Lois Snyder’s midwife, MaryAnne George, CNM, had delivered all four of her babies over the years.
So a few years ago, when Snyder learned Baby No. 5 was on the way, she had no plans of letting anything come between her and her longtime midwife. And in recent weeks, with the happy news of Baby No. 6 coming, her decision was the same.
“I would never go anywhere else,” Snyder said. “It all comes down to relationship. We have an amazing connection.”
But as it sometimes does, life gets complicated.
At two months pregnant with their fifth child, Snyder and her husband, Sonny, and their children had to leave behind their family home in Sheridan, Michigan, and head to a new place in Lake Orion, just north of Detroit.
Sonny got a new job near Detroit, which took the family on a new adventure.
But that left Snyder without her midwife. She was not about to let 150 miles keep her from George, her go-to certified nurse midwife at Spectrum Health.
Such finality led Snyder to make the 2 1/2-hour drive from the eastern part of the state to the west, dutifully keeping all appointments and, eventually, scheduling the baby’s delivery with George.
Snyder had prenatal checkups in George’s Grand Rapids office every six to eight weeks.
“Maybe if it was my first baby it would have been more scary,” Snyder said.
None of her other babies came early, however, so she had no worries about the process.
For some appointments, Snyder made plans to stay overnight with her mother in Greenville, or with her in-laws in Sheridan.
Other times, she drove both ways in a single day, sometimes squeezing in a little shopping with her mother before heading back home. She even managed to combine some appointments with her work as a freelance photographer.
Snyder and George first met 11 years ago when Snyder, then in Rockford, had been looking for someone to deliver her first child.
A friend steered her to George.
They wound up partnering on the births of Snyder’s first four children: Selah, 10, Carson, 8, Edynn, 6, and London, 5.
Selah had been her easiest pregnancy. Snyder developed anemia, or low iron, and low blood sugar levels for the other pregnancies. Her body has had difficulty absorbing and holding iron.
“I would pass out a lot,” she said. “It got to the point where I knew it was coming, so I would just lay down.”
One of her babies needed to be re-positioned during delivery, although the delivery was not breech. For London’s delivery, Snyder’s uterus failed to contract after childbirth, which meant George had to squeeze her uterus for about 10 minutes.
“That was worse than having the baby,” Snyder said. “She knew what she was doing and she had to make it happen, so she didn’t panic and just did what she needed to do.”
It speaks to the type of trust they’ve developed over the years, as mother and midwife.
“She’s there for me any time I need her, even this far away,” Snyder said. “She’s just always there for me.”
Knowing full well that Snyder would have to contend with a long drive for the birth of her fifth child, George decided to induce labor at 40 weeks.
Snyder and her husband dropped their children off at their grandparents’ house in Sheridan the night before, then went to Spectrum Health Butterworth Hospital for the induction at about 4 a.m.
Cruze came into the world at 8:21 a.m.
That was more than two years ago. Snyder and George remained in touch.
“It’s been such an honor to watch (the Snyders) grow from the innocent, young kids they were to the beautiful mother she is and the wonderful husband and father he is,” George said.
George said she values the deep, personal connection she has with her patients.
For her part, Snyder can’t imagine ever wanting or needing anyone else to help her with childbirth. That made the decision easy when she learned recently that Baby No. 6 is on the way.
Snyder figures the hospitals and midwives closer to her home near Detroit are great, but she’ll still drive west whenever she needs quality pregnancy care.
It’s where she feels at home.
“We would never go to anyone else.”