Today, as you read this, I celebrate my 30th birthday. I’m probably at home, caring for my 2-year-old and newborn. Perhaps I’m writing, perhaps not.
If you had asked me a few years ago where I’d be on my 30th birthday, a work-at-home mom living in my hometown would have been the last place I would have named. I envisioned myself living in some faraway land as a missionary. But life often takes unexpected twists and turns, and last year, I ended up back here after a 10-year hiatus, where I lived both out of state and in two different countries.
During that time, besides an occasional visit to see my parents, my hometown wasn’t anywhere on my radar.
You see, I’m one of the few residents of this town who actually grew up here. My favorite childhood memories include Carrigan’s strawberries and pumpkins, the library’s summer reading program and downtown’s Christmas parade.
Now, I’m not technically a native. I call myself a first-generation transplant. My parents moved to here when I was 8. When people around town laugh at my Southern accent, I say, “Watch out. Your kids may just end up talking like me.”
Three weeks ago, my second daughter was born in my hometown. Even as a child, I never once imagined my own would be born here. I’ll admit when I found out I was pregnant, I naively thought my hospital choices looked bleak. My family was living in a different city and state when my first daughter was born, and I delivered her at a large, “state-of-the-art” hospital. I mistakenly believed I wouldn’t be able to find the same care in a smaller city.
Boy, was I wrong.
My husband and I looked at three different area hospitals and four local providers before entrusting my care to Lake Norman Regional Medical Center and the midwives at Lake Norman OBGYN.
And it was the best choice we could have made.
After a long, intervention-laced labor with my firstborn, I was determined to do my research and prepare for the most natural delivery possible with my second.
I spent my pregnancy reading books and articles and watching documentaries on natural childbirth, and I solicited the help of a local doula, Gayle Robertson, of LKN Doula. Gayle moved here a little more than a year ago and began fulfilling her dream of assisting women in one of the most significant events of their lives.
Along with Gayle and my husband, my good friend and massage therapist, Leanna Taylor, attended the birth. I couldn’t have done it without them, my midwife, Beverly Holmes, and the wonderful hospital staff.
My labor only lasted 8 hours. I arrived at the hospital about 3 1/2 hours after it started. I felt completely respected by Beverly throughout the experience. She was professional yet personable and never pressured me regarding any unnecessary interventions. The result was the natural labor I desired.
The post-partum nurses were friendly and respectful as well. They complied with my wishes not to give my baby a bottle or pacifier since I’m nursing her. They sought my permission before performing any tests on my baby — even before giving her a bath!
After having my second baby, I have an even greater appreciation for medical professionals. They care for you in your most vulnerable moments, and it was clear the top concern of the staff at our community hospital was my health and the health of my baby. I can’t imagine finding better care anywhere else.
I see nursing and midwifery as two of the noblest professions. If I were a little better at science and a little less squeamish around blood I’d consider one as a second career … but I better stick to motherhood and writing.
Motherhood and writing … and living in my hometown. No, it’s not where I imagined myself at 30, but it’s where God knew I’d be, and I’m thankful. For now, I can’t think of anywhere else I’d rather call home.
**This column first appeared in the November 12, 2010 issue of the Mooresville Weekly.**