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Birth Story, part 1 (or, in the Beginning…)

September 15, 2010

Since LM had a busy day and decided to put herself to bed at 7:45 tonight, I have some time to sit down and start writing out her birth story.  If I’m going to do it, I’ll do it right and start at the very beginning: Conception.

Just kidding.  I went off my birth control in May 2009, had one period in early July and then took the stick test in mid August.  It was 4:30 am because DH and I were racing that Sunday, and it is a bit of a drive to where the race starts.  I’m not sure what prompted me to pee on the stick right then and there, but I did.  Then I brought it into our bedroom and just handed it to DH, and we hugged for at least a minute.  We must have talked about during the 45 minutes drive to the race site, but I don’t remember what we said.  Our local photographer seems to have archived the event photos from that particular event (a solo time trial, but I did find the ones from my last event before LM was born, which was another two weeks later.

This is what I was up to, six weeks into my pregnancy. We did a mixed team (2 men/2 women) for the Team Time Trial, and that is DH up front and our old teammate Tacos Minetti at the rear, with yours truly demonstrating superior flexibility in the middle.  We hadn’t told anyone outside the family about the Lima Bean yet, and had only just met with our midwife once due to my pending work trip to Manhattan for the month of September 2009.  When we did tell people, teammates teased us about having had a five person team (rather than four…cyclist humor) for the TTT.

I didn’t automatically plan to do a home birth with a midwife.  In fact, I did what most women would do and tried to make an appointment with my regular OB/GYN, whose office is associated with the Birth Center (where I have since befriended the lovely ladies mentioned in the previous post) because that seemed like the best-of-both-worlds option: a natural birth friendly facility with a hospital across the parking lot.  Fate intervened though, in the form of a thoughtless troll at my OB/GYN office.

I had two weeks before I left for my September work trip, and since it was my first pregnancy, I really wanted to see a doctor or nurse practitioner before I left.  I had to go into the office anyway to talk to the billing department, so I tried to make an appointment  on my way out with this gum-smacking troglodyte of a receptionist

“I am pregnant and I’d like to see a doctor because I’m going out of town on September 1st, for four weeks.”

“We have an opening with Dr.____ on September 9th.” <smack> <chew> <pop>

“Um, that would be during those four weeks I’m not here.  Is there anything available before September 1st?”

<smack> “Would you be ok seeing a nurse rather than a doctor?”

“Yes, that would be fine, I just want to see someone before I leave.”

“The first available nurse appointment is on September 3rd.” <pop> <chew>

“September 1st. Is there any appointment with any of your care providers before then?  Because I am going out of town for four weeks and would like to see someone.  Any time.”

<smack>  <pop>  .  .  .  .  . “No.”


So I walked out without saying anything else.  The troll woman may have thought I was being rude, but I was just imagining an errant meteor dropping out of the sky and turning her into a crater in the middle of the desert.  I spent the afternoon thinking about my options, and about my sister’s (non-intervention) hospital birth and two subsequent home births, and researching midwives on the internet.  I’ve thought of that conversation with the troll a hundred times since that day, and wondered how my whole pregnancy and childbirth experience might have gone if that one individual had been more accommodating, or at least kind and reassuring that I would be fine not seeing a doctor until ten weeks along.  Instead, she was the last affirmation I needed that the health care system in this country is hopelessly f^@#ed (and no, a “reform” bill isn’t going to fix it; the problem has its genesis in the minds of the people and their accountability-shirking, pill-popping, money-grubbing mindset), if a Health Care Provider blatantly refuses to provide the care requested by a patient.

So I found my midwife to-be, Lisa, on the Interwebs (what would we do without them!?) and called her up.  She returned my voicemail within an hour, and I told her that I was pregnant, that I was going out of town on September 1st and could I meet with her for an interview before I left?  Without getting a photocopy of my insurance card, SSN, or even my last name, she spent 24 minutes on the phone with me answering questions I had, telling me about her practice, asking me about my expectations, etc.  24 minutes is longer than I’ve spent with any doctor in probably ten years.  We agreed to meet at a coffee shop for the interview, and I brought a list of questions and asked for references, yada yada yada, but I immediately felt that this was a woman I could see giving me the birth experience I wanted.  Hired!

(*A quick note about home birth: No, it is not for everyone, but I believe (and research has shown) it is a viable option for probably 75-80% of women, rather than the 1% who choose it in this country.  I will respect every woman’s right to choose where she births, and I expect others to respect my choice and not tell me that I am crazy, selfish or even brave.  I do advocate home birth, because I had such a fabulous experience, but please do not interpret that as either judgement or pressure.)

I can pretty much fast forward through the intervening seven months: I had all the standard prenatal checkups; at the second one, Lisa told me that my Lima Bean was now potato-sized, and Lima Bean became known as Spud for the whole rest of my pregnancy.  Lisa’s assistant quit/was fired and her husband Phred became her assistant.  I was leery of that news until I met him…what a wonderful bear of a man!  He was there at every prenatal checkup so we got to know him pretty well, and I actually felt more comfortable knowing that DH and I would be attended by another couple; (In my head) it would be more like a double date with rubber gloves and tea, rather than a birth!  No complications.  Stayed active.  Low-normal weight gain.  Had a baby shower arranged by a dear friend who made an amazing, organic product/cloth diaper cake to match the safari theme we’d picked for the nursery.

Best. Diaper Cake. Ever.

I did pop a small vessel at 38 weeks and had a little blood that scared me (I was at a Schlotzkey’s Deli with my father and brother. Awkward.) but nothing else.  Two days before Spud was born and became LM, there was a cycling event in town where they shut down a five mile loop of streets to vehicle traffic so DH and I dragged the cruiser bikes downtown and rode the loop. I was in that oh-my-god-I’m-never-having-this-baby phase, so I was aiming for every bump and pothole I could find, which had the side effect of me stopping at three porta-potties along the six mile ride (we doubled back on a portion of the loop).

In the last three weeks, I’d had frequent but sporadic Braxton-Hicks contractions.  The day before Spud arrived, I woke up at 5 am to legitimate labor contractions. Drumroll. . .

One Comment leave one →
  1. September 16, 2010 5:07 am

    I love that cake, the one I got wasn’t half as nice and was made from disposable diapers. The worst part is that they were so big (and stinky) that Audrey would just now be growing into them. We gave them away before she was even born, does that make me a bad person?

    We were lucky in that my FIL was so excited that we were using cloth that he bought us everything on our diaper registry. The box was so heavy that the UPS guy wouldn’t give it to me, but asked instead if it would be okay for him to just put it wherever I wanted it. Luckily, by this point we were practically on a first name basis so I felt okay letting him come in and set it next to the laundry room so I could pull everything out to prewash it…

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