I always had known that I wanted to be a mother but never once did I think that I would have my babies anywhere but at home. I couldn't envision a hospital setting being as warm and comforting as my own four walls. So, determined and armed with the knowledge that it was safe, healthy and possible I took to the internet to look for a midwife that could help me accomplish my life long dream. Almost immediately Local Care Midwifery, LLC popped up in my search and I delved into the site, knowing intuitively that these were the hands that would catch my children. A pre-conception meeting with Michelle only solidified my instincts and we soon learned that we were expecting our first child.
With such a joyful and easy pregnancy, our son's birth started slowly. At forty one weeks I was scared that my time was limited and an induction was looming but after our last weekly appointment with Michelle and a spicy meal helping to kick start labor, my focus was renewed. She told me to eat and rest up so that when the time came, I would be ready and have the energy it would take to bring our son into the world. Unsure of what labor would be like I did just that and awoke deep in the darkness of a November night thinking, "This is it." After a quick phone call, Michelle was on her way as I paced our living room and my husband blissfully slept on. My thoughts were confirmed when she arrived but as is life, my contractions slowed as daylight approached. Our son would arrive exactly when he would see fit.
We spent the day walking the neighborhood, sharing stories and laughter, eating and resting as much as possible between the slowly gathering quickenings. Night approached again and with each hour into darkness the deeper into labor I went. Eventually close to midnight of our second night together, my water broke and my rushes came furiously close. At one point I was stuck in the bathroom, terrified that of course I would be the one to labor and birth on the toilet. Leave it to me. But somehow with only seeming seconds between rushes, I managed to make it back to the comforting waters of our birth pool and that is where I stayed for the remaining hour.
I was absolutely terrified, wracked by sensations I had never experienced and the worry that so many women have; I would be unable to birth my child. Admittedly I was hollering and using every curse word in my generous rapport less out pain and more out of fear. But in the haze of my fear, Michelle found me and brought me back down to earth with affirmations that not only could I battle this hurdle but that I was doing so with beauty, with a natural ease. It was then that I realized I did have the strength and grit to live up to my own hopes and expectations. All of my external racket turned inward and I used that breath, that boundless energy and allowed it to swell deep and out with each push. Quietly my son slipped into Michelle's hands, in the early morning on a brisk November day. The moment she laid him on my chest, he sweetly and simply picked his head up to look at the great wide world and the few grateful people there to meet him.
Three and a half years later, after a much more trying pregnancy our daughter was ready to make her grand entrance. We again had made it to forty one weeks only this time life had seemed to go in rushing hiccups; I alternately couldn't believe how quickly it went or how time had apparently seemed to stop altogether. I was more assured in the lack of control I had this time around, that our daughter would arrive exactly when it was time and that I would know labor was on its way. Our son held the doppler one last time between lazy contractions, a beautifully bittersweet moment of his dwindling time as an only child. Michelle and I hugged goodbye with the promise of seeing each other very soon. Little did I know how soon that would be.
I decided to take the long ride home, trying to hit every bump and hill between the farm and our home. I quietly timed each contraction as the March rain fell on the roads and realized that not only was the time between them quickly shortening but that the contractions themselves were lasting longer. When I finally reached home I walked into the front door and promptly told my husband to call the troops, this little lady was going to make her grand debut soon. Within the hour not only did my mother and father in-law arrive unexpectedly but Michelle and Sarah arrived. Our cozy home was filled with light and laughter on this grey spring day. I spent the following hours walking with a friend through the rainy neighborhood, eating, resting and creating such a warm atmosphere that I had dreamed of. This clutch of women were here to be with and support me, to allow my strength to gather and focus on the arduous task ahead of me.
That was the last night I was able to put our son to sleep as an only child, but as he happily slept the night away I labored all around him. Contractions easily and quickly picked up as night descended, so with confidence I didn't fight them but worked with determination to bring them to fruition. I squatted and roared in our bathroom, using the sink to hold myself up. In the moments between Michelle stood behind me, pressing my aching hips together, reminding me how strong and capable I was. There seemed to be no time between those rushes and finding myself in bed, using each breath to create a deep gutteral sound that I had only made once before. I actually found myself falling asleep in those few seconds between contractions, the island of peace in the raging storm. Labor progressed much faster this time around and with a rushing wail, our daughter was born. For all the peaceful quiet that was her brother's birth she quickly made her statement, "Here I am, World, hear me roar." As she happily latched and we collectively caught our breath, it seemed that she was determined to counter her dramatic entrance with laughter. We soon discovered that my lap was full of meconium; it is a moment that I'll never forget and will likely never let her forget either.
As the sun quietly started to greet the day, Michelle and Sarah parted with hugs and the promise to check in on us soon. The brief, quiet few hours in bed with just the three of us was joyfully broken when her brother finally woke up to discover a tiny, cheerful new person nestled between us.