I took Nora for her three year old check up today (we were a little late last year and now are doomed to forever be off on her check ups because of insurance). She’s 28lbs, around 34 inches tall, and just perfect, growing on her own little curve at the bottom of the charts.
I’m comfortable with the family doctor that we found here; she has a great bedside manner with Nora and doesn’t talk down to me, which is my biggest pet peeve with health care workers seeing as I am a research fiend and crazy enough to follow a ton of professional journals so I can stay up-to-date on the latest studies firsthand. The doctor is not as holistic as the one we had in New York, but since we very rarely see her and I always go in well armed with information, it’s not too big of a deal. Generally, we have a largely positive experience during doctor’s visits, but Nora’s appointment today served as a reminder of just how thankful I am that we’re going to able to have the homebirth we want and for the experience we’re having with our midwife Sybille. And today, the stark contrast between appointments in a doctor’s office and appointments with our midwife is especially apparent as I just had a prenatal check up yesterday.
It’s still so amazing to me how much more thorough and patient-centered is our midwife, Sybille, than is an OB-GYN or hospital-based midwife. After every prenatal appointment I find myself thinking that her approach and level of care is exactly what is missing from mainstream medicine.
Going to the doctor’s office, we are lucky to get 15 minutes with a physician after what is, sometimes, a long wait and an inconveniently scheduled appointment. In contrast, Sybille has a lot more flexibility for making appointments that work with my schedule (hence our Sunday afternoon visit) and she comes to my house. She does everything that would normally be done at a prenatal appointment
(weighing me, taking blood pressure, checking urine, measuring my belly, and checking fetal heart tones), and she also does more (like checking iron at a few of the visits, which is something that was never done during my pregnancy with Nora). Instead of the in-and-out 15 minute appointments I experienced while pregnant with Nora, appointments with Sybille always last about an hour. And I also get the added benefit of my friend Sunny, who is Sybille’s assistant and a doula attending as well.
During that hour long visit, we talk about how I’m feeling and anything else that is going on with me (like the poison ivy I’m still dealing with and you might notice all across my belly). We talk a lot about diet, down to the specifics of everything I ate in the previous 24 hours. Honestly, I was so amazed when Sybille first asked me that question — no doctor ever has, even though it seems like one of the most important things any doctor or care provider in any specialty could ask a patient.
She records and writes down everything we talk about, and sometimes I have homework too. (Like for the next two weeks I’ll be keeping a food and exercise journal so we can go through it all at my next appointment.) We talk a lot about birth in general and my vision for Peach’s birth, and she spends time just chatting with me and interacting with Nora, building a level of comfort and familiarity that frankly isn’t there in mainstream maternity care. And on top of all that, in between visits, she emails me information and checks in.
I am so thankful for the people who made it possible for me to get this level of care, and I am especially grateful for Sybille: for the attentiveness and thoroughness she provides to me and all of her other clients, and that her presence makes it possible for Nantucket families to have choices in childbirth.