You can’t get pregnant while you’re nursing. Ah, freedom for a few months. I bought it, hook, line & sinker.
And then one day Stephen quit cold turkey on me. Ten months old, he was eating solids but nursing was still the major part of his diet. Our kids loved mother’s milk. All solid nursers, no pussy footing around. But this baby just up and refused. My boobs were dying. “Please,” I implored. He clamped his mouth shut. The only way I could salvage the situation was to catch him just as he was falling asleep and trick him into draining a few drops from my super loaded, super confused breasts.
And then the light dawned. Hormones. He tastes new hormones. Pregnancy hormones. Nothing apparently that he wants anything to do with. Yup! We were on that band wagon again.
Soooo…natural delivery was a success but I could do better. I wanted a home delivery. I’m still trying to discern how I came upon information that there was a midwife in Richmond working through an OB-GYN to do home deliveries. Certainly not any of my girl friends. They were all main stream and this was radical. Not even any birthing centers in those days. Only hospitals. Being in the time well before google searching, I must have read an article somewhere. At any rate I called. My track record was a plus. I was told we needed to be within ten minutes of a hospital. MCV covered that base for us being just up the road from our Varina home. I was in.
Sally & I hit it off from the start. She was amazing. She had delivered babies in tents, in communes, and plain ordinary houses. The months drifted by. This baby was due in late November. At the start of the month, Sally told me that she was leaving town for a few weeks but would be back in plenty of time for delivery. She also told me that she was coming back on Election Day to vote and then was leaving again.
I protested. Did she forget that I was calibrated for early deliveries? Like clockwork every baby had been at least two weeks early. She told me not to worry and gave me her pager number. Election Day rolled around. I felt funny but nothing was happening. Still I couldn’t settle anywhere. I paced. I stretched. I played with Stephen. He napped. I didn’t. And then the mucus plug came out. A new one for me, I had read that meant imminent delivery. I called Donny. He came home. We waited. Nothing happened. And then contractions started rolling in, nice and slow, then picking up speed. “This is it!”
We paged Sally. She called. “We’re having dinner.” We was Dr Fitzhugh, his girl friend and Sally.
“You might want to skip dessert.”
They arrived to find me in full swing. “I’m worried about transition,” I told Sally. I did remember How. Hard. It. Really. Was.
“You’ll be fine,” she said. She was right. Transition came and went. I hardly had time to recognize it. Time to push!
“Stop pushing for a moment,” came Sally’s calm voice. What? Not again. I stopped. “Get me a light,” I heard her say to Dr Fitzhugh who was hovering close by. Our bedroom had no overhead light. Only a small bedside lamp. There was one other lamp in the room but it had a broken shade and so only got turned on when you really needed a bright light. Dr Fitzhugh turned it on and brought it close to Sally. There was fumbling and low conversation. Then, “Okay push now. Hard!”
I did. And I promise just as that little soul entered the room everything changed. He filled the entire room with his presence. I could feel it everywhere. It was ethereal and glorious. We had our baby number four.
“Why did you have me stop?” I asked Sally later.
“Oh the cord was around his neck,” she replied casually. “I needed to cut it.” So that’s what Andrew had been doing a few weeks prior when I was sure he was working on his gymnastic skills. Tangling himself up. I think early was a good thing. Glad that’s my calibration.