I am delighted to announce the arrival into the world of a new little girl, Georgia. Our dear friends Esther and Nate welcomed their daughter at 7:32 yesterday evening. She was caught by her aunt, an aspiring midwife, and was born at home after a challenging but healthy labor. Esther is the first of my good friends to choose a home birth, and I am delighted that she had such a positive experience. Home is, for many women, the place they feel most comfortable laboring and giving birth, and the numbers show it to be a very safe choice as well. Many home births are accompanied by shorter labors, lower cesarean rates, and, of course, lower medical intervention all together. Women's bodies are uniquely designed to birth babies quite naturally, and most of the time it is safer for both the mother and the baby to do so without medical intervention. Sadly, birth has become something to fear in many Western cultures, and fear is profoundly counterproductive for healthy birth.
It is impossible for me to think about or talk about normal birth without thinking of my own Little C's violent arrival into the world at a mere 32 weeks (40 being a normal gestation). Some details of her birth are here (start at the bottom of the page and scroll up). While I will always be grateful for the miracles of modern medicine and the competent staff that cared for my daughter and I, I will also always mourn the fact that C's arrival was so traumatic for both she and I. Nothing can prepare a mother for the forcible extraction of a cesarean section, no matter how medically necessary it is, nor for the pain of being separated from her child. This is not how birth is supposed to be, and while it is medically necessary sometimes, we should all be outraged at the rate c-sections occur, and how frequently they are less than necessary.
It calms my spirit to know that so many friends have had wonderfully normal, joyful births, and that's the story that really needs to be told. Birth is powerful, exhilarating, life-giving, joyful, challenging in the best possible way. It's hard work, but it's the best work there is. All you birthin' women out there, you're my heroes!