When are you due?
Is this your first child?
No. This will be our third child. We have an almost-six year old, and two-year old.
Ooh, three children! You are brave! Do you know what you are having?
No, we haven’t found out. I am looking forward to having three children. My two are lovely children, and I’m looking forward to having a newborn to cuddle again!
So, it is going to be a surprise then? That’s brave!
I don’t want to do any scans if I can help it, so … Yes! It will be a beautiful surprise!
No scans? That’s brave of you! Why not?
It isn’t important to us whether our baby is a boy or a girl and I don’t think we are meant to know about who is in there until the baby is born. To me, birth is about learning how to accept the unknown element. We don’t need to ‘control’ everything in our lives! I think we need to trust our bodies, our health and our intuition. I think we need to encourage professionals such as independent midwives who know women’s bodies inside and out. Midwives know their craft and they are trained to care for women and babies before, during and after birth.
I am a bit disturbed by the idea of being scanned – and I also don’t feel the need to disturb my baby with tests and needles. Bombarding baby with intense sound waves in the crucial stages of the development (when some of their organs and body systems such as hearing are still just beginning to form). It doesn’t make sense to me. Doctors used to X-Ray pregnant mothers, thinking THAT was safe! I am healthy, our midwife is monitoring the baby’s growth, I can feel for myself that our baby is growing well and is active, and I like the thought of my mystery bundle all snuggled up in there. A little present to unwrap in a few months!
I had one scan in the very latter stages of each of my previous pregnancies – both my babies did all they could to get away from it. They kicked and punched and tried to roll away. On the screen I could see them cover their eyes, and try to protect their body with their hands. I found it very distressing. I know that this is not everyone’s experience, but it was mine and I don’t wish to repeat it if I can help it.
So, no. No scans if I can help it.
Where will you have your baby?
We are planning to have another home birth.
A home birth? Is that allowed? That’s brave of you!! What if something goes wrong?
It is allowed. To be honest, for me, I think it would take more bravery for me to birth in hospital where I feel that I would have less choice about my birth, and would have to birth in an unfamiliar environment, with unfamiliar staff ‘monitoring’ me, unfamiliar noises, smells, subject to staff shift changes … I feel safe and comfortable at home. I have a midwife I trust, and she will be with me when I need her. This is what she is trained to do! She knows how to help a woman birth babies, she has emergency equipment, and she knows when further help will be needed. We have discussed risks, addressed fears and she has taught my partner and I how to effectively prepare ourselves for birth. I feel safe with her and to me that matters more than anything else.
If something ‘goes wrong’ then we will transfer to hospital. I have transferred before (for my first birth) and I was grateful for the immediate assistance I received at the hospital. My second birth was at home with nothing to worry about. A beautiful, exciting home lotus birth.
What is a lotus birth?
A lotus birth is a peaceful entry into the world. It is a ceremony that honours the ‘space’ a baby is born in, and allows the baby to come to terms with its new environment in its own time. In a lotus birth the umbilical cord is not cut at all, which means the baby remains connected to the placenta until the cord dries and falls off of its own accord. It can take up to (approximately) a week to complete this process and in this time baby is allowed a peaceful and restful state of adjustment.
Yuck! You are brave to do that! Doesn’t it smell? Doesn’t the placenta go off?
I would never risk the health of my baby. The placenta is cared for as the baby is cared for. It is washed and drained and allowed to dry, preserved with salt and herbs. A placenta is nothing to be afraid of! My baby and I made it together and it nourished my baby the whole time it was in my womb. It has to be birthed too, and should not just be discarded without any regard. With careful loving attention it does not smell, turn septic or develop infections. Our last birth was a home lotus birth, and it was the highlight of my life. It wasn’t a hassle, our baby lay peacefully undisturbed with us in our bed. The cord dried within 24 hours and came off by itself on the morning of the fourth day. Again, our midwife was there to monitor the health of the baby, and the condition of the cord and placenta. My husband took over the care of the placenta while I concerned myself with recovery from birth, and nursing our baby. Our son was fascinated with the whole process of his sister’s lotus birth, and asked lots of questions. It is our hope that they both can experience this again so that they may approach the birth of their own children with an open mind and heart, knowing what a special time of life this is.
You keep saying that I am being brave. Why are we afraid of birthing? Of course I have worries. Even a third time, the thought of birth can be overwhelming, and it would not be normal for me to approach a massive event like this without some trepidation. Fear means I have something to learn, it means my body is working the way it should. I think we are taught to fear the act of birth, but what are we actually afraid of? Birth? Pain? … or the unknown? Birth HAS to happen if we are to meet this baby! But I just can’t let those thoughts consume me in such a way that I end up losing faith in my ability to birth! I have support: medical, family, friends. I have knowledge about what my body can do, and I know I can give birth.
Birth is something I can prepare for – the unknown is something I cannot prepare for. But if I can prepare my body, feel comfortable in my environment, feel confident in my birthing support, then I feel I have significantly reduced my fear of the unknown. I don’t know how this birth will unfold … and in that way, yes I guess I am brave.
Exciting, isn’t it?