Friday, May 23, 2008

Midwife appt # 8: 37 weeks and 0 days

Have you ever heard the story about the teacher who fills her student's tea cup, but the cup is already full so the tea the teacher adds just spills on to the floor? The point being that you cannot learn anything new if you have already made up your mind . . . if your cup is full, nothing else can fit in.

I will tell you upfront that my cup is usually about seven eighths four fifths three quarters full. I can be very opinionated and passionate about my beliefs and unless you know me very well (and sometimes even if you do) I suspect I sometimes come across as "I'm right and your wrong." To my defense it is something I have been working on for quite some time. I have gotten better about understanding another person's view point and appreciating how she came to believe as she does - even to the point where I could say, "Hmmm . . . if I had that experience, I can see doing the exact same thing." I have gotten better at "live and let live" (as long as you don't try to throw out your aluminum can in front of me). I try not to sound like I have all the answers and mine are the right answers.

But I tell you, when I come across someone else who has a full cup it really pushes my buttons which seems to make the part of me that wants to put everything into a right or wrong category looms large. And that, gentle readers, is what I am going to highlight from my midwifery appointment. *

It didn't start off too well with Cathy suggesting I should join the mindful mommies group. Yes, because I would oh-so-enjoy being around a bunch of fertiles with their cups full on the subject of motherhood. I expressed my lack of desire to be around people who have children easily. I was tearing up. I guess she thought that an example of how neat the group was would sway me so she told me about how they were discussing fertility after baby. I am not kidding - this was the example. I thought, "Fertility after infertility? Yeah . . . that would mean $25,000 for one chance of a sibling with a (hopefully still willing) donor who will be nearly 33 years old. Outside of that, I have nothing to contribute.

Then she told us about an acupuncturist that she works with who would like to trade her knowledge of acupuncture for Cathy's knowledge of midwifery. I think that is a great match because I know Cathy wants to move more into a consultant role and not have to be on call as a midwife all the time. I am very happy for her to have this potential career change. I wish she hadn't suggested that I would prefer this acupuncturist for the wonderful one I currently go to. Brad I have been seeing Shannon since June 2005. I don't think we have gone more than 2 months without paying her a visit and it has been as often as weekly. We have even become friends. She is kind and soft spoken and seems to have a amazing empathy - and uses that to lead her in which points to use. I told Cathy how much I like her, but she still suggested I see her acupuncturist. "She does house calls for postpartum support. She brings along her 5 month old since she is still nursing." Did she miss the part about not wanting to be around people who have children easily?!

The final straw was when we were talking about getting some essentials for when (hopefully) we have a real, live baby. I think we have the essentials. My motto has been "If Kumba didn't need it, I don't need it." Kumba, being the first wife in the compound (set of huts) I stayed in while in The Gambia during my Peace Corps days. I will confess that Kumba did have some baby clothes, which we don't currently have, but she didn't have diapers, a crib, hat, blankets, towels (not just no baby towels, but no towels at all). She had what I have - breasts that are expected to give milk, a bed to sleep in that she shared with baby (among other female children), and her loving attention. I explained further that we were planing on having a diaper free baby (also known as EC'ing for Elimination Communication). (Just between us, I don't plan on being militant about it so at least a few diapers would probably be a good idea). To my shock and surprise; this very granola, environmental activist midwife poo-pood the idea (pun intended). "Why would you want to do that?" (better for the environment, more connection with baby, just because I want to) and "That is too much work." (it didn't look like it from observing the women in The Gambia, people who have tried it say it isn't, I'm willing to find out for myself). I was ready to tell her how EC'ing is the only right way to raise a baby, but I bit my tongue. See? I'm learning! Ok, I don't really believe that anyway, but I wanted to say it just the same.

Afterwards, I called my good friend Stacey. She has just been wonderfully supportive throughout the whole ttc thing. She was the first to encourage me to look into our fertility issues (Sadly, I ignored her sage advice), she supported Brad and I during Ernest's birth, she was the only one outside of Brad to attend the Focus on Fertility Forum, and most importantly in this instance Cathy was her midwife for her son's birth and we tend to have similar views. Stacey told me to let it go and reminded me why Cathy is a good match for me for a home birth. She also said, "You might as well get used to it. Every decision you make as a mother will be second guess or outright criticized. You need to do what you think is best and not let other people get to you."

It's a good thing I had a little of room left in my cup, because I took that last bit of advice to heart. I am looking forward to Brad and I doing the best we can in the grand experiment of The Little Butterfly.

* Note: Just for the record, I like and respect my midwife. In many areas we agree so it doesn't matter if we are opinionated. I think she will be great for the birth.


