Our first consult today was with the Little Fruit Midwives (the practice is named for a little fruit). There are two of them; we met with Midwife Apple (so named both because her first name starts with an A, and because she does have red rosy cheeks, and is pregnant, so also round like an apple).
We both really, really liked her. She spent plenty of time with us and answered all of our questions. Their Caesarean rate is even lower than Dr. Mellow's at 13% (16% if you count breeches). She said they only perform episiotomies if the baby is in distress. They deliver at University Hospital nearby (the other option is Protestant Hospital*, where Dr. Mellow practices); she said they use U.H. because they can practice as they choose, which means no routine interventions during labor (no IV's, only intermittent fetal monitoring, eating and drinking during labor, changing positions, and two rooms with tubs). If we are sure to choose a specific pediatric practice and if the pediatricians cooperate (they don't always), we can be discharged after 12 hours (but have the right to stay longer if we wish).
They're very easy to get in touch with; one of the voice mail options rings directly to their cell phones, and we can also email for less urgent issues. That's a real comfort.
The Little Fruit Midwives have fewer, but longer pre-natal visits, which appeals to Co. Charmingly, they have a list of names of babies they've delivered on the wall, and even more charmingly, one baby is named after their practice.
Today's second visit was to Neighborhood Midwives. The neighborhood in their name is ours, but the only consult appointment available this week was in Large Jewish Neighborhood. That wasn't the most comfortable experience, but ordinarily we'd go to their office a few blocks away. Actually, the location of their neighborhood office is about 100 feet from the location of Little Fruit's office.
We met with Midwife R; there are two others in the practice. She was lovely. Their Caesarean rate (from last year) is the lowest yet at 10%, and she said that was high for the practice, they're usually closer to 7%. They deliver at Protestant Hospital and said they've been happy with it and are able to make their own rules for labor (which is to say no rules: you can get up and down, eat and drink, etc.). We can also likely leave the hospital after 24 hours, there's a pediatrician who almost always releases babies at that point. (The information from both midwives about getting released from the hospital totally contradicts Dr. Mellow; clearly we weren't getting the whole story.)
There's always a midwife on call and if you have an urgent issue the answering service will page her, and she will call back immediately.
Here's our verdict: We liked both midwife practices a great deal. Especially after the helpful comments to our last post (thanks so much, folks), we are definitely going with one of the midwife options. But which one??
What it seems to come down to is Mama Midwife (Neighborhood Midwives) or Older Sister Midwife (Little Fruit Midwives). Little Fruit felt more personally familiar: a waiting room with a sign that says "help yourself to tea" and papered with fliers for local nursing/mommming/hypnobirthing/prenatal yoga groups. They don't have a receptionist and Co helped Midwife Apple reboot her computer. Neighborhood Midwives have been in practice over 20 years, are clearly more organized with multiple receptionists and a waiting room with fliers for cord blood and backwards R store product catalogues.
We will come to our own decision, but if you, oh Internets, have any pearls of wisdom to throw our way, we'd love to hear them.
*Co says that it is best to entrust one's health care to the Catholics or the Jews, but in this neighborhood Protestant Hospital is what we got.