From the category archives:

Doctors, midwives, and doulas

Before our first visit with Dr. Atwood last week, we had made a list of questions that we wanted to ask.

I ended up asking them from memory, since I felt awkward reading from a list, but the answers I did get were pretty good.

  1. Midwives – no, no midwives at the Swedish we’re at.  So, we’ll be interviewing a couple that we’ve been recommended.
  2. Induction rate – I didn’t ask for the explicit number, but she reassured us that they don’t induce if they can at all avoid it.  That’s a good starting point… I’d still like to know the exact induction rate though.
  3. Epidural rate – Usually only upon request, unless you’re doing a Cesarean.
  4. Non-office hour deliveries – She told us that there’s always a doctor on staff, and that they do not pressure to move deliveries along due to time of day or week.  She volunteered this information without me asking first, so I’m going to trust her on that one.
  5. Breech deliveries – They don’t do breech deliveries, even Frank breech.  Which is unfortunate.  If it comes to that, we will prepare for that possibility when it comes.  She did say that they do all kinds of tricks to get the baby to turn, and that they have some success with that.  So that’s good.
  6. Late deliveries – They don’t pressure to induce until 42 weeks.  That seems reasonable to me.
  7. Big babies – Seems like they will occasionally pressure to do C-sections when the labor doesn’t seem to be progressing, and when size of the baby’s head could be an issue.
  8. Water-breaking – They worry about labor not progressing after water breaking when the mother has tested positive for Group B Strep (about 1/3 of women).  If she has tested negative, they’re more likely to allow a labor to progress at its own pace.
  9. Fetal monitoring – They allow intermittent monitoring to allow the mother to move around.  That’s the right answer.
  10. Movement during labor, alternate positions – Every birthing room has its own tub and shower and all positions are allowed to be explored.  This is great news, and one of the main reasons I’m feeling like this doctor and hospital might work for us.

All in all, good answers.  Dr. Atwood was kind, was able to listen, answered questions confidently and without getting annoyed at us, and overall gave us a good impression.

Esther’s job this week is to schedule appointments with a few different midwives in the area just so we can have something to compare with. Stay tuned!


Here’s my in-progress list of questions to ask the doctor on Friday.  If anyone has any feedback, suggestions, additions, etc, let me know!

  1. Do you work with any midwives?
  2. What is your induction rate?
  3. What percentage of your patients get an epidural?
  4. What is your Cesarean rate?
  5. Are you okay with deliveries that happen at night or on weekends without inducing?
  6. Do you attend breech births? Frank breech?
  7. What’s your philosophy on going past 40 weeks?
  8. What’s your philosophy on big babies?
  9. What is your philosophy on what to do 24 hours after water has broke if there’s no sign of infection and mom and baby are fine?
  10. What kind of monitoring do you require?
  11. Do you allow movement during labor, and choice of delivery position, birthing baths, etc?


Went to another ultrasound today (we’re at 10 weeks, 4 days), and confirmed that the little fig-sized being is still alive, still a-wiggling, and seems to be in optimal position to continue to grow into a human.

I must admit that every doctor’s visit makes me put my excitement in a little box in case I am surprised with sad news and have to put the box of excitement back in storage for a while.  And, the good news always comes very welcomely.

Heartrate: 169 bpm

Size: 3.4 cm

Adjusted due date: May 8th, 2010 (same as from LMP)

I want to scan in the two little ultrasounds we have, they still don’t look like much (I can barely tell which side is the head) but they’re milestones.

We both feel like we can now be more confident in telling people about the pregnancy as there are no warning signs at all of anything going wrong.  We’re trying to tell people in person, as it’s more fun, but there will probably be a group announcement on Oct 23rd (Esther’s birthday party) and shortly thereafter on the internet.

Now, we gotta get serious about figuring out if we’re really going to do this with an OB and a hospital, or if we are going to go the midwife/birthing center/home route.  Just have to make a couple appointments.  But, we’re meeting with the doctor for the first time on Friday, and I think her answers to the questions I’ve made up will help guide us on whether or not she’s on our side with the non-induced, no-epidural, no-episiotomy, no-cesarean route or if we’ll need to look at the other options.

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