The days leading up to Ben’s birth were just as meaningful as his actual BIRTHDAY. Here is my recollection of them…
Despite not liking hospitals, a homebirth wasn’t what I had envisioned for myself 4 years ago when I was pregnant with Grace. I fully intended to give birth the new-fashioned way. You know, at the hospital, yet still with as little intervention as possible. But, my first labor went from “Hey, I wonder if that’s a contraction?” to “OMG! I’m about to shit a bowling ball!” in only 7 hours. There was a 911 call, a public display of nudity, two pushes into daddy’s arms, and the arrival of a stunning and healthy baby we named Grace (followed by a dramatic ambulance ride to the hospital.) It was crazy.
Fast-forward 4 years: I’m pregnant again and planning a home birth. Second babies come even faster. I have visions of being the subject of some TLC show about women who give birth on the sidewalk, at the yoga studio, or in a restaurant. And so my story begins.
I peed on a stick and it turns out I’m pregnant! “YAY!” and “Uh oh…” rapidly run thorugh my mind. I wrap up the peed upon stick and give it to Brandon as a birthday gift that evening in front of Jessie and Kevin and Eleza and Judd. Everyone is excited.
I had my first doc appointment today for the obligatory confirmation that I am, in fact, with child. When my doctor asked if I had any concerns, I fast-forwarded right to the “this time we are planning a home birth. Will you be supportive of that?” question. I want to be up front with her about my intentions. She had some judgement in her voice, but she said yes and that I should let her know when I wanted to switch my care to a midwife. My estimated due date: August 23, 2015.
Went to the yoga journal conference this past weekend and took a great class with Jane Austin. I also did an acro yoga class. Holy cow. I think I’m already showing. I didn’t show with Grace till I was about 6 months pregnant. Jessie and Hayley came over and we compared bellies AND yoga poses.
I’m slowly starting to tell people that I’m pregnant.
I got an e-mail today from Victoria, my friend/mom group buddy. She told me all about her homebirth midwife who she loved- Leopi. We made an appointment to meet with her. Grace is getting excited about being a big sister.
I just met Victoria’s midwife. Leopi is amazing. I REALLY want her to be my midwife. I’m so nervous that she’ll be busy. Apparently, booking a homebirth midwife is much like securing a great location for your wedding: It’s ill-advised to wait, the way I have, until you’ve only got four months till the big day.
Leopi has room in her schedule! I really like that she is also an artist and does orthobionomy. She also exudes confidence and medical awareness. She sends me lots of information about supplements and placenta eating. I think I’m in love. I’m beginning to wonder how another whole person is going to fit into our already very full lives/car.
First appointment with Leopi. She came to our house, and she talked to Grace like she was a regular person, not a small child. My husband, Brandon, and I asked her questions — he focused on the what-to-do-in-case-of-an-emergency while I asked about postbirth cleanup and if she does placenta encapsulation. (She assured us that it would not be crime-scene messy and said we’d have to order placenta pills from someone else.) She tells us what she’s capable of handling (she brings an oxygen tank to every birth, is trained in neonatal resuscitation, can stop hemorrhaging, can suture vaginal tears, and can give IVs) and what she’s not able to do (C-sections or other surgical procedures, administering pain medication). She tells us when and why she’s had to take patients to the hospital (often a patient has changed her mind and wanted pain meds). And she asks us questions — not just about my pregnancy but about the stress and excitement of adding to the family. She wants to know us. After she leaves, Brandon says, “I love her.” Plus, the tumbleweeds of dog hair rolling through my house didn’t seem to faze her one single bit. Also, Brandon had an allergic reaction to some salsa and his face turned all red and puffy.
Date night. Steak. Holy moly, it was so good. And Brandon and I finally got to really talk about this baby. Between work and preschooler wrangling, we haven’t had a moment to bask in this pregnancy at all. We talk about Leopi and how comfortable it seems. We talk about how this pregnancy is going and how Grace will like being a big sister. A homebirth is the only option for us and Brandon is totally on board. And it’ll give my little No. 2 fanfare of his own. He deserves it. Why should Grace be the only one with a great birth story?
There’s no turning back: I called my ob-gyn and dumped her. Said I was ready to transfer care to my midwife. She looked at me with that judgy doctor look. I know what people think of homebirth. I might as well braid my armpit hair and breastfeed the whole neighborhood. I also hired a doula, Gingi. She’s so great.
We went to an A’s game with some friends too! The kids favorite part was climbing on the barriers in the parking lot.
Today was my second official visit with Leopi, in her house this time. I had no idea what to expect. She lives in Vallejo so I’m a little concerned about the distance she lives from our house. Will she be able to get here on time? She took my blood pressure, measured my belly, and listened to the baby’s heartbeat. I love that her art work covers her walls!
Brandon and I are discussing whether or not we want Grace at the birth. Part of me does and part of me doesn’t. I mean, it might be strange for her to go on a playdate and come home to a new sibling. She might never want to leave the house again.
Leopi gave me a checkup and asked Grace if she wanted to hear the baby’s heartbeat. She quickly scooted up on the couch and nestled up next to me. Thump-thump-thump. “Huckle!” she said. And a nickname was born!
Grace is loving camp at head over heels.
The birthing kit arrived today! It’s filled with gauze, a syringe, straws (!), a baby hat (!), measuring tape, and more. So exciting! Next step: Unearth old sheets and towels from the garage; and buy a bunch of cheap towels. We also need to secure someone to dry and encapsulate my placenta. OH, and it’s super rainy today. RANDOM!!
Eleza called at 4am to say Judd had had a heart attach and they were going to hospital. She asked if could I stay with girls. Judd died and all our hearts are broken.
Gingi asked me how we’ve prepared Grace for the birth. We’ve read a few “I’m a big Sister” books, talked about the baby in my belly and all that, but I’ve never really given her the whole baby-exiting-my-body lowdown. Gingi tells me to just let her know that Mommy will be making some noises that might be scary and then make some of those sounds for her so she knows what to expect. Also, we took a trip to Sonoma with Anaolga, Kyle, and Maya.
Brandon and Grace went to Idaho for a week, leaving me all alone (possibly for the last time in a very long time!)
Steven did a prenatal photoshoot
Nicole did henna on my belly today at bloom.
Jessie came with me to do a 3D ultra sound. I waited too long so we didn’t get to see much, just a very squished baby. I still think it’s cute though. I cannot believe I only have a month to go! Grace is getting excited and has started to play with her dolls a lot more.
I’ve created a care calendar of people who will be on call to take care of Grace when I go into labor. I just wish I KNEW when it would happen so I could make sure she’s ok. Jordan came to visit today. It was so fun seeing him. We discussed parenting and both of our wishes to have cousins for our kids.
I’m watching Rhye a lot these days to give Eleza a break. She is such a pleasure to be around. I hope my baby is as sweet and easy going as she is.
Happy birthday to me. We had dinner at kronner burger with Jessie, Kevin and Lez. It’s strange for Judd not to be here. I’m about to pop!
Salmon with capers and lemon and cheese potatoes and sauted greens for dinner. Brandon did the dishes too! Best gift I could ask for. Toys are all over the floor. There’s a pile of clothes at the foot of the bed. I am feeling really good and still attending “normal/non pregnant” yoga. I wonder when I’m going to deliver since Grace was 2 weeks early. Everyone says I look like I could pop.
New moon today. I predicted I’d have my baby today. Pretty soon we will be a family of 4!!!