So, this is my “twenty” week picture, which was last week. So hard to label pictures when you really don’t know exactly how far along you are! Zeek just had to join in the action.
Last week, we made a big decision for this pregnancy. We decided to transfer to a different birth center. While Bella Vie holds a special place in our hearts and we absolutely loved our birth experience there with Ezekiel, it just didn’t quite feel right for this birth. All of the 4 ladies from my birth team with Zeek are elsewhere now and the midwife that I was assigned to was new to the business. She was nice but I just didn’t feel like she was a good fit for me and Skyler, but she was the only midwife that I could have there because of insurance.
I searched for other options; I hunted down my old midwife (who was amazing, and we still see her husband for our family doctor), but she works in Corvallis which is out of our county and insurance wouldn’t cover it. Same thing for the birth center which I would’ve loved to check out in Portland, where two of my other midwives are now at. I came across the Santiam Women’s Clinic in Stayton (about the same distance as Bella Vie from our house, but in the other direction) and found that they have a water birth center too. Most importantly, they allowed you to birth in the tub. Most hospitals or hospital birth centers that allow you to labor in a tub still make you get out and birth on the bed. I called them to make an appointment with the midwife there.
We had our “meet and greet” appointment last week and I fell in love with the midwife Mabel (who also happens to be the midwife my sister had for the birth of her daughter, 9 years ago!). She is a sweet older lady (around 60 maybe?) from Ghana with an awesome accent but with the warm mothering feel that made me just want to hug her like she was my grandma! She has been a midwife for 40 years, in both Ghana and US. She had to re-do her schooling in US, even though she had schooling and was certified in Ghana previously, and is also a nurse practitioner. You can tell she is well educated just by speaking with her, but has such a warm and sweet personality. As we were walking to our car after the appointment, the only way I could describe my feelings about Mabel to Skyler was this: I told him, “I know this sounds really weird, but I just want to give her a big hug, lay my head on her chest and tell her my deepest secrets. I feel like she would just love on me still.” He laughed and couldn’t understand what I meant exactly, but he liked her too. 🙂 He said he’s a sucker for foreigners – just loves their personalities and cultural differences.
We were both (but especially Skyler) hesitant about giving birth anywhere near a hospital. We just really wanted no unnecessary interventions and loved the homey feel of Bella Vie (an old farmhouse). Didn’t like the feel of a stiff hospital with people bustling in and out, nurses upon nurses coming that we didn’t know, pressure to perform on their birth time table, etc. Skyler was very reserved going into the appointment; sat there with his arms crossed and didn’t say a word for about 1/2 hour. I asked question after question to make sure that everything we wanted for this birth was possible and to see what types of protocol or things they insisted for being linked with a hospital. Mabel was very reassuring in that her viewpoints of birth aligned with ours and she would be an advocate for us. She said, “what Mabel says, goes.” She handled our “interrogation” very well and even taught me a couple things, like what I should be doing to get myself up after laying on a bed in order to save my back. After the hour, I was just totally in love with Mabel. She also told us that they are having a brand new birth center (a building separate than the hospital) opening in October with built in jacuzzi tubs like Bella Vie has. I was fairly sold after this point – I just couldn’t wait to talk to Skyler in private after our appointment and figure out if he felt comfortable there too. I wanted him to like where we were choosing to birth, just as much as I did.
