I had the privilege of attending this homebirth -- one of the longer births I have witnessed as a doula, 38 hours. Had this been a hospital birth, I am positive it would not have been allowed to progress at its own pace. All the while, Mom and Baby were perfect, healthy, and happy. Baby just decided to come out OP, face-up, and that made things happen a little slower than what we expected. There is just nothing like watching a woman bloom in labor -- no matter where she is -- when she feels safe, cared-for, and in-control.
I want to share what I think and how I feel about pregnancy and birth. I believe so much in respectful, evidence-based care for women and their babies. To me it's about choice; the choice to choose a care provider you're comfortable with, the choice to deliver your baby in the place you feel safest, and the choice to surround yourself with the people who will best support and love you during labor. Not everyone will make the same choices, and that shows how important it is for women to have safe options for whatever method they choose. Below are some photos of me in labor with our sweet baby boy and right after birth. We are all familiar with what hospital birth looks like, so here's a look at the other side.
Here my midwife's apprentice is showing my midwife how to hold up my belly and gently shake it side to side. This was heavenly! It got the weight of my baby off my back and was such a relief. and my husband has his feet up, too! Power of an effective birth team!
Here we were trying to get my labor to progress. I had such a strange labor (to me at least, no one else seemed that surprised!). It was a lot of intense contractions followed by long breaks. It didn't progress normally and we were surprised when my midwife would check my dilation and said there had been significant progress. The sweetness and patience of my support team is not lost on me. I would probably have not been able to labor so long at the hospital without intervention and augmentation. I'm thankful I got plenty of time to labor, even if it was unconventional.
"This may just look like a picture of two blurry feet with toenails of pink. But what you don't see is the AMAZING way a woman blossoms while laboring at home with the support of her family, her midwife, and her birth team. One foot is mine -- offering leverage and stability to the other foot -- a woman as she works to push her baby out. Not seen is the midwife using creative means to look for baby while not disturbing mom's floor-crouching position, dad who is behind mom physically supporting her, a student midwife simultaneously uplifting mom while preparing to serve birthing women in the future, and grandma who takes care of us all with homemade food and hospitality. Homebirth with a midwife offers a respect and kindness for the woman that is hard to find in the hospital, at least I can say that is my experience. What a joy to witness the simple miracle of birth and the power of a woman in her home who has choices and support."
I just love this picture and think it sums up homebirth perfectly. My midwife and her apprentice are studying me and waiting patiently for my next contraction. The equipment behind them is ready for use if we need it, but do not rely on it, trusting that my body knows how to birth this baby. I remember them encouraging me; telling me what a good job I was doing and that soon my baby would be in my arms. My husband sits behind me, a rebozo around his shoulders so I can use the scarf to pull on while I push through a contraction. Not pictured are my mom and Stacie, who are also watching and waiting, ready with a drink of water or a cool washcloth to wipe my forehead. What a privilege it was to be surrounded by this excellent, prepared and encouraging team!
Our baby is finally born!! We eventually moved onto the bed and were surprised to see him come out face first! My midwife rubs him down and checks to see that he's breathing. I am pretty much yelling about how much I love this little guy. Haha! What a rush of emotions!!!
For us, homebirth was where we felt safest and most comfortable, and where we believed our choices would be respected, while still having professionals available to advise us on risks and look out for potential problems. It is how I have birthed all three of my babies. And I wouldn't have it any other way.
♥ four young boys and a boy dog (offspring)