I used Lonestar Midwives during my first pregnancy. My insurance assigned me to an obstetric provider, but I paid out of pocket to see the midwives because I wanted more holistic care. I appreciated that they operated inside of a hospital environment though. They presented themselves as medical professionals who struck a balance between medicine and nature. I wish this had been true.
My obstetric providers had been pushing me on some things I didn’t like, so I asked questions of the midwives. I asked about being advanced maternal age. I was only 35, and my obstetric providers were using my age as a reason for me to be induced at 39 weeks. I asked the midwives if there was any reason for this. They said AMA is sometimes used as a reason for induction if that’s what the parents want anyway, but that if I didn’t want to be induced, it wasn’t a big deal. At no point did they discuss any of the actual risks with me. At no point did they share any of the statistics. They didn’t even mention that stillbirth was a possibility.
During my third trimester I started developing symptoms of preeclampsia. I brought this up every visit: “I’m feeling nauseated. I have a headache. I’m so swollen I literally cannot wear my rings or my shoes.” Looking back on pictures of me from that time, my face is also swollen. It’s something they should have noticed. Although I mentioned my symptoms and they took note of them at every visit, nobody was concerned. Nobody thought to let me know that preeclampsia doesn’t always present as high blood pressure in the beginning. Nobody sent me for further testing.
At my 40-week (39w6d) appointment, I told the midwife I had experienced a searing pain underneath my right ribs. I also told her my son wasn’t moving as much as usual. She didn’t seem concerned about the pain. She also told me that babies run out of room to move towards the end of pregnancy. I now know this to be a lie. Babies should be moving consistently throughout pregnancy, and even throughout birth.
Since I was almost 40 weeks at that last visit, I asked when they wanted to see me again. I assumed it would be soon. They said no, though, and to just come back in one week. They booked an appointment for 41w1d. The day before that appointment, my son died.
I’ve learned so much more about stillbirth and prenatal care in the years since then. I’ve learned enough to be angry, both at the things they said and the things they missed. They presented themselves as trustworthy and they weren’t. They presented themselves as comprehensive, and they missed things. And while they spent a minimum of 30 minutes with me at each appointment, their primary focus seemed to be on calming my fears without any genuine patient education.
They failed me. And not only did they fail me, but they failed my child. My perfectly formed 9 lb baby boy. My child who was perfectly healthy and kicking me only hours before he died. They failed to identify the preeclampsia that killed him. They failed even to warn me it might be possible.
My son died in the early hours of the morning of 29 June 2017. I gave birth at a different hospital; the one that was covered by my insurance. My sister canceled the appointment previously scheduled with the midwives for the following day. They didn’t call me until the following Monday. That day, I spoke with one of the midwives. I don’t remember everything she said, only that it felt perfunctory.
And I literally never heard from them again.