Home births are amazing. I am a huge believer in the comfort of being in your own home, supported deeply by the people that love you, in an space you have created where you feel safe. This birth was so beautiful.
Mama had texted me in the mid-morning, telling me today might be the day but not to hurry. She was calm, collected, and told me she thought it would be a while. This was her 4th child, and something in my gut told me to dig a little deeper. I had nothing to do that day, and was on my toes in anticipation. I knew this birth was going to be GORGEOUS and no way I was missing it! I texted mama a few times an hour, asking how she was doing, and finally I just said are you sure you aren't ready for me to come? I assured her my day was free and I was happy to come hang out and keep her company even if it wasn't quite time yet. She didn't answer right away, so I made my way over. When I arrived, she was still shrugging her shoulders, breathing, and prepared for hours more of labor. She figured baby might come that night sometime.
I watched her walking around, she was cheery and happy and rubbing baby. Her contractions looked deep. She would internalize, really tune into her body. She'd lean against her husband, or the wall, and breath deep and let gravity pull her down in rythem. Soon she laid down, and rested, and started to tell us that hey this is really hurting! Her midwives were so caring, smiling, knowing. We saw what she didn't, she was making great progress, and those contractions were really doing their job. There was no way baby was taking long to get here. There is something about not being on a timeline, not being in a rush, that seems to move babies along faster.
The contractions started to get closer together, she was feeling them intensely now, zoning out and separating herself from touch and sound. Her midwife told her she should probably get in the tub. Her husband brought up some fresh hot water, and her mother took the kids downstairs. She labored in the water, she said it felt so good. Poor mama, the tub was so big, it was hard for her to get a good seat and position without slipping down into the pool. So her husband helped support her, holding her up. The room was filled with quiet anticipation, the air electric with a built up energy. Sure enough, less then 2 hours after I arrived, and only a half our or less in the tub, baby was born!
She pushed beautifully, and baby came so simply, there was so much joy and intensity and beauty all wrapped up together. I think mama was a bit disoriented with how fast it all went, and needed even more support to hold herself up after baby was placed on her chest. Dads face was FULL of joy as he held them both. Mamas daze settled and she just held her baby, staring, touching, kissing her head. It was such a sweet tender time. The light flooding in the windows was magical.
The kids crowded around the tub, the mother, the midwifes, me, everyone wanted to meet this new little babe. She delivered her placenta and her children were amazed at getting to see were baby's "home" had been. The little mermaid baby was so content, happy and calm and safe in mamas arms.
When mama was ready to step out and dry off, baby got some skin on skin time with dad, and then they all snuggled up really close and warm together in their own bed. Soon their daughters took turns coming to peek into the blankets and meet their new sister up close. We took a short break from the room to give them some moments together, shared a meal downstairs, and came back to capture the first family photo, and baby's first check up. The midwives were so gentle and sweet with her, and took their time to make everyone feel good. It was so nice for mom and dad to not have to go anywhere for those first weeks of babies life, as all their baby checks would be there in their own home. Such a dream!
Then there was another round of smiles and laughter, as the youngest came in with a stuffed koala under her shirt. She "delivered" her little "baby" and swaddled her up, and brought her to the midwife to check on her, who gladly did so. Its amazing to me, knowing these children will grow up with a healthy perception on pregnancy and birth and what it can look like, none of the fear or stereotypes most of us have. Birth is meant to be cherished, not hidden away.
This whole day was just so relaxed, so calm. Everyone had this peace about them. It was really something amazing. I am so so glad I got to be a part of this birth story.