Midwives, Doulas, Partners- Creating the Team

1782131_245335285646945_1471368041_nI have always wanted to be a mother. The whole bit. Being pregnant and birthing, and all the glory and rewards that comes afterward for the rest of your life! It’s totally a glamourous, accolade filled job, right?! When thinking about the birthing process I knew I wanted a home birth with a midwife as support. I never envisioned a hospital birth, in fact it terrified me that there was a possibility that I might have to deliver my child in a hospital of all places. You never know what can happen in birth, so many opportunities for learning, surrendering and letting go. When I met my lover, the woman I would create my family with, things became more tangible. We moved into our first home together and upon walking into a room in the basement I said- “This is a womb chamber, I will give birth here.” And so here we are, 3.5 years later from that exact moment. My ideal dream would be to birth in a warm ocean under a full moon with dolphins as midwives but I settled for a home basement-kiva birth instead. SongoftheTreeSpiritsCharlesIn my mind a midwife was an ancient wise healer, a soul birthing facilitator, a witch with medicinal herbs that would do ceremony with me, give me tinctures, wisdom and strength. She would have scraggly grey hair like Susun Weed or  a calm demeanour like Ina May Gaskin. She would see my soul and the soul of my babe and work with us intuitively. She would rub my ripe belly with her wrinkled hands, “Ah, yes, you are a sparkly one indeed, what an old soul!”, she might say with a twinkle in her eye and tell me something magical about my growing baby with an all knowing smile. She would give me a balm to stretch my cervix or a tea to ease my anxiety. I would feel safe and trusting and warm and held in her presence. She would be like another mother or grandmother that would support me in unfolding, trusting and moving through the most transformational time in my life with grace and ease. This was my vision. Maybe I read too much Starhawk. When we found out we were pregnant after calling our sperm donor the midwives were the second call. We knew it was difficult to get a midwife. We were lucky enough to have appointments with three different clinics. And finally we selected one, the one I had wanted from the beginning. I basically harassed them for weeks to get an appointment. My reasoning initially was because I had been to the opening ceremony of their clinic years ago, I liked the hospital they were aligned with if, goddess forbid, I would end up there, and they appeared to share similar beliefs as I did in terms midwifery practices. We were also recommended by a friend to a queer midwife within the practice which felt really good to us. 394px_Eucharius_R_lin_Rosgarten_Childbirth We met finally after some mix up with appointments and though my dreams of the old wise woman were starting to evaporate I felt comfortable with a young, strong, well researched, friendly, queer midwife. I also agreed to have a student present but I did not know I was agreeing basically to have the student act as my primary midwife. Things went a bit wonky from there. Appointments were canceled at a moments notice without rescheduling, the administration- gatekeeper to the midwife- was slow, unorganized, unprofessional and seemed to have no idea what was going on! When I asked for a care package, which had been offered to me but was forgotten after the first appointment, the administrator, who hardly even looked up while I asked her said, “Um I don’t think we have any of those. Um, yeah, I’m not sure, maybe next time you can ask your midwife for one?” Our first really big issue came when the midwife was sick and the student took over and messed up some dates on the triple screening tests which were time sensitive. It isn’t very reassuring when you are calling back your midwife clinic to ask them about something you researched on google MD because they f’d up! And that is when things got very challenging between Cheryl and myself. “Negligent” was her word for the whole practice. She was enraged and felt unsafe with the whole experience and was ready to find another midwife. I don’t know what happened for me exactly. I was angry as well, and irritated, and didn’t fully trust them but was kind of defeatist perhaps. Like I’d settled or didn’t quite care as my initial dream had faded and didn’t want to put the effort into finding another alternative. It was good enough.  I trust they can deliver babies even if they can’t answer phones! Cheryl said I was just being stubborn and not wanting to be wrong about my choice, but I think I just let it go. “My pregnancy is great, the baby is healthy, as long as they show up to help with the delivery I don’t really care”, was my attitude. “But that’s the problem, I just have this feeling that they won’t show up!” was Cheryl’s feeling. It can be difficult being in a relationship with another intuitive strong willed woman! I honour and respect Cheryl’s wisdom and point of view, as she does mine. We both see things completely differently at times and can settle on an agreement but sometimes it can be hard. And this wasn’t a should we paint the bedroom grey question, it regarded the safety of our child. What if she was right? What if I was now being negligent and not following the signs? What if something went wrong at the birth? She would never forgive me, I would never forgive myself. It was complex. And at what point does a birth mother’s feelings trump the other mothers or parents? Does that happen? Is it equal all the way? I claimed the birth as mine. I carried this being for 9 months, I am ripping open my body and soul to earth it, it will be my choice, who is there, and how this goes down. Was a comment I had made previously, possibly selfishly. If I were with a man would all these decisions be solely left up to me? I wonder if there is something that comes up differently when two women are creating their family together? witches   We are a team. I am relying on my partner for support and she is relying on me for support and to make healthy choices for our child. Was this just an amplification of her fears or was there something to this intuitive feeling she had? It was really stressful for us to be in a power struggle and my hormones were getting more and more squishy in the last months. I wanted to feel closer and safe, not polarized and far apart. This is the point when I decided to get a doula. A meditator between all the worlds. I had recently reconnected with a friend who was giving me pre-natal yoga classes and happened to be a doula. I had thought, “I have midwives, my mom and my partner I don’t need a doula”, but it became clearer as we got closer in the third trimester that I really needed to feel extra support that was there 100% for me. This became one of the best decisions I made! Amanda Montgomery  was an amazing goddess sent. She was strong, intuitive, easy going and a wealth of knowledge. I felt that I could call her and check in on weird feelings, swollen labia, irritated emotional jags and express my anxieties without judgement. But most important of all I trusted her. And equally importantly Cheryl trusted her as well. So with this addition to our team we both felt more supported and although we weren’t in full agreement this eased the tension between us. Cheryl was secure in knowing that Amanda would show up and I got my extra wise woman support. ***As you will see in our Birth Story to come…. Cheryl’s intuition did come to fruition in that our baby just happened to choose to be born in the 8hr window when NEITHER one of our midwives were on call! We did have 2 completely wonderful midwives from the collective that we had never met before who attended the birth and supported us incredibly! Babies always know when to come! ***