10 reasons why I loved having a midwife
When I first found out I was pregnant with my first baby, I had no idea what to do. I saw my doctor to confirm what the pee stick told me, and he asked me if I’d considered who I wanted for my care provider.
What? What do you mean? Don’t I just go to an OB and call it a day?
I hadn’t even given midwives a second look, and to be honest, really had no idea what they even did. He gave me some pamphlets and a few days to think on it. I got home, opened Mr. Google, and searched away. I canvased my friends with kids to see what they’d chosen, to find out that no one I knew had chosen a midwife – didn’t sound promising for a first time mama with an unplanned baby. I liked that I could self-refer, and that I wouldn’t have to book yet another appointment to see my doctor like I would need to see an OB, so I called all the midwifery clinics in town to be put on waiting lists. After a few weeks, I was accepted to one and booked my first appointment.
Through the next 10 months, I was guided through pregnancy, birth, and my first postpartum weeks by the hands of an angel.
I mean it when I say it, midwives are absolute angels and I recommend their care to every single person I know. Here’s why:
1. I chose where I wanted to give birth. Choice of birthplace is at the core of midwifery care. Whether you want to give birth in a hospital, at home, or at a birth centre (should you have one in your city), the choice is yours. As long as there is no reason for your midwife to believe you should be in a hospital, they will inform, guide, and empower you to give birth in the place that would make you feel the most comfortable.
2. They treat pregnancy and birth as a natural process for the body. As long as you are experiencing a low-risk pregnancy and anticipate a normal birth, a midwife can be your primary caregiver through it all. Instead of going into my appointments feeling like I had a ‘condition’ that was pregnancy, I was treated as though most of my symptoms were normal. My midwife empowered me to have so much confidence in my body and its abilities to carry and birth my baby. I learned to trust that mama gut!
3. My well-being always came first. I can’t stress this enough, mamas. Not a single appointment went by where my midwife didn’t ask me about how I was doing, and about my mood. Mental health was always at the forefront of our appointments.
4. It’s free in Ontario. Midwifery is legislated and regulated across most provinces in Canada, and free in Ontario. Being in Ottawa, this meant I had access to their services without spending a penny.
5. Having consistency in care through labour and birth. This one was huge, mamas! Having the same person with me through the beginning of active labour to the moment we took our baby home was absolutely amazing. I didn’t have any new nurses cycling through, no physician shift-changes, and knew who was going to be catching that babe. Bonus? I didn’t need to go full National Geographic for everyone under the sun.
My first babe, Owen, being weighed over our bed at one day old!
6. They came to me in labour and in the first weeks postpartum. As a first time mama, did you know what labour was going to feel like? I sure didn’t (and thought I was absolutely rocking it in the first hours, at 2cm dilated… so let’s just giggle here for a moment). Instead of heading to the hospital to be checked and sent back home, my midwife came to our house to assess me. We didn’t need to hop into our car until it really was ‘time to go’. This took so much stress off my husband and I in a moment that was already uneasy for both of us. This also goes for the baby’s first appointments postpartum. As midwives are qualified to care for babies in their first 6 weeks, they come to you to do their initial pokes, prods and weight checks, and to assist mama with feeding, and any questions the new parents might have. Getting to do this from our bed was AMAZING, and by the time I needed to go to their clinic for our 2 week appointment, I was ready to get out of the house with babe.
7. Drugs or no drugs One of these days I’ll write about my birth stories. My first didn’t go according to plan. I was in labour for what felt like a million years with little progress, and after I transferred to the hospital, I was happy to have my midwife to advocate for me and for baby. To this day, I feel like because of the length of my first labour, I would’ve been pushed in for a c-section had my midwife not been there to advocate for me. While there is nothing wrong with having a c-section, it is major surgery and I definitely didn’t want to opt for that route unless it was absolutely necessary for mine and my baby’s health.
8. They were my advocate. One of these days I’ll write about my birth stories. My first didn’t go according to plan. I was in labour for what felt like a million years with little progress, and after I transferred to the hospital, I was happy to have my midwife to advocate for me and for baby. To this day, I feel like because of the length of my first labour, I would’ve been pushed in for a c-section had my midwife not been there to advocate for me. While there is nothing wrong with having a c-section, it is major surgery and I definitely didn’t want to opt for that route unless it was absolutely necessary for mine and my baby’s health.
9. Long appointments. I never once felt rushed out of my appointments with my midwife. They averaged between 30-45 minutes, and I always felt like I had ample time to ask all of my questions, to get comfortable with my midwife, and to simply chat pregnancy and birth so that I always felt informed. Again, choice is huge, mamas, but it means nothing without being educated!
10. That first postpartum poop and shower. This by far, was one of my favourite moments with my midwife (and I’m sure it wasn’t hers). Yes, I know, it sounds ridiculous… until it’s your turn to do it! You guys, having my midwife be at the bathroom door for my first postpartum poop cheering me on (I swear I was more scared of that than I was of birth itself) was so great. Then, she helped me into the shower (oh the glorious, glorious first postpartum shower at home), and came in to hand me my towel when I was done. In a moment that I otherwise would’ve felt so vulnerable, I was grateful to have her there so that my husband didn’t have to step in and bear witness to it all.
What happens if there is a problem during pregnancy or birth, you ask? Midwives have very clear guidelines on consulting physicians should complications arise, and on transferring primary care if anything is beyond their scope of work. They are experts in their field, mamas! And in all of this, I’ll reiterate: choice is key. If you choose a physician as your primary caregiver, and that’s what makes you comfortable, that’s okay too! This post is just meant to shed light on midwifery care as I wish I’d had this information when it was my turn to make the choice.
I know, I know… that was a long one. I hold my midwives so dear to my heart, and needed to get this out there!