Giving birth at The Farm is really a home birth. They encourage families to be there about a month before your estimated due date. This is a time to get settled in this temporary home away from home. There are several birth cabins available for rent. With Baby due the end of January, exactly one month after Christmas, Sara and Casey decided to wait a little longer, after the holidays to set up housekeeping in Tennessee. It was the home of another midwife who was away and often makes her place available for families to rent. It didn't take long for them to get used to the place, unpack belongings and add their own personal touch. Sharon's light filled cabin is nestled in the middle of this private community of homes, surrounded by 4000 continuous acres of beautiful forest!
The weeks and days leading up to this temporary move were super busy so to finally be there was a relief. Another clinic visit with the birthing team was as enjoyable as the first. Carol felt like Sara had some time before baby would be here, offered suggestions of places to visit and things to do. I came up to serve as doula about a week later. Excited to also finally be there. Happy to enjoy these last few weeks and days, cooking, reading, hiking, continuing to prepare for this most important doula work!
If you've read the birth stories in any of the writings of Ina May Gaskin, you'll recall the swimming hole. Although we did not swim, the hike to, from and around this spot was so perfect, so seemingly untouched. This was the area we hiked most often, even in the snow. To get to one portion, "Devil's Backbone"; a steep climb up a rocked ridge, covered in trees, fallen leaves, lovely carpets of green moss, required crossing a creek. The bridge, I mean "bridge", was actually two ropes, tightly strung between trees. One rope for the feet, one about chest high to hold onto. How many very pregnant mommas would venture across such a thing, not once but several times? Sara had no hesitation and made the crossings like a champ! In the pictures below she is "overdue" by 5 days, 1 week before birthing day. Tracking this trek via a phone app, it was the equivalent to 21 stories. Depending on which way we took coming and going, 5-7 miles. Definitely my favorite and most memorable hikes!
Another great hike was to Stillhouse Hollow Falls, a short drive away and open to the public, about 10 minutes from The Farm. We had made this hike on our first trip back in September. A beautiful waterfall that drops some 75 feet is a great reward to this scenic spot. During our Hypnobabies training, this was often the "safe place" I would use in my visualization. It's that pretty! That peaceful!
This area of Tennessee has a large Amish community in nearby Lawrenceburg and the midwives of The Farm have served this population for many years and countless births. Situated in the midst of Amish country is a farm owned by large non-Amish family who sell locally to individuals, restaurants and other markets. We ended up visiting on more than one occasion to purchase farm fresh eggs, fresh milk and meat. If only all farms were like this: animals raised with plenty of room, a healthy diet, cared for so well.
More on my visit to the Amish community in my next post.
Fortunately Sara and Casey have jobs that allow them to work remotely so part of settling in for them was doing what they do and working. Biggest challenge was the internet. That's a whole other story!