Finding our Natural Birth Friendly Doctor in Atlanta

Finding our Natural Birth Friendly Doctor in Atlanta

A Doctor’s perspective on finding the right doctor for our natural birth plan in the Atlanta area.

When I found out I was pregnant, I scheduled an appointment with a friend of mine from medical school who is a practicing obstetrician. Our first appointment was a fun reunion, catching up on old times and getting some advice on first time pregnancy issues. She handed me some paperwork to fill out and said “you’re going to get the epidural, right?” I said “yeah I think so, why not?”. “Everyone does it” That’s about the extent of what I knew about pregnancy and childbirth.

My doctor was helpful in getting me through issues of early pregnancy, like morning sickness, hemorrhoids and constipation. She snuck me in for an early ultrasound to see the baby. We found out I had a low-lying placenta. But not to worry, she said, it should move up on its own.

I started rotating through the other doctors in the practice and that’s when things started to turn a little south. I was told that I needed to have a glucose tolerance test and to drink some raunchy artificially colored and flavored sugar syrup. I would NEVER put anything like that in my body, how could that be helpful to my baby? I was also highly encouraged (by 20 min lecture) to get a DTaP vaccine while pregnant in order to protect my little one from pertussis as an infant. I wasn’t comfortable with either of these things. Instead of my autonomy being respected, it was quite a fight to have my choices honored.

My next visit I insisted that my husband come along for back up. It’s a good thing he did, because the next doctor I saw was even more pushy. I was chastised for my choice to avoid the glucose test. I was given the alternative to check sugars with a glucose meter instead, which was fine by me. My placenta was still low lying and there was talk of a C-section per practice guidelines.

This is when I started to research holistic prenatal care and birthing options. My husband & I watched some videos about homebirth and I read some books about midwifery and natural birth. The more I learned, the more my eyes were opened to the fact that the experience I had had in medical school was far removed from the natural birth experiences that women have been having on this planet for thousands of years. It became clear to us why certain “guidelines” may be used by obstetrics practices and hospitals: to control the birth process, minimizing liability and the inconvenient uncertainties inherent in natural birth, and to pad their bottom line with expensive C-sections.

My husband really wanted to have our baby at home. I wanted to have a birth that would be covered by my insurance so we searched the city for a practice that would meet our needs. We learned about natural family cesarean. This is where a c-section takes place in a dimly lit operating suite with the family present. The mothers arms are not strapped down. As the baby is taken out of her belly, the surgical drape is lowered and the baby is placed in her arms to breast-feed and for skin to skin contact (as long as there are no complications that require neonatal resuscitation).

We were able to get in with a practice called Seebaby and had a consultation with a maternal fetal medicine specialist named Dr. Bootstaylor. Dr. Boots as he’s belovedly called, pioneered the natural cesarean in Atlanta. In speaking with him he assured me that a low-lying placenta was perfectly normal and even if my placenta did not move there was no reason why with his practice I would not be able to have a perfectly normal vaginal delivery. What a breath of fresh air!

We commenced care with a midwife team at his practice. One of the reasons that we chose Seebaby was the hospital that they deliver at, Decalb medical center, offered water tub birth. We had seen this practice on videos and my friend had one and highly recommended it.

We invested in an Anespa water purification system from Enagic and visited the hospital to make sure it would be workable with their water source for the tubs. Everything was all set for our new baby to be born in mineral Hot Springs water in the hospital AND 100% covered by insurance (except the Anespa!). It was a perfect compromise of the holistic birth that we wanted with full back up support by the best maternal fetal medicine specialist in the city just in case a C-section were necessary. Dr Boots performs natural cesarean even in most “emergent” circumstances.

The weeks drug on and I was 41+ weeks when I got a call from my Doula, Maegan Hall, about Decalb medical canceling water birth services. There was no advance notice. We were determined to have our birth as planned and needed to make other arrangements ASAP.
We spent the whole morning driving around, picking up medical records, and calling every practice in town that could do water birth trying to get in with another hospital. None of our options seemed to bear fruit until we finally got a hold of a homebirth midwife referred by Maegan. She was well recommended by her peers and she had a water tub that we could borrow! Of course this meant paying out-of-pocket for our birth. We came to the conclusion, after everything we have been through and learned about how important a low-stress birth is to babies entering this world, that it must be what our baby wanted. We interviewed Cindy that evening. We engaged her services and made plans to meet up again in 2 days to spend time together establish a provider-patient relationship.

Looking for a natural birth friendly doctor in the Atlanta area? Have questions about hospital vs home birth, birth  photography, or doula care? Use the contact form above and contact me! I only take 1-3 clients a month and book up quickly.

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Atlanta Birth Doula + Photography Woodstock, GA