In which we are in Week 15: Flutters and Midwives

Today we are 15 weeks pregnant. I can hardly believe that we are already into the second trimester! I suppose that’s both a benefit and a drawback of your third; the pregnancy is going so quickly. The days run into one another when you are busy with two already and so sometimes I blink and have to  hunt up the calendar to remember how far along I am and then I’m kerflummoxed: Really? 15 already? I could have sworn it was 13 or 14 weeks….. But here we are at 15 weeks!

I felt the baby move for the first time last week. It is a rather surreal experience, isn’t it? “I’m really truly here.” It feels much more real to me once the movement starts. I noticed the movements a lot sooner this time around – I’m not sure if it’s because I’m more seasoned at this now or if it’s because I don’t have anything remotely resembling abdominal muscles any longer. I think I’ll believe the former….

We had another appointment this morning with our midwife. Let me say, it is a ton of work to load the tinies up in the car and get into the office and have an appointment just to pee in a cup and get on the scale and have a visit! It’s a good thing that during the last few weeks, they come here to my home for the appointments.

But it was a good appointment, I love our midwives (plural because it’s a practice shared by four women and any one of them is there at any time, including birth) and all is well. Measurements are correct and the tinies got to hear the baby’s heartbeat for the first time today (it was 153).

The tinies were mesmerized by the heartbeat. Anne thought the baby was making a funny noise at her and so she tried to imitated the “wop-wop-wop” noise from the Doppler monitor to talk back. Joe was enchanted, too, standing on the chair, just patting my hair and saying “mama-bear, baby” over and over.

This is our first experience with using a midwife. I had an ob-gyn for both Anne’s prenatal care and birth and the same doctor for Joe’s prenatal care. of course, we didn’t have the luxury of her care during his birth.

But it was when I was pregnant with Joseph that I began to become quite passionate about birth and the experience of it.  The more research I did, the more I came to believe that a midwife and, more specifically, a home birth was the best choice for us. Unfortunately, I came to that conclusion with just a few weeks left in my pregnancy so we didn’t think we had enough time to make a switch.

Of course, I wish now that I would have stuck to my guns and found a midwife because then we wouldn’t have had the birth that we did with Joe. Even though it all turned out well, the sheer number of things that could have gone wrong (but thankfully didn’t) is a bit sobering and alarming, if I’m really honest. I wish I would have followed that prompting in my heart to book the midwife for the home birth because it would have resulted in a lot less drama for everyone, especially me.

So this time around, we’ve placed ourselves in the care of an excellent midwifery service.  I couldn’t be happier with that decision. I have already noticed a marked difference in the support and tone of my care. We are considering a home birth for this baby but haven’t made any final decisions. Since Joe arrived so quickly, Brian is understandably rather skittish about the idea of putting me in a vehicle while in labour…. We’d rather just stay put in the comfort of our own home, to be truthful. So if all stays low-risk, I’m hopeful we’ll be able to bring our new baby to the world within their own home in a peaceful and calm environment.

What are your thoughts on home birth or midwives? I sometimes get very funny looks when we talk about our choices so I’m interested in your initial thoughts….

Where the wee one’s at right now: 
 (from Baby Centre’s Week by Week development)

You may not know it when it happens, but your tiny tenant frequently gets the hiccups, which babies master before breathing. Babies don’t make any sound because their trachea is filled with fluid rather than air.

Although you’ve probably gained between 5 and 10 pounds / 2.2 – 4.5 kilograms, the fetus weighs in at around only 2.5 ounces / 70 grams. It measures nearly 4 inches / 11 centimetres long, crown to rump. fetal development at 15 weeksLegs are growing longer than the arms now, fingernails are fully formed and all the joints and limbs can move. You may be able to find out the sex of your baby by ultrasound now, since the external genitals may be developed enough that the ultrasound technician can tell you if you’re going to have a boy or a girl.

If the idea of having a baby seems so remote, nothing makes it feel more real than feeling your baby move for the first time. Most mums-to-be discern movement (called quickening) between 16 and 20 weeks. If you’ve been pregnant before, you’ll feel things earlier rather than later. What you may first think is a rumbling stomach may be your baby doing some back flips. Make note of when you first start feeling the baby and tell your midwife at your next visit. 

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  • Jamie

    I’ve had midwives for both of my births and have nothing but oozing positiveness to say about both experiences. My second birth was at home and it couldn’t have been better. Loved it and highly recommend.

