Photo: Unison Photo (this is what a lifeless cord looks like and the appropriate time to cut)
Birth belongs in the hands of the woman doing it. All birth is woman powered birth.
Birth attendants are support people. Not the stars of the show, just the supporting cast.
People often ask me how many babies I have delivered. Sometimes I say none.
Doctors and midwives don’t deliver babies…
Mothers Deliver Babies.
Midwives usually use the term ‘catch’ when it come to receiving the babies. But to be honest I rarely do the catching these days. And I definitely don’t deliver them!
It’s such a dis-empowering word unless it is being said with the mother as the “deliver-er”.
Take for example my take on a recent birth:
The birth was smooth and full power. Mama birthed a 4 plus kg baby girl in the water, while roaring acceptance and affirmation like a wild tigress. Out she swam into her mothers awaiting hands and there she stayed, there was no need to move her anywhere else.
Not even when mum left the tub for the bed; with support their cord connection can remain intact.
The placenta took an hour to be born, not because it had not detached but because mum needed time to release it. We had that time because her vitals were fine and she barely had lost a drop of blood.
Meanwhile baby girl was familiarising herself with her new food source and I couldn’t help comment on the giraffe like qualities of her tongue.
We were there to support them, not hurry them along.
An hour or so after the placenta was birthed we still hadn’t cut the cord until mum asked, ‘should we cut this cord now?’
Baby was still attached to the placenta. There was no rush.
The process was not moving at the speed of my agenda, I had none.
I was there to support what the mother wanted.
My student midwife and I stayed with the mother a total of 4 hours after the birth. We gave time and space for everyone’s process including big brother who gingerly and loving presented baby with her first stuffy and marvelled over her perfection.
We inconspicuously emptied the birth pool, bagged up all the laundry and garbage. The camping motto ‘leave no trace’ comes to mind.
It was beautiful. A pleasure to be involved and trusted to hold the space with compassion, patience and a little humour.
And literally that was the majority of what was needed; mum very much delivered her own baby.