When Midwifery Works

by Mrs. BWF on January 4, 2012

This is a guest post by a friend of mine who is a midwife. She is also an amazing woman, wife and mother. She supports all women’s choices in birth, but at the same time always practices safe and competent midwifery, as you will see here. For those that want to know how midwifery works, how home birth is safe and what happens when it’s time to change plans, this post is perfect for just that. ~Mrs. BWF


When Midwifery Works

I recently attended the long anticipated birth of a dear friend of mine. This birth was a planned HBAC. Her first birth was a c section at 35 weeks due to problems with one of the babies. Those babes are now robust, fun 7 year old girlies.  I was with her during that pregnancy from the day..yes the day those babies were conceived on a camping trip.

I was delighted to be asked to be midwife this time around. We’ve been through some ups and downs in our friendship over the last three years but when it came down to it, she knew she could trust me as her midwife and I knew any differences we had in the past had nothing to do with her desire for a healthy pregnancy and vaginal birth.

Of course when you live some place where homebirth and midwives are not the norm, you get looks and comments but this mama was having none of it and put everyone who offered a differing opinion in their place with a firm “It’s MY choice so shut up”. Love.

Labor commenced at 40 weeks 2 days. I was excited and went to check on her when her water broke in the early morning. She labored beautifully all day as I went to check on another midwife and her client and came back again.

She labored all through the day and into the late evening with no cervical change at all. As I examined her I could feel what I thought was a forehead and not an occiput (back of the head) and I had estimated a 9 ½-10lb baby. We tried everything I know of to get little big guy to turn but he did not.

Around 11:30pm I offered my opinion that the hospital was where we needed to be. No one was in distress, but obviously with the position of this baby I felt that intervention of a variety I could not offer was necessary. We left for the hospital around 12:30am.

We were well received and that is the reason we chose this particular hospital because they treat homebirth transports with respect because they know we do not want to have to be there. It wasn’t part of the plan.

After 2 doctors and a sono confirmed the same presentation my palpation led be to believe was true was confirmed mom opted for a repeat c section and a beautiful 10#6oz baby boy was delivered face up, brow presenting just as I had expected.

Some may see this as a failure. Of her, of me,  of midwifery. I do not. I see this birth as a success of midwifery because midwifery is not about catching babies at home. It’s about Midwives caring enough to choose the safest passage and recognize when help is needed and make hard calls that will maybe crush long anticipated birth experiences.

I spent a lot of time doubting myself and my skills, of wondering if maybe I wasn’t cut out to be a midwife of grieving this loss for my friend. Until I realized I was exactly right, and that this birth was a success because I protected my friend, protected her scar, recognized a situation that was beyond my abilities and made the call to go for help before anyone was even remotely close to being in trouble. Despite my knowing how the situation was going to be received and all the “I told you so’s “ that are likely to come from it, I put mother and baby first and chose what was best for her.

Midwifery works when midwives make hard calls. Midwifery works when despite all the doubt in your head you know what is right and you put your big girl panties on and deal with it. Midwifery works when you knowingly walk into a place that may receive you with hostility because they do not agree with your path or choices or midwifery but its what’s best for your client. And a lot of the time midwifery works when you lovingly and sweetly guide a new baby from his mother’s body into his daddy’s hands. Midwifery just works.


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