I look forward to my prenatal appointments each month (soon to be every other week). There are few things greater in this world than hearing your baby's heartbeat and being reassured that everything is going well. Today, the midwife told us that he is head down and was snuggling down into my abdomen to get away from the heart monitor! My belly is measuring 26cm, which is just right. Last appointment, at our ultrasound at 21 weeks, the ultrasound technician told us that he weighed 15oz. When we got home, all the books said he should only be 10oz. at 21 weeks! So, needless to say, that got us thinking he might be getting too big too fast! I asked the midwife about this issue today, and she said that 15oz. actually put him in the 43rd percentile for 21 weeks...which means he's actually under the average weight! WHEW!
Before the appointment this morning, we took a tour of Covenant Birth Center, which is where we are considering switching to from our current midwives at Lexington Women's Care. What a great experience! Oliver and I left feeling like we might have just seen where our baby will enter the world! Covenant Birth Center has one main midwife, Lisa Byrd, who is very experienced and is big on taking time with you, holding you accountable to being healthy, staying with you throughout your entire labor, delivery, and immediate post-natal care. Each standard appointment with her takes an hour or more, and she uses some of that time to prepare and equip you for labor and delivery. It seems as though Covenant is focused on empowering you, as a woman, to do what God made your body to do! The Center is homey and cozy, with a living room area, kitchen, and two bedroom/bathroom combos for labor and delivery. The bathrooms have big birthing tubs, which is what I'm very interested in using. There is always Lisa and/or her support staff there to assist you, check on the baby, and attend to your needs throughout the entire process, and there is a big focus on creating a calm, soothing environment to enable you to relax, thereby helping the labor process to go more quickly and easily.
We have been struggling with our current prenatal care, and information we've received from them concerning what I am/am not allowed to do during labor and delivery has been very mixed. Some say I can labor in the itty-bitty tub, others say I cannot. For sure, I cannot deliver in the tub. Some say I have to have an IV, others say I don't. Some say I can make a birth plan and they will try to follow it, and others scoff at the whole birth plan idea. Because there are 5-6 midwives that you see and any one of them could wind up delivering your baby (depending on who is on call), I just don't know what to expect. I've heard lots of great stories from women who have delivered with them, and several bad stories. The reality is, I feel mainly like patient #11394992 there. Most of the time, the midwife doesn't even sit down after coming in to the check-up room, and I feel like I'm taking up her precious time with my nonsense questions. From the time the midwife enters the room until the appointment is over is usually about 5 minutes. There is very little, if any, instructional or preparatory advice given, and labor and delivery questions are largely left to giant question marks. I keep wondering, "How pregnant do I need to be for these ladies to get serious with me about the impending birth," and "Why don't they care more about what is going on now?" I know I am just a patient after all, but I was expecting more the OB/GYN treatment with midwives.
So, after all that rambling, here I am. I like the safety and security of being able to deliver in a hospital...along with the option of having pain medication if I am losing it altogether...but that is about it when it comes to reasons to stay with our current midwives. Covenant Birth Center offers everything I am truly looking for, and it is literally 3/4 of a mile down the street from Lexington Medical Center. Lisa is very, very careful and is not afraid to recommend that you go to the hospital, if need be. They don't let things reach emergency status, where an ambulance would need to come transport you. They preemptively let you know so you and your family can drive over to the hospital.
As all these things run through our minds, it is good to know that I am low-risk and having a totally normal, healthy pregnancy. Oliver feels that Covenant is the way to go, and I am just working through the pro's and con's of each option. I think he is right, and I am just nervous about making such an important decision. If you think to pray for us in this, we would really appreciate it. We have a 2 hour appointment with Lisa at Covenant on the 17th of this month. I think we'll know for sure after that. Keep you posted!