I think a lot of people do not actually understand what all a midwife does or is capable of for that matter, especially CPMs. I really want to explain how things differ from the medical model of care thus far in my journey. With both my girls, a prenatal appointment with an OB would go something like this: I would arrive and sign in and let them know that none of my information and insurance had changed since the last appointment and then I would sit and wait to be called back. A nurse would take my vitals and then ask a few routine questions. I generally thought the doctor would see these answers and go over what was important, but that never really seemed to happen. I would pee in a cup and they would stick a dip stick in and read the results, but never mentioned the reading to me or what it meant for that matter. They would measure my belly, listen to the heartbeat, and do the few tests that you get along the way, but still they never explained results or anything. I would see the doctor for maybe 5 minutes tops and this meant you had to be fast asking questions which I usually forgot in the moment. I would always forget to write them down. The doctors were always in a hurry given their high patient loads. With AdaRee I was anemic and my iron levels got really low which got even worse while taking iron pills which was their only known way of fixing anemia. The pills made me even more sick so they just told me that I needed to stop taking the iron pills. I was told that I would just have to be admitted to the hospital once it got extremely bad. I was horrified at the thought and googled how to fix my iron issue. I started eating lots of spinach, red meat, broccoli, and started cooking in cast iron more which was my first experience in the power of diet changes. My iron issues were never even really bought up again except to say that I wasn’t as exhausted anymore nor was I tested again until after she was born. My diet changes alone had brought my iron back up to above normal and I will never forget the look on my doctors face when he saw that. He could have very well told me to change my diet had he known anything about that aspect of life in general, but doctors have minimal requirements when it comes to studying diet and how foods can be medicinal. It is clear to me that OBs are generally trained to fix issues, not prevent them. This is why midwives can prevent issues because they learn these tricks instead of learning how to medically treat the issue after it is a problem. OBs are in and out and on to the next patient and are not focused on prevention, just fixing the problems after they have become a problem.
Now, my appointments with my midwife are the same as in I pee in the cup, they measure, and listen to the baby’s heartbeat, and they have run the normal tests along the way as usual like glucose and GBS testing……BUT they also spend about an hour talking to me about my diet, everyday routines, how my daughter and husband are with the pregnancy, and how I am doing most importantly. In my case it has been much longer sometimes because I talk a lot given the birth trauma I have been through. It was really important for me to find the right midwife who listened to me because that was the biggest problem with my care providers to begin with, none of them listened to me at all. Through these conversations, they are listening to pick up on things that are often missed with OB care because you are just the next patient. Diet is a big part of it and how I am feeling is key to preventing many issues in pregnancy. I kept a food diary so they could really see what choices I have been making along the way. With all of this information they can suggest diet changes, bed rest, exercises, things to prepare mentally for birth, etc. to help the pregnancy go smoother and prevent issues like preterm labor, anemia, probably even blood pressure issues, mental blocks, and much more I am sure. The part I look forward to most is when they focus on my baby. They palpate my belly each time and talk to him and Jett definitely responds to them! It is really as if they are getting to know him too and it means the world to me. We talk about what position he is in and how much of a stinker he is being because he reacts so strongly. He has definitely been a really active boy. They talk to him as he kicks back and it truly shows how much they care about him too! We go over birth plans and options after birth. Informed consent every step of the way! I am the one making the decisions and it feels amazing – it is not someone walking in the room and telling me what I need and rolling their eyes when I want to do something different or question something. We build a relationship
which is crucial for me because I need to know the person who is going to be there when I go into labor and not feel like I am playing Russian roulette with whomever happens to be on call that day. Both my babies were delivered by doctors I had never met before and that is completely unacceptable to me on every single level. This is far too great of an event for it to be left up to some random person that happens to be on the schedule. I was also given a notebook with all kinds of information on all the hot topics within it and it is just a nice place for me to keep my plans and additional information I find. I also keep my questions in there too which I have found to be super helpful, because I am talking about everything this time. My midwives are also okay with whatever I choose to do and support me even if it might not be something they would choose and that is invaluable in my opinion. They go over the results of each test and explain what it means without me even asking a question. It is apparent that they are very used to moms taking an active role in their pregnancies and births.
I have said it before and I will say it again and again…having a CPM is like having a gourmet chef versus my Ob experience being more like the likes of going through a McDonald’s drive thru. And by the way, I refuse to eat at McDonald’s ever again, so that should tell you something! There are some amazing ones out there like my personal hero, Dr. Bootstaylor, but they are few and far between. That being said, there really is not a price too steep that I would not pay to have CPM care at this point. It is worth every single penny!