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Different Perspectives of Bella’s Birth

Tran’s story

After two hospital births, Bella coming into our lives was like it was “meant to be”. Sounds funny, but that’s how I felt when Belinda gave birth to our adorable third child at home.

I was, and had been, very apprehensive leading up to the home birth. I had horrors of what could go wrong and what could happen. What did happen was so….right.

Almost 2 years on, I can’t remember all the little details but I remember the feeling more than anything else.

We had created a quiet and very relaxing atmosphere with candles and soft music and when Belinda started the serious contractions, I felt no stress or anxiety at all (I was a little apprehensive, but you get that when your wife is in labour).

One of the things I remember about the other births was that the baby came out crying and was then rushed off, wiped, wrapped and then brought back to mum. So, I was expecting a yelling baby and was so surprised when she was quiet and content.

Bella went from the womb straight to mum’s tummy and lay there so peacefully. It was so beautiful to watch and see them together.

Bella’s first contact was mummy and they had such a special moment lying there after the birth, so I left them alone and went and got the kettle on for a cuppa.

Jahla’s comments (10yrs)

It was the middle of the night and I got woken up and told that Bella had just been born. We went into the lounge to see her; she was a tiny, scrawny, beautiful baby. The midwife was going to get out the placenta and I was so tired that I went back to bed.  I soon got up again but was most upset because the cord had already been cut. There were candles and music. Bella had hardly cried at all. Mum was sitting there laughing, grinning and crying all at once. I was really excited that I had a new baby sister. It was an awesome sight.

Belinda’s version

I loved my third birth experience. After having spent a large proportion of my pregnancy in hospital with hyperemesis (extreme morning sickness), I knew I did not want to go back in there to have the baby too. All the staff were lovely but just the thought of the place made me feel nauseous! So, with the support of my midwife, I quietly laid siege to my wonderful husband and he eventually agreed to support me in a home birth. Little did I know at the time that it would be more of a life-changing experience for him than it was for me! I liked the idea of a home birth because it was convenient (no trips to the hospital and then home again), quiet, private and most of all I could snuggle in my own bed afterwards.

What I did not anticipate, though, was the way in which Tran’s role would be so different that it had been for my previous births. Now don’t get me wrong, I am not bagging hospitals here – I had two great hospital births. But, in my experience, in hospital it is the doctors, nurses, midwives etc.. who are showing you how to birth and ‘directing operations’. It is their space and things tend to be done a certain way. At home, the opposite is true, you get to set the scene and decide exactly how you want to do it - it is your space and you can do it your way. I am not talking here about anything that impinges on the safety of mother or baby – just those little things that sometimes make all the difference.

I found differences were most obvious when it came to the role of the father. When I gave birth in hospital, my husband came along and was there to hold my hand, take photos and generally support me. At home, his role was just as important as mine, he was having a baby too, not just supporting me while I had the baby. Since I have quick labours, the midwife ensured that he knew exactly how to deliver the baby himself if she didn’t get there in time.  He was the one who set the scene in the birthing room with candles and music, judged when it was time to call the midwife (just in time it turned out), dressed baby afterwards and was nearly as involved in birthing the baby as I was. He was not a passive bystander to the birth of his child, but a vital partner in the process.

A lot has been said on the subject of empowering the woman to birth - but what about the father? Should he just be there to help the mother be empowered? I believe that home birth gives the guy the option to be empowered too! (It also means all the pressure is not on us women!) From my point of view it was wonderful watching the man I love welcome his daughter into the world and, since I tend to space out after the birth for a while, he managed the whole process afterwards and I was able to just zone out and let him go ahead. He has now gone from slightly nervous agreement to a wholehearted supporter of home birth.

It is also interesting to note that with this, our third child, we feel that we have finally got the parenting balance just perfect. I don’t know if it has been influenced by the way in which she was welcomed into the world, but Bella is completely dual parented. She is now almost two and Tran is much more likely to get up to her during the night than I am, she is as happy to go to him when she is hurt as me. In fact right from when she was a baby he was just as involved in caring for her as I was. He’s changed just as many nappies, given baths as often and spooned in probably more mouthfuls of goo!

So, for all you ambivalent dads out there – go ahead, give home birth a go, you’ll love it.

Belinda and Tran have lived in New Plymouth for the last 5 years with their three children, Jahla, Siani and Bella. They own their own business, Taranaki Outdoor Adventures, and love all the outdoor opportunities that Taranaki has to offer. “We have a wonderful lifestyle where we can work from home and spend heaps of time with the kids while they are small, as well as making a living doing what we love”.