Very few things surprise me anymore…
Acceptance of “just the way things are” seems to be the attitude for most who are trying to eliminate stress and conflict in hopes of extending the quality and quantity of their lives.
Having been a labor doula for almost 17 years, I’ve pretty much seen it all. Good and bad. However, I recently traveled on business from California to Arizona to be interviewed about my website www.MyBirthTeam.com and got a huge surprise. Ironically, a Certified Nurse Midwife (CNM) that I worked with from California, Lisa Sherwood, had to relocate to Phoenix. In September, Lisa was forced to leave her thriving practice due to the closing of her hospital’s maternity unit. No other Orange County hospital or OBGYN practice would give her privileges even though she brought over 1,500 new patients with her. So she commutes back and forth from Orange County to Phoenix to work at Bethany Women’s Healthcare and Phoenix Baptist Hospital. Unfortunately, there are no longer choices for women in South Orange County to have a CNM attend their birth in a hospital setting. As a result, one of Lisa’s patients packed up her husband and two-year-old a month before her due date to live in a motel so that she could still have that choice.
I arrived in Phoenix and was immediately curious about why a hospital in AZ would see midwives as an asset and not a liability. What did they know that Orange County did not? I decided to find out by offering labor support to a patient who was in labor. She was having her third baby and was open to both natural and medical options for her birth. The very first thing I noticed was that Lisa and the nurses were supportive of whatever she wanted. They left it to her to tell them if she needed anything. No threats of “If you want the epidural, you need to get it now, otherwise it may not be available to you!” They trusted that she would be able to speak up if she chose medication. She chose to have a little Nubain (a narcotic given via IV) at 5 cm to take the edge off. Her choice was honored and three hours later, with her husband assisting, she joyously touched her baby’s head as he was being delivered. All 8 pounds 3 ounces of him. Both mother and baby were stable and completely in awe of each other. It was much like the countless births that I had attended with Lisa in California. The rooms were well equipped with a competent staff and even a Jacuzzi tub that you could actually labor in. What was different was that everyone worked collaboratively (doctors, midwives and nurses) in the best interest of the patient. There was no arguing, no egos; just compassion and respect of the true miracle at hand. I like to call it Compassionate Birthing.