Welcome Guest Blogger, Kelley Suggs of Lithe Wellness Solutions as she shares the story of how her home birth midwives and doctors work together.
My husband and I used to be very conventional; conventional enough to have had a career working for the Air Force in health and wellness. Five years ago, if you would have told me that I’d have given birth to a baby at home, I’d told you you were crazy. Flash forward a few years later to a doctor’s office. I am sitting in a chair in my wonderful OBGYN’s office, explaining to her why I wanted to give birth at home. I was nervous, sweating and shaking; I really liked my OBGYN.
Her name is Dr. Teri McNelis and she is wonderful. She saw me through my second pregnancy, with all of the struggles and melt downs, tears and emotions, ups and downs and the highs and lows that accompany those nine months. I always felt comfortable with her and her nurse, Sara. She never criticized or scolded, she always discussed all of our options and took her time in each of our appointments. What I didn’t feel comfortable with was the conventional process, being treated like I was sick as I achieved this amazing act of beauty and vibrant health, having blood tests and GBS tests and diabetes tests and flu shots and eye ointments and vaccines and things that just chaffed against the way my husband and I had begun to raise our family.
As I sat in the hard plastic chair in her office, pregnant, nauseous and sweating, I told her we were seriously considering a home birth. Seriously considering, meaning we had already decided, I just needed to tell her, because I didn’t want her to wonder what happened to us. And just in case I changed my mind, I wanted her to be our back up provider, our just-in-case and our safety net. Dr. Terri, wonderful Dr. Terri, took the time to go over the benefits and risks with me, to highlight anything we hadn’t already examined on our own, made sure we weren’t going to deliver the baby ourselves and had hired an experienced midwife, then did the best a conventional OBGYN can do. She told us she would support us if she could, especially since this was my third baby and my third birth and I was so low risk. I left her office elated that she didn’t shun us.
We had hired a great local midwife, Victoria Edwards. She took amazing care of us. As part of her team, she had a doctor who was very supportive of her and her clients. Unfortunately, he was a distance away and I drug my feet when it came time to officially change over to list him as my official provider. Vicki encouraged and reminded and I never did it. Every time I needed a test, I called Dr. Terri’s office and left a message for Sara, asking if Dr. Terri would prescribe a test for me. I needed a few urine cultures and two or three ultrasounds. Dr. Terri prescribed all of them for us. We were able to have wonderful and amazing midwife care and use conventional medicine when we needed it. Through this process, Dr. Terri and Vicki, without ever meeting each other had a bit of a chance to get to know each other. It was a good thing they did. I ended up needing both of them to work together.
Our baby girl was born at home. It was a beautiful and amazing experience and I am so happy that we did it. I can’t explain the difference between the hospital births and a home birth. Laboring and birthing at home was everything I never knew I wanted. We were clear on all of our options and we were educated and had an amazing team. So when the unthinkable happened, we were ready for that too. Our baby’s birth was perfect; but her placenta had adhered to scar tissue and couldn’t detach. I started to bleed, and then hemorrhage. I was coherent enough to relay the doctor’s phone number to Vicki so that she didn’t have to rip through paperwork to get it, and she was able to have Dr. Terri ready for me at the hospital. Then the ambulance showed up and Vicki held my hand while we raced to the hospital. I got to watch my amazing midwife hand off my care to my amazing doctor; two professionals who could have easily been pitted against each other by our current society, team up to fight for my life. Vicky expertly rattled off notes, signs, symptoms and vitals and Dr. Terri expertly and professionally took over my care.
Dr. Terri ended up doing a very aggressive D & C to remove the placenta and over time I received four transfusions. When she rounded through the hospital, I was so happy to see her and so grateful for her care. Amazingly, Vicki came to the hospital to complete our post partum care (6 weeks for both the baby and I) even though she must have felt very uncomfortable. She took care of my scared family and assured my husband and helped me find the right questions to ask when I needed help thinking clearly.
Both providers had to bend a little to work with us…me never wanting to file the paperwork to make Vicki’s staff official and Dr. Terri working through voice mails and one emergent phone call. I know they were never designed to work as a team, but my family and I are so grateful they did.