Right before bed last night I saw a Facebook post from my friend, and fellow Birth Lover, Ginni. She linked to a Live Homebirth in progress. Because the birth world is rather small I realized it happened to be that of Talina. I follow her on Twitter and have read her blog on occasion. I knew already that she was giving birth on The Farm.
The Farm is a community built by Ina May Gaskin, the world’s most famous midwife, and her husband. It is a place women come to give birth in peace. If the woman doesn’t live at The Farm she can stay in a cabin for a portion of her pregnancy until the baby is born.
When I joined the birth it was around 11:30 PM. I intended on popping on just to see what was going on, then jumping in bed. And I did, until I was laying in bed next to my son and husband and realized there was no way I was falling asleep. She was 8 centimeters…… I could stay up right?
Why would someone want to watch a live homebirth?
For me, it was a beautiful and empowering vision of what birth can be. It just so happens that Talina made birth look easy. She hardly made a sound until it came time to push. There was no hair pulling, screaming, cursing, white knuckle clutching, or other theatrics that often come to mind when natural childbirth is pictured. My own homebirth was not nearly as peaceful and quiet, but women labor differently. I was a vocalizer!
For others, it was a hopeful glimpse at what they wanted to happen. There were numerous mothers who were due any day. First time mothers who were going to deliver in a hospital with the desire for a natural childbirth, and mothers planning a homebirth.
Then there were those who were watching with envy at what was taken from them by incompetent hospital staff, or an unfortunate set of circumstances, or true medical emergencies. Bad hospital experiences and C- Section stories littered the chat. You could tell some mothers were watching with sadness and jealousy (and of course happiness for Talina) and others were healing during the process, knowing that birth CAN be normal.
Fortunately, there were very few trolls. I feared that due to the public nature of the birth (anyone could view it and join the live chat) that many perverts and trolls would join in. It happened, but I can only remember 2-3. Also, the Mother and Father didn’t monitor the chat so the negative and condescending comments from some of the viewers about what position she should labor in, why are they checking her cervix, why did they break her water, why are they cutting the cord now, etc weren’t seen.
Overall it was something I would do again. I might be spoiled because Talina truly made birth look like a minor event. She was calm, relaxed, and listened to her body. Her contractions worked the baby down slowly which was a great thing considering that she was in labor 15 hours by my count.
I stayed up until 3:00 am EST to see the birth. We kept thinking it would be any minute now, but there was no rush for the mother. We were along for the ride. We cheered on mom and dad. The dad was the ideal birth partner. He applied counter pressure to her back during contractions, he massaged her, comforted her, and held her from behind in bed during the pushing phase.
When it was really time for the birth the parents woke their daughter who is about 2.5-3 years old. They wanted her to see her sister being born. She was at the head of the bed and not in the baby zone. She was tired and shy, burying her head in her dad’s arm.
And I totally cried. The sister threw me over the edge. I couldn’t take how beautiful and perfect this family was! It was what a birth should be.
My hope is that out of the 1,800 viewers there, many had their ideas about homebirth changed for the better. My fear is that she made it look so easy maybe others think it isn’t hard work! She was working, but she was in control!
And now I am still riding off of the Contact Birth High (and lack of sleep delirium). I want to do it again, right now! I want to have another homebirth. I want to invite my boys this time. And I want to film it instead of just taking photos. I don’t have any video from Everett’s birth except 20 seconds that were accidentally filmed during a contraction. Will I have another baby? I don’t know.
People may not approve of a woman broadcasting her birth live for the world to see. That’s OK, they don’t all have to approve, and they certainly don’t have to watch. I’m so glad she put out a healthy, normal, beautiful natural homebirth for the internet to see and I’m honored I was able to be a part of it.
Talina blogs at Harvest of Daily Life, which is currently down due to the overwhelming traffic last night. I’ll be anxiously waiting to see photos of her beautiful new baby girl and hear her side of the story.