Later this week, I have another appointment with my midwife. The due date is a mere six weeks away. I forgot to mention in my list of to-dos this month: unpack the baby stuff. That would probably be helpful, huh? Do I wash it all in Dreft, too? One mom told me she just uses the second rinse cycle instead of bothering with Dreft. I’ve used Dreft with all the baby’s things until it’s used up and then switched to the double rinse. Such big decisions…so much extra work…
My midwife, Suzanne (I may as well name her, since she’ll be a big part of my life in the next six weeks), is interested in my birth plan. I’ve never really had a provider care about my birth plan. If we wanted to set a mood, that was up to us. All other ideas, like pain medication or breaking my water, were on the spot decisions …or orders (“I’m going to break your water now…whether you like it or not…”).
Since I haven’t yet settled in my mind the home birth or hospital birth question (I have six weeks, right?), I’ve come up with two plans. They are pretty similar.
Hospital birth plan: I wake up well rested on a Saturday morning (has to be a Saturday). I feel some regular, dull achiness about my midsection, but I’m able to rotate the laundry, eat a nice breakfast, feed my children, and take a shower. At a reasonable hour, say, 8 am, I use the toilet and my water breaks, conveniently, at that time (who wants to be mopping while in labor, right?). This gives me a clear indication that the baby will be coming soon. I call the midwife who says she’ll be right over. I call a few neighbors who gladly take the children. I begin to notice stronger contractions, but they are not too uncomfortable, and they are definitely not in my back. Suzanne shows up, checks me, and lo and behold, I am fully effaced and at 5 cm! We head to the hospital (it takes us about 40 minutes), and my contractions continue to be manageable, but I notice they seem to be only 3 or 4 minutes apart. Once at the hospital, they seem a bit stronger, but I’m still walking around and smiling. Imagine my surprise when Suzanne checks me again, and I’m at 8! The next half hour is a blur, and those contractions become pretty uncomfortable, but then I feel the need to push, and out comes a beautiful new life. Bill is home in time to put Petey down for his 1 pm nap.
Home birth plan: After several hours of good solid sleep, I wake up around 1 am. While going to the bathroom, my water breaks, and I decide I better call the midwife right away. As I’m doing this, I notice some strong, but not too bad, contractions happening every few minutes. Suzanne says she’ll be right over. I decide to wake Bill, and pull the comforter off the bed (and fold it neatly off to the side). When Suzanne shows up, she checks me and, holy cow, I’m at 7 or 8 cm! The next half hour is a blur, and those contractions become pretty uncomfortable, but then I feel the need to push, and out comes a beautiful new life. It’s about 2 am. I didn’t scream, and my moans do not wake any children. The dog remains calm despite the middle of the night interruption. By 3 am, the house is clean, I’ve showered, the paperwork is done, Suzanne leaves, and Bill and I and the new baby settle down to sleep.
Alright, so I’m an optimist.
As you might imagine, I’ve never had a birth story like one of those. I generally have a good day or two warning that labor is coming: I’ve had prodromal labor each and every time. I’ve had back labor each and every time. With my two non-epidurals, I screamed, quite loudly.
And may I just say right here that there is perhaps nothing more irritating than having someone criticize your screaming while you are in active labor? The very idea that there is a wrong way to scream makes my blood boil.
But I can dream, right? I can imagine and plan for a calm, perfect birth. I can pray to St. Gerard that I don’t have back labor, and that I learn just how manageable contractions can be when one can actually relax between them. I can hope that I’m not totally exhausted from days of prodromal labor that I have no strength left for the real thing. And I can expect that I won’t have to bother neighbors in the middle of the night to be with my kids, and that schedules and routines won’t be thrown off track from Day 1?
I suppose I’ll just have to make sure that I know where the matches are for that “Clean Linen” scented candle and make sure that my favorite classical music CDs are all in one spot. I guess I’ll put together my list of neighbors who are willing to come over in the middle of the night, or who can handle my brood while still getting their own off to school. And I’ll have Bill practice his back compression techniques, just in case.
“Ask, and you shall receive,” says the Lord. Okaaaay…I’m trying to be really specific to avoid any confusion. But Lord, I will accept any alterations to that plan that you deem necessary. If I wake up at 2 am, instead of 1 am, that’s fine by me.