Yesterday: why we chose to plan a home birth.
My midwife, Midwife S, took me on despite the fact that she had been planning vacation time for herself. She was out of town for two weekends right around my due date, but had a back up midwife and general practitioner lined up.
I went into labor on a Monday while Midwife S was out of town. By 9 am, Midwife M, who was Midwife S's assistant, was at our house, along with Midwife #3 (to assist), Dr. W (a general practitioner, required by Illinois state law if the attending midwife is not a certified nurse), and Dr. #2 (a young general practitioner who wanted to attend home deliveries) were at our house. In case you're having a hard time with the parentheses, that's two midwives and two general practitioners at our house, all for me and Pumpkin.
That morning, Peanut and his grandma went to music class. Someone cooked eggs for the group. The doctors read through our stack of New York Times newspapers. Midwife S, started driving back from her weekend away. Midwife #3 left. Dr. W left. Midwife S arrived with daughter in tow. Peanut and grandma got home, and it was two midwives, a general practitioner, and one nice young lady that stayed until the birth.
I remember a few special moments of the birth particularly clearly – like Peanut holding my hand through a contraction, and then going back to the living room to play. I remember a husband watching, waiting, holding, encouraging. She arrived at six in the evening, just as the sun was going down. Moments later, Peanut walked in the room and said, “That's the baby from inside your belly,” and fell in love with his little sister. We all did.
Pumpkin's birth at home was a wonderful experience. It's hard to articulate what made it so special. Those moments with Peanut probably sum it up. The birth of a child is a moment when the mundane meets the sublime. The physicality is overwhelming and the magic of a life is incomprehensible. And it happens every day in every place – including our apartment in Chicago one day last March.
Tomorrow: pregnancy and birth in the USA vs. in the Netherlands.