When a woman needs medical intervention for life saving reasons then of course hospitals are better places to be. A woman needs to be fit, healthy and must wish to have a homebirth from a core place inside herself. It must FEEL right in her body and soul. The requirements for a natural birth are simple: privacy, calm, trusted caregivers, water, love, respect and patience. Katia and Denischose a homebirth for precisely these reasons and traveled all the way from Turkey to give birth in South Africa. Originally from Russia, their family and the grandparents could not believe that Katia held her baby straight after birth and continued to do so in the early hours and days after birth. They could not believe that Denis had been present and that the birth had taken place in the comfort of their home with their midwife and doula in attendance. In Russia, things were different they said. Their own babies were taken away for three days and fathers were not present at the hospital births and homebirth is regarded as dangerous.
For a healthy pregnant woman, homebirth is safe when medical backup is arranged prior to the birth, when it is attended by a trained midwife and and it is what the mother desires without reserve.
Katia trusted her body implicitly and was confident that she would follow innate instincts and biological patterns. She was fit and healthy, exercised throughout her pregnancy and followed an organic and whole food diet. Katia and Denis attended a natural birth workshop to prepare for the birth. Katia knew that by giving birth at home, she would not be rushed to perform according to a medical schedule, but would be free to follow the dictates and needs of her body. Katia knew that by staying out of the hospital she would avoid unnecessary interventions and would not be pressed to accept drugs for pain relief when she felt vulnerable. She could move around without interference and have her partner with her at all times.
Denis felt secure that hospital back-up had been arranged if transfer became necessary and that the midwives had brought their equipment with them which included:
An ultrasonic fetal heart monitor
A blood pressure monitor
A surgical delivery pack
An oxygen cylinder with masks for mother and/or baby
A suction unit to clear the baby’s airways
Drugs to manage uterine bleeding if necessary
Intravenous infusion equipment
A urinary catheter kit
sterile cord clamps
Neonatal resuscitation kit
Sterile needles, syringes, swabs
Katia’s efforts brought her baby into the world safely and gently and little Marina opened her eyes as her mother and father comforted her in their arms. Ruth and I left them alone to get to know each other for a few minutes, our gratitude for an undisturbed birth unmatched by the view. We knew the hormones of love were infusing the birthing parents and baby with a sense of achievement and delight, preparing them for future attachment and loving interactions. Women who give birth at home have fewer interventions and higher satisfaction with the experience. This in turn influences the breastfeeding relationship and their bonding and attachment to their babies. Women who give birth naturally at home also suffer less with postnatal depression.
Katia expressed it so beautifully, she said: “Denis is ecstatic about the birth, but for me, it was just like breathing”