Midwives in BC - a review

I can't say I'm much of an expert in maternity. My wife, being from Japan, was rather ignorant of what having a baby in Canada involved as well. So, our first child was a bit of an adventure, and it started with our first choice, to decide between an OB/GYN or a Midwife.

I, being one of those self-declared rational people, had a decided preference for the established medical route. My wife had no idea... in Japan, expectant mothers picked the private maternity clinic that offers the perks and price that interests them. So, we got our referral to an OB/GYN, in 3 weeks. While waiting for this, as we walked past a Midwives office in our neighbourhood, we decided to see what that was all about.

Before we knew it, we were having our first appointment with our Midwife. We filled-out the paperwork, answered the questions, went for the blood tests... had our second appointment, got some great advice, got our questions answered, and everything was great. But, there was that OB/GYN appointment coming up. Our Midwife was most understanding and supportive, saying it was perfectly fine if we wanted to switch.

We went to see the OB/GYN, waited in the office for 20 minutes, and then met a wonderful person. She was obviously busy, but very supportive. We let her know that we had been seeing a Midwife but were undecided on which way to go. She let us know that under BC regulations we had to choose between the two, there was no going to both, but that she was okay with whatever we decided. Then, she went through the standard first meeting, filling out the paperwork, asking questions, requisitioning blood tests, just in case we decided to go with her. She was great.

However, the one thing that really struck my rational self was that the questions she asked were the same as the Midwife's, the blood tests she ordered had already been done with the Midwife. Everything was already in order, all the 'T's had been crossed. The Midwife and the OB/GYN were doing the same thing... they were both great. Well, this caused us some consternation. It would have been an easy choice if either the OB/GYN or the Midwife was clearly better, but they were both great, really great. Still, we had to choose.

While I still had a slight leaning towards the OB/GYN, mostly because we're a little older and the possibility of complications was higher, I left the choice to my wife. This was probably a mistake as she, being Japanese, wound up agonising about not wanting to offend either. She leaned towards the OB/GYN because she was referred by her GP, and she didn't want to offend the GP either. So... by the slightest of margins, the OB/GYN won out. My wife asked me to call and make an appointment.

I called the OB/GYN receptionist and we went back and forth searching for a time to come in. Best I could get was in about a month, and both my wife and I would have to book off time from work to make it. Now, for a couple expecting their first child, a month is a very, very long time away. So, making a manly command decision, I said "screw this" and convinced my wife to go with the Midwife. We could always switch later on if we felt it was necessary. She agreed. I called the Midwife receptionist and booked an appointment the following week. And, thus began our journey through maternity with our Midwife.

I'll skip the complete narrative on our appointments with our Midwife and instead say that any doubts I had about a Midwife being somehow less able to deal with complications were completely unfounded. Our baby was breech and we ended up going through what's called a Version, where a medical doctor tries to turn the baby from the outside. This didn't work and we had to go in for a scheduled C-section. The transitions in care, from Midwife to MD and back again, were seamless. Our Midwife was with us there in the operating room, and after, and had full hospital privileges. No one we met at the hospital expressed any concern about us having a Midwife instead of an OB/GYN, in fact they were all very supportive. We never, at any point, felt we were lacking in professional care, never.

We did, however, gain a lot by going with a Midwife instead of an OB/GYN. We've had hour-long appointments, un-rushed with plenty of time to discuss any concerns we had. We've had easy appointment bookings that fit our busy lives. We've had frequent in-hospital visits after the delivery to help with breastfeeding and any other concerns. We've had several at-home visits after delivery. And, there's the follow-up appointments for 6 weeks after deliver too. Our Midwife has been great, more than great actually. Both my wife and I have relied on our Midwife to not only have a child, but to transition into becoming parents. This is no small thing and I couldn't imagine going through this process without her. If we ever decide to have another child, I would not even consider going through it without a Midwife.

Thus, through more chance than intelligent choice, my wife and I went through a pregnancy, through delivery, and now into parenthood with a Midwife. We consider ourselves to be very, very lucky. I write this now, with my healthy and happy son sleeping on my lap, as a recommendation to any other self-declared rational people that may be reading this. Don't worry about missing-out on professional care with a Midwife. They are professionals, fully integrated into the BC medical system, and the enhanced support they provide is exactly what you're going to need.

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