When it came down to it, I finally had to realize that for me, Ezekiel’s birth was such a relational experience and that’s what made me so comfortable, relaxed and trusting throughout my whole labor/birth. Yes, I loved the facility, but more so, I loved the relationships that I had formed there. So if I had to choose relationship or facility, I was going to choose relationship hands down. If I could have a homebirth with Mabel as my midwife, that would be the perfect scenario! But, I’ll settle for the Santiam birth center. 🙂
Anyway – it was a hard decision for us and we spent a long time talking about the pro’s and con’s of it. I feel so much more settled now that we have made our decision. I was just feeling so unprepared for this birth. I wasn’t totally comfortable with my midwife that I had, we didn’t have a boy’s name picked out and I really hadn’t felt like I had time to just reflect or enjoy the fact that I was pregnant yet. Now, we have figured out the midwife situation, we have a boy’s name (YAY! Well, we have the first name anyway. Still need to work on a middle name…), and we had our ultrasound today where we got to just sit back and watch our precious little babe and enjoy the kicks and movements on the screen. I’m finally feeling a little more prepared and ready for this birth! Such a great place to be, finally! (Even though, I know, I still have a ways to go.) I’ve felt like this whole pregnancy has escaped me almost and I’m just NOW getting to enjoy it. (Of course it didn’t help that I was nauseous and sick for so long this pregnancy – that definitely kept me from reflecting and enjoying this pregnancy part!)
Here’s a little video that our ultrasound tech put together for us:
So the only person in the world who knows what gender baby is, is our ultrasound tech! That’s the only part that’s a little weird about not knowing if we’re having a boy or girl – the fact a stranger knows and we don’t! Waiting to find out the gender was seriously the most amazing thing in the world with Ezekiel. There are only a few true surprises in life and that is definitely one of them. Finding out at the ultrasound is exciting too and I’m always excited to find out what my friend’s are having (in fact, one of our friends went in for an ultrasound appt an hour after we did, had the same tech, and found out they’re expecting a little boy!), but for us, having the baby right there in my arms before checking to find out “Ezekiel” or “Ellery” was the greatest, most rewarding thing ever. And I cannot wait to do it again. 🙂
Also, based on the ultrasound, we’re 22 weeks and 3 days instead of 20 weeks and 5 days like I originally thought. SO, from here on out… I’m due the end of December, not the middle of January. I think. *sigh* 🙂
- I’ve been feeling baby kicks so so much lately! I keep telling my friends that it really feels like the baby is kicking me right in the crotch, like it has it’s little foot wedged way down there, trying to break it’s way out of me. Turns out – baby is! The ultrasound today showed the baby breech. (Baby still has plenty of time to flip around; really hoping it’s cooperative and does!) But Mabel has delivered many breech babies vaginally, so I’m not worried.
- I’m feeling huge. What’s new.
- I’m feeling really short of breath already. And tired again. Like I only had about 5 weeks of energy back and now it’s gone again. 🙁 I think that’s mostly due to my incredibly speedy toddler though. SO hard to keep up with his little (FAST) legs!
- Still loving my maxi skirts and tank tops. They are literally life-savers. I would live in sweats without them. Jeans are pretty much non-existent in my wardrobe any more. Or regular shirts.
- We settled on a baby boy name today!! I had suggested a name a few months ago and Skyler liked it also so we kept it in our minds, but weren’t completely set. Then I thought of how it sounds with our last name and I wasn’t so sure anymore. Wasn’t sure it really rolled off the tongue well (but for me, saying my own name has always felt weird coming out of my mouth, so that’s probably why). Then yesterday, after a walk in the park, I saw the boy name “______ Anderson” on a plaque. And I texted a picture to Skyler with the caption “a sign from God!” (half-joking) and we settled on it tonight. 🙂 I’ll tell you the name soon, once we figure out a middle name.
- Zeek really seems to understand that there’s a baby in my tummy. Every day he wants to spend time cuddling my tummy, pointing and saying “baby!” and giving my tummy kisses. He’ll lay his head down on it, pat my belly and say “ni-ni!” (night night) to the baby. We were watching the ultrasound video today and I pointed and said, “who’s that?” and he said, “baby!” and pointed and kissed my tummy again. 🙂 I think he’s going to be an awesome big brother. He just adores babies. He loves to touch their little feet and noses and give them lots of kisses.
All in all, still loving being pregnant, even with the added challenges of having a toddler to chase this time around. 🙂 It’s still a huge blessing and I’m so thankful that God has given us this sweet baby to add to our family! Cannot wait for December/January to meet this little one!