    • Sarah Bessey

      Yahoo! That is what I like to hear.

  • Young Mom

    I’ve had all 3 of mine at home and I loved it! I loved being able to stay in my own enviroment, yet have a trained professional to be there in case there were any difficulties. I loved being able to labor and birth in water if I wanted to. I loved being able to be skin to skin with my naked baby for hours afterwards with no real interuptions. It was definetely worth it for us.

    • Sarah Bessey

      Oh, that sounds like bliss!

  • Jamie

    I loved my midwives! I ended up transferring to the hospital (he was posterior, had back labor, wasn’t progressing, etc), but the midwives from the birth center stayed with me the whole time and were amazing.

    • Sarah Bessey

      That’s good. My sister had a similar experience.

  • Tabitha Schultz

    Here in Australia Midwives are the normal choice, and you only go to an OB if you are high risk or have heaps of health insurance. At least thats been the case in my experience. Home Birthing is a different thing, there has been ll sorts of kerfufle about insurance for homebirths and while I think if you live in a populated area you could probably find someone, its pretty much impossible when you live far from civilisation.

    I’m 26 weeks pg, and meet with the public midwives about every month and so far it has been great. We also had a midwife for our pregnancy and birth with our daughter [at least up until the point where she was delivered by emergency caesarian, but these things happen]. I would love to home birth for many reasons – home is where you are comfortable and your brain recognises it as safe, so things are likely to progress better. The more limited pain relief options mean that you’re less likely to go down that path [a path that I believe leads generally to more problems than solutions] and it just seems like a great option.

    Because thats not an option here I’ll be staying at home for as LONG as physically possible before going to the hospital, though hopefully there will be no parking lot delivery :) As exciting as that might be!!

    • Annie_bourgault

      Hi Tabitha,

      Where do you live in Australia? In Western Australia we still have an amazing home birth program (the only in Australia) that is government funded. Have a look at Community Midwifery WA When you have a chance. I had a home birth in 2008 on the program and it was absolutely amazing!!

    • Sarah Bessey

      That’s how we got into trouble with Joe! We tried to stay home as long as we could but the labour went so much faster with him that we were caught! All of the reasons here – the safety and comfort of home in particular – really stand out to me, too.

  • crnnoel

    I had a midwife with both kids, and loved them. They were both delivered in the hospital. But knowing what I know now, I wish I could go back and have them at home. That being said, I had wonderful experiences with their deliveries. It was just the after care… I wish I had been at home.
    Good luck!

    • Sarah Bessey

      That’s the other part, isn’t it? The after care. I had hospital care after Joe was born (he was the one that was an unintended free birth by ourselves in the parkade) and it was TERRIBLE. I wound up in triage and the stitches caused more harm than good afterwards. I wish I had been at home with thoughtful care.

  • Melissa

    I think your decision is fantastic! I have a midwife and have had a home birth and it was such a wonderful experience! I am getting ready to have my second at home beginning of March and can’t wait because my first labor was fairly long and hope this next one goes a little faster. I remember all the weird looks we got when people told us what we were doing. Some of my friends had a lot of concerns as if we were making the wrong choice for our baby. Nothing to could further from the truth. Being in my own house and having my husband and midwife deliver our baby without all the wires and monitors hooked up to me was so much more relaxing than doing it in the hospital. I never thought hospital births to be normal. Having a baby is normal and I feel like OB’s can tend to treat us like we are sick or something. It annoys me. Being in my own bed that night was the best too! Having my baby sleep right next to me with my husband on my other side. Nothing could be better and I totally think that you are too much the type to have a home birth! Go for it! You won’t regret it!

    • Sarah Bessey

      Wow! Not many people have the guts to do the home birth for their first! My sister tried but had to do a hospital transfer due to complications (everything was fine at the end) but you’re one of the only other ones I know that was up for it on round one. Congrats! Everything you shared here is EXACTLY why I’m so drawn to it.

  • Bethany

    i had an amazing ob-gyn with kayla’s birth and am thankful, considering how traumatic the birth was. if i had a perfect world and was birthing another child, i’d definitely choose a mid-wife, but alas, chances are slim that we’ll do it again … and even then, i’m considered extremely high risk, so it wouldn’t be possible. i’m happy for you, though!! :)

    • Sarah Bessey

      Thank you for your support, Bethany. And I do try to remember how privileged I am to even have the options of a choice. I love our midwife.

