Should I stay with my midwife practice, given a trustworthy account of a mismanaged case? This gets long, sorry.
posted by KathrynT to health & fitness (22 answers total)
This is both long and somewhat vague. For liability reasons, I've tried to leave out searchable terms; I didn't want to go anon because I suspect I might need to follow up on questions.
I am 8 weeks pregnant with what I hope will be my second child. I've had four miscarriages, but we've seen the heartbeat on the embryo now, and the only time that's happened, I was holding a living baby seven months later. My first child was born in a hospital in a really great experience, but the recovery and aftercare was, meh, not so hot. Additionally, my previous OB left her practice, and my new family care doctor (I'll call her Dr. D, there are many names in this story) can only deliver babies at the University hospital, which is up to an hour away in traffic. My first labor was very fast, and Dr. D decided that it would be a bad idea to risk the journey. She also strongly recommended midwife care, in case this labor is SO fast that I don't want to leave the house. OBs, she explained, rely a lot on nursing support, and so aren't really equipped to attend a homebirth. Midwives are much better trained for that situation.
So, with all this in mind, I picked out a midwife practice -- I'll call them Local Midwives. They are in residence at the Local Birth Center which is six minutes from my house, and half a mile from a major hospital that does maternity care. I attended a birth as a labor support assistant that was overseen by these midwives, and they were fantastic, even when a somewhat worrying complication arose. They have also worked extensively with Dr. S, who was the OB who delivered my first child -- she observed upwards of fifty births with them. The Local Birth Center offers a very different recovery experience than I had with my first birth, which is strongly attractive to me.
When I told Dr. D that I was working with the Local Midwives, she became concerned, and ended up calling me at home, from her home phone, outside of business hours. She said she had a colleague who had recently a patient who was poorly managed through the Local Midwives, with a very poor outcome. I ended up speaking with this colleague directly; without going into too many details, she told me that the one of the midwives in the practiced missed a fairly common and very severe complication of late pregnancy, resulting in a crash pre-term C-section and a mom with a stroke. I've spoken to some other midwives, off the record, and they all knew about this case (it was a Big Damn Deal locally) and confirmed the essential facts of the case.
I am so torn as to what to do. I could find another area midwife who is privileged at the birth center, but I'm reluctant to hire a licensed midwife / direct entry midwife who doesn't come with the same recommendations as these folks, and there are exactly two nurse-midwives in the county who deliver babies at birth centers at all; mostly they do either hospital births or homebirths. I could go with the midwifery center at the nearby hospital, but then I'm losing the birth center. I know, realistically, that providers make mistakes, and that any 20-year practice of any kind is likely to have at least one colossal fuckup in it, but this is a REALLY BIG FUCKUP, and also it was just last month.
My first pregnancy was textbook -- I delivered on my due date after 4 hours of freight-train labor. I turn 35 next month. I have a family history of clotting disorders, but no real personal history. I desperately need some opinions from someone who isn't trapped inside my own head. Help!