Jill said...

ah Kami - you crack me up. You're such a NW granola! I love it!! :)

But get some diapers. Or you're going to have a wet bed at 3AM! :) I don't know how you can do EC if you're asleep. But more power to you if you can do it when you're awake. I'm way too lazy for that!!

I can't believe you're already at 37 weeks! I had Ben at 36, so you've made it farther than I did. ;)

I can't wait for your birth story and to see if it's a boy or a girl, and hear the name, and see lots of pictures!!!!

katedaphne said...

Ah, I'm sorry you're midwife was having such a dumb-shit day. I guess everyone does now and then. When people get going like that near me, I have started telling them, politely, that I need them to stop talking now. "Really, I know you are trying to help, but I am starting to feel stressed and I need you to stop talking NOW." They are generally sensitive enough to get it, or shocked enough that they don't, but either way they shut up!!

ps, thanks for following me and my blog so faithfully. I wish I didn't walys have such depressing news for you.

MrsSpock said...

Since I'm already starting to feel really isolated in the house, I've started looking for a local mom's group myself. The local crunchy group is out, though. I totally agree with so much of what they believe in, but my story has played out as one "unnatural" thing after another- infertility, medically necessary induction that ended in c-section, and an unenjoyable breastfeeding experience. I have enough guilt without someone who has never struggled casting judgment on my experiences.

Michell said...

Hopefully you will be able to find a group of mothers or whatever that you feel comfortable with. As far as the midwife, as long as you agree and she will follow your wishes, thats the most important part. Hang in there, you are almost there.

DE Mommy said...

Dude, your friend has the best advice. What you're doing sounds pretty cool and very interesting. We breastfed forever and co-slept but used diapers. i'd love if we'd skipped that part. (BTW, i'm reading her b/c of my 8 miscarriages and our past and upcoming de cycles).

The nice thing about the critiscm is that it stops about 2 years in when everybody has had more sleep and no one really gives a crap.

I'm excited to hear about your journey!

Geohde said...

It feels like I've blinked, and now you're full term!

Your friend had a really good point, it seems to me that pregnancy and baby is one of those things that everybody feels compelled to dish out the assvice.


Summer said...

You are so close! I hope the next few weeks go smoothly for you.

I have heard about EC and I'm looking to forward to hearing about your experiences with it.

Panamahat said...

Kami, I have have been quietly enjoying your blog for the past 6 months or more and NaComLeavMo has finally spurred me on to leave a comment. And how easy it is to do! Ha ha. You'll never get rid of me now.

I found it interesting that we wrote on similar topics on almost (?) the same day - cups full and our feelings about being around pregnant people and people with babies....

jodie38 said...

I can see where her strength would come in handy for you on birth day. I guess you just have to take everything else she says outside of work with a grain of salt!
And yeah, your friend has a good point.

This EC thing - never heard of it. Sounds very interesting, though!

niobe said...

I find myself continually having to restrain my impulse to jostle other people's arms so that their tea spills all over the floor.

Sara said...

Your philosophy regarding baby gear is lovely. I am really looking forward to hearing about your EC experience. When I've seen moms in poor countries raising their babies without diapers, it seems that they're doing laundry nonstop (in a river, with a bucket, often). My impression was never that it looked easy at all. Beautiful and admirable yes, but not easy. I guess it's all a matter of perspective, though.

peep said...

I liked your post. You were very diplomatic. The advice thing stresses me out too. Having advice from other mothers and people in general is nice at times but gets to be a little much. I have read a bit about EC and would like to try it. I haven't dared to tell anyone yet because just telling people I am using cloth diapers is enough to get a nice reminder how they leak, don't fit right, are just as bad for the environment etc. etc. Are there any books you can recommend for the EC method? Also, I see your donor was "older" too. Mine was 32 and I think about that whenever I think of the possibility of trying this again with the same donor. I can't wait to hear your story when the baby finally comes!

Gabrielle said...

Dear Kami, I wish we all had friends like your friend Stacey. That sounds like incredibly sage advice and I'm glad you were able to fit it into your nearly full cup.

Phoebe said...

Thanks for visiting my blog. I like your comments about your experience in the Gambia. I was a Peace Corps Volunteer in Senegal. I lived near the Gambia, and used to drive my motorcycle down to Farafini (sp?) to go shopping. Sadly, I can't really remember how the Senegalese women dealt with baby poo. That was almost twenty years ago!

Wow, you are almost there at 37 weeks! Congratulations!

Phoebe said...

Thanks for visiting my blog. I like your comments about your experience in the Gambia. I was a Peace Corps Volunteer in Senegal. I lived near the Gambia, and used to drive my motorcycle down to Farafini (sp?) to go shopping. Sadly, I can't really remember how the Senegalese women dealt with baby poo. That was almost twenty years ago!

Wow, you are almost there at 37 weeks! Congratulations!