Wednesday, March 12, 2008
Our new baby, installment #33 (guest blogger/the husband)
I guess you can consider me the home-birth husband. When Tina first suggested it, I wondered if there was a middle ground -- a birth attended by a midwife in a birth center. No such thing, she reminded me, in Massachusetts. I then said a home birth is one thing, but a home birth VBAC sounded hard-core. Wrong again, as our wonderful midwife explained; no particular issues there. Then why don't hospitals do VBACs? A questionnable study, insurance, and lawsuits. Such was the process of my re-education. I learned I had to buy-in 100 percent and nothing less. No emphasis on the back-up plan, transport to the hospital if 'something goes wrong.' No dwelling on something going wrong. So when it was clear that Tina was in labor that Friday night, I felt disciplined, and was thinking positive, which helped me be less nervous. Although I did want the midwife to be there the minute after the first strong contraction. In retrospect I thought maybe I put my heart and mind in the hands of the midwife in the place of the doctors at the hospital -- the new expert to calm my fears -- but that wasn't really what happened. She came, I parked her car, she had a suitcase of stuff, and she went to my wife. The next two hours were between Tina and her. I fetched things and paced around the tub I had set up. After reading Tina's book, I was at peace with a man's minimal role. I caressed her forehead but it didn't seem like she was too aware of my doing so; she was busy, in the zone. It was an incredible athletic event, and I didn't feel like saying 'You're doing great' or any such thing, any more than it would be effective to say something encouraging to Derek Jeter ranging for a sharply hit ground ball. Maybe I was in a trance, but I even went along with the gag on the whole thing happening in the water. My surprise was that it was a boy. I was impressed by how attentive the midwife team was on checking Harrison out, and examining Tina -- checklists, all very thorough. I had no idea there was any kind of issue about the placenta and didn't worry at that stage, either. When it was delivered the midwife showed me what an ingenius contraption it was, sustaining Harrison for 39 weeks. It was a cold night, and I remember thinking, all they had to do was move one room over, mother and child. We were home.