After writing so much about birth, I guess it is time that I write about the birth I am now asked about the most, my own. There is a small handful of women who become midwives before giving birth, and I was one of them. So, naturally the immediate question from everyone was “Sooo, how do you feel about birth now?” The short answer, I feel that I have been truthful. I have spent years telling women that it is hard (no matter how you give birth), but that it is amazing, and that they can absolutely do it!
So as we near my little one's first birthday, I will give you the story of my pregnancy and birth:
I had experienced a miscarriage four years before, after recovery took longer than expected, my husband and I decided that we would wait until I went through midwifery school to try again. During those years I happily walked with so many others through their births while awaiting my turn. I really didn’t mind the waiting, school was easier without children as I was able to fully commit myself and did not have to experience the awful “mom guilt” for being gone so much. The rare occasions it did bother me, was when I wasn’t trusted by certain clients during my internship, simply because I had not had a child yet, all I have to say about that is “Would you trust a male OB? Yes? Do you realize that they have never given birth either? Okay point made.”
Over the years helping others, I couldn’t help but envision and plan my next pregnancy. I knew that I really wanted a baby born in the month of May. This had become my obsession since the age of 16. I had a December birthday that was often overlooked, as a matter of fact it was so overlooked, that my family couldn’t even agree what day it was on. Additionally, I came from a large family, so there were birthdays every single month, except for a few, and one of those was May, so I had decided that I wanted a May baby.
Now as a midwife I try my best to help parents not become “set” on such expectations, because with pregnancy and birth, setting exact expectations, often leads to disappointments. But those who give advice, are often the worst at following it, so I had to take it a step farther. I decided to plan a “trip to conceive” and narrowed it down to one week in which I could get pregnant… two years in advance! If that wasn’t dumb enough, I made sure to pack the week full of endless flights and hiking mountains (because surely Floridians wouldn’t have to deal with altitude sickness), does anyone else see where this is going?
The long-awaited trip arrived at last! We spent a week on what felt like non-stop flights, dealt with altitude sickness, “slept” under the stars, in sub-freezing temperatures, in a tent, while sick, no we did not huddle together for warmth, our warm blooded bodies nearly froze to death while shivering in our iced over tent while we wore 10,000 layers (honestly I would have loved one more layer at the time, called a house!). We hiked, skied, played in snow, etc. (insert a bunch of magical romantic sounding stuff that was truly awesome, but also stressful and exhausting with many bumps along the way, that left very little chance of actually conceiving a bump).
We were so happy to return to our beautiful Florida weather, and by beautiful, I mean we returned just days before a huge hurricane was about to impact us, and days later, as we huddle together underneath our stairs waiting for it to pass, I cried. The pregnancy tests were all coming back negative. The whole trip, all of my hopes for a May baby, four years of waiting while taking care of everyone else, and I missed my chance. I didn’t care about the storm raging outside our windows, as a matter of fact it represented how I was feeling inside, angry. Angry for getting my hopes up, angry for doing exactly what I advise others not to do, set themselves up for disappointments.
The hurricane passed, and we were relieved to have had very minimal damage to our newly built home. I felt better after my cry the night before, and decided that I was going to hold my head high and have a positive outlook on the day. As a matter of fact, it was almost too positive. I cleaned and cooked so much my husband thought that the sudden change in emotions must have meant that I had finally had a positive test and was just waiting to give him the news, so the lack of news for the entire day confused him, but I assured him I was truly at peace with not being pregnant. That was until I decided to take one more test.
A past client had donated one “fancy” type test to the birth center I was at. She said she couldn’t remember if it was a pregnancy test, or an ovulation test, and it wasn’t labeled, so the midwife gave it to me in the months prior, which is why I hadn’t used it, but thought “Hey, I guess I’ll at least find out what kind of test it is”. Turns out, to my absolute surprise, that it was a pregnancy test, and it was positive!
Only ten months of pregnancy ahead....
I initially started this blog while working overseas to keep my supporters updated, then I did it a time as a required assignment during my midwifery school, but now I write but because I want to. So now I share my current journeys, in hopes that others can learn from them, or at the least have a good laugh.