  • Stephanie

    My initial thought? You would be PERFECT for home birth. And you would love it.

    Someday I hope to have a home birth too.

    I had my first baby in a hospital with an OB. I had my second baby in a birth center with a midwife. The second experience was infinitely better…so much peace and positivity throughout.

    • Sarah Bessey

      I think I’m a good candidate for it, based on my history and preferences. So we’ll see – but it’s a dream for sure. Definitely what I “want” but still not sure.

  • Christina Kannenberg

    Hello Sarah, I started reading your blog a few weeks ago, shortly after the birth of our first child, Andreas (Helen Burns once linked to you which is how I came across the blog). I love it! Congrats on your newest pregnancy!

    Here in Germany (I’m a transplanted Canadian) everyone has a midwife, they are totally covered by insurance in addition to your doctor. She takes care of you both before and after the birth, coming to your house for the first 2 weeks after birth and you can call her or get her to come again during the entire time you are breastfeeding (i.e. if you have problems). Most midwives offer extra classes like pregnancy fitness, birth prep, post-partum fitness to get that pelvic floor toned up, baby massage etc. The 2nd and 3rd are covered also by insurance, the others for a small fee. You can go to your midwife for pregnancy check-ups if you prefer, if you don’t have a wonderful doctor like mine who spent an hour with us at each check up!
    Midwives work in every hospital delivery room (the docs just come by for certain checks and for the final stages of delivery). The only downside is these are strangers–in most German hospitals you can’t bring your own doctor or midwife. There are only certain places where you can do this, which is what I would do next time, or consider a home birth. This would not have been an option with Andreas’ birth anyway since my water broke early, contractions never got strong enough on their own and we had to go the whole nine yards with inducing etc. Some people do home births (like my landlords upstairs) but it is not terribly common, probably because midwives also work in hospitals here.

    Go for it, like you said, as long as there are no complications. I have heard a lot of great things about home births but was too chicken to try it for my first baby (and like I said would not have ended up being possible anyway). When I came home from hospital where I had some not so pleasant experiences in the days following his birth and was just sick of the rotating personnel my midwife was such a godsend — her kind, caring, comforting presence really helped me to be happy, trust my instincts and feel empowered to be a mom.

    In general Germans go the organic/natural route and most everyone practices “attachment parenting” although it doesn’t have that or any other name. Love it!

    • Sarah Bessey

      Thank you so much, Christine. And most people around me here also practice attaachment parenting which is so affirming for us. It’s when we travel or spend time with our friends that aren’t in this “bubble” that we realise maybe they think we’re a bit nuts! Ha!

  • Deborah L

    I love those first wee flutters!!

    Okay. (Deep breath). I really, really don’t want to start a debate here, but feel I have something to add. First of all, I think midwives can be extraordinary, highly skilled people. And the thought of a home birth sounds truly lovely. I’m so pleased to hear of all the positive experiences from your commenters.

    I guess I’m a little leary of homebirths because of complications that can arise. And, I do agree that sometimes the interventions done in a hospital can indeed lead to certain complications. (ie: some inductions, monitors, pain-control, etc.) Oh, I should add that I’m a maternity nurse in a center that serves a good portion of my province – I hear a lot of what goes on!

    The majority of births at home will go well, but there are some that do not. (Think hemorrhage, meconium aspiration, etc.) My fourth birth was lovely. I was in a quiet hospital room with dim lighting while I laboured in the tub/shower. It was completely natural and amazing. Just my husband was there with the nurse popping in now and then to check me. I will spare you the details, but I ended up with a massive PPH resulting in hysterectomy. I guess this is why I get a little panicky when I hear about women labouring at home!

    I guess my point is that you can have a beautiful, natural, quiet birth with a midwife in a hospital, too. It doesn’t have to involve tubes, monitors, pain-control, etc. BUT, you and baby would have the backup if necessary.

    Again, I don’t want to sound nasty. I’m just concerned… Sorry if I’ve offended anyone!

    • Sarah Bessey

      You don’t sound nasty at all, Deborah! Don’t worry – no offense. Much of what you’ve said is what most people say to me when we bring it up – even my family. So i’m still figuring it out and praying about it.

