Recently my son, Archer, was born. He entered the universe in the dining room of my house in a pool specifically for that purpose. I believe it is how low-risk babies should be born these days. It feels far nicer than being born in a slightly familiar building you had a tour of a month or so prior to the birth. That was how my daghhter came into the world and even though that was an amazinng experience it was not as beautiful as the home birth.
Home birth is a subject I have changed my mind thoroughly on. I was considerably against birthing at home as there are a lot of risks involved, well that was my uneducated understanding at the time. I have since read a lot of inormation and spoken to midwives about it.
My stance against home birth was a position I came to largely out of fear. This was before I knew how safe births can be; especially low-risk births like we were having. If anything does go wrong it is pretty rare for things to escalate quick enough to not be able to transfer to a hospital. Most of the time when a child or mother dies during a home birth in a country like Australia it is due to the negligence of the mother. Some mothers completely ignore the need to go to hospitals, against their midwife’s advice, as this is counter to their birth plans.
The birth of my son was an incredible experience that I am always going to cherish. Initially he would have been born in the hospital at the Birthing Centre as this is what we had decided on. However; I had agreed with my wife, Terri, that if the hospital began to offer home births I would go ahead with that instead. We weren’t far into the pregnancy before the hospital started to offer this.
I actually started to worry about the fact that we were now most likely going to have a home birth. This is when I started to research into home births much more. It wasn’t long before my worries started to reduce and eventually became a low hum in my thoughts. I still have reservations about their safety and whether you can get the support you need if it is required very rapidly. This is mostly avoided by the requirement of the hospital that the birth is low-risk. The chance of something going wrong, that one of the midwives at the labour couldn’t resolve is small. If it’s something very dramatic, they are very capable to manage it in the time prior to the move to a hospital.
My wife organised the whole thing herself, which is the usual way things work around my house. She’s great at organising and I’m pretty darn good at taking orders.
It was a couple of days before the birth when I decided to set up the birth pool and test everything out. The hose connected nicely to the laundry faucet and the water was ready. Thanks to the advice of the brother-in-law I made sure this was working.
We were prepared. We went into the city to do some shopping on the day my wife went into labour. I’m almost certain she was in labor while we were going through the shops.
By the time we arrived home you could tell she was well on her way. We had dinner at the in-laws all while she was having contractions (the in-laws were unaware of this).
When we went back home we got ready for bed. I took my daughter to bed and we fell asleep. I was awoken by the wife at around 1am (I’m glad I got that sleep).
The midwives had been contacted and were on their way. Our photographer arrived shortly afterwards and began taking photos. The midwives arrived not too long after. We had 2 midwives and a student midwife. Our house was packed.
At this stage the pool was filling with warm water and the wife was chopping up fruit for our guests. While maintaining contractions; she is a tough cookie.
Things progressed beautifully and it was so relaxing being at home. There was a lot of conversation going on and everything seemed too calm. My wife was in labour and we were having a pleasant chat. It was almost like a dinner party with a pool and a naked lady.
Terri started becoming more noticeably uncomfortable and it was looking like it was getting close. I was in the pool with her but decided to get out.
She started pushing and was obviously becoming more uncomfortable. It got to a stage where she couldn’t get comfortable no matter what position she was in.
All of a sudden she moved from leaning over the side of the pool into a squatting position. She put her hand down into the water and then her expression changed from pain to complete surprise.
All of a sudden there was a baby being lifted out of the water. It was the most incredibly amazing (more adjectives?) experience of my life. Terri was so excited she almost choked the baby because the cord was around his neck. The midwives quickly had that sorted.
We had a boy! Once we had Terri moved out of the water and sitting down there was a noise from the bedroom. My daughter had roused and we brought her out to meet her brother. It was perfect.