A Beautiful Birth

August 16, 2013

We, as midwives who predominantly work in hospitals, sometimes stray away from the basic fundamentals of the birthing process.  This is not to say we do this casually, no on the contrary it is usually out of perceived clinical need, patient request, guideline demand or local custom and practice.

Recently I had the pleasure of attending a birth, a beautiful birth, that reinforced all the ideals of a physiological birth that I have had as the basis for my midwifery practice since 1986. It reminded me that women can do this without us, the practitioners leading and caring, we just have to be there.

Michelle Odent coined the phrase of “masterly inactivity”.  During this birth I did very little else except the basic observations of mother and baby required by law to evidence some care. The mother was in control. The birth was hers and hers alone.

I watched as she moved from position to position. Yes I did offer some advice as to positions she might try, but the choice was hers.  I watched as she entered herself and coped with the pain. Indeed there was pain.  She knew there would be pain but acknowledged this as a journey, a journey that would take time but would deliver her a baby.

I watched as she manoeuvred in the water this way and that. Not coached just encouraged to do what she felt. Her partner involved but excluded, he knew this was her work not his. His role was as supporter, not director.

We watched as the contractions surged and she rocked and rolled with them getting out of the pool as she was “too hot!”. Her temperature was normal, but she knew where she needed to be.  She stood and she rocked. She raised her leg, I provided a chair for support.  The explosion of water was a right of passage, an announcement to the next phase of the game.

On to the bed on all fours, the final event. Then the top of a head on view, she breathed hard. Then more and more till the head was finally delivered. Slowly, rhythmically to what was required. Then one shoulder and then the next. Then the body, slow, and so easy. He cried as he slipped into my hands.

I passed him through and laid him on the pillow in front of her. She looked at him amazed, in shock at what she had achieved. She reached down to take her son in her arms and wept with joy.

A beautiful, beautiful birth.


Post script

She delivered the placenta herself, totally physiologically and I was so pleased and glad.

The cord was attached into the membranes with only two vessels leading to the placenta itself. A velamentous insertion. This baby and mother were very lucky.  This was meant to be the physiological birth it was.  I am glad I had the instinct to leave her alone.


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