Here we are. I’ve been pregnant 36 weeks. It’s the home stretch. I will meet our newest offspring in about a month! See me waddle.
I’ve heard there are women who like being pregnant, who find the whole journey enchanting. They relish every little kick. They stage adorable bump pictures. They glow. They have belly-only pregnancies. They act as if they can forget they’re carrying another human and go about life as normal. Ah, c’est la vie. I am not one of those women.
Don’t get me wrong. I know I carry a miracle. But nowhere in the Bible does it say miracles are light. Sometimes they cause heartburn. They suck the iron out of your body and leave you exhausted. They hide your toes. They mess with your hormones. They make you look fat. They make you sleepless, cranky, hungry, drain your savings, and commandeer your plans for the next 18 years. They make you crave hamburgers like no other food exists. Thanks, miracle.
I slipped on the walkway several weeks ago as I was carrying my six year old to the car (his wheelchair just doesn’t cut it on ice and snow). It didn’t hurt then, but the next day I could barely walk. (Sorry if this is TMI, but the ligaments where the pubic bone connects in the middle, the pubic symphysis, must have gotten too stretched too early). As I head into the final leg of this baby-carrying journey, my body is producing a hormone that keeps my ligaments relaxed. So I am probably hobbled with this until the after the birth. Sitting, lying down, walking, and driving are all a daily adventure in endurance. I can’t roll over in bed without agony. I walk like a penguin right before she lays her egg (and black looks far more slimming on her than me!) The next four weeks will take approximately 3,871 days to pass. Or eternity. But who’s counting.
Overall, I’ve been here before. I joke that I’m either in labor for six hours – or six weeks. I have regular Braxton Hicks contractions for weeks leading to the big moment. Many nights ahead, I expect, I will lay down wondering if birth is imminent based on their regularity. I miss breathing normally. I miss clothes that fit. I get so uncomfortable that labor will mean welcome relief!
As uncomfortable as it is, I know my body can do this. It was made for this. I’d take childbirth over a migraine any day. (With labor, you know it can’t last forever, and you get to meet a person whom you will adore more than anyone else on earth – along with their siblings and father.) I refuse to believe the culture that discourages women from embracing this most natural and divinely supported blessing. But it does make me something of an anomaly to birth significantly more than the average 1.8 children in current American society.
I’ve learned to embraced the weirdness. I homeschool. I stay home. I teach them chores and sharing. I know how to hide chocolate from the masses like a pro. So this time, when I found out I was pregnant, I planned a homebirth. When we go rogue, we go big.
I’ve had a baby every other way (except in a vehicle). I’ve had three natural hospital births, one planned C-section, and two vbacs (vaginal births after cesarean) that were induced, one with an epidural. And somewhere along the way, I got tired of playing by everyone else’s rules. Childbirth is a natural process, isn’t it? I didn’t want hospital lawyers deciding the best course of action for my body. I didn’t want to be flat on my back with lots of strangers poking my body and telling me to push against gravity. And hospital jonnies fit no one. And their food is horrible (plus the cafeteria shuts down overnight so I couldn’t even get a celebratory milkshake last time. Just chips from the vending machine). Of course hospitals have their place; they preserved my son’s life with a C-section and the subsequent surgeries on his brain and back. No regrets there. But the majority of the time, the fear and sterile discomfort of the medical world are unnecessary detractors from a natural process I could just as well experience in the comfort of my own home. (Where I can make my own milkshake at 3 a.m., thank you very much.)
Insurance won’t cover homebirth (some do, but not for me). But even if I were to have a completely natural, healthy birth in the hospital, the deductible would be more than the whole cost of every visit with my midwife as well as the homebirth itself. I’m not high risk, my baby is healthy, and I’ve done this before. The second-largest hospital in the state is only 10 minutes from my house. In an emergency, we’re good. But there likely won’t be a mad dash to the sterile world of other people staring at my under regions. No stress of forgetting something in my hospital bag. No one telling me when to push. No one telling me I have to lie flat, not letting me drink water, whisking my newborn away to scrub their eyeballs when all I want to do is stare into them. No fight to convince the cafeteria lady that their macaroni and cheese is not a gluten-free meal option. No being awakened in the middle of the night after the marathon of childbirth just so they can check my temperature. I’m actually looking forward to this birth.
Of course, I worry some. Of course. I worry the house will be strewn with legos, old bagels, and piles of laundry on the day I go into labor. I worry I’ll scream and wake the boys and scar them for life. I worry it’ll be a snowstorm and the midwife won’t get there in time (though I’d worry about driving to the hospital in a snowstorm and delivering in a cold backseat too). I worry the tax return will take a long time coming and we won’t get to buy bunk beds so the three year old can hand over the crib before she’s born (we have a pack and play, but my nesting instinct wants her stuff to be all waiting and ready before she even appears). I worry that our back up doctor will be in Costa Rica during the next several weeks and I’ll get a much less sympathetic doctor if I end up in an emergency situation. I worry about fitting our 9 person family with car seats and a wheelchair into our 9 seat vehicle.
And then I worry that all these things worry me.
Because why should they? Since the very first woman, God has ordained every moment of pregnancy and childbirth. He was there when Eve welcomed the first baby ever born on earth (and she didn’t get an epidural or have an OB GYN either.) He created this whole process, from conception to labor to the first breath of new life. There is something breathtaking about the whole process (and I don’t mean just literally) when we allow it to follow the natural course. It is hard – but not fear driven. Most miracles are birthed through great challenges. They wouldn’t be miracles if they were easy. I can rest in Him – even in childbirth.
“For the joy set before Him, He endured…”
So I’m going rogue – by going natural. Here goes nothing.
Guess the only worry left is to decide on a name.
I’ll keep you posted.