Friday, September 7, 2012

reflections on prenatal care {part two}

this is a continuation from my post yesterday. check it out here.

now where was i...? oh yes. my thoughts on prenatal care.

after all that raving about how amazing midwives are, please understand that...
3. not everyone who goes with a midwife will have excellent care. i had a friend in canada who actually ended up transferring her prenatal care to a doctor {from her midwives} because she didn't feel like she was being taken seriously and the concerns she had weren't being addressed properly with the midwife practice she was with. in the end, an OB was the best choice for her and her baby. and that's okay. i think the important thing is that she went with her gut and in the end did what she felt she needed to do for her peace of mind, her health and her baby's health.
my friend in the UK is currently with a midwife who is one of 2 midwives in her area who attend home births {this friend is hoping for her first home birth, although it will be her second birth!}. due to the high demand, my friend has only had a few appointments with this midwife and in some of them she has seemed scattered, unfocused and rushed. this made me sad and a bit annoyed for my friend as this midwife should be seeking to offer a quality of service that she seems unable to provide for her clients due to taking on too many {or so it would seem to me!}. i hope in the end that my friend gets a wonderful home birth experience and that her midwife is able to offer her support and care that is timely and comforting in the time she needs it most. it just seemed sad to me as she commented that she had gotten to know her OB better when she was pregnant the first time. midwife does not always equal nurturing, quantitative {45 mins-1 hr appointments!} care.

4. just because you're in a first world country does not mean prenatal care is going to be awesome. another friend of mine had a beast of a doctor for the first bit of her pregnancy. his rude and unhelpful comments stressed her out and in the end, she fired him and found a better doctor who listens to her and validates her concerns without being condescending or unhelpful. sometimes you have to do "the needful" {as they say here} and leave your OB/midwife if your instinct is telling you that it's not what you want/need.

5. my care here in uganda has been good. i had a midwife {from the UK} giving me my prenatal care up until 36 weeks and then i was transferred to a doctor at the hospital she works closely with and had nothing but rave reviews for him. i am so thankful to have had michele as my midwife here and have nothing but positive things to say about her. she gave me a realistic perspective of what to expect from giving birth in a hospital and in uganda. she gave me insight into the system here and helped me to feel confident despite being an expat "mzungu" {white person}.
i've had two appointments with my doctor and he is soft-spoken but seems competent and confident and from different interactions with people i know here and strangers i've met, i've heard nothing but good things from them as well. i have mixed feelings about giving birth here and in a hospital {mostly the hospital part, to be honest}, but i think that this experience will help me relate to those who have had hospital births in the past as well as give me an opportunity to make the most of this situation - despite the fact that it's not my ideal.

while in the past i might have pushed home births and midwives, i am a little bit older now and hopefully a bit wiser, too. and i am so incredibly thankful for modern medicine, doctors, surgeons and hospitals for the births that are higher risk and more complicated than mine have been. we are blessed.
i have several friends in canada who had high-risk pregnancies due to heart defects, being pregnant with twins and several other issues. i am so incredibly thankful that they had access to the care that they needed for them and for their babies. in another century, who knows what would have happened? so please don't think i am anti-doctor/hospital/medications. i am not.
i think now what i would push is for women to educate themselves. what is best for you and your baby may not be best for everyone. so seek to find out if you like the care presented by doctors or midwives better. maybe you want a home birth but aren't completely comfortable so you look into a birthing center and that becomes your best choice/option. maybe you look into it and decide that a hospital with an epidural is the way to go for you. if you've done your research, i say go for it. {i'd also like to add, that you are stronger than you think you are. and that pain in and of itself isn't necessarily something to be afraid of.}

perhaps with the arrival of this baby i will have begged and pleaded for an epidural. maybe i'll have back labour or maybe my labour will be long and arduous like neither of my other two were. who knows? only God does {as noah likes to remind me}. and so i put my trust in Him and trust that this body that has so graciously and amazingly and miraculously birthed two other babies before baby B can do it again.

i am so looking forward to the journey and the story and sharing it with you when it does happen!

*as always, i love to hear from you, your experiences and dialogue with you. if anything i've said offends or strikes you as incorrect or needs clarifying, please don't hesitate to comment! i understand that the nature of our choices as women and mothers can sometimes cause tension or judgement and that's not my intent at all. i just wanted to share some of my thoughts and reflections on my personal experiences.*


  1. great posts Vanessa. I had to hospital births, and no drugs...ouch. I had the gas with elijah and didn't think it did anything, but with dakota i wasn't able to have it (new hospital rules and regulations, whatever) and realized how it really did help me relax. but with kota i made it thru with nothing (not that i didn't plead - a little too late, for an epidural). i was very happy with my doctor, she was super amazing, and down to earth. she unfortunately didn't deliver my 2nd. i had a doctor that i met that morning, honestly 5 minutes before i began pushing. the nurses, round one were amazing and so attentive. the nurses, round two, not so good..i was quite glad to go home wth kota, figured i'd get more help from family.
    now, all this to say that i think it's pretty amazing the differences each pregnancy, labor etc can be for each of us. I was so mad at EVE for being cursed to have pain in childbirth. but even though its a curse, the pain, the blessings that come from it are the best ever!.. by the way, i was told i had a beautiful placenta..haha! thanks, strange man doctor, i had just met.
    looking forward to hearing about your 3rd birth, but 1st hospital birth..and of course 1st ugandan birth :)

    1. Oh my gosh Michelle, I just laughed out loud at you being told you had a beautiful placenta. That's hilarious.
      I think they do have the gas at the hospital in pretty much every labour room as it was pointed out to me twice. I did think of you when I was writing this as I think you had back labour, right?
      Now. This baby really needs to come. I'm getting REALLY tired of being pregnant.

    2. yep, i had back labor - it sucked. at first i only calculated the time when my front felt like labor...then dan and i decided to start calculating the time when my back was included and realized we were a lot further along than we realized. with kota i knew what to expect, but then my water broke with her..that was a shocker - yet another surprise.
      yeah, dan reminded me about my beautiful placenta. we told a friend in a nursing program and she said there actually is a beautiful placenta - -i told her until it's beautiful enough to take a photo of and frame on a wall i don't believe it can be beautiful. She told me she would have to do that to prove it to me - her husband wasn't too impressed with that dare :)

  2. And I am also hoping for what you're hoping...that I'll get good,care when it matters most. The lab called twice this week, once to tell me I needed to send a new urine sample & the other time to say I needed another blood test as I had low platlets. Both times they didn't know who I was then when I said I was not registered at the clinic since I was doing a homebirth they said, "oh, well can you pass on the message to your midwife?" Umm, I would bit she told me at our last appointment that her work phone is out of service. Good thing I REALLY want to attempt a homebirth otherwise I would complain that this system sucks & sign myself up for a hospital birth.

    1. Aw Tara that really sucks! That does not sound like a good set up at all! Praying that you have peace and patience and competent care, as you said, when it matters most!

  3. I'm writing this while riding in a car so please excuse any typos! I just wanted to say that I loved these posts. I am having a hospital birth with an OB who I absolutely love...I would describe our relationship in much the same way you described your relationship with your midwives. I have to say that your respectful and informative writing in this topic is so refreshing and appreciated! I sometimes feel shamed by home birth moms' blog posts because I am choosing essentially the exact opposite as them, but I have never felt that way reading you. Love that we can recognize that what is best for us.might not be best for others and share experiences this way. Kudos!

    1. Amy! This means so much to me! I'm so glad you've felt comfortable and pleased with your OB.
      Thank you so much for your kind comment.
      I hope your birth experience is just what you want and need.
      Thanks again for commenting! :)


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