A little over a month ago, my daughter-in-law gave birth to my third grandchild, a beautiful baby girl. She gave birth in an inflatable wading pool in the middle of her kitchen floor. I was skeptical about the whole thing. I mean, why would you put yourself through something like that. It was so much more comfortable to give birth in a hospital where people took care of you, right? Wrong!
I was blessed to be present for the birth. My role was to take care of my other grandchildren (ages 2 & 4) during the birth. As luck would have it, they were asleep when my daughter-in-law went into labor, so I was free to be attend. Now this was NOT something I really wanted to do because I just didn’t know enough to be comfortable with the process... However, there is no polite way to excuse yourself from the birth of your own grandchild!
So I put my game face on and took my place beside the pool. What happened next was truly the most incredible experience of my life. Instead of being surrounded by bright lights, hospital smells and bare sterile walls, the room was full of flickering, soothing candle light. The hospital smells were replaced with the smell of calming incense and fresh baked banana bread. Instead of bare walls there were banners with words of love and encouragement, created by friends and family of the expectant mother. They were hung around the room for her to focus on during her labor pains.
Her labor truly was a labor of love. It took place under the care of an incredible and incredibly competent Midwife and Doula. It was such a calm, peaceful and loving environment, it was impossible not to relax and become a part of the experience.
My granddaughter was born without the use of any drugs and the impact was immediately apparent. She came into the world with her eyes wide open. Alert and aware of her surroundings from the moment she was born. She was handed to her mother and latched on to nurse within 2-3 minutes, while staring, bright eyed, into the eyes of her mother. I began to see the wisdom of home birth.
But watching my daughter-in-law recover after the birth was what really convinced me that this had been the best choice for her all along. She spent the rest of that night in her own bed, holding her new baby. After two days of bed rest, required mostly because she wasn’t allowed to go up and down the stairs, she came downstairs looking absolutely radiant and rested!
Home birth isn’t for everyone. But if you have a loved one who wants to give birth this way, I encourage you to support them. It can be a beautiful experience, one that I will never forget and am so thankful to have been a part of!