So there I stand, eating a peanut butter granola bar during the break in our first symphony rehearsal a couple of weeks ago, when I see some movement out of the corner of my eye. I look over to see who has entered the room as I take a bite of said granola bar and promptly choke on it: it's one of my former midwives. Awkward.
Now, it's not like I haven't seen the midwives out and about around town before; alas, I've run into this one (and two others) at the grocery store. I don't imagine that they all constantly live at the Birth Center, humming around their little baby-shaped hive like little worker birthing bumble bees (although that does form quite an interesting mental picture). And I like this midwife quite a bit. We got along in the whole prenatal process. She was there at Bean's Birth Day Attempt #1. She wasn't in any way involved in Bean's Birth Day Attempt #3, so no hard feelings there. She has fabulous hair that I've always secretly been fascinated by. And she is the only midwife to date that has actually seen Ainslie. I like this woman, and I want to be her friend in an elementary school, kicking-the-ground-while-asking-if-I-can-play-with-you-at-recess kind of way. The problem is that, along with a cloud of Earth Mama Fabulousity, she also brings with her all the memories and ideas of what could've been when it came to Ainslie's birth, and what actually did happen. For the better part of ten months, I had this picture in my mind of what it would be like to finally meet our little Bean: we'd be at the Birth Center, and I'd push and push and push and they'd tell me the baby was coming and then she'd be there and they'd hand her to me and Kip and I would cry with joy and say, "It's Ainslie!" and she'd be crying and cold and generally pissed that she'd just been squeezed into the world, but we'd be a family and we'd all crawl into bed together and cuddle until we'd go home a few hours later, where we'd embark upon the adventures of parenthood and the midwives would come visit the next day to check in on us and congratulate us on such a beautiful baby who entered the world in such a beautiful way.
Obviously, this isn't what happened. We cried with fear instead and didn't get to cuddle as a family for the better part of three weeks while she lay in an isolette in the NICU and it took two and a half months for me to even be able to sit up on my own because of all the pushing and exhaustion and major surgery and she is a beautiful baby (even the NICU nurses said so) but she didn't enter the world in such a beautiful way. And seeing that midwife again brought all of those would-be memories and "did that really happen?" experiences back. And I get to experience that again twice a week for the next month. Hooray.
So I choked on my granola bar, went over and said hi while trying to seem chipper and avoiding eye contact, and spent the next rehearsal glancing over at the oboe section every three seconds just like I did in my college symphony rehearsals when my trumpet-playing ex-boyfriend who hated my guts would attend rehearsals and give me the stink eye during breaks, casting a giant cloud of awkwardness over the whole experience.
On the plus side, I was secretly very proud of the fact that she caught me eating a peanut butter granola bar, since it's just so very high in protein.