Tuesday, March 3, 2009

The Hut, The Home, The Hospital

Jack and I decided to implore a certified nurse-midwife for the entirety of our prenatal care and birth, save for the ultrasounds which are being performed by her wonderful partner obstetrician Tony Chin at Cedars Sinai in Beverly Hills.  What I was most impressed with about Tony was his gentle compassion that was so apparent, even upon the handshake.  When Jack and I were completely floored to see such a miraculous little heart blinking like a star on the screen, I said to Tony, "You probably get sick of the constant awe-filled reactions of first time parents seeing that initial 2D image of their baby," to which he replied, "Actually, I am still in amazement every time I see this.  I'm right there with you."  It was clear to me that Dr. Chin absolutely loved his job, a prerequisite we have with ALL our chosen health care professionals.  I was also impressed to see, as I was looking around his office with walls covered in certificates and awards, a simple DVD on his desk called 'Birth Into Being,' which is a video about natural childbirth, laboring in water, and it's benefits.  It was refreshing to see a western MD with such a broad sense of what birth can be like.  I immediately felt safe in his care.  Our midwife is pretty famous, actually, attending the births of about 200 women a year.  She owns and operates her own women's center in Beverly Hills where she provides prenatal care, delivers babies, and also provides Well Woman Care for annual pap smears and lab tests.  She has been in practice since the 90s, before which she was an RN in the NICU and labor in delivery for close to 15 years, and her private practice is continuing to flourish.  An American, she converted to the Sikh ('seek') Hindu religion, which teaches others the concept and power of equality, humanity, and universality among all energies and things, including other religions.  We wanted this mentality to surround us during such a transformative experience, as it is congruent with Taoism and our choices of spirituality.  At our pre-conception interview with her, she recommended we meditate together nightly while calling upon God for guidance and safety in the creation of this new being.  This conscious conception is what has made this pregnancy feel so incredibly powerful to us.  It was so important to us to be cared for by someone who is not only an apt medical professional, but someone who shares and understands our concept of life.  After all, is that  not what we are trying to create?!  It is quite an honor to be in her presence, and an even greater one to have her touch my belly!  After the routine blood and urine tests, she patiently holds either the doppler or fetoscope to my belly and, upon the rhythmic sound of the heartbeat, cheers ecstatically at our baby thanking it and praising it for being so perfect.  During the last appointment, she held a quartz crystal above my belly to see which way it swung--the wive's tale of predicting the gender.  Jack is welcome at every visit, all of which are held in a cozy home-like room with two plush chairs, an oriental rug, soft lighting, scores of thank-you gifts and family pictures of babies she has helped deliver, a scale, cabinet of medical supplies, and an exam table.  The appointments are all an hour or longer and I never ever feel rushed or compelled to disengage from asking any question I can imagine.  I feel so safe and abundant with her; it is quite awesome.

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