Last Monday I met with midwife N for the third time. At just 21 weeks, I was confident about home birth with these three midwives. But N checked and told me that both February and March were full for home birth and my option was now just birth center. What?! Those other women must have decided at 9 weeks on home birth! What about waiting out the first trimester? What if the 20 week ultrasound reveals a complication? What about women like me, who want to meet all the midwives first?
Adding to my downward moving mood was my kids' behavior. No nap for Evan, he fought sleep in the car by picking on his sister. Abigail became a performance hound for the midwife, resulting in me kicking her out of the room so I could ask more questions about the disappointingly full home birth schedule. The car ride home was full of unsafe screaming at each other, which is a huge no-no. "Safe rider" is some thing we talk about a lot, and I pulled the car over after a warning... in rush hour traffic... to deliver Evan's consequence. Sigh.
That was Monday.
Tuesday continued with some of the same: nap fight, car bickering, etc. Luckily, Nick came home an hour early from class, and did front line offense while I called our insurance and other area midwives. The kids ate and went to bed an hour early. Our adult dinner discussion centered on the midwives conundrum. And off I went to a 1h meet and greet with a new to me midwife team. Then, 8-9pm I find books on home birth at our local library. Tuesday night, I just felt emotionally drained since the second team's fees weren't quite our financial ideal.
Wednesday's early rising tea mug was sipped while researching the third midwife team and registering for their meet and greet (it is Monday, tomorrow). Peace before the storm. The kids awoke to a back-to-back morning: lunch prep, 1h of playground play, snack, preschool for both kids. L. and I spent the preschool hours at the library with a friend who wanted an extra pair of eyes for her knitting pattern. Return home for an extra diaper since L. soaked through his and onto my pants, feed him lunch. Pick up my kids, drop L. with his dad, feed my kids half their lunch, then drive to pick up our CSA share. Feed the kids the rest of their lunch while chatting with "our farmer" about home schooling. Very interesting topic, chosen by this young, unmarried guy. Head back home hoping Evan snoozes in the car on this warm, sunny day. No luck; he's in full 2.5 year old nap fight mode 5 days counting, then around day 6 or 7 his body gives in mid-afternoon despite his iron will.
Play at home for 1h, then Nick is back and we head to the playground where we see good friends. The kids run happily and the adults recharge and encourage each other for 1h. This friend had taken my kids to the playground Monday for 1h with her son -- I would not have been emotionally prepared for the midwife's disappointing news had my friend not given me an hour off to leisurely shower and just be! What a blessing that unexpected Monday offer was. Post-playground we ate an early 5:30pm dinner, kids in bed by 6:30pm, and Nick heads to a meeting from 7-9:30pm. Abigail and Evan were that tired, and I was that tired! I finish sewing a new baby sleep sack that I'd pieced, because I needed some time to internally focus on this baby -- not just the circumstances surrounding his/her birth.
Friday Evan did nap! He squirmed around during post-lunch stories until I held him on my lap. The final burst of energy. Then his eyelids looked heavy and I gently rocked while reading. And I carried him snoozing to his bed. Toddlers: not into snuggling so much, so this was sweet time to just hold him before setting him on his bed. Abigail and I made Pan de muertos, and she colored her Dia de los muertos picture frame for great-grandma during the little one's naps. Because Evan napped, we felt bold enough to have a later dinner out at Mi Ranchito, giving the kids their first tamale and mole de pollo tastes.
Every moment I can snatch this week, I'm reading The Essential Homebirth Guide and the other refresher books from the library. Every night as we catch up with each other and drift off to sleep, Nick and I are talking about some aspect of home birth. I need to envision what that will be like, to keep from getting too frustrated while searching for a different midwife.
Who do we want to be on the birth team? Who can care for our children in or out of the house, and be comfortable being present with them and me as I deliver? What atmosphere? Which foods? Oddly despite our egg-free house, I have a feeling I'll want scrambled eggs and a fruit smoothie to be my first post-delivery meal before that well-earned nap.
Nick is very supportive and helps me refocus on finding a midwife whose demeanor I like; he's up for home birth or birth center birth at any cost. I just keep reminding myself that our previous in-network midwife birth, plus 30h stay, plus doula was about $1000 total for my care and Evan's pediatrician checks in-hospital were about $250 in-network, so $2800 out of network for prenatal, delivery, post-partum, and the first 3 weeks newborn care isn't much of a stretch, and is still a more cost-effective return on our investment than a labor with epidural/IV/drugs or a C-section. Midwives are Priceless. I'm not worried about an emergency transfer since the midwife is screening each week to make sure I remain low-risk. I cannot put a price on how much a midwife educates me about my nutrition and exercise -- the biggest factors in lowering possible risks, including GBS and my stamina in labor. I cannot put a price on letting my body go through all hormonal and muscular changes on its own, as it's ready, or on having a baby born when he/she is ready to greet the world. It's what God designed our bodies to do, this symbiotic mother-baby dance as we both let go. And I want all the benefits of a natural, vaginal birth at home for me and for her/him.
I'm ready for this crazy week to be over, and to decide on a midwife team now since we've met so many! I hope this was encouraging to you, if you are dissatisfied with your care provider or some aspect of health care. I wish I had been bold enough to change providers for my first pregnancy, and hope you feel empowered to self-educate and self-assemble your birth team.