My first home birth: a beautiful water birth
Yesterday I had the pleasure of witnessing my very first home birth, and it also happened to be my first water birth. This family was absolutely amazing in every way. They were kind to everyone in their house, supportive of each other, and most importantly, they were bursting with love. Mom (Rachel) and dad chose to have their other two daughters present for the birth, and I think this made the day absolutely beautiful. The birth team consisted of the midwife and her two apprentices, Jill and Courtney. Rachel had also decided to hire a birth photographer to document this amazing experience. Rachel's first two children were also born at home, so she was a seasoned pro. I arrived at around 10:30 in the morning after Rachel had been having regular contractions through most of the night. I was immediately in awe at how well Rachel was managing her contractions. She carried on in conversation with barely a pause as Jill performed a few hip squeezes. Rachel's husband also offered his amazing support and I could just see the love beaming between them. By 11:40, Rachel decided it was time to get in the tub.
Their children were so sweet and bursting with excitement knowing they were finally going to meet their baby sister. The 5 year old laughed and said that she thought the pregnancy was a joke, that she didn't really have another sister coming...but that she was starting to believe it now. The 3 year old was right there, wanting to know everything that was going on throughout the whole labor. Both girls spent some time in the tub with their Mama offering their verbal support while they washed her with cloths. They were careful not to splash or yell too much because they didn't want to push baby back in (their words). One of them also decided that it was a good time to ask "What's a cod fish?" and after a thorough explanation, it was decided that all was good as long as there were no cod fish swimming around in the birth tub. As things neared the pushing phase, it was almost as if the girls knew they needed to give mom and dad space, and asked to go outside for a bit. Miraculously, just before their baby sister was born, they decided to come in, so they were both able to witness her birth.
The other births that I've had the pleasure to attend have been hospital births, including the birth of my son. While each and every birth I attend is beautiful, this one was incredibly different. Everyone in the room trusted birth and all that it entails, and they respected that Baby S knew just what to do, and how to enter this world. In fact, you almost wouldn't have known Rachel was in labor, until maybe the last 30 minutes. After a few exclamations of "I don't think I can do this" coupled with some strong encouraging "yes you can's" that were followed by various positions changes, it was time for the delivery. As little S was born under water, caught mostly by daddy, I swear I saw her emerge with her eyes wide open, looking for her momma's beautiful face. Soon after the birth, the 3 year old joined mom, dad and baby S in the tub while big sister looked on and offered some finger puppet entertainment.
I don't think that I will forget any of the births I attend, but I know for a fact I will never forget this one. It was beautiful. The relaxation in the home along with the love and support is a memory I will treasure forever. I feel so lucky to have worked with Wendy, Jill, Courtney and Yamile. Thank you to the entire family and birth team for letting me share this miraculous experience with you. Rachel, you are full of strength, love, and beauty!