365 days in Michiana every year, someone is going into labor. In about 12 of those births, I'm waiting for my ringtone to go off. I'm waiting for things to start. Each mom gets their own special ring tone in my phone. Two of my favorites are "Baby, Baby, Oh!" (Baby by Justin Bieber) & "Ahhhh Push it!" (Push it by Salt n Pepper). It's fun. It's also helpful to cue me that something might be happening with a family. This special ringtone is assigned right after your birth is booked. I don't wait until I'm on call, because the reality is - no matter how early baby might come, I am coming. Even if I'm not on-call yet.
Two weeks before the due date, my bag is packed and by the door. The batteries are charged. The memory card is empty and waiting to be filled. When I leave the house, the bag comes with me. I do my best to stay within about an hour from either the birthing location or my home. I don't go on vacation. When it's time to go, I'm ready.
I know what to expect next. Usually. But for many moms, this is the first time they're going through this, the first time they're experiencing contractions, the first time they're trying to decide when it's time to go to their birthing location. While your medical professionals are the best ones to help with the timing of all of that, I can tell you when the best times to connect with me might be. We both want me to be there when baby arrives.
So when you think it might be time ... what's next?
When should you connect with me (Andrea)?
They've started. Seemingly out of no where, the muscles around your abdomen begin to tighten like a fist. Maybe 30 seconds later, it relaxes. Seven minutes later, it happens again. You stop walking so that you can concentrate and breathe through this feeling.
You're in labor.
I am not a medical professional, but some of the signs of labor may include:
• the bloody show: when a small amount of blood and mucous is released, because your cervix is changing.
• contractions or tightening around your abdomen
• an urge to use the bathroom
• your water breaks
I am not the most important person to let know of what's happening. That likely lies with "dad" or your medical professional. But this is a good time to send me (Andrea, the birth photographer) a text or call. This lets me know that things are progressing and it's time to start getting my ducks in a row to leave asap. This is when I start to make sure my kids are settled and have everything they need. It's when I make sure I've let the dog out to go to the bathroom.
Once you have decided that it's time to go to the birthing location - or call for the midwife to arrive at your home - that's also a good time to call or text me to let me know what's happening. When I learn that you are heading to the birthing location, we might still have a long time to go. You likely don't need me there yet -- but you might. When I get the call that you're heading to the birthing location, that's when I also head to the birthing location area. I usually will stake out at a local coffee shop or grab something to eat and park nearby. I would much rather be in the immediate area (especially if the birthing center is far from my home in Granger), just in case things pick up quick.
It's not uncommon that once you've arrived at your birthing location, they'll want to watch you for a little while, just to make sure that you are in active labor. When you are, they'll admit you. I've never seen anyone be sent home once they were admitted (although, I've heard stories from other states). This makes it a good time for me to show up. If you've been admitted, we can be sure that your birth story has indeed begun, if not in the throws of it. This is the last time that you'll call or text me, so that I know it's time to come.
It's very sweet when moms and dads are concerned about my time. But this is why you've hired me. To tell your birth story. My shortest birth was 2 hours and my longest birth was 53 hours. It is so hard to tell what it's going to be like when it's your turn. I promise you that I'm thrilled to be there for every moment of it. Everything else in my life is on hold and this baby entering the world becomes the most important thing happening in the world.
To recap, call or text Andrea when:
• you're starting to experience labor activity
• you head to the birthing location
• you've been admitted to the birthing location
I'm looking forward to your text!!
I hope you found this blog post helpful! If you’re interested in booking me for the birth of your baby, visit the booking page. It's an honor to be considered.