(Just so you know– this post has ended up just being about my pregnancy and deciding where to give birth to my 6th and last baby. I’ll have to write another one about the actual birth part.)
This birth story has been hard for me to write. How do you put something so emotional and all encompassing into words? It was both the culmination of the “growing babies and giving birth” phase of my life and the beginning of the life of one very unique (still) little person.
When Hunter was born and we came home that morning from the birth center I knew that he wasn’t the last. It wouldn’t be the last time I heard those tiny, squirmy, squeaky noises nestled next to me in my bed. It wouldn’t be the last time I lived in that miraculous and holy halo of discovery that a new spirit and fresh body bring with them to a family.
But the adjustment to 5 kids was hard. All changes are, but I worried I couldn’t handle another baby. I knew there was another one though. A girl I thought… I hoped.
And then I was pregnant and not only had another little person to anticipate and dream about, but an impending birth to plan. After having Hunter in a birth center I did not want to go back to the hospital. I would have gone back to the birth center in a heart beat, but there is a totally arbitrary Colorado law that says a birth center can’t deliver past a 5th baby. My options were either to just take the caregivers my insurance assigned, or pay out of pocket for a home birth. For several months I felt like I kept having to make that decision, repeatedly falling back on the insurance assigned hospital, feeling torn about it, and praying some more. Finally I realized that I needed more information about the home birth midwives that would be available to me to really feel at peace with any decision we came to. I called half a dozen midwives, set up appointments, and Barry and I (with several kids in tow as well) drove all over town meeting and interviewing them. We left the first of those meetings with a confident assurance that a home birth was what we needed. That confidence grew with each midwife we met. As a culmination to my childbearing I needed the friendship and care of a midwife. I needed to follow my heart. I needed this last of my births to be the peaceful, sacred, comfortable, natural event I knew it should be. The money would work itself out. We needed to live so there would be no regrets.
I’m used to making decisions that kind of go against the grain of the mainstream, but that can cause a lot of well meaning people get worried. I am not a confrontational, in your face, take it or leave it kind of person– I just like to feel like I’m living with integrity, like my heart is at peace, like my actions coincide with my beliefs about how I should live and what I should do. I can’t keep myself from worrying about what other people think, but I guess I worry more about what I think and what God thinks. That’s why I homeschool. That’s why I had a home birth. What I do is not the right thing for everyone, I know. I just have to make decisions that leave me with an internal sense of peace. Once we decided Eva would be born at home and chose a midwife I felt settled.
My pregnancy was a good one. I was tired and swollen, of course. I often reveled in the thought that “I never have to do this again!” I felt thankful for my body that has so reliably grown all my babies. I felt sad for dear friends and sister in-laws that struggle with difficult pregnancies, or no pregnancies at all.
On Saturday mornings I went to prenatal yoga classes at real yoga studios. Oh I loved that! Often during those classes I felt a call to teach prenatal yoga myself, to share my experience of birth and breathing and parenthood with women on the cusp of the most monumental changes in their lives. I filed those thoughts away, wondering when I would have the time to revisit them.
As my due date approached I started freaking out. I don’t know how else to put it. My mother in-law and sister in-law were scheduled to arrive August 24th. My due date was on the 17th. 4 of my 5 previous births happened 5 or more days before my due date and so I was confident that I’d have at least a week with my own mom before Barry’s family came. I wasn’t having much happen though. No nights of 4 hours of continuous mild contractions only to peter out in the morning like I had for nearly a month before Logan, Ian, and Hunter were born. I had near emotional breakdowns every other day or so and was filled with so much anxiety that I would have a house full of visitors that didn’t know I was having a home birth in my home when I went into labor. Finally I just asked my mom to come the weekend before my due date whether I had a baby yet or not. Surely she would be born while my mom was here– right? And it would be so nice to have here experience the birth with me, since she had never had the chance to see any of the others.
She came, we kept busy, and my due date came and went.