So, the appointment was fine. All my test results were good or clear from the first appointment- the eight vials of blood yielded all good news. The baby's heart rate was 160 which led the midwife to say "It's a girl!" Then she chuckled and said "Just kidding. We'll check the parts later." "We don't want to know," I said. "Oh, how nice," she said. But honestly my heart skipped a beat when she said "It's a girl!" Yes, I will be happy either way, but... I have a leaning. I have to be honest. She also gave us the name and contact information of a nurse midwife group at Vanderbilt, the University I'll be attending. We will have two more appointments with this group, including the big mid-pregnancy ultrasound. And then we'll move.
I sent an e-mail to that group tonight inquiring about whether they're accepting new patients, whether they'd take a patient somewhere mid-pregnancy (20 some weeks), and whether they participate in home births or have a birth center option. I am skeptical. Vanderbilt has a med school and a major hospital. I'm guessing they're hospital birth folks. But I also asked if they don't practice either home births or birth center births if they could refer me to a reputable practice that does. I'm not entirely opposed to hospital birth, but if I can have another option I will be THRILLED. So... we'll see.
I also sent the official notification e-mail to Vanderbilt tonight. I'm super nervous about that. This is what I wrote- to the head of the theology department, who will be my advisor probably, and to the head of my fellowship program. Maybe it is too self-disclosive, but it is me, and it is sent. So it'll have to do.
Dear Paul and Ted,
I am in the midst of ministry wrap up- three more worship services to lead, two more sermons to write and preach, lots of goodbye gatherings, and a long to-do list of church and personal tasks. I'm very much looking forward to beginning my studies at Vanderbilt, but it is almost hard to imagine that I'll be on the other side of all this transition by mid-July! I pray that the semester is wrapping up or has wrapped up well for both of you and that you are anticipating some blessings in the upcoming summer. Paul, I'm wondering how your leave plans have worked out for next year. Will you be gone for the whole year or just the second semester?
My primary reason for writing is that I have some news to share. It is news that I share with a bit of anxiety. First, a bit of context- My husband and I were actively trying to conceive on and off for the better part of three and a half years. What started as a joyful journey of hope and expectation became a dark valley of pain and grief. We worked for over a year with a fertility specialist and never once conceived. The day that I found out that I got into Vanderbilt, we quit trying. And exactly two months to that day I found out that I was six weeks pregnant. I am now nearing the end of my first trimester and am due on December 4th.
I now have a new understanding of "Sarah laughed." I snorted a disbelieving laugh when I heard the news, "Now, Lord???" (And wouldn't it figure that my text for my final Sunday, picked months ago, is the anunciation of Isaac!) I did not plan things this way- at all. My hope was that I would have a toddler or school aged child when returning to grad school, not a baby bump and a due date. But, I believe with all my heart that God has called me to further studies AND that God has called me to motherhood so, one way or another I am trusting things will work out.
My understanding is that the semester doesn't end until December 22nd and that the new semester begins January 7th. Is that correct? I was wondering if it would be possible to get syllabi in advance and perhaps set up early deadlines for myself so that I can be done by late November to allow some semblance of a maternity leave. Might that be possible? Do you have other thoughts about how I can navigate these dual realities?
I am also wondering about the nature of the health insurance that I receive with admission. I will likely pay to continue my Board of Pensions coverage just to ensure that my husband will be covered, but should he get a job with benefits I might not. Would my insurance cover pregnancy, birth, and then the baby? Or would I need other insurance for the baby?
I wasn't sure exactly with whom to share this, but I thought the head of the department and the head of theology and practice was a good place to begin. If I need to speak to others, please let me know.
I pray we can work something out.
Peace be with you both,