Photo: self

We are in the direct path of Hurricane Matthew’s approach to South Florida and as we prepare, I’m reminded of just over a year ago as I sat awaiting my fourth baby, I also watched a tropical storm heading towards us. I’ve been (un)lucky that three out of my four babies were born during hurricane season and I’ve had my fair share of hurricane baby fears. 

My first arrived sandwiched between two storms and my second was born just 6 days after Tropical Storm Bonnie made landfall in South Florida in 2010. Luckily Bonnie dissipated quickly and the storm just brought us heavy rains, but it didn’t quell my hurricane baby fears leading up to the storm.

Then last year came and as I stared down my due date and no baby (even though I was more than ready!), I also watched Tropical Storm Erika beat down on Dominica and the weather reports said we were next and hurricane baby fear went to a whole new level! Luckily Tropical Storm Erika also dissipated before she became a problem for baby and me but not before I took the time to write how I was feeling.

And as we sit here on the edge of a major storm heading towards my home, I know there are pregnant women out there, including a dear friend of mine, within the range of soon welcoming their babies and I know these feelings are all around, even if they’re no longer my own.

A Hurricane Baby? No Thank You!

I feel like I’ve heard it a thousand times over the past few days.  From strangers and from well-meaning family and friends.  “Maybe you’ll have a hurricane baby!”  “You could name her Erika!”

I get it, I do.  It sounds kind of exciting.  And Oh! the birth story I would have!  I could twist quite a tale of over-exaggerated details and a plot line that would make mouths drop.

But let’s be real for a minute: we’re talking about having a baby.  And while I am mother nature’s #1 fan when it come to birthing and I believe wholeheartedly in the miraculous strength, power and ability of each mother’s body to bring her child into the world, that doesn’t make birth fool-proof.  There could always be things that are out of one’s control, that could complicate things.  Throw on top of the uncertainty of birth the wild unpredictability of a major tropical storm…no thank you, not me!

I just want a peaceful birthat home, with my husband and kids present.  Oh, and my midwife, too.  And that’s where storms get complicated.

If my baby does decide to come during the storm, the bad weather could keep my midwife from being able to safely get to my side.  Plus emergency medical services aren’t allowed out during certain bad conditions.  So I could be left to fend for myself and our new baby with no medical aid available.  If s/he did decide to come during the storm.

So what’s a mommy to do?  Well, the medical establishment says that because I am due the day after the storm is to arrive, I should probably go “sit it out” at the closest hospital with a NICU.  That all sounds very safe and dandy, but who wants to sit at a hospital just waiting when they could be at home in their comfy bed?  Who would choose to sit at the hospital for possibly days on end when they are perfectly healthy?

And what about my three other children, they certainly wouldn’t be invited to come wait with us so I would miss out on all the moments of them experiencing the storm (which already has my eldest completely freaked out) and if the baby did happen to come while we were there, my children would miss it.  It would be hours or even days before they could meet their new baby brother or sister and that is the exact opposite of why we choose homebirth.  We want our kids to be a part of the experience and to be there in this sweet baby’s first moments.

So before you think you’re being cheeky and wish me a hurricane baby, really think about what you’re saying and what that really means.  Because as far as I’m concerned, unless it gets moving, this baby is waiting out the storm inside so maybe instead you can give me the age-old advice “you better keep your legs crossed!” because that’s exactly what I’ll be doing until this storm passes!

If you’re in the storm path of Hurricane Matthew, stay safe and if not, please keep all the expecting mommies in your thoughts as we weather the storm and wait for the safe arrival of all babies!