Friday, June 22, 2007


"Home delivery is for pizza"

The title to this post is a bumper sticker from the American College of Obstretricians and Gynecologists quoted in an article about "freebirth" in today's Citizen. The article discusses the apparently increasingly popular choice of some expecting mothers to deliver baby at home with no medical professionals in attendance - no doctor, no midwife, no doula.

Um, no thanks.

(I'm sure my mother is breathing a sigh of relief right about now.)

I guess I'm a moderate on this particular spectrum. I have to admit, I'm a little cynical of people who choose "convenience" c-sections. (We had an interesting discussion about this last year.) And note here I'm talking about convenience c-sections and am in no way being critical of c-sections in general - hell, that's how I debuted almost 38 years ago.

On the other hand, while I can appreciate on an intellectual level why someone would choose an unmedicated child birth, I'd no sooner choose to have my wisdom teeth pulled without medication than try to birth a child without it. The irony is that my body is particularly unresponsive to the epidural, and after hours of tinkering with the "cocktails" both boys were fired out pretty much without the benefit of anesthesia.

While I would never choose a home birth, and certainly not an unassisted one (and again, please let me say that this is not a criticism of those who do - just one girl's humble opinion on what's best for her parts and her babies) I have to admit that for the first time I'm idly considering switching from an obstetrician to a midwife.

(My mother is shaking her head in dismay.)

I've actually always rather enjoyed my obstetrician's clinical professionalism. If I remember correctly, she once served at the chief of obstetrics at the hospital where the boys were born. We've had some pretty traumatic moments with her, from the elevated risk of Down syndrome with Tristan to the miscarriage last year, and while she was never exactly warm or comforting, I was always reassured by my faith in her capability. And yet, because of the nature of her practice, she hasn't been present at the birth of either boy.

A midwife appeals to me because of the extra attention implied in midwife care: the extra hand-holding, extended appointments, and after-birth care. Truthfully, I don't even know that much about midwives and the regulations that govern them here in Ontario. Last I heard, if you have a midwife in attendance at a hospital birth, you are encouraged to leave soon afterward, as opposed to the 48 hours that you stay if you have an OB in attendance. Is that right? And midwives are covered under OHIP (public health insurance), right?

Anyway, I likely won't change - but I'm curious. Where do you find yourself on the continuum - freebirth advocate or convenience c-section or somewhere in between?