Monday, July 2, 2012

Welcome Home Baby

There we were, two midwives and I, the doula, sitting around a beautifully inviting circular table inside an obviously loved and cherished home.  As we contemplated stages of labor and who would be the first to sample the just-sweet-enough smelling muffins the couple had baked in the earliest stages of labor, it seemed fitting that we were seated at this open, welcoming, soft, yet strong table surrounded by sturdy walls and protected by the dark of night.  It seemed fitting that this, my first home birth experience, would begin in this way and so I asked, "Other than the obvious, how is a home birth different from a hospital birth?"  I originally thought I meant the logistics, where supplies are kept, who does what, who cleans what, etc.  But I now know that the answer I was looking for was something more of a feeling and it all became clear shortly after the clock signaled the start of a new day on June 27, 2012.

I sat barefoot in the soft, creaky glider used countless times to rock her first son to sleep and watched the immediate bond form with her second son while they snuggled and cooed in her bed just moments after his birth.  She rubbed the feet that only minutes earlier had fluttered and kicked inside her as he made his journey from the world that only they shared and into his home, his little place on this big earth.  To be born into that place where he belongs unconditionally, into that place where his arrival has been anticipated with hope and joy since his conception is something words cannot explain.  You have to be present to feel and appreciate the beauty and the rightness of starting his life right where he is meant to be.

It was around midnight on this fresh, dark night when we heard the unmistakable sounds of a woman nearing the end of her labor.  We went quickly, but gently to where the mama clung tightly to her husband as the waves compounded and released the ocean inside her.  I was completely present in both mind and body, applying counter pressure and using affirmations, but make no mistake I was a guest on this journey.  Mama and papa were in a world by themselves, she rocking and moaning and bearing the weight of the final stages of labor and he, genuinely in awe of this strong, courageous woman who would soon bless him with their fourth child.  I was simply there in case they lost their rhythm or in case fear briefly took over I would help lead them back.  But they walked through it in complete synchronicity - papa guiding and reassuring mama - and they were rewarded for their hard work with a babe who knew just when to arrive.  He knew just what his mama could handle and before his head had been completely born he let out a small, muffled cry to greet his parents.

Look at their faces - papa's filled with pride and joy and mama's filled with relief, both filled with love.

And as these parents bonded and loved each other and their new babe, we visitors returned to that welcoming round table and sat in tired and contented silence until the elder midwife looked up from her just-sweet-enough tasting muffin and asked me, "So, how is a home birth different?"

My three perfect miracles were all born with the support of my husband, a midwife and a doula, without pain medication, in the hospital and each birth was beautiful, peaceful and perfect.  I've attended several serene hospital births as a doula, but this experience was life-changing and left my womb aching, just a little, to bring forth life in our home with complete and pure love and acceptance.  And since some of you will ask, no, there are no current plans to do so.

Leave a comment and let us know where we can read your birth story.


  1. What a beautiful account of two of the of the most beautiful people I know. Thank you for taking care of Molly and William as they welcomed their FOURTH! I love big families and they are my heros.

  2. Thanks Carrie. It was an honor to be part of such a special moment in their lives. They are a beautiful family and an inspiration.