i love that midwifery care is so personable. each and every prenatal visit with my midwife, alisa voss, lasted an hour. half the visit was spent measuring, weighing, talking about the pregnancy, answering questions, and whatever else had to be done during that particular visit, such as drawing blood. the rest of the time was spent talking and getting to know one another, drinking tea, and just enjoying one another's company.
but it's not only the prenatal visits and relationship that were personable. the care i received -- which was truly care -- during my labor and the birth of my son was beautiful. alisa was by my side the entire time i pushed. she crouched (probably quite uncomfortably) by the birthing pool for an hour, and while my friends ran around doing this and that, she was encouraging me, speaking words of calm, checking me, listening to the heartbeat of the baby. when river was nearly out, she told me, catch your baby!
after the birth i stayed in the pool with river as long as i wanted. alisa was the one who encouraged me to breastfeed immediately after birth and made sure he had a correct latch. she waited until his cord had stopped pulsating to put a clamp on it. she simply watched and waited as i spent fifteen minutes getting to know my son before he was taken to be cleaned, measured, and weighed. she wasn't in a hurry to get me out of the pool and get on with the technical stuff.
after i got out of the birth pool alisa emptied the water and cleaned up while i took a shower. then i sat in my bed and ate a dinner of BBQ sausage, fried potatoes, beans, and a giant glass of iced tea (holycrapbestmealever), while she checked river out. when she was finished with river, she talked to me about what to expect in the days postpartum, and discussed breastfeeding and infant care with me. i was feeling very energetic and happy and was probably still on a hormone high (woohoo natural birth hormones!) and could have hung out with my friends and midwives for hours. alisa ended up staying a total of four hours after river was born, taking her time to talk to me, visit with me, answer questions, and make sure i was comfortable and in a good place before she left.
it could have gone very differently. river could have been lifted onto my chest, his cord cut immediately, whisked away to be measured and weighed and cleaned while she helped me birth the placenta. she could have shared all the postpartum information with me while i was still in the pool, and then left when her "job" was done, leaving us to clean up, leaving me to shower and breastfeed later. it didn't even occur to me how different from modern birth in america this is. i've always appreciated the time and relationship throughout the months before the birth, but in a society where it's difficult to get an obstetrician to simply agree to delayed cord clamping because it takes a bit more time, i have completely taken for granted those five lovely hours my midwife dedicated to me on the night my son was born!