Here are the things I want hospital staff to understand:
- We recognized the need for help and appreciate that the hospital has tools that are not available at home.
- We all want both Mom and baby to have the best outcomes possible, that's why we transferred.
- Everyone is tired so a little more time may be needed to process what is being done, what is being recommended and what options are available during the transition from a home birth environment to the hospital environment.
- If the client is asleep, please come back at a later time to make introductions and to discuss care, or have these conversations with family members who are present. If there are going to be several practitioners coordinating care, it would be helpful in the first hours to meet with one or two practitioners that can explain everything instead of trying to meet everyone.
- The client and family may need to have medical terminology explained, and may ask a lot of questions to understand what is being recommended and to make fully informed decisions.
- The midwife wants to be as helpful as possible. She has important information such as lab results, and a record of how labor was progressing she can share with the medical team. She will provide labor support, and would be happy to help as much as the hospital staff are comfortable with. She is not trying to take over for any of the hospital staff, and truly values their skills and expertise.
- The client may have made decisions regarding newborn procedures or other things before birth, and may wish to stay with those decisions unless the situation calls for changes. Please ask the client's preferences.
- The midwife will provide follow up care after Mom and baby leave the hospital. ACOG recommends at least two in person postpartum appointments in the first six to twelve weeks. My standard is to do four. I will track baby's weight and provide breastfeeding support as well as monitor my client's recovery.
Transfers are stressful for everyone involved. An understanding and collaborative effort on the part of everyone involved will result in a smoother and less stressful transfer. I look forward to the day when home birth is recognized as an acceptable and legitimate option for low risk pregnancies by medical providers in the area I serve.