Choosing a Midwife

While the birth of Samuel was beautiful. His was also my hardest labor of the three.
Yes I had prodomal labor for three days, but our first midwife also flaked on me before he was born. Looking back I feel like I was in survival mode. I could have broke down, but I decided to focus more on preparing for his birth in the best way that we could.

You can read his birth story here.
I don’t want people to read his story and think “see I told you having a homebirth is dangerous.”
Homebirth is safe and beautiful. We will always choose homebirth.
This post is about how to choose a midwife for a homebirth, but it can also apply to hospital births.
As I said in Samuel’s birth story,  My midwife had not contacted me since March. He was born in May.
She missed my 36 week appointment and my 38 week apptointment. When she called me at 38 weeks to ask if I would come into the office, I told her I was letting her go. You know she still didn’t apologize!
I don’t want this to turn into a rant about her, but here we are months later and I’m still really upset about it.

You know she has the nerve to have the Midwives Model of Care on her website. The definition includes

  • Monitoring the physical, psychological, and social well-being of the mother throughout the childbearing cycle.
  • Providing the mother with individualized education, counseling, and prenatal care, continuous hands-on assistance during labor and delivery, and postpartum support
  • Minimizing technological interventions
  • Identifying and referring women who require obstetrical attention

She did not monitor my psychological well-being. I’m sure not contacting the mother for two months is a very bad thing to do.
Is that how you run a business? Send out the people who work for you, and you do not check up on the mother at all.
If I were a homebirth midwife I would always check on my mothers and babies. Not that I wouldn’t trust my apprentice, but they didn’t hire her. They hired me.

I think she assumed that because my last baby went to almost 43 weeks that I would go later with this one as well. That still doesn’t justify not contacting me at all for two months! When she called me at 38 weeks, I could have had my baby in my arms by then.

She also did not provide individual education and prenatal care. I am more informed about pregnancy and birth since the birth of our first. That does not mean to not talk with me about my choices and decisions at all.
She did none of my prenatal care. The apprentices would palpate my belly. She never once touched me. No vitals, nothing. She went by what they said.

There are several different types of midwives. You can read about them at The Midwives Alliance of North America.
Mine was a CPM- Certified Professional Midwife

Just because someone is certified does not mean you will get the best care from them. I have had a hospital CNM- certified Nurse Midwife. A homebirth with a Lay Midwife, and then the CPM.
I have read and heard too many stories from women who say that they didn’t have a choice so they had to see xyz.
There is ALWAYS a choice.
It does not matter if your midwife has all of the credentials required, or no credentials at all. If you are not comfortable with the care you receive, or the way she talks to you. please find someone else.
You may need to do some digging around.

I recommend a consultation with every single midwife you can speak with in your area.
Have a list of questions ready. Go with your husband or partner, mother, sister, friend. Anyone who will be your main support at the birth, take them with you.

Some questions you can ask.

  • How did she become a midwife?
  • What is her philosophy on pregnancy and birth?
  • Does she work with another midwife or apprentice?
  • What does she do if there are two births at the same time?
  • How many births has she attended?
  • Does she carry medicine or herbs? What kind?
  • What kind of post partum care does she provide?
  • What services are included in the prenatal care?
  • Does she have an affiliation with any other doctors or hospitals?
  • How can she be contacted 24/7?

This is a great article on homebirth midwives and more questions to ask. This article also talks about home vs. hospital, how to find a midwife.

I have reported my midwife to the medical board and NARM –North American Registry of Midwives.
I feel abandoned, and betrayed by her. She did not do what she promised to do. She left me at one of the most vulnerable times in my life. I will never forget this as long as I live.

I am hearing this is not the first incident they have heard about where she is concerned.
That is really sad. I wonder how many other women she has betrayed in this way or another.
I think being a midwife is an honor. I would be so honored if someone invited me to attend their birth.
Birth is intimate and beautiful. It is sacred, and should not be treated lightly.

I am not reporting her to be spiteful, but because I do not want another women to go through what I did.
It seems to me that she has no business being a midwife. I don’t know what will happen, but my complaint has been filed. Hopefully this post can help someone.


4 thoughts on “Choosing a Midwife

  1. I'm sorry about your experience, Darcel. I think your original m/w is the same one I thought I would use but decided against b/c she seemed a bit flaky early on. I'm curious about who you ended up going with.

  2. I'm so sorry, mama. I'm a big supporter of midwifery but we also have to keep our midwives accountable. It sounds to me like possibly your midwife overextended herself and relied on her apprentices in order to take on more clients. That's absolutely not cool if that's not the care you were looking for. Not to mention casually missing appointments, particularly so late in the game.*Hugs*

  3. great article Darcel! I interviewed a few midwives before I hired the one I have. She was also recommended to me by a friend. My midwife is warm and caring and totally down to earth- genuinely concerend and even followed up with me about a dental appointment that I had. I am so sorry you had to deal with such a crummy one. Boo to her. (hugs)

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