Freebirthing — giving birth without help from a doctor or midwife — is small but growing trend, reports Denver’s Westword.
The birthing tub had already been inflated and inspected for leaks. Towels and a plastic bucket were laid out to sop up water and other fluids. A blanket was at the ready for swaddling. They even had string and clean scissors on hand to cut the umbilical cord.
Still, this birth would be remarkable not for what the parents had, but for what they lacked: experts. Elizabeth and her husband fully intended to deliver the baby themselves, without a doctor or midwife within twenty miles.
I’m not a fan of home births, even with medical assistance. My daughter would have died if she hadn’t been born across the hall from a first-class intensive care nursery. Most freebirthers will get away with it. But not all.
Although (Tracy) Ryan has tried to smooth the birth process at Mountain Midwifery, she’s still uncomfortable with the idea of unassisted birth. “It’s absolutely true that women have been giving birth throughout time unassisted. And babies have been dying, too,” she says. “If you want to get totally natural about it, death is natural, too. So a very small number of babies and mothers will die, and that’s totally natural. But in our especially litigious society, I’m always afraid of the extremes of both sides of the pendulum.”
Elizabeth was bleeding badly after her daughter was born. Her husband raced her to the hospital and saved her.