When I found out I was pregnant with my third child, it had been about 2 years since I gave birth to my last child and since then our insurance had changed. Therefore, I was on the hunt for a new doctor to take care of my prenatal care. In my search around the Madison area, I came across SSM Health’s new midwifery program.
SSM Health just happened to be the clinic and hospital that took my insurance. I was interested in learning more about it since I hadn’t experienced a midwife before. I did some research and decided to go this route.
I think it’s most important to have a good relationship with your doctor, one which most of us cultivate throughout the 9-10 months that we are pregnant. I didn’t have a relationship with any of my doctors or midwives prior to delivering since all 3 of my babies were born at different hospitals.
To read about what exactly a Midwife is, please refer to this article.
Here is my experience:
I chose to see all 3 of the midwives at the clinic because I could have any of the 3 during labor and deliver. There was practically no chance I would have the on-call OB-GYN at the hospital unless for some reason there needed to be an intervention of some sort. Therefore, I made sure to try my best to schedule my appointments with all 3 of the midwives so I got to know them, and they got to know me. I felt comfortable with all 3 of them by the time I was ready to deliver.
Midwives focus on less intervention, which really appealed to me. I actually attempted a water birth with my second, but due to the baby needing to be monitored, I was unable to deliver in the water. Unfortunately, SSM Health St. Mary’s doesn’t offer a water birth option, but you can labor in the tub, if you find you have the time for it.
One thing I noticed is they have slightly less experience with an ultrasound machine. At least the ones I saw. So there were two instances where, early in my pregnancy, a heartbeat couldn’t be located easily so an OB-GYN at the clinic came in to help with an ultrasound so we could hear the heartbeat. When I was further along, this was never an issue.
Labor & Delivery
You call your midwife when you are in labor, not the hospital. My last delivery I called the hospital, who then called my doctor. With a midwife, you call the midwife first, then head to the hospital if timing is right. The reason for this is so they can ensure that other measures aren’t taken to intervene more than you or the midwife want. The longer they can keep you at home, the better.
During the labor the midwife is with you every single moment. With an OB-GYN, my experience had been that I labored with the nurses and then the doctor came in at the end to help me push and deliver, plus deal with any stitching necessary afterwards. However, with a midwife, she is with you the whole time, helping you, coaching you through contractions, etc. They act like the labor & delivery nurses. I liked that part, but mainly because I really liked my midwife. If I didn’t have such a close relationship with her, I would say I wouldn’t have cared.
I ended up delivering my baby with Kim Bertram, and she was incredible during the labor and delivery. Although I had an extremely fast delivery, (I was only at the hospital for 20 minutes) I felt a huge difference between deliveries. Like I said before, she was actually coaching me through the contractions.
After delivery, Emily Beaman visited me the next day at the hospital, and she actually sat down and talked to me for at least 20 minutes to make sure I was doing ok, the baby was latching properly, and to address any questions or concerns I had. For postpartum, they wish to see you at 2 weeks postpartum and 6 weeks postpartum. After my last two deliveries with an OB-GYN, I only saw them once at a 6-week postpartum visit. If my doctor was available, I also saw him/her the day after delivery, but otherwise I just saw the on-call OB-GYN, not my actual doctor.
Overall I loved my experience with the midwives at SSM Health. Kimberly Bertram, Emily Beaman, and Mara Evans, are all incredibly nice, compassionate, and gentle. They listened to my concerns, addressed them, and made me feel welcomed, never rushed, at every appointment. I’d also like to give a shout out to their nurse, Kate, who was ALWAYS super friendly and helpful at my appointments!
Plus, they sent me this amazing hand-written card a few weeks after delivery to congratulate me. It seriously made me cry that they took the time to write such heartfelt messages to me. This was the first time I had a “personal touch” like this from any of my care providers.
If you have additional questions or are interested in learning more about the midwifery program at SSM Health, please check out their website.