May
11
2011

  Just Like Adopting

I was expecting the midwives to arrive for their home visit at 10am, yet the driveway alarm went off at 9:25am. I had yet to shower, and was still sitting at the breakfast table finishing my coffee. T raced upstairs to make the bed and put some clothes on himself.

I met them on the porch in my robe and asked about the time. One said the calendar showed a 9am appt and she thought they were late, the other said she had 9:30 on the calendar. They've been having problems with their scheduling system for weeks now. But by the time they had their equipment in from the car T was back downstairs, and they met with him while I took a quick shower.

Unexpected home visits are something I associate with adopting. When T and I were considering that option, it was one of the things I thought I would not really care for. There seems to be quite a lot of vetting that goes on before a couple is deemed fit to adopt a baby, and while I figured T and I would meet all qualifications, it's still a bit unnerving to be judged by strangers as an adult, with one of your dreams hanging in the balance. Just having your own baby is so much easier.

But the midwives, while earlier than expected, were not armed with a checklist of qualifications for us. Mostly this visit was about discussing what will happen when I go into labor.

I'm glad that they reminded me that even a 2nd labor can go extremely quickly. Like only an hour from start to finish. I thought that sort of thing was only for after you already had several kids. They said it's not necessarily common in 2nd pregnancies, but it definitely happens sometimes, and there really is no way of knowing who is going to have a fast birth, they've found no correlation with anything that happened in prior births or during the pregnancy to use to predict this. So while I needn't expect a super-fast birth (they had a special word for this, precipitous or something like that), I should be aware that it could happen.

This time, I need to call them as soon as I feel anything. . .unusual. It needn't even feel like I remember labor-- they said many women have an entirely different experience in subsequent pregnancies. But I will probably at some point feel intuitively that something out-of-the-ordinary is going on within my body, and that is when I should call them. They will ask questions and will most likely be better able to figure out what's going on than I will.

They told me to expect that each stage of labor may feel similar to last time, but that I will probably pass from one stage to the next more quickly. And that it might seem to me that I haven't spent much time in active labor and transition, yet all of a sudden my baby is in the birth canal and it's time to push. And T got instructions on how to catch the baby should it arrive before they get here, and I got some tips on what position might make it easiest on me to birth safely if I find the baby's head crowning before I know what hit me.

T is very squeamish about that sort of thing, but the midwives stressed that in super-fast deliveries, they are generally quite safe since the baby doesn't have time to be distressed during labor, it just pops out and is as shocked about the situation as we will be. And that T won't have time to fret or worry if he's "doing it right" all the dads they've debriefed after this happens have reported not thinking too much and just acting on instinct. Just catch the baby, keep it from hitting the floor on its way out. Don't worry about the whoosh of liquids that will come out at the same time, it's normal.

After they left, T helped me put together the box of supplies to keep next to the bed. Towels, compresses, flashlight, etc. The box of more specific birth supplies should arrive Friday (I ordered it last Friday, hoping it would be here by now, but it's still early so Friday should be fine).

Like there is no correlation between length of time in labor from one pregnancy to the next (except that subsequent pregnancies are in general shorter than 1st pregnancies), there is also no correlation between time of arrival based on due date. They've got one woman in their practice on her 6th child, and has given birth anywhere from 37 weeks to 41 weeks, each child had a different gestation.

So my window is now open. I'm at 37 weeks, which is the point where the midwives feel fine supporting home births (prior to 37 weeks, you must go to the hospital). So I just have to figure I'll have this baby sometime between today and June 14th. If I haven't gone into labor by 6/14, then I think we're back to the hospital situation since once babies are too long in the womb things can get all wonky in there. But if I haven't dropped the baby by the due date, I'm definitely going to make a quick trip to Cappellino’s Crazy Cakes for their labor-inducing cupcake. I think the number is now up to something like 27 women who have gone into labor within 24 hours of eating their lemondrop cupcake. Seriously, this place has made the national news. So no need to worry about going too late, Charlottesville has the solution.