As I have gotten to this stage in pregnancy, I am more convinced than ever that birth and labor is women's work. I don't mean just giving birth, but supporting birth and catching babies. A woman's intuition is so helpful in these things. Last night in my midwife's home and three birth professionals, none of whom are doctors, sat around me on a bed and took turns feeling my belly and doing an internal exam (not fun) until they determined what position Malachi was in. This took at least 40 minutes. This is a skill and an art. What doctor do you know that would a) spend this much time with you, and b) care that much? Because when you give birth in the hospital, they could care less what position the baby is in as long as he's not breech. If it causes back labor (excruciating) or long labor, it doesn't matter to them because they are more than willing to do a c-section if things aren't moving quickly enough. Midwives care because the default attitude is that a baby can and should be born naturally in almost every situation, so let's remove any barriers necessary to make that happen smoothly.
And they did these things in such a gentle, compassionate way. They care about me and are excited about Malachi. They are concerned about how I am doing emotionally after several days of labor and expectation that I would have a baby any time now. They explained things, massaged me, held my hands and helped me to breathe when something was painful. And dang, when they swept my membranes it was painful. I really needed the support of a loving doula, and they gave that to me. When they sensed that I was still carrying fear about giving birth, they gently probed so that they could reassure me.
All of these things were given to me by women who have been there and made it through. It just isn't the same coming from a man.