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Us vs. Them

January 16th, 2010 | Posted by Amy Boughner in Parenting | Personal

When I found out I was pregnant, I knew almost right away that I wanted to try and find a midwife rather than an OB – assuming that I didn’t have any risk factors. There were a few reasons I made that decision, but also made the decision to have a hospital birth rather than a home birth (and it was a good thing I did).

As it turned out, an OB became a major part of my birth story and something I will always remember about that day was the mild tension between the midwives, the nurses and the OB. Obviously, they all do things differently, and throughout my care there was a lot of “oh, you do it that way?”

I mentioned this to Joe the next day and he said he had noticed it too, though he had specifically not mentioned it because he didn’t want to bring it to my attention.

I have to say that I was happy with my care through my pregnancy (if somewhat annoyed at times), and I was also very happy with the way I was treated by the nursing staff and the OB, as well as his student. The tension about the way they worked and their various efforts to teach each other served mostly as amusement during a very long, hard day.

One of my favourite memories will be the nurse that came in to help the anesthesiologist when I got the epidural. Her name was Jackie and she was efficient. Stern with everyone in the room, she completely took charge when she came in. She was demanding of the midwives (and kind of rude) but she was there to get the job done, and that she did. She explained what I needed to do and what was going to happen and then she stood with me and keep me calm through the procedure (which happened over two contractions during which I couldn’t move). It was fascinating watching her be so quick with everyone else and so caring with me.

We first met the OB in the morning when he consulted with the midwives and approved their plan for induction. He was very pleasant and informative and I liked him right away, though I didn’t expect to see him again. When he came in to see me in the afternoon when the midwives started noticing a dip in the baby’s heart rate, he was again polite and informative. And when he came back in the evening it was strange. At that point they knew something was wrong, but they also knew I was very close to delivery. The midwives were working with me to have as little intervention as possible, and the OB was supportive of this, commenting several times on how close she was to being born, but also letting me know that if it wasn’t soon then there would be help.

In a way it was reassuring knowing that I had both sides fighting it out. I knew that the midwives wouldn’t have allowed the OB to come in with forceps unless they felt strongly enough that it was necessary for the baby, and I knew that the OB had skills the midwives didn’t have for getting her out as quickly and safely as possible.

I guess having both teams in the room leaves me with the general sensation that everything happened the way it needed to, which is rather nice.

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