Some of you may wonder about the lack of a post last Saturday, and if it indicated something like a new kid being delivered. Wonder no more!
Rowan Elijah. Born Saturday, June 16, at a massive 9 lb, 2oz. Or 4.14kg, if you prefer!
At a birth center. A what? Keep reading!
On Midwives and Birth Centers
For both of our kids, we’ve used midwives and birth centers. This has been a quite positive experience, and I’d wholeheartedly suggest it if you’re not in the “high risk” category. Obviously I’m not a midwife, and not a medical professional, so take the following with a large grain of salt, etc…
Here’s the thing: Normal childbirth is not an emergency procedure. There are things during childbirth that can become an emergency, and some people are high enough risk that they should be doing childbirth in a hospital, but for the most part? Nope. It’s a perfectly well designed process that works quite reliably.
Midwives are medical professionals who deal exclusively with childbirth. They provide care throughout the baby-growing period, and then are present for delivery, and provide checkups for the first month or two of newkid.
They’re trained to deal with the normal process of birth, and to recognize early when things are going pear shaped such that they can transfer someone to a hospital for an actual emergency situation. And, in general, there’s far less technology in the process because it’s not needed. There are no fetal monitors stuck up places. They monitor the baby’s signs with the normal Doppler heartbeat monitor, and can tell if things are being stressed that way. It’s just a more natural process, based around the fact that a woman’s body knows how to give birth. As long as things keep looking normal, just keep letting them run at their own pace. There’s nearly a full month of birth window, and as long as the kid comes in that range, all is good - the exact date doesn’t matter, and there’s no “Oh, you’re two days past due date, better induce!” type nonsense going on.
Birth centers, meanwhile, are a much cozier environment to have a kid. Instead of a hospital bed, there are a variety of positions to deal with labor in, including birth pools (inflatable water tub), beds, and just walking around. There’s relatively little in the way of machinery handling things, and it’s just a calm, quiet environment for labor to happen. It’s not a home birth, but it does leave the mess at someone else’s building…
And when the kid is born, the initial checks are, “Is the infant looking more or less healthy? Yes? Great, get them nursing.” Rowan’s umbilical cord was still pulsing (faintly) for nearly 20 minutes after birth while my wife was in the birth pool, and we just let it finish before cutting it. No reason to rush the process.
It does lead to amusing “calls to the grandparents” when they ask the normal questions: “How long, and how much did he weigh?” To which I respond with, “Normal baby length and I have no idea, feels pretty heavy.” The measurements are done after everyone has unwound from the process and the kid has somewhat recovered from being squeezed out like toothpaste.
Comparing notes with people who have had traditional hospital births, if all goes well, the birth center experience is far, far better. And, women using midwives are far less likely to have a C-section.
So, if you’re planning on kids, look into this. It’s still quite uncommon, but we’ve been very happy with the process.
Blog Posts in the Near Future
What this means, practically, is that I may have a slightly off publishing schedule. And posts may be slightly less coherent than usual. If you find stuff that makes less sense than usual, I’d appreciate a quick note. Thanks!
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