Growing up in the great state of South Dakota, my husband and I always considered it to be a matter of pride to say, “I am a South Dakotan”. South Dakotans pride ourselves on hard work, protecting our freedoms, personal responsibility, and logical thinking. In most cases, that is still true. However, I was shocked to find out what was happening “back home” while we began our family out of state.
After having 3 wonderful home births with two different midwives, it was obvious to me that, that is the way birth is meant to be- a loving caring environment for BOTH the mother and the child. Midwives are the experts in normal, healthy birth which allows them to identify issues sooner. My midwives were a source of positive reinforcement that everything was going the way God intended it to. In all pregnancies my midwives were proactive in many areas, they guided me to better nutrition to prevent unnecessary bleeding and encouraged protein in plentiful amounts to prevent a host of problems.
When we moved back toSouth Dakota, there was no question that we would have our children in the safety and security of our home. We knew that midwives were scarce up in the “north country” and had heard that most if not all were practicing only in hospitals. Shortly after moving back home, we found out the exciting news that we would be bringing another child into this world. That excitement soon turned to question – Would we be able to find an experienced person to assist in the birth of our child?
The yellow pages did not have a midwife section like Missouri. We heard of a few practicing midwives across the border, but knew the home setting was safest for our family. Then, we had hope – I had a visit with a Certified Nurse Midwife (CNM) that gave me the heads up that she was helping with a bill that would make it possible for CNM’s to attend homebirths inSouth Dakota. After all, who in their right mind would not let families hire a midwife??
Taking care of myself was more difficult without the objective viewpoint of a qualified midwife for the first 6 months of my pregnancy. We worked hard to convince the legislators that parents need access to these qualified birth attendants. Unfortunately, we were only partially successful – Certified Professional Midwives were not licensed to practice and Certified Nurse Midwives would be able to practice but not until after my due date.
After much thought, research, and discussion, we decided to go ahead with a homebirth on our own. I treasure the information and knowledge I gained from my first two midwives but yearned to have a partner in my healthcare team. In the last few months prior to Alexavier being born I kept feeling like something was not “right”. I knew my physical health and the baby were fine, but I also knew that this pregnancy was more stressful than the others. The reason finally dawned on me – my midwife- was missing.
I had read many birth stories written by women who gave birth without the assistance of a midwife and they told of how great it was. I can without a doubt tell you how important midwives are not only for our safety but also for our emotional state. Yes, I had much love and support from all parts of my family and friends, and my baby was born perfect and healthy… but not having a midwife to verify the things I knew about my health and my baby’s was a tough thing to deal with. I felt so “untaken care of” and I kept finding myself thinking, “If only I had a midwife …”