In many ways this third pregnancy feels like a first pregnancy. Visiting a midwife as opposed to a doctor is such a new, thrilling experience that it makes everything feel like the first time.
I am beyond in love with our midwife. Serena is a Certified Professional Midwife credentialed by the North American Registry of Midwives. She comes highly recommended by dozens of women whose children she has delivered. Serena is smart, funny, compassionate and very experienced. She has a beautiful birth cottage/office situated right on the river of a town just over the mountain from us. Serena has attended hundreds of births as primary midwife, averaging about 60 a year, but tries to keep the number down to about 4 a month. Basically, if the zombies ever take over the planet I hope my midwife is in my group of survivors because girl has got it going on.
As I’m just about 12 weeks along yesterday was the big day where we would hear the heartbeat for the very first time. One of the great things about our midwife and midwives in general is they tend to make birth a family affair. The birthing cottage is filled with children’s toys and Serena made sure we know that our children our welcome at each and every visit.
The other thing that strikes me during each check-up with Serena is how relaxed and unhurried she is throughout the appointment. At no point do I feel like she is rushed to visit another patient. She welcomes us and we sit in the living area which is open and airy and contains a library of books and videos that anyone is welcome to borrow. Serena sits in a chair across from us and we just talk. How I’m feeling physically and emotionally (we talk about Serge’s feelings too!) what I’m eating, any concerns we have. It’s almost like talking to a therapist and a doctor and my mother all rolled into one.
Yesterday, after chatting for 45 minutes or so about pregnancy and the sometimes strange reactions of people who hear you’re using a midwife instead of a doctor, we headed to the back area where I peed in a cup and Violet and Henry helped me stick the testing strip into the urine so we could watch to see if it changes colors.
All clear on the urinalysis front. Henry said so.
Then Violet and Henry helped Serena check my blood pressure, which was fine, and then it was time to hear the heartbeat. Any pregnant woman knows that awful feeling of anticipation when you’re waiting for the doppler to pick up that tiny heartbeat. Serge snapped a photo of me just before we heard the little beats that confirmed the life of our little one and although I can see that my brows are slightly stitched with worry, the expression on my face belies the fear bubbling throughout my body as I waited to hear those precious, life confirming beats.
But there it was and I felt muscles I didn’t know I was clenching relax. This new life became a whole lot more real to me. Violet and Henry smiled and clapped and declared they could hear the baby growling and I did nothing to disabuse them of that notion.
Afterward I commented to Serge how much I enjoy these midwife appointments, how relaxed and informative and happy they are. I never felt that way in a doctor’s office. I always felt rushed, sweaty and stressed. And I loved the doctor who delivered Henry. I would highly recommend him to anyone. It’s just a completely different vibe. I find myself anticipating this labor and delivery with excitement. No expectations, I’m just anxious to see how it all goes down, fascinated to see what I am capable of, what my body is capable of, what childbirth is really all about.
Here are a couple photos from our appointment yesterday. And please, if you have any questions about midwifery or home birth, feel free to ask! Take this journey with me, if you like. We can learn about it together.
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Belly Business 2 of 7
We're discussing that the baby, which is about two inches long, is almost right beneath my pubic bone. I didn't realize it was that low. It will move higher the bigger it gets, obviously. I love that the entire family gathers around me as we talk about what's happening down below.
Hank Supervises 3 of 7
It is so fantastic not to have to wait in an empty room sweating through a piece of crinkly paper that covers the examination table while the doctor deals with other patients. Instead, after a leisurely conversation we all walked to the examination room together. The light, airy room overlooks the woods and a river that winds through them. The bed is covered in crisp, clean cotton sheets and fluffy pillows. The kids are always invited to take part in the action and Serena takes the time to explain what's happening to them.
Waiting Game 4 of 7
This is where I am freaking out on the inside while she searches for the heartbeat. It only took about two minutes but it felt like two decades.
The Baby Is Growling 5 of 7
The doppler made a scritching noise when dragged across the belly at a high speed so the kids said it was the baby growling. I might have one of them zombie babies. Or maybe a dragon!
Blood Pressure Check 6 of 7
Hank takes matters into his own hands.
Looks Good, Mama! 7 of 7
It was fun at the birthing cottage but now they demand to check my blood pressure every half hour or so throughout the day with their own 'midwife tools.'
Read more from Monica on Babble:
- Good Old Lady and Bad Old Lady: Top 20 Best & Worst Old Lady Names
- Stunning Breastfeeding Battle Between Mom & Rec Center Employee Caught On Tape
- I’m Not A Melon! 15 Tips to Keep Hands Off Your Pregnant Belly
- That Was Fast: Why I Feel Cheated By My Pregnant Wife
- Why I’m Choosing Homebirth After Two Easy Hospital Births