What is the value of having a midwife at my homebirth?
I go back and forth on this question, I can see the truth and value on both sides of the issue. I like to think of the midwife as the life guard, she is there to make sure everyone stays safe. Can you swim without a life guard? Sure. But it is safer to swim when someone outside the pool is keeping an eye on things.
A midwife can help you understand what is happening and how to work with your body. She is also invaluable in cases where things do not go as planned or during a challenging labor. Midwifery training varies, as does the scope of services. You may find your midwife is able to provide you with many of the services available in birth centers or hospitals.
Having a midwife with you can lessen your concerns because she is trained to handle any of the problems talked about in this section. There is no need to worry that the midwife will hinder the private labor you desire, because you will interview her and choose the best midwife to work with your family.
Most homebirth midwives feel more like having a friend come labor with you than rushing the doctor home to catch the baby. Your midwife will stay with from the time you call her to join until you are both convinced the new family is healthy. What a midwife does in that time depends on the personality and training of the midwife. Some might sit and knit or bake cookies for you, checking in on you only when necessary. Others will stay with you throughout labor, checking vital signs and monitoring the baby. Most will do something in between. When you are interviewing midwives, be sure to ask what she does at the labor so you know you will be comfortable with the services she provides.
In my case, having a midwife was not an option. Our homebirth planning was for the possibility that labor would be too fast to get to the hospital and I would be home alone. My midwife was invaluable in the planning for the possibility that became reality for me.