If there was a recipe for a beautiful birth than this could be it: Undisturbed, at home, full of love and a sprinkle of Devon sunshine.
Sounds pretty prefect? Well, it most definitely was…
I am one of five siblings and have many really fond memories of growing up in a large family. In fact, I was born at home (which was unusual for the time) and so were my three younger sisters, so whilst being endlessly awe inspiring and magical, birth always felt like an everyday event for me, and something that would naturally take place at home. This is one of the reasons that I always get super excited about working with bigger families. This story is about the unassisted home birth of Rocco, the youngest of four siblings and the second boy for this family. As it happened, the birth took place during the day time, and his older brother and two sisters were around to see the story unfold.
When I arrived at the family’s home that morning, and coming straight from a rather busy family morning and school drop off myself, I was blown away by how peaceful and calm the house felt. The older children were quietly doing their thing, the littlest was fast asleep on mum and dads bed, Mitch quietly made preparations for the birth while Stacey got ready for the day and freshened up after an early start. Their dear friend was also on hand to help in whatever way was needed, and she floated from room to room emitting a beautiful sense of peace and calm.
The radio was on and everyone chatted, letting things unfold in good time, wandering what the day would bring and happily anticipating the arrival of this new little being. There was a tangible feeling of family, love and connection in the air and it was so special.
Stacey’s labour gradually picked up as the day went on and while I could see that she was working much harder through contractions, she went straight back to chatting, laughing and mumming as soon as each one had passed. Once again, I was amazed by the total calm. Birth can be quiet and birth can be wild, and I truly believe that there is no right or wrong way, each being unique to the mother, the baby, the situation, but I love to observe each story and the energy surrounding it.
The youngest child Vienna, a characterful nearly two year old, was now up and about so Caroline took her out and about to give Stacey and Mitch a little bit of quiet time. Stacey was now keen to rest, after a few difficult nights. I decided to give them some space and popped out for a quick bit of lunch, conscious not to go far at all, knowing that things could happen quickly. When I got back about half an hour later, she was ready to get into the pool.
Pulling the curtains to create a cocoon of darkness, retreating into the warm water and pulling a towel over her face, I could see that things were shifting and she was entering a new phase of her labour. From here the contractions that came in waves were bigger, stronger and required much more concentration. Her labour carried her deeper, a steady pendulum back and forward, back and forward, between contractions and rest, contractions and rest. She moved as her body required her to, swaying, pushing, pulling, a beautiful kind of birth dance all taking place within the walls of the warm water. She breathed. She rested.
Her man, so completely tuned in to her as he was, never left her side. His eyes telling the story of his love and commitment to her. He felt her discomfort and her challenge, he could see how hard she was working and yet his eyes remained calm, his hands steady and strong.
Stacey was coming really close to meeting her new baby and the energy in the room was electric. As if by magic, Caroline and little Vienna arrived home just in time.
With a few big and powerful pushing contractions, little Rocco swam into his daddies hands and into the world. Once Mitch had passed him through to Stacey and announced that he was indeed a boy, she was able to lift him out of the water and meet him for the first time.
She held her new boy so close, rubbing and kissing him. They were the only two people in the world. And then it came; the sweet sound of a little snuffle followed by a cry as this new little soul proclaimed that he was infact very much here. Taking his place in his mummas arms and in this loving family. I watched in utter amazement and awe as he began to open his eyes to asses the new world around him and blinking, began to take in the light, the colours and the faces of his home.
In the minutes that followed, I watched as each family member came to inspect their new boy and as Stacey soaked up all his freshly born details, from his tiny hands and his perfect nails to his umbilical cord, now growing paler, having finished the task of carrying all that valuable placenta blood to his body.
Meanwhile, Mitch called the midwife to say that baby had arrived and that they were all safe and well and he requested that someone came to check them soon.
Stacey was beginning to feel the tug of contractions again, as her body prepared to release her placenta, and they were becoming frequent and intense. When the midwife arrived, she helped her out of the water where she was able to birth the placenta quickly and safely, before climbing out the pool. Once she had been checked over by the midwife, she had a really good look at the placenta and cord as it was really important to het to to celebrate this beautiful life-birth connection.
This was possibly my favourite moment of the birth. The whole family, down on the floor around Rocco, inspecting the placenta, seeing and touching his cord asking all the questions and watching his Dad make the ceremonial separating cut with the midwifes scissors. It was beautiful to see their wide eyes as they took it all in, birth and new life, where miracle meets biology and all right here in their living room while they watch in their pyjamas. (Watch the film to see their wonderful expressions!)
And so they all took part in the weighing and measuring of him and putting his first nappy on before all settling down together on the sofa. Everybody in the family had a cuddle, a hold and a chance to meet him properly and it was a joy to witness each of them melt and soften, as people do in the presence of such a tiny new being.
I’m pretty sure this will be a day these children will remember vividly for the rest fo their lives and that they will grow up believing in the every day beauty and miracle of birth. What a wonderful gift that is.
If you’d like to dive even deeper onto this delicious birth, then make a cup tea, grab some tissues and watch the film, it’s full of home birth loveliness. Enjoy!
I hope you enjoyed reading this home birth story as much as I enjoyed documenting it. If so, please like, comment and share with your friends to help spread the birth love!