Sunday, October 11, 2009

Attended My First Birth

I am a photographer and recently got asked to capture a home birth. I agreed not knowing what I was getting into but really excited to experience a birth.

On Wednesday afternoon I got a phone call- her water had broke! I was told to be on hold and prepared to head out as soon as S's (the mom) contractions started. Then at around 7:45 I got the phone call- come on over, we're ready to go!

I arrive at the house about half an hour later at exactly the same moment as the midwifes (who I found out live in my neighborhood!). S was already in the birthing tub in her bedroom having back-to-back contractions. Her husband was patting her on her arm, and her friend and 11-year-old daughter were hanging out on the bed.

One thing that I wasn't expecting- the atmosphere. Everyone was just hanging out, calm as can be, like she does this every day. It was quiet, everyone talking with low voices but audible enough for everyone else to hear. The midwifes went to work right away, hauling in two very large bags of medical supplies, but weren't dashing around like I thought they would be. They just got out some forms and checked the heart beat with a dopplar and checked her cervix. Then they let her be and hung back to let S labor.

It wasn't until S announced that she was ready to push that anyone really moved. Then we all gathered around the birthing tub as the daughter, wearing a bathing suit, hopped in with her Mom. I always thought the pushing part takes a while, but I guess when it's your 5th baby and you have had only fast deliveries in the past, pushing takes no time at all! Because next thing I know the baby girl entered the world, caught by her sister.

After that everything went back to the way it was before. Everyone just hung out, admiring the beautiful little girl that had just entered this world. The pace was very slow and relaxed. S held her baby to her chest until she started feeling crampy again and then went into the bathroom to deliver the placenta. It was then that the cord was cut and the baby was weighed... 9 pounds, 2 ounces!!! After that, Mom, Dad, baby, sister, and one of their sons who Dad had woken up to come meet his little sister, got into the bed and just spent time as a family.

I left when the midwifes left, around midnight. When I got into my car I was grinning from ear to ear. It was such a peaceful and wonderful experience and exactly what I want for my birth. I know my labor won't be like that in pace, but I hope for it to be like that in atmosphere. Even if I end up having to birth in a hospital instead of home I know now how important it is to find a hospital that will allow the parents to have a certain amount of control over the deliver. Low lights, low voices, no rushing, and everyone just feeling comfortable enough to sit back and enjoy themselves is exactly what I think of as a "perfect" delivery. And if I can do it at home, even better!

I really wish I could share the pictures but I haven't spoken with S yet about her comfort level with that. But if you've never had the chance to attend a birth but get invited to, I highly recommend going. You can read all the books you want and watch YouTube videos until your eyes fall out, but there's nothing like really being there! Birth is such an amazing and wonderful thing and I'm envious of those of you who have already experienced it or who get to experience it soon.

But the real personal part of this post is- I've found my midwife! If my husband and I are still living here when this time comes I want to use this midwife. She's not only a very caring, experienced midwife, but she also lives 2 minutes from me. :)

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for sharing your experience. Sounds like such a peaceful birth!

    Congrats on finding your midwife!