Whenever this hits me, I find myself asking the rather somber question, "Am I ready for this?" Last time around I was blissfully ignorant about all the ways parenthood would change my world. This time I know enough to be scared.
I also know we will be incredibly blessed, and despite the waves of panic when I think about the fact that we're about to double the number of children under our roof, mostly I'm excited.
One thing will be very different this time around: we're doing a home birth. Yes, that's right: this baby is going to be born in this very house where we live. When Sara first suggested the idea, I had a little panic attack on the spot. "You want to do what?" I asked, eyes wide, mind racing. In retrospect, I can see that was a silly reaction, especially since my fears had little to do with the big things, like whether a home birth would put Sara or the baby in danger. I've learned, thanks to Sara's coaching, that birth is really not so much a medical event as it is a natural human event, and that only in the past 50 years or so -- the blink of an eye in the scope of human history -- and only in the most industrialized countries, has childbirth been medicalized, resulting in huge increases in the numbers of interventions. That knowledge, plus the awareness that we live literally within two miles of two outstanding hospitals, made me almost immediately comfortable with the medical concerns. Mostly, though, my fear had to do with the much larger questions like, Who's going to answer the phone when it rings? Will I be able to separate myself from the dirty dishes in the sink? Where will we get food if there's no cafeteria? And who's going to wash the sheets when this is all said and done?
Once I got past those big questions, the idea of a home birth is a pretty special thing, especially since Sara is feeling 100% confident that this is the right thing for her. And really, she's doing all the work... The least I can do is be supportive.
So today, Robin, one of the two midwives with whom we're sharing this journey, came for our third or fourth visit. After all the questions and the pee-in-a-cup thing and the blood pressure check, we got to hear the baby's heartbeat. It was strong and loud -- 150 beats per minute -- healthy. Wow.
This baby is really coming.