The girls and I were warmly welcomed by a smiling face and ushered inside. The boys had gone with Sean up to the cabin the night before and so it was just us girls today, making the long trek.
Ella was perched on my hip and big belly, smudges of grape on her smiling face from breakfast in the van. Annaliese carried her baby doll under one arm.
I sat in the big upholstered chair and gave a sigh of relief at setting Ella down on the floor to play.
"You're looking pregnant," the friendly woman across from me said with a slight grin and I laughed.
"Yes, a little."
The room is small with a desk, some comfortable chairs and a real bed with an antique quilt and pillows. Books on midwifery and medicine line the shelves against one wall. Under the bed are bins of toy for the kids to play with while we're there. It is a very cozy and comfortable atmosphere.
The woman across from me surveying my belly is my midwife. Each appointment with her lasts about an hour. Compared to a doctor who flies into the room, measures the belly, makes some notations and flies out, this is very wonderfully different for me. While chit-chatting, the midwife asks what I want the same or different at this birth that I had at the others and so we talk while she takes my blood pressure and pulse.
Each time she asks about my diet, takes all my vitals, checks my urine and sometimes finger pricks me to check my blood sugar and just asks general questions about my life. This morning we went over what to get for a birth kit and some teas that are helpful to start drinking now - raspberry leaf and nettle. Both are to be brewed strong, she tells me, and left to sit in the fridge overnight before beginning to drink a cupful a day. I'm thinking that they'll need some honey to be palatable that way but I happily agree to drinking them.
The girls play and she talks with them. Annaliese and I have been talking a lot about birth lately and what it is like for a Mama. She is fascinated.
In a few weeks the midwife and her assistant will come to our home for a home visit and to make sure they can both get here easily and as quickly as possible. The midwife lives a bit of a distance away which shouldn't be a problem since my babies have always given me plenty of notice that they are coming.
"I have been trying to take it easier", I tell the midwife when we talk about what to do if the baby comes early, "leaving the paint brushes and wallpapering alone for now and sticking to sewing and knitting."
The midwife says it's about time...
I've also been trying to pack more protein and iron into my diet so that recuperating is easier afterward. Even though I feel like I'm eating like a horse, I've gained 18 lbs so far. A smaller baby hopefully?
The midwife asks if I'm eating enough and I laugh and reassure her that I am.
I usually gain about 30 lbs with each pregnancy and I still have seven weeks of eating left. The only thing I haven't indulged in this pregnancy that I usually do is ice cream. It has been so cold and damp out...
The appointment over, we said goodbye and stop at a favorite store on the way home, picking up some baskets for keeping baby clothes in.
Sean and the boys are home in all their sweaty, manly glory. I missed them.