, which was sweet, but I'm not really the call-a-stranger-and-pick-her-brain kind of gal, no matter how friendly the stranger seems.
A couple of hours later, however, she sends me a link to an event being held the next night. It was a "Childbirth Options Class" being presented by a local Birth Network and although it was located about an hour from our home, it was free and sounded like it might be just what we were looking for to help us figure things out.
Well, we went and it was perfect! It seemed like every topic they covered answered another question or concern that we had. I learned just how easy it can be to get caught up in the slippery slope of interventions at a hospital and I knew that with my personality, I would easily fall prey to the suggestions of "the experts" during the labor experience.
We stayed behind after the meeting to chat with a few of the presenters and learned that I shouldn't ignore the option of a birth center just because of my age. The doulas present encouraged me to tour one closer to our home and undergo an assessment, because birth centers really don't care about age as much as overall health.
So we left the meeting with a lot of pamphlets and business cards and a long list of things to research, but I was just so excited to have something positive to investigate and felt hopeful that a better alternative might be out there for us.
The next day, I called our local birth center and asked to set up an appointment to take a tour and find out more. We went the next week and knew right away that this was where we belonged. We learned that I was not high risk and that I was healthier than most young moms and our interview with the midwife taught me that while the staff was not composed of doctors and nurses, they were well trained and specialized in just what we were there for: births.
We discovered that we would be responsible for much of my care because the center's goal was to empower us to make the best decisions for our particular family. I liked that a lot. They would present us with all the information and then it was up to us to do further research and make a decision about the procedures, procedures which are usually mandatory in a traditional OB/GYN practice. We were also informed that there was a doctor available in case any questionable issues came up or in case of emergency.
When G and I got into the car after the appointment, we breathed a sigh of relief. Barring any insurance issues (the birth center would be checking on our coverage for us the next day), we felt confident that making this change would be the right decision.
The next day, the birth center called with great news: our insurance would cover the birth 100% and we didn't even have a co pay! I guess this was because it's so much cheaper for the insurance company to cover a birth center birth...I just don't understand why they wouldn't promote this option to more couples out there.
I hung up the phone, then dialed my doctor's office and requested that all my files be transferred to the birth center. I'm so grateful that I learned about the birth center option and I have never looked back or regretted the decision I made to fire my doctor!
Have you ever been in a situation like this? If so, how did you handle it? Have you discovered other great resources to consult when facing these types of decisions? Does your area have its own local birth network? Feel free to comment or drop me an email at lisahealy (at) outlook (dot) com.