Catch: the act of intercepting the fall of (someone or something). Recently, that someone was my daughter.
This story starts out over 2 years ago when we found out Hope, my wife, was pregnant with our son, Christian. Birth was a distant thought in my mind. Something I didn’t think about nor cared to investigate. It was an after thought in a world that perceives all births happen in a hospital by highly trained surgeons at hand, just in case.
Then came the time, the time for the tough question – how do we plan to have this baby? My initial answer? Safely.
Before going any further, let me stop and make it very clear I am not writing this to persuade you in either direction nor look down upon you for decisions you have made or choose to make. I am writing this as a father that had no idea what birth was like and now has welcomed it into his home. Birth is messy and beautiful at the same time.
Natural childbirth, what does this mean? A question I asked my wife as she started to talk about how she planned to deliver our son. I soon would learn. We decided to take birthing classes that taught the Bradley Method. The Bradley Method, named after Dr. Bradley (no relation), that developed the method, uses pain management instead of any intervention. Interventions? Epidural, induction, C Section, etc. Dr. Bradley also addresses many aspects of having a baby in a hospital setting. The interventions are so built in to the modern day birth process that you can’t go 2 hours with being offered some kind of intervention to “move” things along.
We had decided to have our son in the hospital without any interventions, none. No medication, none. Just mommy, baby, and nature doing their thing.
My sons birth was a phenomenal experience but the hospital setting was still in the back of mind. My wife had no drugs, no interventions and my son had no issues after birth. So why were we in a hospital room? I thought hospitals were for sick people? We were not sick.
So why not give birth at home? A simple question with a complicated answer.
Assisted home birth in the state of North Carolina is for all intents and purposes, illegal. The state has no licensing setup for certified professional midwives making it extremely difficult to go about this process. Determined to move forward, we did, despite the ridiculous legal situation.
Safely. A word that was in the back of my head since my wife and I’s first conversation. The initial reaction to a home birth in today’s society is.. Is that safe? A question I had myself.
During the prenatal appointments, preparation, my own research and many questions later I determined home birth was very safe. Remember these are highly trained professionals with years of experience. They love their work deeply considering the legal risk they are willing to take in order to “practice” in NC. So we safely continued our journey.
The day, well early morning, came. I was awakened at 1:30am by my wife grabbing my arm. She had been having fairly intense contractions for 30 minutes. Intense enough to wake her from sleep.
The intensity and frequency quickly picked up within a matter of hours. The plan was initialized and everyone was on their way to our house.
When our midwife arrived I quickly realized how serious they prepare for what is about to happen. See, before having a home birth you order a birth kit which contains all the necessary items to safely deliver and cleanup from a birth. Within no time our room was now ready for what was about to take place.
Around 11am my wife was ready to push. She decided to stand in a squatting position as it felt right. See with natural childbirth you listen to the mother as she is getting naturally occurring signals from her body as to what is needed. She needed to squat and that is what it took.
At 11:56am on 10/11/12 I reached my arms out with blood and amniotic fluid all over them and caught my daughter as she was born into this world. It was a catch heard around the house as we all yelled the time as she took her first breath. As I lifted my daughter up towards my wife, I looked in her eyes and tears of joy began. It was magical. It was an experience I will never forget.
As we lifted her up together we prepared for what came next… announcing her name. Opal Caroline Proctor was announced and now we could lay in our bed, in our house, with our daughter.
Not only did I catch my daughter but I was the first one to hold her in my arms.