I got a call from the midwife around 7am Sunday morning. It was so nice because I had a full nights sleep and was ready for some excitement. She informed me that she was going to go to the client's house and check her and she would call me back.
Of course I spared no time in jumping in the shower and trying on three different outfits until I got it right. Well I shouldn't really say outfit, scrubs are more like it, but that is the birth outfit. While I was waiting for the phone to ring I went to the kitchen and pulled out the midwife lunch box that my mom gave to me a week or so earlier and filled it with snacky goodness. I have been at a birth before with no food and it was not fun.
I got the much anticipated phone call about 30 mins later and the word on the street was that the mom was 6cms and if I was gonna come, I need to come now. She said it was my choice, but I couldn't imagine NOT going to the birth. Especially after my obsessive wardrobe changes. I put all my faith into Mapquest and headed out the door.
I was going to use my new Pike Pass for the first time and I was really hoping that it would work properly. I did not have enough mental space to deal with toll issues. I already had my first one of those and it was quite humiliating. You can find that story coming soon in my regular blog. (http://www.allthingsangelica.blogspot.com/)
As usual I was worrying for nothing because when it came to the first toll I held my breath as I sped (legally) thru the Pike Pass designated lane. I heard a beep and a "Thank You" sign lit up to let me know that this was going to be a smooth day with no problems. I took it as a good sign for the baby that would be making a huge transition today. All of a sudden I got this funny feeling in my stomach and figured it was birth nerves. Upon further assessment it was determined to be hunger pangs and I was so relieved to have my lunch bag, thanks mom! I reached in and pulled out a very firm banana, not my fav, it definitely hit the spot and I started feeling better immediately.
whoosh, whoosh, whoosh was the sound of me passing other vehicles on the road. As I went by their window I would look in and wonder if they were going somewhere as important as I was. I figured that unless they were a midwife there was NO way anything could be more important than this. It gave me a nice feeling to know that I was out on the road that particularly beautiful morning for such a solid reason. I mean really, who can beat that? There are no egg, sausage and pancake breakfasts that can hold a candle to a Birth-day.
I continued to sail successfully thru each toll plaza and as I would pass by the sensor I got this feeling that I was fleeing from someone or something. It made me feel like a rebel to not have to stop and put money in the bucket. It was liberating! I giggled everytime it happened. There are three tolls each way and it adds up to almost $8 roundtrip. One time when the long 80 some odd mile journey was getting to me mentally I started counting all the cars that I saw on the toll roads and tried to do the math to see how much money they bring in montly and then annually.
It went like this, ok the trip is $4 each way and so far I've counted 28 cars. Now what is 28 times 4....well 4 times 8 is 32 and 4 times 2 is 8- plus the 3 that was carried over, so that makes.....crap, I forgot what the first number was. Oh yeah, 2 and 8 plus 3- that makes 112, I think. So now that I have the number, what was that number for again? Right, $112 for all these 28 people who are on this same road as me. Now if they all go back the other way later today then it's another $112, so that's $224 for a round-trip for these 28 people. If they were to travel this way five times a week, such as a commuter, it would be...$1120 per week and $4480 per month and $53,760 a year. Ok, so I used the computer's calculator to figure out the last number but you get my point.
Geez, by the time I did all that math in my head I was half way to my destination and had missed numerous tracks on my book on CD. However the counting-distraction method (CDM) had done it's trick and I was happy. I do some of my best thinking and list making and organizing various things in my life on those lonely country roads. Every now and then I will lose my attention span to a cow or beautiful horse or even road kill. Do normal people look at the kill and try to figure out what type of animal it was? And then when they identify it or think they did, is it normal to rate the importance of the animal or the magnitude of their death on some sort of sadness scale? Normal or not, this is what I do.
I was getting near my exit and decided I better start paying attention to what I was doing. I hate when the directions say turn on so and so street and then the sign on the highway says, "So and so street. Eastbound- left lane, Westbound- right lane." Well the directions didn't say which bound to take...oh and not to mention since you are driving 70mph you have to make this decision really quickly and hope for the best. I always get all anxious about it because I'm afraid I won't remember how to get back to that location again if I did it wrong.
Funny how after all that worrying about directions and different bounds I usually seem to pick the correct one. There is just something scary about being in a brand new town and unsure of your directions and knowing that some woman is in labor and with every contraction you are closer and closer to missing her birth. Talk about a nail-biter. I wonder if midwives' have a shorter life span than the average person? It sure would make sense to me if they did.
I sailed right down the main road and went right in front of the university. Again I wondered if any of the college kids were doing anything today remotely as important and meaningful. I turned left on the correct street and then the third right and like a moth to a flame I was attracted to her house. As I shut off the car I congratulated myself on a job well done- out loud. Then I realized all I had done was drive to her house, there was still a lot to be done and more congratulations would be in order.
I was let into the house where I joined the other midwife and we conversed in our own language about all the specifics of her labor thus far. "What station is she?", "What is the status of the membranes?", "What does she want to do with the placenta?", "What were the last FHT's?", "BP stable?", "Oh, she's 6/70/0 and a 2/1, perfect!" It was then that I noticed the husband standing there looking somewhat bewildered about the whole process and the secret language.
First the mom wanted to be in bed, then the toilet, then the birth stool, then back in the bed, then in the shower, then back in the bed. The bed is where she delivered in and that was nice for all of us. It is easier for us that way, but we really want her to be comfortable. She only pushed for a few minutes before I started to see the familar wrinkle of baby head and sparce hair. Her total pushing time was 16 mins and then a beautiful baby boy stepped into the world. At first his favorite color was purple, but it didn't take him long to discover that a pink body and purply-blue hands and feet were a better idea.
Dad was not interested in giving the baby his freedom from mom, so I asked if I could do the honors. I realized that for the first time in this baby's life he was no longer attached to or inside of another person. That's got to be a weird feeling for the baby. After the whole ordeal dad was so tired he went to lay down and get a nap in before we left them on their own to handle this new life that they created.
We all relaxed a bit and let mom take a shower, this gave me the perfect opportunity to hold a 1 hr old baby...such a gift! After her shower we got her back into bed and asked her if she was good and comfortable, really this is a trick question. I'll tell you know why right now. When she says that yes she is comfortable then we tell her, "Good- cuz this is where you are going to be for the next 7-10 days."
Then we tidied up a bit, ate a bunch of Wheat Thins, talked about all baby safety precautions, oohed and ahhed over mom's new garden and left the family to fend for themselves. It felt weird to just leave after we had been there with them for such an intimate occasion. All in all everyone did great, especially the baby. He totally had the hardest role. Before I left I said good bye to the baby and mentally thanked him for letting me attend his birth-day party.
As I pulled out of the driveway alone and headed for some lunch and family time I looked at myself in the rearview mirror a few times and smiled and nodded my head. We knew what we meant by it and that's all that matters.