When A. and I moved to the desert last year, to a small town with a regional hospital, A.’s coworker told us that a woman had died there in childbirth earlier that year. These stories are so rare that I was shocked, so I searched online for a newspaper article, but came up dry. Ever since, I’ve heard multiple stories about this incident. But the most solid one so far it that the woman was high-risk, overweight and needed a C-section, but waited too long against the doctor’s advice. It was a windy day — so windy that when she was bleeding, the staff couldn’t land a helicopter to fly her to another hospital. And the regional hospital didn’t have enough blood to replenish her.
When C. turned 18 months, I was ready to try for another baby — mostly. But I was a little nervous about what that meant for my delivery should we be successful. We tried, and we’re one of those freak (or lucky) couples that gets pregnant first try, each time. My morning sickness was more manageable this time, save for the desert heat, and I’ve treated this baby like the classic second baby: Haven’t given it much thought — no photos of my belly, no letters to the fetus, no stress.
Except, of course, where to deliver. I’ve been obsessed. We had such a good experience at Georgetown in D.C., and I felt like I was in expert hands, that anywhere in the countryside feels like I’ll be delivering in a barn. I made appointments at the local hospital and at one with a better reputation an hour and 15 minutes away. I’ve seen a fetal diagnostician in the other town, too. (The baby is due on my 37th birthday). But my local doctor wanted me to decide, now, at 20 weeks, because she’s “anal” and doesn’t want to miss anything. She told me to “pray on it or whatever I do” and let her know.
So, after much deliberation, I decided to stay in town. I decided to stay close in case this baby comes quickly. I decided to go with a doctor I trust, even if I don’t quite trust the hospital, because she’s thorough, conscientious and well-trained. I decided to continue to see the fetal expert, who last week told me the baby was “on the big side” and to come back at 28 weeks. And I decided to put faith and trust in my body that I’ll be OK. To stay fit, make good decisions and hope it’s not windy the day I deliver. It helps that I know at least 10 women who delivered there safely, successfully and (relatively) happily.
A friend asked me recently if I was excited about baby no. 2. It doesn’t seem real yet, but I have moments of heart-pumping excitement to meet this little person. And then I have moments where I’m dreading those first six months of no sleep, intense hormones and giving my body over to a wiggly, helpless creature. But right now, I’m just relieved I’ve made my decision about the hospital and can enjoy the little kicks and dream about whether C. will have a brother or sister.