“Hmm…”  Herbal Tea nodded, head tilted slightly to one side.

Jeans still pulled uncomfortably low around my waist from the fundal height measurement, I sat across from her and thought, “I know that hmm…”  That exhale of breath through closed lips, the head tilt, the non-committal nodding: they form the exact expression that I utilize in my work on a regular basis to express non-judgement, most often at the times when I am judging somebody the most.

Despite connecting with Herbal Tea over lesbian prison drama during our last meeting, this appointment was not going well.  Herbal Tea had begun by pointedly noting that Sea wasn’t there, commenting that she “must be very busy with work”.  She had then asked if I had spoken to my mother about my birth, or my sibling’s birth.  I had answered honestly and unthinkingly, telling her that my mother had told me stories, but that I didn’t want to talk about birth with my mother.  Ever.  Herbal Tea’s voice, still mild, expressed shock.  Why wouldn’t I want to talk about birth with my mother?  I tried to backtrack, rushing out a story about the difficulties my mother had experienced in an understaffed hospital when my sibling was born on a holiday.   “Oh, my son was born on the same holiday.” Herbal Tea replied.  “Except it was a home birth.  It was magical.”  Oh.

The “hmm…” happened a few minutes later, when Herbal Tea asked if Sea and I had yet attended one of the clinic’s home birth seminars.  No, I explained, we had decided on a hospital birth.  “Hmm…” Herbal Tea nodded, head tilted slightly towards one side.  And though I’m intimately familiar with the judgement of that “hmm…”, Herbal Tea refrained from saying anything else.  I know that a hospital birth in a single bed sandwiched between the room’s linoleum floor and halogen lights isn’t what Herbal Tea would have chosen, but for Sea and me there is more comfort in this strange and sterile environment than in the warmth of our own living room.  In different ways, Sea and I are both anxious people by nature, and in this very unfamiliar thing we’ve decided we would rather be surrounded by the people and technologies equipped to deal with emergency than by our cats.  So I responded to Herbal Tea with a head tilt and nod of my own, and we moved on.

We’re now at 32 weeks (now 32.5).  Bingo is measuring right on track.  Even more importantly, Bingo is now head down.  And I am sure that, just to spite both me and Herbal Tea, Bingo will be born somewhere else entirely.  On my office floor, maybe.  Or in a taxi.  Or on the floor of Herbal Tea’s office as she tilts her head to the side and nods.


13 thoughts on “Hmm…

  1. Catch tells me that I react to similar “Hmms” with an involuntary roll of my eyes. I swear I don’t do it, and she swears I do it every time. That aside… 32 weeks! Time is flying. How exciting for you guys!

  2. It annoys me when people go for the letter versus the spirit, home births are nice because people are generally more comfortable, but it sounds like it would have the opposite effect on you. Personally, were I to give birth, I’d be very much on the hospital train too.

  3. Um, WTF Herbal? Uncalled for. I feel out-classed often on the interwebs, because Sugar often cannot get away from work for every.single.appointment. That’s why they call it work, you know? But no practitioner has ever had the gall to comment on it.

    Furthermore, I don’t care how everloving beautiful homebirth is (and recent revelations make me think I might not have survived one, or at least not without some quick ambulance-ing, so you may call me biased), there are perfectly good reasons to prefer a hospital birth, and unless this practice only does homebirth (which I doubt, since there you are), surely they’ve thought of that? Sheesh.

    • The weird thing is that I’ve never seen any other client in the clinic with a partner. Ever. Everybody comes and goes by themselves. So I’m really not sure where Herbal Tea’s judgement about Sea’s absence came from.

      And I’m pretty sure that the clinic told me that they do a fairly even split of hospital/home births- so I’m not sure where that judgement came from either!

  4. Your midwives don’t sound midwife-ish to me. They are supposed to support and empower you to make your own choices, whether they’re the ones they would make for themselves or not.

    Home stretch now!

  5. I’m totally with you on the hospital train. I’d rather not have any unnecessary interventions, but I want any potentially *necessary* interventions (and they can be life-or-death necessary) really easy to access. Personally, I feel more relaxed that way.

    Also, we live in an apartment, and I don’t really want to worry about neighbors and noise levels. And having witnessed a birth, it’s… kind of messy. I’d rather have someone else cleaning it up. Does that make me terrible?

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