So, why do I need to start this story with that? It's taken me a while to really process what happened that day, and I'm sure that Tyler's birth happened the way it happened because I've been lucky enough to learn so much about birth...
Or maybe just because precipitous 2nd/3rd labours run in the family :)
I decided early on in this pregnancy that I wanted the minimal amount of interference this time round. The first battle came with the NHS midwives who got twitchy at the fact that I had birthed a 'big baby' last time and set me on a road of growth scans, gestational diabetes checking and constant monitoring. All this even though I had an uncomplicated labour and delivery with my 'big' first born. Lucky for me I knew I was leaving the UK so agreed to everything they said, took my notes and left Glasgow a few days later!
My knowledge of birth in the US up to this point was limited to websites such as Birth Without Fear, Mama Birth and the Unnecesarean, and I had hurriedly switched off One Born Every Minute US 10 minutes into the first episode. I thought the birth system in the UK had problems but, my goodness, the US was a whole new kettle of fish! Next I learnt that different states had different laws regarding the use of midwives as opposed to obstetricians. I knew I wanted a home birth and luckily we were moving to a state where home birth wasn't illegal. Coming from a country where every woman has the right to birth at home, I was amazed that such restrictions were still commonplace in a country the size of the US. So, you can legally birth at home in the state of Maryland... But only if you have a doctor or nurse midwife present. My next learning curve - there are different 'types' of midwives and the type of midwife who most frequently attends homebirths (a certified professional midwife CPM) is NOT licensed to legally attend a homebirth in Maryland. Lucky for me, through the power of the internet, I was informed of a couple of midwives who would be prepared to come to a home birth and I arranged to meet with them as soon as we arrived in the US.
I was so nervous about what to expect and went to 'interview' my potential midwives with a list of "please don't do these things to me". I could feel myself physically and emotionally relax as I went through my list and Liz looked at me, smiled and said, "well, of course we won't do that". I met Nannette the next day and her responses were the same and before I knew it, my prenatal care and home birth plan were sorted and I could focus on the enormity of moving to a foreign country rather than stressing about hospital birth and unsympathetic doctors!
My experience with the midwives and their assistants at Riverside Midwifery in Charles Town was like nothing I had ever come across in the UK. Liz, Nannette, Zaina, Shanna and Antonette made every appointment seem special. They never rushed anything, they were always willing to discuss anything and everything, and they all seemed genuinely excited as the weeks ticked by and December approached. I had a great pregnancy and felt at peace and excited as well as I waited for my Mum & Dad to arrive, praying that the baby would wait too!
Thomas was also getting excited as he had been told for months that when the weather turned cold, the leaves fell off the trees and Grandma & Grandad arrived, then his baby brother would be ready to come out and meet him...
In the last week of pregnancy, it was almost as if he sensed something was happening. He became much more clingy, very loving and he would stroke my belly and ask if his baby brother was coming yet. Little did we know how soon that would be!
You can find part two HERE.
|Christmas card photo - two weeks to go! (Yes, it really was warm enough for t-shirts at the end of November!)|
|Little did I realise but this was taken the morning of the day I went into labour! I was moaning about getting too pregnant for pregnant clothes :)|