Well I (Whitney) have been in Idaho for two weeks with my very good friend Dani who invited me to be here with her for the birth of her second baby. Her estimated due date is 5/1/16, so our original plan was for me to fly out 4/28-5/10, but a few weeks ago she started having some signs the baby may come earlier.
So, I changed my ticket and flew out 4/14, planning to head home 4/28, which is now today and her baby isn’t here yet. We are both midwives and we know in our bones that babies come when they are ready, that we can’t know when that is, and yet the first sign of bloody show and mucus and I was on the next flight! I had been saying all along that if there were any signs the baby was maybe coming sooner I would fly out earlier, so I knew I had to stick to my word. I just didn’t know I would basically be moving to Idaho! 🙂
Don’t get me wrong, I am thrilled to be here. The quality time with Dani and her family is beyond lovely, relaxing, and nourishing. I think it is making up for years of adrenal fatigue and rushing and to-do lists that never end. See, we are in Victor, Idaho, town of about 2,000 people. There is not much to do besides slow down and enjoy. We have cooked and baked, frozen many meals for the postpartum. We have washed baby clothes and diapers. We have decorated Dani’s bedroom with birth art and positive energy, we have done a belly cast, we have taken walks in nature. I have started taking supplements and lots of baths. So far I have seen moose, deer, osprey, spotted owl, bluebirds, and of course, cows. Many cows.
As a midwife I have some new perspective and appreciation for the days of waiting for a baby to come. I don’t usually (well, ever) get to move in with clients at the end of their pregnancy. Official prenatal care visits seem obsolete because we (mostly Dani) are always doing prenatal care. I feel the baby and talk to the baby a lot. I see that the baby is growing and vital. I have no concerns.
I see every meal, every mood, every waddle, every nap, every sigh. I wonder what it all means but keep it mostly to myself. I don’t have to worry about missing the birth because I am just upstairs. No other plans or birthing women or personal events are going to get in the way of my being available for her. More I think about how to give her space, not put any pressure on when the baby is coming or how many times I have to change my flight plans, how to make sure she gets enough alone time, enough emotional support, and enough of the intimate moments with her husband and daughter before all their hearts open to let a fourth member into their family unit. The moments making breakfast for her daughter just the two of them, or chatting with her husband alone.
I miss my home and my cats and my boyfriend. Everyone- friends, family, and work- have just accepted that I am just here until I am not. But it is still a long time away from my normal life. I was in Pennsylvania at a midwifery conference for a week right before coming here, so it’s just adding up to a long time away from home. But this experience here with Dani is something I will never get again. Of course as a midwife every birth I go to is a unique experience, but to be with a close friend (who is also a midwife) as she waits to meet her baby feels like a different kind of honor. And a different kind of responsibility.
Something I didn’t anticipate was how much being here with Dani at this transition time to becoming a mom again would make me want to have a baby. Sure, it’s on my radar- I am 34, partnered, and a midwife, and although I do know some midwives who don’t want to have children, something about being a midwife and around birth all the time makes people assume I am baby-obsessed. For me, being a midwife makes me think about how I want to have a baby in more ways that I could have ever imagined. From the energy around conception to what type of baby carrier to use- I really have seen it all. So I have a lot of ideas and concepts about what I would do, and I know the emotion and love and stretching and growing that all the steps involve- literally, figuratively, spiritually, physically, mentally, and emotionally. I hope sometime soon it will be my turn to know it firsthand, to stand where Dani is standing with her there to support me. Being a midwife is not a reason to have a baby, but it will make me a better one. Plus, I do get tired of people asking me all the time if I have kids, but I know it will make a difference in who I am as a woman, how I move through the world, and in the work I do. It’s like a secret club I don’t belong to yet, but the door is open.
But for now we are waiting for the door to open and Dani’s baby to be born. I changed my ticket and now plan to fly home on 5/6. Let’s hope that this baby decides to make his or her journey earthside by then, because not only will it be easier for me (which really is the least important reason) but because this baby has a lot of people who love it very much already and can’t wait to meet it. Dani is patient, but I know she is excited and ready and each night thinking this could be THE night. I am upstairs, trying to fall asleep, thinking the exact same thing.