Kinda sad and rad at the same time.
Ross and I first welcomed the lovely ladies of Awakenings Birth Services into our home at about 12 weeks. Which was back in February.
After our initial interview (two of the three midwives came to our home, we interviewed them, they checked us out, took in our home, our relationship with our dog, how clean of a house we keep, prob'ly checked out how physically fit/not crazy I was/am) and we all agreed to work together.
Every three weeks we were visited by a midwife. The three ladies rotated so that we could all get to know one another. (At a home birth, I would be attended by one midwife for the majority of active labor, and then a second midwife would be called in to attend the delivery. They have their schedule set up so that each lady gets a good chunk of time off the clock. The same schedule allows families to get to know all three, thereby insuring close and comfortable relationships with both of the midwives who eventually attend the birth.)
At each visit, they would take my blood pressure (always perfect, lowish) test my pee (for proteins and other not so good things: always perfect), go over reading that had been assigned to me (I love me some reading assignments, I'd take notes, highlight, gather questions and make Ross read the good/bad/interesting stuff) and direct me towards any testing, screening etc. that I was interested in at the proper time.
These visits lasted for 90 minutes! My one OB visit lasted five minutes -- I was in the waiting room for 45 minutes and saw a nurse or two, but the OB spent maybe five whole minutes with me. I don't think I got to ask more than two questions... I like to ask questions. I like to talk. I like to learn. I did not like the visit with the OB. I did not necessarily dislike it. I learned nothing.
At each visit with a midwife I talked, listened and learned. Not just from the reading material or from what the midwife had to say. But I learned a little about myself or Ross, maybe how we were dealing with a new stage in pregnancy, maybe what we needed to work on to prepare for the next stages in pregnancy.
The midwife visits quickly became something I looked forward to.
After 37 weeks, when the pregnancy is considered full term, the visits were weekly. They began to include vaginal exams (which I loved, really, cause I learned about how dilated my cervix was and how effaced etc.) and eventually talk of what to do if we got to post-term dates.
We did. Get to post dates. Rather than have an early baby, (which I had planned on) or a 40 week baby (due date was August 10) or a regular baby for a first time mom like me (41 weeks and 1 day) we got well into 42 weeks.
The visits amped up in regularity. One of the midwives made herself available to me daily basis, (on the weekend!) when I wanted her to monitor Ginger's heart beat (perfect!) or to otherwise attend to my increasingly neediness.
The labor and birth were amazing (someday, more on these).
And the follow-up visits were fantastic. We had midwives here on day 2, day 3 and, and and, many times in the first days and weeks.
Now, at week six, we are done.
While these ladies remain our midwives and will happily answer any questions we have, offer us guidance, referrals, and in many ways continue to support our little family, there are no more scheduled visits.
It's kinda sad, like I said.
These women have been such an important part of my pregnancy and of course, of my labor. They have also each been here since Ginger was born. Each was informative and supportive. None was ever judgmental or bossy, even when I asked ridiculous questions, the kind that she must have heard from each new mom. (Me: So, it's OK when she does the whole REM sleep thing with her eyes open? 'Cause she kinda looks like a demon when she does that. Midwife (silence) "Yes, newborns sleep can look and sound strange."
In no way do Ross and I feel set adrift or otherwise unprepared for our midwives to say goodbye... I believe that thanks to working with midwives in general and Awakenings in particular, we are better prepared than most new families for the delightful and daunting, messy and difficult, magic and silly days/weeks/months ahead with Ginger.
It's wonderful that we manage our daily lives with a few weeks-old human. We have not only kept her alive, but her weight is great, she is alert and smiley and doesn't torture us any more than we torture her (midnight feedings and 5 am alert/hangout times are trade offs, I think, for bathing her or putting her in a car seat when she REALLY doesn't want to be in a car seat). So it's freaking radical to know that we're doing it!
But, yes, sad to say goodbye to our relationship with the midwives. I'll never be pregnant again for the first time. I'll never ask someone if it's OK to sleep on my back or drink a beer; and be reminded that I live in my body, and if I listen to it, I'll know what is right for me -- and my baby.
I'll never be scared of labor again; and gently guided to the knowledge that not only am I capable of a beautiful labor, but that I was born to experience a beautiful labor.
So, yeah, I could go on... but you get the idea. It's a bittersweet goodbye. I'm gonna go with a ta-ta-for-now, actually, because I'm not done knowing these amazing ladies.