I had started this post before our little Ann Julia arrived two days later. She was a week overdue and I had cockily not written down my appointment time for the next prenatal appointment. So after confirming the time, I took a deep heartburned breath and headed to my midwife’s house.
As the saying goes, If you want to make God laugh, tell him your plans. Well, my plans are to not have another pregnancy. So I’ll probably end up pregnant within a few months. That’s not to say I don’t want more children. In fact, the complete opposite. I want at least two more! But I never thought I’d have biological children at all. And, to be honest, I never had that overwhelming “I need to be pregnant” feeling I know some mothers-to-be feel. Before I even started dating boys, I knew I wanted to adopt. And since having my own children, the feeling that was laid on my young heart has grown even more. I talk about it nonstop in between kissing my sweet girls. But more on that later.
Because now I just wanted to document at least one of my appointments in the chance it never happens again. …and because I thought maybe some of you might want to know what it’s like to go to a midwife.
We basically stand around a cauldron, stirring a mystery broth while saying “Double Double Toil and Trouble” for an hour and then I leave.
It’s an actual appointment where medical information is documented. Let’s begin.
I knock on the door and am immediately hugged by my midwife, Lucy, and her apprentice, Dana. I’ve never seen them in a bad mood.
They let me be moody (which, believe it or not, I never really felt moody around them. Probably because Ryan was usually watching Ruthie and the thirty minute drive to and from Lucy’s house felt like the longest, most glorious minutes to myself ever.) With my previous midwife, I felt like I had to tiptoe around her and her moods dominated the room. But Lucy and Dana never let on if they’re grumpy and let me be me. They let me talk about my fears, they let me make fun of myself, and they let me be tired and quiet.
But before I start blubbering to them like I’m on a psychiatrist’s couch, I have to go pee and weigh myself.
Dana checks to make sure the sample looks good. Most times it did.
And then I head to the scale.
The one thing I remember my previous midwife saying was that in France the average weight gain was 50 pounds.
Yep, I’m still French.
Then I plop myself back on the couch to talk about how I’m psyching myself out mentally.
Ruthie’s labor and delivery was 12 hours long and I spent the majority of that by myself. Ryan was in the house, but too busy filling up the birthing pool and probably too busy not wanting to have a complete freak out session. So I labored until the midwife and Dana (who was at the time apprenticing under her) arrived. At that point I was transition and really feeling it. And I wanted to be touched. Not talked to, just touched.
I remember crawling across the pool and laying my head in Dana’s lap. I remember her saying, Awwww and rubbing my head. But apart from that, I can’t remember a lot of hands on me before Ruth was born.
Being alone and not being touched.
And dwelling on that scared me to the point where I was convinced I’d not be able to do a natural delivery again. Or maybe I was convinced I just wouldn’t want to do a natural delivery.
Several times they assured me that they would come at any moment I needed them. (Another side note, my previous midwife made a rather long pit stop that may or may not have involved eating breakfast with a previous client-mama before arriving to my house. This was always in the back of my mind leading up to Annie’s arrival. I’d become cynical and scared.) So even though they told me this, I was still slightly skeptical and fully scared of being alone. They also said that I hadn’t benefitted from being massaged or other pain-reducing tactics with Ruth’s delivery.
So I filed away their responses and hoped for the best. (Spoiler: They were true to their word. But more on that in my next post.)
After I whined a bit more, we went to the back room to listen to the heartbeat and feel my belly. It’s nice to lay on a daybed with lots of pillows. I asked several times if I could take a nap. They said no.
Playing with fake rubber babies. You’re welcome for that visual.
Lucy feels around my belly to check the baby’s position. At this point, the head was super low.
And then they measure my belly. The number of centimeters normally correlates to the number of weeks you are. I was averaging about a week behind, but at this appointment, I was measuring a 38 I believe, which indicated that the baby had dropped.
Then we listened to the heartbeat. It was pretty much consistently in the 150s range. Lucy would say, That’s sounds so girlish!
Afterwards she checked me to see how far along I was. This was the first time I asked her to check me because I didn’t want to get my hopes up. We can walk around for weeks at a 3 and never go into labor and I had a feeling that was the case. But edging on 41 weeks made me curious. I was at a 3, 70% effaced, and the baby’s head was at zero station. She swiped my membranes (which sounds gross, but is just running her fingers between the sac and the cervix in the hopes of stimulating the cervix to start labor).
When we went back to the living room, I asked what zero station meant and Lucy demonstrated it for me.
It means that the baby’s head is even with my pelvis. (-5 station means the baby is still floating around in my belly and +5 means the baby is crowning). It was encouraging to hear that, but made me wonder what the heck was taking the baby so long!
The next day Dana came to my house to swipe my membranes again (sorry!). Who knows if it was because of those back-to-back swipes or if it was because of the thunderstorms, but that night was little Annie’s debut into this world.
I can’t wait to share it with you. She is such a delight you guys. I’m smitten.