I hope you read that title with a head swivel cause I certainly am saying it that way. I *so* don't need other people to validate or judge my decisions.
I never intended our home birth to be a statement. At least, that wasn't an intention when we began our home birth journey last year, but now I am a proud, flag-waving home birth mama and I hope to spread the good word of home birth and midwifery. While I am proud of our decision to take control of our care, I didn't expect to feel like a pioneer (sometimes). I certainly never expected me or my child to be treated any differently on his home birth but, alas, that is not the case. Last month I ran into my OB from Julian's birth at Wegman's. I had been with that doctor since 2003 and she was the reason I was with the practice for Julian's birth. At the time, we didn't feel comfortable with a home birth and we naively thought we could have a simple, unmedicated childbirth experience in a hospital. For multiple reasons that did not happen and when we found ourselves pregnant again, we gave the benefit of the doubt (briefly) to our doctors that they would support us in our attempt at a vaginal unmedicated birth after a cesarean. When I saw my doctor at Wegman's, while wearing a baby that she or someone in her practice obviously did not deliver, her reaction was pretty flat. I still intend to write a letter to the doctor who made me cry as she was the catalyst for us to find a new practitioner and I want her to know that, after a lot of hard work, our son was indeed born at home.
Fast forward to today's visit. I am due for my annual exam and I originally thought of just going back to my old gyno because they are easy to get to and I know them, but then we ran into my old doc at Wegman's and I didn't get all warm and fuzzy seeing her. And, as Thad put it, if I'm going to "vote with my dollars" so to speak, I shouldn't go back to them because we were so dissatisfied with my care. I thought about Birth Care but it's incredibly inconvenient for me. I want to go somewhere that my insurance covers, so while I love my midwife, I just couldn't justify the cost considering I only see these people once a year when not pregnant.
My friend just had her second with a practice at Fair Oaks Hospital that is an OB/midwife practice. They take my insurance so I made the appointment there with an OB (whoever was available, actually). When I showed up I had to fill out the typical paper work asking about children, dates of birth, how they were born, any complications, etc. I clearly stated that my second child was a home birth and figured I'd see what they said. The nurse took me back to take my vitals and she asked me where my son was born, despite the fact that she was looking directly at my records.
Nurse: Where was your son born?
Nurse: Really? Wow. I'd have no idea what to do with a baby at home.
Me: That's why we hired a midwife.
Nurse: Wow. ... Wow.
**enter 3 nurses who overheard our exchange to look at the home birth baby, expecting to see a messed up baby with three heads and blue hair, but to their disappointment found that he was a normal, happy bouncing baby boy**
It was very obvious they don't encounter many home birthers as it is an OB office, but I was armed and ready.
The nurse brought me to my room and she said not to take any clothes off, just to sit as the doctor wants to get to know me better before she gives me an exam and the nurse said a few times that this doctor would be SO excited to see Dash. So we waited and enter doctor...
Doc: Hi, welcome to our office. So tell me where did you have your son? (My chart was right there)
Doc: And where did you have your first child?
Me: Here, actually, at Fair Oaks with a different practice. He was a c-section and we didn't want a repeat, so we did it at home.
Doc: Really? As a VBAC? Wow. That's high risk.
Me: Actually, it wasn't. We had great support and I left the old practice because they said they'd support a VBAC but in practice, didn't. Dash was 2 pounds smaller than my first, was in a great position for birth, and my midwife helped us have a great birth. I didn't feel like I was getting supported the way I needed to be in my former practice.
Doc *body language became physically repulsed by me, she wraps her sweater around herself and backs up against the door* Well do you have any questions? Go ahead and get undressed and I'll be right back.
I mean her WHOLE demeanor changed when I explained our home birth. I'm not too surprised, I mean she IS a trained OB with a lifetime of experience pointing her biases in one direction, I don't expect her to be welcoming me with open arms, but come on lady, get with the program. There is so much information out there for women now to OWN their births, you can't get all up in arms when someone is actually informed and makes decisions for herself.
So we did the exam and by the end of the breast exam I could tell she was just trying to get the hell out of dodge. I wanted to talk with her about non-hormonal contraception but she really, really didn't want to talk with me. She was just so....disapproving. She barely smiled at Dash, let alone cooed at him. I figure if someone is going to shove metal ware at my snatch she could have a *little* bit nicer bed side manner, but what can you do. At least I don't have to see them again for another year.
If today's experience has taught me anything it's that body language says it all. I kind of expected people to ask me about my home birth but I certainly didn't expect to be treated like I smacked them. I realize that she's looking at me through HER lens but the least she could do is try to look at me through mine. Am I going to go back there? Who the hell knows. Part of me wants to as a weird experiment to slowly infiltrate the system from the inside. :)
Point of this story? Not sure if there is one other than to laugh at this doctor and hope that whoever reads this takes control of his or her care. Just because you have an M.D. by your name doesn't make you better than me, we all travel our paths different ways, folks.