Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Seven years ago...


August 31, 2003. Delilah Rose Baer, our second child, was born at the Baltimore Birth Center.

The night before, at two days past the "due date," I was feeling impatient. I know I'm not supposed to put any stock in dates, but my first was born at 39 weeks, and I really thought she would be out by then. Tim and I went out to dinner at the One World Cafe in Baltimore. When we got home, we did the thing that makes babies (me thinking it sometimes helps get labor going), then Tim and Patrick went to bed and I stayed up reading on the MotheringDotCommune message boards.

I tried some accupressure points that were supposed to cause contractions, hoping it would do something. Around midnight, I started having contractions, which settled into a regular pattern of every four to six minutes. I walked around our apartment, posted on MDC about how I thought I might be in labor, laid down to see if the contractions would keep going if I rested (they did). A few hours into it, I woke Tim up and told him we should go to the birth center.

At the birth center, the midwife on call checked and told me that I was only about 4cm. We stayed at the birth center for about an hour and she said that I should go home and call them back when things picked up. I was not happy about that plan, but we headed home, stopping at Dunkin Donuts on the way home for the guys to get breakfast. Sitting in the car having contractions was not a fun thing to do. Pretty much as soon as we got home, the contractions started getting more intense and closer together. About an hour later, we got back in the car and headed to the birth center.

My mom met us at the birth center so that she could take Patrick (then almost three years old) back to her house for the day. I distinctly remember her needing to use the bathroom at the birth center and me telling her that no, she needed to just take him now. (She did get to use the bathroom). My friend Alexis, who was about five months pregnant with her first, joined us there around the same time.

Evelyn was now the midwife on call and she had a student midwife there with her. We hung out for a little bit, then I got into the tub, hoping it would help me deal with the contractions. It helped so much that I decided not to get out. I hadn't been planning on a waterbirth, but the tub ended up being the place where I was the most comfortable and was the place where Delilah was born.

She was born on a Sunday morning, before the service at Horizon, the church we were attending, would have started. Tim asked if he could go to church and tell everyone, since I had Alexis with me. We told him no, that he was going to have to skip church. He did get to go pick up pizza for us, which was just the right thing after having a baby.

That baby is seven years old today. She is the big sister to two little brothers (James and Benjamin). She is starting second grade as a homeschooled student this year. Not suprisingly, she has developed my love for pregnancy, birth and babies. She likes the "baby shows" on TLC and Discovery Health, plays "having a baby" with friends, and says she wants to be a doula or a midwife when she grows up.

I'm grateful to the people who ran the now-closed birth center, who gave me the birth experience I needed. To the poor student midwife, who I kicked out of the room when I didn't want people in there, I'm kind of sorry. If you had found something to do other than just stand in the corner and watch, I might have let you stay. To my mom, thanks for taking Patrick and for putting up with me when I was being unreasonable. To Tim, who agreed to have another baby and to let me choose the birth I wanted. To Alexis, who was there with us. Thanks, everybody.

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