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Alleke is 5 years old

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Hi, my name is Kelly and I write about being a dad. Let me tell you more about me...

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I’m not sure where I got these assumptions from, but growing up the U.S., I thought someone would hire a midwife for one of three reasons:

1. You’ve decided to have the baby at home, in which case a midwife will be delivering the baby.

2. You’re wealthy enough that you want to hire an extra person to help coordinate your pregnancy—sort of like hiring a wedding planner

3. You’re uptight enough that you want to hire an extra person to keep an eye on your doc while you’re in labor to make sure he or she is doing a good job.

When one of April’s friends at university mentioned she had had a midwife when she gave birth this past fall, we considered getting one for ourselves.

Not because we’ve decided to have the baby at home.

Not because we’re wealthy enough to have a personal pregnancy planner.

Not because we’re worried our doctor is going to mess everything up.

But because we’re not from here.

There are just so many things to learn between new medical vocabulary in Spanish to working with a different health care system to juggling the advice we get from here and abroad. We thought we could use a baby tutor.

Part of it was we went to our doctor last week with a list of questions all written out in Spanish and checked for accuracy by one of April’s Spanish-speaking friends at school, and when we read through our list, our doctor listened intently, then told us we should ask our midwife those questions.

“Midwife?” we thought, looking at each other.

So we made arrangements to have lunch with the midwife April’s friend knew.

Walking to the restaurant that afternoon, I realized I had no idea what we were doing.

Were we supposed to find our own midwife, or would our clinic find one for us?

Did we need a midwife in the first place, and if so, what do they do?

How much does it cost to have a midwife?

I didn’t even know the word for midwife in Spanish.

We met Lidón, the midwife, and walked to the Chinese restaurant just off the university campus. Along the way we asked questions. She was incredibly patient with us the entire way. She didn’t even hesitate when we asked her to explain the entire birthing process in Spain in detail.

“Are you asking what happens when you have a baby?” she asked.

April smiled.

“No, I’m asking what happens when you have a baby in Spain?” April replied.

It turns out everyone in Spain has a midwife, whether or not you’re rich or paranoid. The midwife and the doctor work together as a team to help you have the baby.

The midwife is the one who teaches your prenatal classes. She’s the one who helps you prepare for having the baby and answers all your questions (if you have a list like us).

So, as if the clouds had parted (metaphorically speaking, of course, since all we ever get in Spain is that clear, blue Mediterranean sky), in only one hour we had been enlightened.

I felt so much smarter than I had before.

Plus, I like the idea of having a midwife, I mean if everyone has one anyway. I like the fact that she’ll teach our classes and be with us at the hospital as well as be available to answer questions.

For some reason, doctors seem busy. Midwives seem available.

Anyway, Lidón called yesterday. She found one of her midwife friends (the one who actually helped her deliver one of her own babies) who works for our insurance company and is willing to be our midwife. We’re going to have lunch on Monday.

Last week I didn’t even know we needed a midwife. This week I’ll be very happy to meet her.


Angela said...

Hey Kelly – Glad you guys have decided to have a midwife. It’s actually pretty common to use a midwife in the U.S. as well (paid like any health care provider through insurance). We know lots of folks here who have used midwives for all their prenatal care and delivery and have been very happy with the personal level of care they’ve gotten. The public health side of me also is happy because in general midwives are less interventional in delivery and are more apt to let you guys make the choices about how you want the birth to go – hope it is the same in Spain!

June 5, 2006 at 1:32 am

spain dad said...

ah…the advantages of having a friend with a Masters in Public Health. Thanks Ang!

June 5, 2006 at 6:31 am

Chloe said...

Hey Guys,
We are going with a midwife too; only in the US, you don’t get a midwife and a doctor, just a midwife. From what I understand everything Angela said is totally true about midwives and that is why we decided to go with one. I hope that things continue to unfold smoothly and that your relationship with your midwife is an opportunity for sharing the Truth of life.

June 5, 2006 at 2:38 pm

Mama de Josías said...

Huh, interesting! I thought the midwives only taught the childbirth classes, at least that’s what I remember being told. The only midwife I saw in the hospital just hooked me up to a monitor and was really mean – of course, at the point of being told I needed an emergency C-Section NOW or I would die, everyone seemed kind of mean.
I’m glad you two are having a much better experience figuring out maternity care in Spain and have trusted healthcare professionals to ask your questions of. I look forward to hearing more of the details next month! ;)

June 27, 2006 at 7:35 pm


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