Sunday, October 17, 2010

Show me the midwives, Missouri

First of all, no, I am not pregnant, and no I do not plan on becoming pregnant anytime before, say, they find a cure for hyperemesis gravidarum.

That being said, before I accepted this position in St. Louis, I did a quick little google search on the status of midwifery in Missouri. Again, this was not because I ever want to have another baby, but rather, because I just don't want to live in one of those states where midwifery is illegal. What I found was that until 2008, all midwives were illegal in Missouri. Even Certified Nurse Midwives. Can that really be true? Well, I read it on the internet, so who knows. But still, what the hell, Missouri.

Apparently in 2008, Missouri got its head out of its ass and Legalized It. CNMs, CPMs, the whole she-bang. Birth centers and even homebirth is now legal in Missouri. I was all, sign me up. Coming from Illinois, (where birth centers and homebirth midwives are illegal), this was quite a concept. If I ever lost my mind and decided to have another baby, it was nice to know I could do it at home.

So here I am, living in Missouri. Where midwifery, homebirth, and birth centers are legal, and my insurance even covers all these things. Great, right? Not so. Midwifery may be legal nowadays, but there are no midwives. Seriously. I've googled, I've read the phone book, I've googled some more, and I've studied the practitioners covered by my insurance plan. Although my plan specifically states that it covers all forms of midwives, birth centers, and home births, when I do a search for a midwife in my area, I get nothing. And birth centers? Ha. According to the internet, there is one birth center in all of Missouri. And it's in Kansas City, not St. Louis.

I keep thinking... I must be doing something wrong. I must not be typing the right search term into google when I am looking for Certified Nurse Midwives in St. Louis. The midwives (or at least Ob/Gyn practices that have a midwife on staff) must be listed somewhere in the 10,000 page St. Louis area phone book that I somehow missed.

The whole thing has become more urgent because I have mastitis, again. I've had at least 15 plugged ducts in the same exact area since Will was born, and I've had mastitis now 3 times. Since I don't have any kind of doctor here yet, I have no idea what to do but it seems obvious that this is not going away on its own. Of course I know that. It's mastitis. The affected area is red and as hard as concrete; yes, I know I'm supposed to keep nursing through it, but it hurts so bad each time that it brings me to tears. (On the plus side, Will is thrilled that I've offered to nurse him multiple times throughout the day; he would never dream of turning down an opportunity to nurse). No amount of Tylenol is making my fever go down. Everything hurts. My eyelashes hurt. My teeth hurt. My knees hurt. The stupid insurance company has never sent me my insurance card, and their website is "down" and not letting me print out a temporary ID. If I live through the night, I may try to go to a "Take Care" clinic a couple miles south of here, but I have no idea if they deal with mastitis or not and what they will do if I show up without an insurance card. Can they look me up? Hopefully. Oh, and get this, Will had diarrhea and projectile vomiting today, for the first time ever in his life. I am hoping it was just a fluke, but if he wakes up in the morning and seems sick, then obviously I will have to take care of him first. At least I have found a pediatrician for him, so hopefully they'll be able to work him in if he really needs to be seen. But the larger problem with all of this is that my employer has this policy wherein new employees cannot take any sick or vacation time for the first 6 months of their employment. So somehow I've got to (maybe) get both Will and me to a doctor and recover from mastitis all without taking any time off work.

I feel like that point during labor, when I asked my doula when my midwife would be arriving. My doula had the unfortunate task of telling me that my midwife was not on call that night and the OB in charge of the practice (who I had met only 1 time) would be "delivering" the baby. I became hysterical, beating my fist on the wall of the shower and crying out, "I WANT CAROL!" until I was too exhausted to continue. In retrospect, that is just the tiniest bit funny, but at the time, it certainly wasn't.

At any rate, if anyone out there finds this and has any insight into the midwife situation in Missouri/St. Louis, please do let me know. And if anyone can recommend someone to go to for non-pregnancy related female reproductive care, I am all ears. Ideally some place where I don't have to take 3 interstates to get there. Thanks.


Karen Joy said...

I hope you have gone to urgent care by now. I'm certain they could treat mastitis -- you need antibiotics ASAP. How that would work w/o an insurance card, I'm not sure. You'd probably have to pay cash, then work on being reimbursed. Or, giving them your into w/o a card.

About the midwife thing -- that's crazy!!! I thought surely there must be some mistake... I went to and did a search (with a random St. Louis ZIP code) and came up with four in a 30-mile radius. However, they were all on the Illinois side. Would your insurance allow for an out-of-state provider??? It might be worth looking into.

I hope you heal, and quickly!! I have suffered multiple bouts of mastitis, and cannot imagine living through it whilst working, let alone also caring for a projectile-vomiting toddler. Ack.

Anonymous said...

Here you go:

Common Ground Midwifery Services
1504 Collins Ave, St Louis, MO 63117-2115

(314) 644-1151

If you need to be treated/are willing to take antibiotics for the mastitis, you might head over to an one of the Urgent Care places. Easy in (walk-in), easy out, no commitment to whatever doctor you get, and nurses tend to be nice.

Ya Chun said...

I found your blog from a search for growth spurts then found you recently moved here to STL.

Have you found a local LLL group?

Kangaroo Kids is also a great resource (and store).

Feel free to email me!