I felt like I hit the maternity care jackpot when I found the group of Certified Nurse-Midwives (CNMs) that my favorite midwife belongs to. I was nearing my 15th week of my pregnancy with my son and in the process of switching away from an OB/GYN (who treated me terribly and whom I knew I wouldn't be able to trust to listen to me or set aside her own agenda while I was actually giving birth). After researching and interviewing care providers at several local OB/GYN offices, birth centers, and private practices, I knew that midwives were far and away my favorite. I felt that friend-crush feeling immediately, like me and my midwife could totally be BFFs for life.
They were initially booked for the month I was due to give birth, and I remember texting my sister in a panic, asking if she'd ever heard of anyone successfully bribing a group of midwives and if so, how they did it. Fortunately, they added another midwife to their group in time to make room for us, no palm-greasing required. Within a couple of weeks, we had our first visit, a house call (yes, a house call!) with the woman who would eventually catch my son.
Over the course of the rest of my pregnancy, we went on to really get to know each other, far more than is typical for American families and their health care providers (of any type, usually). We had hour-long consultations at each of my visits, all of which took place in my home. Later, when I had a scary moment early in my third trimester, my midwife quickly arranged for me to be seen right away at the area’s best hospital-based maternity ward so we could confirm that my baby and I were still healthy, reassuring me that we could continue ahead with my birth plan, but more importantly confirming that I could trust her to make the right call during labor if it turned out we needed to transfer.
By the time I started to feel those "this is it" contractions that let me know it was time to call the midwife, we'd already spent hours talking about my values and needs, the past experiences I worried might affect my labor, and everything in between. Observant and sensitive like all truly great midwives, she managed to be exactly as present as I needed her to be; there to check up on how my baby and I were tolerating contractions and offer physical support as needed, but also out of our way when I just needed my husband or wanted to be alone. Though she’s not actually my best friend, mostly because I feel like I’d have to compete for that status with a lot of other moms she’s helped over the course of her career, she absolutely has all of the qualities I look for in a best friend, and I'm sure most women aren't alone in considering their midwives to be the absolute best for the following reasons: