I recently had a client catch her own baby (and her own placenta!) As she moves through the world and tells people her birth story the overwhelming response to that part of her birth story has been, HOW?! and Why?! She saw her own primary care provider the other day and here's how their conversation went down:
"She asked how I could have caught him. I told her I was squatting in a birth tub and when I felt him coming, I grabbed him. I told her you saw his feet and that's how you knew he was out. She was baffled. She didn't know moms could catch their own babies."
When I was a student midwife there was a clear shift in my mind when I stopped wanting to catch babies. I love being the first person to welcome a new life earth side, but if mom or her partner have the desire it makes much more sense for their hands to be the first to touch their child. Many families don't know that this is an option. But for most uncomplicated births it is!
Here's an excerpt from my friend Valerie's birth story. I attended her birth as a primary student midwife with my midwife Karen Webster, CPM and her's was the first birth that I felt an obvious call to sit on my hands and truly leave the mother-baby dyad untouched for the moment of birth:
"I let my body move as it needed to. I tried different positions. Karen arrived, assessed, and receded, letting me do what I needed to do. She was a safety net. So I allowed myself to labor as if she wasn’t there, with the confidence from knowing that she was...As the baby descended I was determined to not lose any ground. I simply stayed with the pushing, knowing the bone-splitting pain was progress, and focused on having a baby in my arms. When the baby crowned I felt his head and I knew he was a boy. As he entered this world I guided him to the floor and picked him up. I remember saying “What kind of baby are you?” and confirming with my eyes what I felt when I touched him with my hand for the first time. His father and Karen helped me to sit up and hold him immediately to my chest. He cried and then latched for milk. When the placenta was birthed my oldest son watched and shouted “That was awesome!” And it was. The whole thing."
Click Here to read Valerie's entire birth story.
Like most things, there is no wrong way:
- Sometimes it's the perfect thing to catch your own baby,
- sometimes they need a little help from your midwife or doctor,
- you might not want to catch your baby in the moment,
- or be in a position that makes catching difficult.
- There is no right way!