Yesterdays home birth I birth assisted for was the epitome of why women choose to birth to at home. Not all home births look this way, every one is unique in its family dynamics and support or lack thereof, but this is yesterday's example and I felt led to share its beauty.
This home was bursting at its seams with absolute love. Every corner was filled with the evidence of a multi generational family who value each new member and the wonder that they bring with them. As soon as we pulled in, the men of the home (husband, oldest brother, both grandfathers) were at midwife's vehicle carrying in bags. The women (both grandmothers) greeted us at the door, full of anticipation and excitement, and the smell of a meal cooking greeted us with them. Children's beaming faces saying hello as we ventured into their home, taking in our new faces, eager for a greeting from us to see them and their excitement as well.
We traveled upstairs to find mama on her birth ball, looking breathtaking as she worked through her sensations, a full bun atop her auburn head and her body draped modestly in a rich maroon robe, husband a few feet from her happily fumbling with a birthpool and pump. The room was warm, both in temperature and space, walls draped with hand water colored and lettered affirmation cards and a chalkboard with a verse welcoming baby.
As we got all settled in and took initial vitals, family members and children popped in or peeked in, some curious about our role there, some concerned about mama and some both. Downstairs mama's own father was shedding a few tears with excitement and concern for his own baby girl about to bring forth his newest grandchild, while some of his other grandchildren played happily with a new puppy.
As mama labored calmly with her husband, their precious, curious children would come in with a kiss for mom or a question for dad, and they were welcomed and given the security they sought in a time that probably felt a little unfamiliar to them. Occasionally, we would see dark curly locks peek in the door and then dash back down the steps to the comfort and security of grandparents.
When things began to pick up in intensity and we gathered around mom to prepare to meet this little one, grandmother came in to catch the video and husband provided unwavering support and encouragement for his powerful and strong bride through a calm and quiet word in her ear. She roared her baby earthside, on land because there was no time to fill the pool, only an hour and 13 minutes after our arrival, a sweet little surprise baby girl, their 6th precious child, born at 3:33 pm.
We took care of mama and baby girl, cleaned and cleared the space, watched the older siblings meet their new baby sister with awe and wonder and then showed them the placenta that they had been so curious to examine. Plates and baskets of food showed up on mama's bed, a plate of fresh sliced fruit, a basket of packaged snacks and proteins, and glasses of juice and tea and creamed coffee. All the food-gifts the grandmothers had been preparing during labor to give mama sustenance and strength after all her hard work. And for the birth workers present!
When we had all had a break and a snack it was time to weigh and measure this new precious one before we left the family to enjoy her. The most beautiful moment transpired. Every single family member came up to witness this moment. All 5 older children, all 4 grandparents, mama and daddy curled around the bed and watched in wonder, calling out their guesses on size and recording on their phones. The smiles, tears, laughter and love of her 11 family members surrounded this new little girl in a moment she wont remember, but will be evident for her whole life, her whole family so eager to learn the first bit of information about her. It was a beautiful moment.
As we tucked them in and headed out, confident that mama and baby would be well cared for, I couldnt help but think we had gone back in time for this birth. This is how birth used to be. Undisturbed, observed, safe, normal and welcomed in all its challenges and glory and surrounded by the excited family in wait. This is home birth. This is birth O.G.