  • Arianne Segerman

    I’ve had one hospital birth with a midwife, and three home births (one of which was with the same midwife as the hospital birth). Of course I whole heartedly endorse home birthing :)

    I think it’s important to be educated about home births, but what concerns me is statements like Deborah made here in the comments. I am sure that being in the job she’s in, she’s seen things and then imagines “what if they were at home and this happened? oh my!” But the fact is, if you look at the home birth statistics compared to hospital births they are equally safe, with many proving homebirth to be safer.

    More to the point, Midwives see problems coming on during labor and make the transfer to the hospital with plenty (i.e. way ahead) of time. If you look at the instances of emergencies where they couldn’t get to the hospital in time, you’ll find that is very rare (I can get you links if needed).

    A home birth is about so much more than just having a quiet birth without tubes. Yes it is about avoiding interventions. Simply being in a hospital presents a higher risk for unnecessary interventions, because moms are often pressured into things that are procedural or “what they do” in hospitals, whereas a midwife is trained to care for the same issue without the interventions. But more importantly, saying that a quiet, natural, beautiful birth at a hospital is the same as a quiet, natural, beautiful birth at home shows a lack of experience of home births. The experience of a home birth, bringing your little one into the world nearly untouched by anyone but you, your husband and maybe your midwife is so spiritual and so surreal, it’s almost impossible to find the words to do it justice. Being in your own home, surrounded by your things, immediately following labor is a really big deal to the soul. Having the peace of being at home, seeing how different a baby responds to being born in the bright lights and latex compared to your own arms (maybe even into water, like 2 of mine were) is so incredible!

    My 3rd child gave me a two hour labor (that’s it!) so yes it was very convenient to be at home. We barely had the birth pool filled to my waist when it was time to push. I loved the warm water for laboring and for preventing tears (water birth is soooo epic and I totally recommend that too!) and having my kitchen right there to prepare any foods to help with labor (they won’t let you eat during labor at the hospital usually) and just being in my own bed that very night.

    I guess my point is that if you are concerned about safety? There are tons and tons of resources about that. Being afraid of home birth is unnecessary. If you’re wondering if it’s “you” and right for your family though, that’s a totally individual thing which I get completely. :)


    • Sarah Bessey

      Thank you so much, Arianne. You’ve articulated (much more succinctly) much of what I’ve been researching and reading the past few years. My daughter was a hospital birth (without interventions) but the atmosphere was so oppressive and difficult for me. Then my son was an inadvertent unattended birth in our parking garage. But even so, it’s probably my better birth experience – we laboured primarily in our own home, in peace etc. I don’t worry about the safety too much, either, with my birth history. Thank you so much for your wisdom.

  • Jill @ Clearest Glimpse

    Thanks for sharing your journey with us. Although I can tell people what I prefer, rather than being an advocate for one way or another, I’m a big believer that people need to do what they are comfortable with and what they believe in. I trust you will do exactly what is right for your family and when this wee one arrives all will be well.

    • Sarah Bessey

      Now that’s wisdom right there, Jill. Thank you for your vote of confidence!

  • Karen

    I’ve had 5 hospital births and 5 home deliveries…… I agree with Jill, it’s more about doing what you feel is right for you and your own family situation. Listen to your heart. Follow that.

    If you believe in your heart that a homebirth with midwives is best for you, then plan that. But always remain in tune with your heart, and if you feel (even in labour) that you ought to be at the hospital, then do that.

    Oh, and I’m jealous about feeling the fluttering. I used to lie in bed or the tub for hours feeling the flutters. I miss that.

    • Sarah Bessey

      5 and 5! You are the expert for sure!

  • Annie_bourgault

    Hi Sarah! Just love your blog. I was sooo scared of giving birth 2 years ago that it would never had made any sense to me to give birth at home. But when I decided to educate myself about birth and my options (home birth, birth center or hospital) then home birth made more sense to me. I wanted a calm and gentle birth and no one to put any pressure on me. When people around me start to stress I tend to stress to – which I knew would have had an impact on my birth.

    I can tell you that birthing in a birth pool was the most amazing thing. Kept me from tearing and never thought I needed any drugs – what for? Used hypnobirthing techniques that helped me stay calm and focused. So you go girl! x

    • Sarah Bessey

      Thank you so much, Annie! This is so empowering. I’ve been so intrigued by the birth pool idea for a while now. I’ll chat with my midwife about it.