Twinges

Four months old is a very magical age for babies. They start showing a lot of personality and playfulness, which is, quite frankly, so fun. Plus things are (starting) to get a bit easier (for some moms/babies). You begin to maybe, kind of sort of have a little bit of a routine going, you might even be feeling like you’ve had a night or two of something that resembles sleep lately. You feel like breastfeeding is almost easy now, and you’re looking forward to starting solids in a couple of months. Which means your baby is practically grown up, right?

(Trust me, two years later when you’re wondering if your toddler will EVER learn to use the potty, you’ll know you were wrong.)

So here’s the thing. My very lovely midwife took a much needed vacation and got the month of December off. She is one seriously incredible woman and after spending lots of time with her over the past three years, I’ve grown to love her and her work immensely.

But now vacation is over. And all of the sudden my Facebook feed is being flooded with delightful pictures and baby announcements and oh-my-holy-crap what is this I’m feeling?? It can only be described as Twinges.

We are very VERY much done having babies. It is known. But that also means my time with Rhoda is really and truly done, unless sometime in the future I get into some form of birth work. (Not at all beyond possibility, just definitely not a ‘right now’ thing.)

So I get these Twinges. Sadness? Jealousy? Longing? Joy? Reminiscing? Probably all of these things. I can see why people get a little crazy and start thinking, “maybe just one more.”

But, no. Twinges they may be, but they are just little sweet pieces of my memories flooding in with fondness. They cannot override the part of me that says OH HELL NO when I remember that my mental mantra through Oliver’s birth was Never Again. Beautiful, yes?

And as my husband said, if all else fails, “You may just have to un-friend her for a while.”

Oliver’s Story

Labor Day weekend is filled with bad jokes about pregnant women. The joke was on them though when I woke up Sunday morning and my water broke. But let me back up a couple of steps.

Saturday was rough. We had one real thing to do and that was go to the grocery store. Our fridge was basically empty and I was supposed to make beef stew that evening, so we needed some carrots and potatoes. But I dread the store. The stares, the comments, and worst of all, random people touching me. I get it, I’m huge. But leave me alone.
As we walked through the store, I remember sending my sister some texts about how awful the whole thing was, but at least when we were done, I’d be ready to go into labor. (Ha!) After that we came home and I relaxed for far too long, got dinner in the crock pot far too late, and eventually we scavenged up something for dinner while the stew went in the fridge for “later.” We settled in for the night and all was well.
Sunday morning Nora came into our room and woke us up, and Brandon took her downstairs to play while I dozed for a bit longer. Later when they were getting ready to make the usual pancakes and eggs, they came back up to wake me. As I finally rolled out of bed around 8:30, I felt that trickle of a high rupture and my water breaking.
I texted my midwife and doula to let them know, and then my mom to come over as soon as she could. But we kept doing our normal thing, making breakfast as a family. I had a few contractions, but they were far enough apart, I brushed them off as “random and unorganized.” When we finally sat down to eat, I took the opportunity to start timing them, and of course they weren’t random at all. So we ate, planned to get our dog to the kennel, and started getting ready for a big day.

My mom arrived, and I went to shower. The hustle of arrivals and departures had gotten my contractions off rhythm, so after I was clean (about 10:30), I decided to head up to bed with some music to just relax. We were all in the zone: Brandon got the pool set up, Nora played with her grandma, I put on my headphones and started the Live, Birds of Prey album. It was kind of perfect.
I lay there resting, feeling the contractions washing over me. They were definitely getting stronger, and about 45 minutes later I texted my midwife and doula to head over. I hid out for a little bit longer and then decided I wanted to go see how Nora was doing with my mom.
When I came downstairs, suddenly my contractions got very intense, and I was having to vocalize loudly just to get through them. So when Nora came inside from playing and one of these contractions hit, I could tell it was time for her to leave. She was a little scared and worried about me, but I wasn’t in a position to reassure her. Luckily we planned for just this, so Brandon packed the last couple things in her bag and got the car seat moved, just as everyone was showing up for me. (I heard a rumor that he also accidentally tried to send one of the doula’s bags with my mom, but somehow it was returned before anyone missed it.)
Kat, my doula arrived first, and I was kneeling by the stairs. She sat with me doing her thing, and we hung on until Rhoda, our midwife, and her team arrived shortly after. As everyone was getting set up, Kat casually mentioned that unless I wanted to be checked to see how far I was, I could just get in the birth pool for some relief.
‘OKAY!’ I remember thinking. Or maybe, ‘thank f*#%ing goodness.’ Either way, I stripped down to my bra and climbed in. It was pretty wonderful. Rhoda checked us with the Doppler and we got down to business.
Relief was relatively short lived and I kept thinking about a technique we learned in our birth class, where the instructor, also a doula, would give laboring mothers a couple of combs to squeeze. Somehow the little pain was able to take the edge off the contractions. So we tried that (instead of crushing Brandon’s and Kat’s fingers), and suddenly I realized I was starting to feel sick. I told Kat, and I already knew what it meant and what she would say, but I needed to hear it to believe we were there already. She said, “Sometimes you throw up to throw down.” In other words, it was probably time to start pushing.
Last time I remember I was a little scared of pushing so I fought it (as much as a laboring woman can), and I did end up throwing up. This time, I was ready. This hurts and the only way to be done is to get this baby out. So I pushed and pushed and Rhoda was magically right there to coach and encourage me. It was painfully intense and beautifully surreal. And then he was born, just before 1pm, my son, Oliver Bernard Kelley.
The next few hours are a blur as we snuggled and nursed, relaxed in the herbal bath, I was checked for tearing (just a little, no stitches needed!) and Oliver was weighed, measured, and examined. Kat asked me what I wanted to eat, and I laughed and remembered all the beef stew that was sitting in the fridge. It was perfect!

olibirth

Still hoping

So I called the birth center like I said I would. They seemed nice enough and let me know that, no, most insurance companies do not consider them to be “in network.” But they were more than happy to schedule a sort of meet-and-greet with me to go over the costs involved and introduce me to one or more of the midwives. I hung up a little more anxious than I started, but decided to call our insurance people to get more information on what our ‘out of network’ benefits may be.
Verbatim: “Um, no. You don’t have any.”
Apparently one of the reasons we have such good insurance benefits in-network is because if we go elsewhere, we’re screwed.
I hung up the phone nearly in tears.
And then I called my sister and vented while a few drops leaked out the corners of my eyes. And then Brandon got home from work and I turned into an all out faucet.
Why should it be so hard to have things done without all the drugs and interventions? Shouldn’t insurance LIKE you for keeping things simple for them?
Needless to say, yesterday I was still kinda depressed. I found myself wishing I had no idea about any of this and could blindly go back to what all forces were telling me were ‘right’. Or at least easy. Even though in my gut, I know that ‘right’ and ‘easy’ rarely go hand in hand.
So today I remembered a nice fancy birth center I had found, oddly enough, through our insurance search results for CNM’s. Only problem is, it’s in Goshen, which is an hour and a half away. In good weather. (Did I mention our baby is due the end of February?)
However, after Monday’s fiasco, an hour and a half drive for something that might be at least partially covered by insurance seems well worth the time and energy to check this out. They were amazing over the phone (even nicer than the other birth center) and seemed very well prepared to answer all my questions now and in person.
I’m not even going to get started on Brandon’s concerns for me driving there all by myself every week as I get very close to my due date, I’m just going to hope for the very best until I have a reason to believe otherwise.