I was really looking forward to having a midwife for my second pregnancy. The first time around we were living in Alberta where midwives weren’t covered by health insurance at the time, so it wasn’t even an option. I was looking forward to the one-on-one care and developing a relationship with the person who would eventually be delivering my baby. In the end, my idealized vision of having a midwife for my pregnancy, labour and delivery was not as awesome as I had hoped (but that’s another post, for another day).
One of the cool things with midwifery care, is at the end of it all, they give you your files. This includes all your appointments during your pregnancy and the files and paperwork done during labour and delivery as well. During a time that was most definitely a big blur (labour!), I thought it would be neat to look back on and see how long each stage of labour was.. what the baby’s apgar scores were, and so on.
It also has medical terminology and notes and marks that I don’t understand. But most of it, I get. I also get that there are terms used medically that are acceptable and par for the course (such as the “r word”, amongst others that aren’t so “PC” anymore in regular vernacular).
I didn’t look at the papers right away. I think I got them at my 6 week, post-partum checkup. It was maybe a few weeks after that, I don’t remember exactly. But I do remember how I felt when I saw those words…
I know it’s medical paperwork. I know why that box is checked. But it didn’t stop me from feeling that instinctive mama bear feeling; my baby far from abnormal.
There’s a section for ‘physical examination at birth’ and another for ‘examination at discharge’. And there it is, in both sections… My baby’s general appearance (along with head and musculoskeletal) was deemed abnormal.
How could this be? Right after he was born, I remember looking at him, thinking I should see something overtly ‘wrong’ with all the concerns people seemed to have. But there he was; a happy, healthy, hungry baby who seemed every bit of ‘normal’. I didn’t do anything differently with him compared to my first newborn baby. He was showered in love, fed a million times/day, snuggled to sleep. Yes, as the weeks went on we had appointments and tests to attend to. But at the end of the day…he was just like any other baby born into this world.
I want to end with… “He was just small, that’s all”. But he wasn’t even small He was a healthy, happy 10 pound newborn baby, just needing to be loved like everyone else. There’s nothing abnormal about that.
About 2 weeks old, Declan’s first Christmas.