I have a friend who is knocked up and she's kind of a big deal to me so I'm starting some open advice for her via the blog, every time she asks me something of if there is something I think she should know I will write it here for all to see. I feel like when I was hapu with Ruby I had just started the blog and maybe didn’t write what I really wanted too but we all know that's kind of my thing to just spit it out now so here goes ha.
MIDWIVES, this is a whole post on how to pick a midwife or LMC ok well it's meant to be about that but I ramble and get distracted so it might be about midwives and other random shit ha. We all know I'm a bit of a birth hippy so who better to dish out the dets than me! I'm no profesh but I did deliver my own baby unassisted at home so I feel like I'm basically a midwife, and I will block you if you tell me otherwise lol. So step one after doing the deed and planting the seed is picking a midwife, did you know you can find a midwife and book before confirming your actually up the duff with bloodtests so don’t fuck around with the doctor and dating scans that’s not important just get on the blower and book yourself an amazing birth hippy (midwife). Popular one's book up quick so if you’re not fast your last and if you last you get stuck with someone who might not be a good fit for you and trust me you do not want that at all! Here's some of my wisdom, if you don’t feel comfortable with your lead maternity carer then you are setting yourself up for a shit show I'm not saying something terrible will happen but I am saying it might not be the amazing experience it should be. I don't have statistics BUT I'm almost certain most women who have a problem with their midwife had red flags earlier on and didn’t feel connected with their LMC, this is something that should not be brushed off it you don’t feel your LMC then get rid of them (I'm trying not to say her because I know we have some amazing male midwifes in NZ).
First thing's first ask around people don’t lie about things like midwives if they didn’t like them they will tell you so ask around as many people as you can. Also google them they should have a profile online where you can read up and also see a picture I think this is actually a great way to get a vibe I loved the look of my midwife with Ruby she just looked like my kind of gal, also they might come up in a mum’s forum where others have asked advice I looked back through years of mum’s chat rooms to see whose names came up the most in positive and negative light. Compile a list of your top five or so and give them a call make sure they are available and then go and meet them (I didn't do this with either mainly due to circumstance but I do recommend you do it if you can), I have added some questions you could ask if you’re that way inclined or else just go on gut I'm big on gut feelings and when you know you just know. Also don’t feel pressured to go with the first one you meet or speak with whore around sometimes being a whore is a good thang. Pick one confidently not half arsed pick one because you really really like them and you want them to be the ones you trust delivering your baby.
- How long have they been a midwife, what's their experiance and how many births a year do they attend?
- Are they comfortable with home births? (even if you arent planning on one)
- Do they have any other training?
- Who will be the back up carer and can I meet them?
- Will you visit me at home in early labour?
- What happens if you are away or with someone else when I go into labour?
- After baby is born, how many visits can I expect, both in hospital and at home, and for how many weeks?
- Between visits, are you available for me to phone you for advice?
- How would you describe the maternity care that you give in pregnancy, labour and birth?
- What is your philosophy about childbirth?
- Do they have children? (this is not something I would ask becasue a doctor might not have had a broken leg to be able to diagnose it yano? but I see it pop up on most lists)
- How many other women have you got booked who are due about the same time as me?
Your LMC is so much more than someone that delivers your baby and then buggers off, they are someone you will trust with literally you heart and who you will come to rely on in so many ways. They don’t just turn up yank the babe out of your vag say good day and leave they will be someone you will have a connection with for the rest of your life.
If you have a midwife and like half way through you are like yo I'm not feeling you or they aren’t meeting your needs then flick them, absolutely get rid of them. You as the person the size of a whale that is pushing or not pushing has the final say and you need every fiber of your body to trust that person, I don’t care if you feel bad or your worried you won’t find another one that doesn’t matter what matters is that you and the baby are happy and healthy. I think people over look the fact that they don’t have a connection with their midwife because someone they know has said they are great, shit mate they might have been great for them but you’re a different person and it isn’t a case of one size fits all I need a fellow borderline hippy to be my midwife but old mate down the line might need a more professional medical focused midwife my needs are different to your and my values are different to yours. I just can’t stress enough that if you even have one little inkling it’s not the right fit or you feel uneasy only once you should act on it and look for a new LMC, another thing to remember is you can use a hospital midwife don’t be scared you won’t find another one at such late notice like you’re not going to be made to birth in a hay shed behind the hospital because you don’t have a midwife. In larger towns you can be with your community birthing team instead of having an independent midwife and then have the hospital midwives deliver your baby which I think is actually the norm in other countries but seems so strange to us here in NZ, I know a few hospital midwives and they are bloody fab so don’t let the fact they work for the hospital put you off!
I had a pretty average birth with Rocky but I had the most amazing midwife and if it wasn’t for her it would have been so much worse, she allowed me to believe in myself and birth as close to the way I wanted to as possible and I am so so thankful for that. In my opinion a midwife’s role is support you are the machine that is birthing that baby so you are in control, I view the midwife’s role as an amazing wealth of knowledge and strength that will allow you to naturally do what needs to be done but recognize when they need to step in and assist and be there for you the whole way. Others might see it differently but that’s how a midwife fits in with my birthing mantra, if you aren’t feeling safe and comfortable with your birth support and in your birthing environment I do think you are more prone to interventions and complications because giving birth is about your whole Hauora not just getting the job done, giving birth is such a mental thing so if you have stresses coming into it and you are not fully trusting in your LMC then obviously it's not going to be a smooth ride again this is 100% my opinion and not a professional one it's just based on talking to mates who have had issues around birth and midwives.
I also asked my IG mate Katie who is a hospital midwife and a bloody whiz in the kitchen for a few tips around choosing a midwife
- Pick a midwife who is comfortable with primary (birth unit/home) and seconday (hosptial) care especially if you are aiming for a home or birth unit, because shit happens with birth and you wnat someone that knows what they are doing when things turn to crap.
- Birth plans for first babies = don't always work out but it pays to think about what you would like in an ideal world.
- If you dont gel with your midwife please change.
Also this page here is amazing for picking your LMC or jus learning more about midwives in your area, I soley picked Ruby's midwife from this list as we were living in the North Island but I was birthing in Christchurch. Just looking at her profile gave me that feeling that she was the ones!