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  • Editor’s Note: Medical professionals caution against home birth because of the risks involved. A hospital is the safest setting for childbirth, especially when a life-threatening complication develops, which can happen without warning. Many doctors also consider vaginal birth after Cesarean or C-section (VBAC ) even in a hospital extremely risky. In the event a problem occurs during a home birth, the need to transfer the mom and the baby to a hospital means delayed care, which could put both their lives at risk. Women have the right to make an informed decision about where they prefer to deliver, but always consult a doctor to understand the risks.

    Three months after her much-talked-about unmedicated home vaginal birth after C-section (VBAC), Rica Peralejo Bonifacio has shared the birthing video of her second son, Manu Raphael, who was born on June 9, 2019.

    “I watched this video many times before publishing, and even in the fourth viewing, I would still find myself teary-eyed,” Rica wrote as a caption for her video on YouTube.

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    Rica said even her first-born son Philip who was present during the home birth “misses the birth of Manu.” “I guess I cannot blame him as it really was a beautiful birth, so sacred, as how all births should be,” the mama of two added.

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    It is worth noting that Rica disabled the comments on her vlog, perhaps anticipating a backlash similar to the one she received when she shared had a home birth the first time. “I don't want the stress of having people leave very unkind comments. Honest lang!” she wrote on Instagram Stories. “But wow. Thank you for those who find ways to express their rejoicing with me and my family,” the mama of two added.

    Doctors typically don’t recommend home births, especially one who is a VBAC candidate(Know more about home births here; for VBAC, click here.)

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    Rica did receive words of support other moms, and it convinced Rica to share the vlog on her Facebook page as well. “Why should I keep something that shows a masterful work of God and the loving environment that my birth team has provided for me on the day of Manu’s birth,” she thought.

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    Rica disabled the comments on her vlog, but the encouraging messages she received convinced her to share it on Facebook.
    PHOTO BY SCREENSHOT @RICAPERALEJO/INSTAGRAM STORIES

    Rica’s labor lasted for more than a day

    Rica’s labor contractions started on June 8, 2019, at 3:00 a.m, and eventually, she couldn’t sleep through what she described as mild period cramps. She monitored as she listened to positive affirmations.

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    “She’s been at this for around four hours of labor. She’s doing everything right, just relaxing, keeping it easy,” Rica’s husband, Joseph Bonifacio, reported at 8:00 a.m.

    Her birth team arrived that morning, which consisted of a doula, a midwife, and a few family and friends along with Joseph and Philip. “You’re so strong,” Joseph could be heard saying at one point in the video. “You can do it, mama,” Philip added.

    Rica stressed she could not have done it without the proper help. She previously wrote on her Instagram, “If you plan to do VBAC, or home birth, or hospital birth, never go into it without being informed of all the risks and your choices. Also, do not go without getting the best healthcare providers.

    “Hindi pwedeng magisa lang gawin ang ganitong mga bagay, lalo na sa dami ng information out there. Make sure someone guides you through it all and for me, that was my ob-gyn, doula, and midwife. All reputable and can be trusted. I listened to all of what they have to say and made my own mind about the matter. It wasn’t done in haste and ignorance.”

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    “It was a long labor of 25 hours, yet with lots of rests in between and a whole lot of moments to connect with God, whom I consider to be the overall master of this birth,” the mom of two narrated in a voice-over.

    When it was time to push, you could hear Rica’s labored breathing as she got into half-standing and half-squatting position. “I’ll hold you. I got you, love,” Joseph assured Rica as he held her to prevent her from falling.

    When Manu finally came out, you’ll hear Joseph exclaim: “Whoa! Our child! Manu!” Rica cried as she held her baby in her arms. Joseph was amused that their newborn was already alert and opening his eyes.

    Later on, Philip, who had already gone to bed, also woke up and met his little brother. “It was on a new morning when this new gift from the world came in a brand new way,” Rica said on the video’s voice-over.

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    At the time Rica already had to push, her son Philip was asleep. But he woke up, eager and happy to finally meet baby brother Manu.
    PHOTO BY SCREENSHOT RICA PERALEJO-BONIFACIO/YOUTUBE

    Rica’s birth team helped her deliver the placenta as she had skin-to-skin contact with Manu. The placenta remained attached to her baby for some time. (It’s called a lotus birth; read more about it here.) Joseph also led a prayer before they cut Manu’s umbilical cord. (Rica had the umbilical cord turned into a keepsake and her placenta into capsules and a part of her ring. Click here to see it.)

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    Joseph, a pastor, prayed over Rica's placenta and Manu's umbilical cord before it was cut.
    PHOTO BY SCREENSHOT RICA PERALEJO-BONIFACIO/YOUTUBE
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    In the video, Rica thanked her birth team. “I will forever be grateful for the way He used all of you to bring this precious life into this world. I will never forget what you’ve done and have gone through for my family,” the mom of two said.

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    This is perhaps their first family photo after Rica got the birth she wanted and planned for her second son, Manu.
    PHOTO BY screenshot YouTube/Rica Peralejo-Bonifacio

    Rica said she was grateful for her husband who “believed that I was born to do this even way back the first birth.” She also thanked son Philip. “You prayed that I won’t have to be cut open for Manu’s birth. And I want you to remember that on your brother’s birthday, God honored your prayer,” Rica shared.

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    Watch Rica's birth vlog below:

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