baby by plane or by boat?

Mom and I at the Friday Harbor Farmer's Market

So you know how they say that it’s a good idea for expecting parents to do a practice run to the hospital? To at least know what route they will take? Well, that’s a little difficult when living on an island. Especially this island.

We are twelve days from our due date and getting everything in order.

Mom is here now and helping me prepare. As I write this, she is outside painting a two-drawer dresser for the baby’s room that I bought at a garage sale several weeks ago. It’s so wonderful having her here. Thanks, Mom!

Saturday we were at a garage sale when someone asked me when I was due. He then announced proudly, “My son was born on the Elwha.” (The Elwha is one of the Washington State Ferries that goes between Friday Harbor and the mainland.) “That,” I told him, “is exactly what we are trying to avoid.”

But how?

Well, several ways. First, I’m listening to my body. Paying attention. Hoping I’ll know when to get on the ferry.

Some people make arrangements to be on the mainland prior to the due date so as not to have to worry about the ferry schedule. We’re not doing that. Because this is my first. And the first is usually late. So what if I’m really late? Where would we stay? What would we do. I’m so uncomfortable sleeping in even my amazingly comfortable bed, I don’t want to be in a motel room bed for days or weeks. So we’re hoping I will just know.

But… what if I go into labor in the middle of the night when the ferry isn’t running?

Great question.

Answer? We fly.

Here is a break-down of three different scenarios…

SCENARIO #1 – Helicopter

Let’s say my water breaks in the middle of the night and everything seems to be moving really, really fast… in that case, I would most likely be airlifted off in a helicopter. Back in November when we found out I was pregnant, we purchased Life Flight Insurance. It costs something like $75 per year for the whole family. So if I have to get to the hospital ASAP, that’s the way to go. And I’m lucky that we’re not in high-wind season. The only draw-back to this scenario is that apparently they only take me. Everyone else- Bob, Mom, Midwife, Doula – all have to go separately. At least that’s what I’ve been told.

SCENARIO #2 – Charter Flight

My water breaks in the middle of the night… or some other sure sign of labor happens… but I’m clear that things are not imminent. But I want to get to the mainland now. To be safe. Rather than wait for the first ferry of the day.

What do I do? I call Westwind Aviation and let them know that it’s time. Today I spoke to them to arrange this potential charter flight. They are available 24 hours a day and can take me plus two more people. I’m thinking that if Bob is here, that would be Bob and my midwife on Orcas Island. They told me that the ball park cost to fly from Friday Harbor to Orcas to Anacortes would be $150. The knowledge that I would have both my husband and midwife with me would be priceless. I just wish Mom could come with us as well. Mom and my doula wouldn’t fit in this scenario. Definite drawback.

SCENARIO #3 – Ferry

The little guy waits until Bob is home on the weekend before deciding to kick this labor thing into gear. Not only that… he also waits until the ferries are running. In that case, we would call my midwife and doula right away to let them know the situation. My labor will be in such a state that it will be perfectly fine for us to catch the ferry and head over to the mainland to meet up with my midwife and doula. In this case, we drive to the ferry and tell them that I have JUST started my labor and have a LONG way to go. Apparently if they think you are too far along, they won’t let you on the ferry. But I have to tell them I’m in labor in order to be let up to the front of the line as a priority passenger. This is one ferry we cannot miss.

They let us on the ferry, the ride is nice and easy, we head to the hospital on the mainland, meet up with my midwife and doula, everything progresses as planned and hours later we have a healthy, happy baby boy.

For the record, I’m rooting for Scenario #3.

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4 Responses

  1. Well I will keep my fingers crossed for scenario 3!! I will also keep them crossed that you don’t end up in scenario 1 like I did, water broke at 5:15am, baby was born at 9:54am. Jami drove me to the hospital and was starting to get nervous I would give birth in her car. 🙂

  2. From what I understand, the Life Flight takes about 20 minutes to the Island Hospital in Anacortes. My Dad was on it and said it was loud, but that was it. Okay, did I miss something here? Who’s Doula?

  3. I’m so excited for you. Sounds like all the possibilities are covered so I know you and Malcolm will do well. Really looking forward to the blog when you write about your experience and send pics of the little guy!
    Love, Shirley
    Hi to Grandma too.

  4. Scenario #4 You are overdue and you can go into the hospital and your doctor can induce labor. That way you can take the ferry and know approximately when the baby will arrive.

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