29 weeks today - baby girl is two and a half pounds and just over 15 inches long. She's flipping and flopping and kicking up a storm. I can't believe she's going to be here in less than 3 months - it's happening so fast!
I've switched medical providers. At 29 weeks. Whoa. Here's the story:
At my last OB appointment, I attempted to have a conversation with my doctor about my desire for a natural unmedicated birth. She cut me off and said, "That's great. I'm going to put down that you would prefer a natural delivery but you're open to an epidural." Um, that's not what I said. I tried to correct her, but she wouldn't let me get my words out, instead telling me how if I want to deliver naturally, I need to make sure I don't gain too much weight, because she'd wanted natural childbirth but gained 50 pounds and ended up begging for an epidural at 3 cm. My efforts to steer the discussion back to me, to my birth preferences, were futile, and she breezed out of the exam room when I was still mid-sentence. I left feeling extremely uncomfortable and very nervous about my chances of labor and delivery going the way I want. I'd already had reservations about this particular doctor and practice, so this treatment was a tipping point for me. I'd heard of a group of doctors and midwives across the river, and decided to look into my options. Imagine my surprise and excitement when I learned they're considered "in network" through my insurance! I called their office, and the phone was answered by a live person, rather than an answering machine. Yes, they're accepting new patients. Yes, they'll take a new patient at 28 weeks pregnant - there's an appointment available on December 5th, would I like to schedule? Yes. Yes I would.
I picked up my medical records from the old OB and cancelled my future appointments with their office, and today I had my first appointment with a licensed nurse midwife. My impression after the first visit is this: I feel like I've made the best medical decision I've ever made for myself, and I'm thrilled. The intake staff, the nurse who weighed me and checked my blood pressure, the midwife herself - they all made me feel so incredibly comfortable and at ease. They gave me a welcome bag full of healthy pregnancy literature and prenatal vitamin samples and information on the hospital where I'll deliver. They have signs all over their office encouraging patients to file a birth plan with the office by 36 weeks, and provided a form for mothers-to-be who may need a little help figuring out what info should be included in a birth plan. They strongly encourage allowing labor to begin on its own and for women to be active during labor. They encourage women to make the birth experience their own and promise to do everything possible to support each woman's requests when it comes to pain managment and delivery. In other words, they are exactly what I'd hoped I'd be able to have in a medical team during labor and delivery. Reading their birth plan form, I was so overwhelmed with relief, I started to cry; sitting in the exam room, waiting for the midwife, crying tears of happiness that I will be able to have the birth experience I'd hoped for without having to beg and fight for it. The hospital where I'll deliver has an excellent record for non-intervention, and the nurses are very familiar and comfortable with unmedicated deliveries. They have garden tubs to soak in during labor (can't deliver in the tub, but I can live with that). I can't explain how thrilled I am.
Assuming I don't get a partial refund of the money I've paid to my former OB's office, I'm looking at this switch costing me an extra $40 over what I'd planned to spend. $40. Best money I've ever spent.
Today, I feel more confident than I have in weeks. I feel like I've made a choice that will guarantee I've done everything in my power to get this baby here in a natural way - it still may not end up that way, but I can rest assured knowing if interventions become necessary, it won't be because I didn't make the right choice when it came to my medical providers. I can move forward without fear of regret. I'm so relieved. I'm so happy.