Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Kia as a midwife?

Let's pretend I am shopping for a new car -- not going to happen until the Kia's wheels fall off and burn-- but let's pretend....

1. There are many options: SUV, sedan, van, compact car

2. Different options have different pros and cons:
-- SUVs and vans are nice and roomy but I need more kids to fill up all those extra seats.
-- Loving the size of a compact car but I need a larger trunk and our Britax Marathon and Sunshine Radian would barely fit in the backseat.
-- Sedans have room for two rearfacing convertible carseats, nice trunk size, good gas mileage.
-- Hmmm. Looks like a sedan is the best fit for my family.

3.  Googling ensues. I read consumer reviews, compare gas mileage, look at price tags, decide which extras are a necessity, etc.

4. My choices are finally narrowed down between 3 different sedans. Time to load up the family and test drive those cars around town. With my keen attention to detail , I meticulously compare the tiniest details of these 3 vehicles before finally settling on our new car......another Kia! We do love our Kkkkkia.

5. Two months later, we are happy as can be with our decision. The Kia is perfect for us.

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Now, let's pretend I am pregnant. No gasps, please. I am definitely not pregnant. We are still pretending....

1. There are many options for my child's birth: a hospital labor and delivery ward, a freestanding birth center, my home

2. Different options have different pros and cons:
-- Hospital labor and delivery wards are where the vast majority of American babies are born. A well-trained ob/gyn delivers my baby, nurses tend to my medical needs, drugs are available for pain relief and the operating room is down the hall in case a c-section becomes necessary but I worry about the "cascade of interventions". Are all those routine procedures necessary for the birth of my child after my low-risk pregnancy?
-- A freestanding birth center is also an option. I would arrive at the birth center in active labor, attended by a midwife. Even though I'm not at a hospital, a freestanding birth center is equipped for routine medical issues related to labor and delivery. In the worst case scenario, 911 would be called to take me to the hospital. We would go back home several hours after the baby is born so I am in the comfort of my own home as I recover from childbirth.
-- I can also consider the possibility of delivering my baby at my house, attended by a midwife.  By the time I am 40 weeks pregnant, the midwife and I will have a close relationship since she has done all of my prenatal care and determined I am a good candidate for a homebirth due to my previous medical history and my lowrisk uncomplicated pregnancy. Anecdotal evidence shows labor is shorter at home because you are in a less stressful environment thus allowing your cervix to dilate faster. My midwife would come to my house when I am in labor but she will have a hands-off approach as we allow the contractions to do their job and work my baby into the proper placement for delivery. No drugs for pain would be available but I know the pain is for a purpose. Like the birth center, I might have a tub specifically for laboring and delivery or I can deliver the baby wherever feels right in that moment. Midwifes are trained in CPR and life-saving procedures, carry medical equipment for routine issues (oxygen, pitocin for bleeding, sutures/lidocaine, suction for meconium, etc.). But, homebirth midwives also have faith in a women's body to birth the baby that she grew over the past 40 weeks and are trained to identify and deal with issues before they become emergencies. And of course, if there is a true medical emergency, 911 can always be called to transport me to our nearby local hospital.
--Hmmmm. Looks like I am going to choose a homebirth as I see it is the best fit for my family and my belief that a woman's body is perfectly designed to give birth.

3. Googling ensues. I must find a well-qualified midwife to interview, develop a list of questions to ask at the interview, learn about natural unmedicated birth by studying the stages of labor and emotional signposts, read homebirth birth stories, and learn exercises specifically suited for pregnancy.

4. The time for a test-drive is here. We meet our midwife, ask her a million questions, discuss the reasons we want a homebirth and see if our personalities mesh as we will be working very closely together until our baby is born. Yes. She is wonderful -- highly qualified with hundreds of births under her belt and referrals are glowing from the past four births she attended.

5. Two months later, we are as happy as can be with our decision. Liza had a gentle entrance into this world and we are thankful for access to a wonderful midwife who has deep faith in a woman's body to give birth.

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The point of this delightful comparison?

Women deserve options.

Thank you, Norma, for being the perfect option for my family!

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