An added bonus was that these moms somehow managed to be savvy and hip, well-read on new trends in parenting. They challenged me in areas of child discipline and vaccinations and education where I had followed the status quo. They also were hot on the trail of a new trend towards home birthing. England (maybe Europe in general?) obstetrics is ahead of the AMA on this, but if you do some research, the assumption that hospital births are more safe is something that can be legitimately contested. I had been so disappointed in my first two "tries" at natural delivery that I was willing to give anything a shot. I figured the worst case scenario was that I'd be rushed to the hospital if a complication arose, and I had been so disenchanted by my hospital experiences, that I figured even that would be no worse than anything I'd already gone through.
After sharing a room (and bathroom, ugh!) with another mom in a crowded hospital, and after having endured the sleeping (and heavy breathing) father of that woman in the armchair next to the bathroom as he spent the night (illegally) and whom I startled awake as I made my way in slippers and robe to that shared bathroom, the idea of being tucked into my own sweet bed in my own sweet home sounded like heaven. "My dad cooked up ham and eggs and I was showered and in my bed..." spoke the girl who had delivered her second in her bathtub (guess who this friend was? The one who had had the c-section in the birth story before this one!)...it sounded so perfect.
Some day I'll go into the details of how medically equipped midwives are and all of the cool things that come in a "birth box", but in all of the, now four, home births I have had, I have never once lost an item of linen to gory destruction. I have never had a mess to clean. I mention that simply because it's one of the questions that comes up more often than you'd imagine.
On the Feast of the Immaculate Conception I went to 8am Mass with my family, came home and had eggs and fruit with my Mother-in-law who had flown out to help after the birth and to watch my first two while I delivered upstairs.
The midwife arrived around noon. My water was broke. This time, instead of panic, there was a very. hot. bathtub, filled and ready for me. That hot water took my transition-strength muscle contractions and relaxed them. I floated like a wet noodle, breathing and thinking: "This is the Bradley Method!" My husband soaked my forehead in an ice cold washcloth and poured water over my belly. The midwife popped in ever so often to listen to the baby's heartbeat. About the third time she came in, she said I could push. I was shocked!
And my third baby was born. I was wrapped in a big towel and robe, tucked into bed and I nursed the baby until he slept. Then I showered, the midwife and her assistant whisked the old sheets and plastic sheeting off of my bed (that hadn't been used) and the clean fresh sheets were waiting for me when I returned to bed. I snuggled down next to my baby...and rested.
The days that followed were blissful. I sent my husband down with orders for food and drink. I called friends and family from my bed and raved about my pain-free birth. And of course, we delighted as a family in our newest addition: another boy!
This time, instead of terrifying the younger women in my life, I remember telling my sister (who was probably 15 at the time): "You can totally do this!"
I was renewed.