Monday, July 16, 2007


OB versus midwife

The week we came back from Bar Harbor, I had been feeling awful. I was so tired I could barely put one foot in front of the other and I just wanted to sleep all day. At the nadir, I found myself standing in the kitchen, half way through throwing together tacos for dinner, wondering if I had the energy to finish chopping the onion on the cutting board in front of me. It wasn't pretty.

So I called the OB, and was told to come in for blood work. (My next scheduled appointment was still two weeks away.) So I went in and had seven vials of blood drawn - I must again comment on the irony of having them leech out seven vials of blood when I suspect I am anaemic - and went home again. I decided to start taking the prenatal vitamins more regularly, as I had been avoiding them because my stomach was already in some constant state of upset anyway and the only time I've ever actually been sick through any pregnancy was directly following a prenatal vitamin chased down with a glass of orange juice one unpleasant morning.

When three days went by and I hadn't heard from the OB's office, I called for the results. The receptionist left me on hold, where I hope but cannot confirm that she checked not only the results but with the OB as well, and came back on the line and said, "Everything's fine. Just keep on truckin'."

I paused, then sputtered. "But... but I feel like crap on a cracker. I can barely function I'm so cataclysmically tired."

"Well, she said, you ARE pregnant." I hung up, thinking but not saying 'Yes, well, I'm not exactly new at this, and I've never felt this bad before.' In truth, by that time I was feeling considerably better, and by the end of last week I was feeling pretty darn close to myself again.

But the whole experience left a bitter taste in my mouth, so I hung up with the OB and promptly googled until I found information about midwives in Ottawa.

The good news is, I'm on a waiting list and am to call them back later this week. They expect they can take me. The bad news is, I don't think I'm going to go with a midwife after all.

There seem to be two midwivery collectives in Ottawa, neither one of which has priviledges at the Civic hospital where both boys were born. I don't have a lot of attachment to my OB as far as the actual childbirth is concerned, but I do feel strong ties to the Civic. Plus, Tristan was even conceived there before the IVF clinic moved off site.

Both midwivery collectives only seem to have priviledges at the Montfort Hospital, against which I have to admit I have a bit of a bias. I've heard of English-speaking patients having trouble there, even though it's here in Ottawa, finding a fluently bilingual nurse. And while I've never really paid attention, there has been a lot of talk about closing it over the years and I don't know why. I know the Civic, I trust the Civic, and I can't say the same for the Montfort.

There's a midwivery collective out in Carleton Place that has priviledges at the Queensway Carleton Hospital, which is convenient to where I live and several of my friends have given birth there. I'd happily consider that option - except then I'd have to find my way to Carleton Place, a good 20 minute drive from the house and probably an hour from work - for each appointment. Oh, and we only have one car. Not going to happen.

So, while I'm quite drawn to the concept of midwivery and I was ready to make the switch all things being equal, they aren't equal at all. My OB's office is a bloody pain to get to from work (as you'll remember from my epic tale of the good-hearted cabbie and the very, very bad day) but fairly convenient to home. I'm ambivalent about her personally, with some significant pros and cons in each column. But mostly, I'm loyal to the hospital where the boys were born because I think that's the most critical factor for me.

And besides, you know I'm not so good with change.