Thursday, May 10, 2007

I Know I'm Gonna Love You Any Old Way

Last night was our home visit with the midwives, which basically meant that they got familiar with the drive to our house, the location of our bedroom and where they should soak the towels. When we told Miss M that they would be coming over, she asked, "Are they coming to take the baby out or just checking him?" We assured her it was the latter. Thanks to a very sweet and fairly detailed picture book about homebirth, M has a pretty solid idea of what midwives are and what they do, but apparently she's a little overconfident in their actual baby-bringing abilities.

I try not to focus attention on Miss M's bashfulness and I avoid using the word "shy" when she's hiding behind me and refusing to acknowledge a single word spoken by anyone she's known less than 10% of her life, so after they arrived I just let the midwives talk to her and ask her questions without stepping in to explain that she probably wouldn't answer. And I'm glad I resisted that urge, because I would have felt pretty foolish when she engaged in conversation with these two strangers as if they'd been visiting for months. I'm sure it helped that they showed up with a bag of interesting and mysterious medical devices that she was dying to get into, but mostly she just seemed at ease with these naturally calm, comforting women.

Part of the visit included a basic stat check, and Miss M was thrilled to be asked to help as they checked my blood pressure, measured my belly and listened to the baby's heartbeat. I wish I had a picture of her eagerly handing paper towels to Andrea (with anyone else, I'd have expected her to hand me the towels and pull on my arm until I gave them over) and then helping her wipe the doppler goop off my stomach. Or the focused look on her face as she followed Andrea's hands around the outline of the baby's body. It was truly one of the sweetest moments of this pregnancy. I have a lot of anxiety about the sibling transition, but seeing her bond with her baby brother and doing her best to care for us both gave me a new, albeit tenuous, confidence that we'll all make it through okay. I knew that having a homebirth would allow me a closer connection to my birthing body, but I didn't expect it to connect us all.

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