Shannon M. Zeeb • Brookings • January 14, 2010
Regarding midwife access in South Dakota, I am a mother of four and from the start had a goal of natural birth. During my first pregnancy, I thought: "I am educated, healthy and fit. I will not become a cesarean statistic." Wrong. My doctor administered induction chemicals until my daughter's system no longer could tolerate the full-force, unnatural contractions. Cesarean surgery, I was told at that point, was needed to save her life.
Second birth: different doctor, another cesarean.
Third birth: I managed vaginally but with a third doctor who has a personal two-hour patience limit on pushing before routinely insisting on cutting a huge episiotomy and administering vacuum extraction. That style of techno-birthing left me on a greater dosage and duration of Vicodin than the two cesareans.
During my fourth pregnancy I was determined. After volumes of research plus appointments with two doctors, an OB/GYN high-risk specialist, two nurse-midwives and one certified professional midwife, I found my answer. And what a day to remember, crossing into Minnesota with a certified professional midwife to deliver a baby born naturally. Ten pounds (much heavier than my previous babies). No tearing. No epidural. No recovery medicine.
Finally, a baby not needing to be taken and treated immediately after birth. The gradual contractions and gentle entry into this world massaged his lungs to work to their full potential.
This kind of calm birth - with a credentialed midwife with the time to respect rather than dominate a woman's body - isn't important to every woman, and that's OK. I only wish it were an option in our state.