AS A JOURNALIST, it’s rare to get an opportunity to work on a story as it’s personally unfolding for you in real time. So, when Pacific NW magazine writer Sandi Doughton asked me if I wanted to work with her on a story about midwifery, I was thrilled. I was entering the third trimester of my first pregnancy.

Cover story: The case for midwives: Washington leads the nation in midwifery care, giving women another childbirth option

Trying to clear up the confusion about midwives in Washington. Who are they, and what do they do?

It was fascinating and incredibly educational for me to work on this week’s cover story. We had the honor and privilege of attending three incredible births, and we witnessed midwives supporting patients in the labor and delivery ward of a hospital, in a community clinic, and at a home birth.

Many people asked me as I worked on the story if attending the births made me more scared for my own, as the days of my pregnancy ticked down. Definitely not! If anything, it dispelled a lot of the fear I had and helped empower me with knowledge and confidence.

It also spurred me to transfer my care to midwives. With a history of preeclampsia in my family, I reflexively chose obstetric care at the start, but as my pregnancy progressed without complications, I chose to make the switch for longer, more thorough and conversational visits.

When my own baby girl finally was ready to start her journey earth-side, more than a week past her due date, I drew from those experiences for strength. And in the 30th hour of labor, I didn’t feel guilty asking for an epidural. The midwives and nurses taking care of us at Valley Medical Center in Renton gave her a wonderful entry into the world.