It's been a sort of amazing day.
After we picked up Willa from her Montessori school this morning, we all went to a winter farmer's market held twice monthly during the off-season and bought amazing goat cheese and Vietnamese vegan curry and salsa and fresh pasta, all of which was grown and handmade within miles of where we live, and which we bought from the makers themselves. The chevre is the best we've ever had. Yum.
And at this exact moment, Willa is snug in bed while I type this and Rob is out at a men's group organized by another homebirth dad we've met before, a homesteader, and the group is held at the Morningstar Midwifery offices where I'll be helping out, and where we were earlier today for our first prenatal, which was lovely and low-key, much more about chatting and catching up than anything medical, which is the way it should be. (Maine's state slogan, for those of you who don't know, is "the way life should be." Indeed.)
All my physical stuff is fine--I'm not even anemic, which is sort of amazing, and everything else seems perfectly normal. I'm measuring slightly big for my dates, which is typical for me, and my blood pressure and all that are fine, and the baby's heartbeat was heard. We have another appointment in three weeks. The great thing about homebirth prenatal care (well, one of the great things), especially for a woman expecting her third baby, is that there really isn't much to do or say if things are going well, but it doesn't make for the most exciting reports. Sorry about that!
I meet again with the midwives next week under my other guise as an assistant, hoping to help out in whatever ways they need me to learn more about what they do and be of use.
And we're already meeting so many new folks to interview for my sabbatical project, the oral history of the new back-to-the-land movement here. We were talking about with the midwives about a guy we hope to interview and Ellie whipped out some photos of the recent homebirth of his first daughter, and then found photos of the guy himself as a little kid at the homebirth of one of his younger siblings! As she flipped through the photo album, it was like an alternative phonebook for the town--"oh, here's the woman who runs the craft store, and here's the folks who own the pizza place," etc.
Then after the prenatal we went to a kabbalat shabbat (sabbath celebration) that happened to be held in town through this cool, progressive synagogue in Rockland (about 40 mins away) that holds different events for its members all over the area. The couple whose house it was live 3 blocks away, literally, and are really nice--the wife is from Queens, and I felt right at ease with her right away. All the people there, who included a librarian who lives on an island with about 400 other people and has a 2 yr old, were extremely amazing. One couple, the wife is Jewish and the husband is a former surfer and they live off the grid and have their own organic fish farm and greenhouse. People were asked by the rabbi to share their thoughts about the week and it was very beautiful, ranging from someone who was worried about the war to someone who was happy they went skiing for the first time this winter. Willa said she was thinking about the baby which of course got a big aww. I said how grateful I am to be here and started crying. Sadly, we had to leave early to get Willa to bed and Rob to his men's group--it's quite the social whirlwind here! But we hope to get together with a lot of these people again and exchanged info.
Oh, and sometimes this group has "shabbat in the wild" which is at the home of a couple who was there tonight and apparently involves chanting in a yurt and trekking through the woods by moonlight!
All of which is to say, Belfast in our first week is exactly as we hoped it would be.