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Checking Midwife References
~ a message board archive
From StephM ~ I met a homebirth midwife at Costco through a family member last week. She seemed very nice, I got a good feeling from her and she has been doing homebirths for 25 years. She made me feel so warm, nice and safe right there in Costco, I scheduled an interview with her in a couple weeks.

I have all my questions ready for our meeting, but wonder about references. I am assuming she will provide me with references to call. I will call them, but I would guess that all the references would obviously be from people very happy with her services. Is there a way to check her history in general? She is a LDEM and CPM. Is there an agency that keeps info, like the one we check on for doctors? I do not know anyone personally that has used her services, and I am sure she is wonderful, but I really want to be thorough.

From hunter ~ When I interviewed my midwife, I asked for four references -- two good, too bad -- and she said that's not unusual at all. Besides the two "raving" reviews, I talked with a woman who had freaked out from pain and demanded to be taken to the hospital where she ended up with a c-section. She admitted right out that she hadn't done the "inner work" that she should have, that she had lied to the midwife about it, and that she felt pressured by her husband for a homebirth even though she wanted an epidural; she regretted her experience but did not blame the midwife. The last reference was for a man; his wife was slightly paralyzed from a stroke during birth and doesn't like to talk about it. He also raved about the midwife, said she realized right away that the woman's blood pressure was rising too quickly and they went straight to the hospital. The midwife never left their sides, and when it was decided to do an emergency c-section, she went in with them. Afterwards, she stayed with the mom while the dad went with the baby.

I felt better about my midwife after hearing those stories. The first one made me understand that it's all about me; I could have the best midwife, but if *I* wasn't prepared, she couldn't help me at all. The second one made me feel good to know that she does know her limits, she is willing to get help when it's needed, and that she won't abandon me even if we do go to the hospital. I wouldn't dismiss a midwife who hasn't had any bad experiences, but I'd ask to talk with them if she has. It was definitely more insightful than the "raves" for me.

From midwifetx ~ I always give two references of women who have transported and two of women who think I put the moon in the sky. Some midwives keep satisfaction surveys that are sent in without the parents names on them as a way to improve their practice and some will make them available.

From djk42 ~ You know what I think is funny? Satisfaction surveys and asking for references is normal to midwives. Has anyone ever asked a doctor for references though? Do we just assume a degree is all that counts? Customer service matters, even in the medical field. Of course, I don't care if he's nice, if he's the best heart surgeon in the world and I'm under being operated on, but a good bedside manner really counts for something like labor.

From midwifetx ~ In Texas, *EVERY* single time a midwife files a birth certificate she has to provide the county clerk with a copy of her license, no matter how many she has already filed with that county. It's nuts; no doctor is required to produce his license on demand with every single thing he files.

From teachinmama ~ Talk to as many people as you can (i.e. former clients) and if you have a licensing board (or any board/group that oversees the midwives...here it's the Oklahoma Midwives Alliance) in your state, talk to them.

I learned this the hard way. After having my daughter, I learned from several people that the midwife I used is NOT supposed to be delivering anymore. There were three babies who died because of poor decisions on her part; apparently all three were the same complication. The last two births that it happened, she knew and didn't have the sense to stop and call 911 in time. The Oklahoma Midwives Alliance asked her to stop her practice and she didn't. I was pregnant and under her care then. Thankfully, she went on vacation the day before I delivered and left her apprentice (which was the plan anyway). Still, the apprentice has learned from this woman and supports her. I really regret not doing my research better when looking for a midwife last year. Just thinking about what could have happened to me or my baby makes me sick to my stomach.

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