Whether it's a woman's first time or third, childbirth is the top reason for anxiety. No matter how much you prepare, something can happen that you have no control over, and all you can do is rely on your birth team. It is why we always encourage moms-to-be to know their options and discuss it with your doctor or doula. They can run through your birth plan and fulfills your wishes as much as they can. Trust is key in childbirth. But preparing yourself also means you are giving yourself and your baby a head start in making it a positive experience.
A beautiful example of teamwork in childbirth is the experience of Audra Lynn from Southern California, who had a home water birth for her second child back in July. The midwife who assisted in her birth, Lisa Marie Sanchez Oxenham of Sacred Journey Midwifery, captured the video, which she shared on her Instagram, Facebook, and YouTube pages.
The video shows Audra in a small pool, half-submerged in the water in a squat position, patiently checking with a mirror if her baby is crowning or if the baby's head is already visibly coming out of the mother's vagina. Her husband, Pete Sykes, was in the tub with her, calm and peaceful like everyone else. Then, when it was time, Audra quietly but forcefully pushed her baby out, catching him in the water and immediately giving him skin-to-skin contact. They were both crying tears of joy, welcoming their son into the world. The childbirth was just under two minutes long.
Lisa Marie wrote, "My client Audra's beautiful second home birth. A midwife's role is fluid, providing whatever is necessary for each individual birthing experience, although almost always that role is simply to offer the gift of quiet." Watch:
Accompanying Facebook a photo of the couple with their new baby was Lisa's expert advice on how Audra was able to have such a calm and peaceful birth. First, Audra didn't mindlessly worry about the what-ifs. The mom of two faced each fear as it presented itself during the course of her pregnancy. Then, she did her research--Audra looked back at the time when she first gave birth to understand everything she needed to know about herself, her history, and her fears.
"[Audra] created a path for her to heart to tread carefully, preparing for the worst, but hoping for better. With her big eyes pleading for any hope, I explained that based on what I see, she was open and her body would rotate push her baby down and out and that she could just let the process happen. And let she did; with no extra pushing effort she allowed him a gentle birth, and welcomed him with cries of pure joy," the midwife wrote.
The amazing water birth video has been viewed over 13 million times, garnered more than 47,000 reactions, and has been shared more than 91,000 times. The more than 20,000 comments are mostly of shock at how easy it was, positive well wishes, and admiration for Audra and Lisa.
"The most beautiful birth I've ever seen...speechless! Thank you for sharing your moment," read a comment from Denise L. DeCaro. Another comment read, "So beautiful, such a strong woman," from Charlene Hall. Beth Shaw wrote, "That brought happy tears to my eyes. Thank you for sharing."
Like we said, a mom-to-be who has prepared herself mentally, physically, and emotionally can make childbirth an overwhelmingly positive experience. It is possible to have a gentle birth, whether it's through normal delivery or cesarean section. It's easier said than done, we know. But with pregnancy, childbirth, and having kids in general, the unexpected is sort of the new normal. All you can do is prepare and know you have done your best to welcome your little bundle of joy.