Tonight, I went to my first home birth in Bali. Sure, I have been to lots and lots of births in Bali. They have all occurred at the same birth center. I have not gotten to attend a birth at the hospital, either or at any of the other clinics or birth centers on the island. There are only a few of these.
For the past month, I have gotten to do prenatal care for a lovely Japanese woman who fled from Japan after the meltdown to Bali. She was planning to have her third babe at home. Her first two babes were born at birth centers in Japan.
She took really great care of herself throughout her pregnancy and we enjoyed getting to know one another as we talked about this. She was nervous about her midwife going off Bali to attend a midwifery conference as she neared 40 weeks. Today, she decided to kick start her labor with castor oil after a prenatal visit. By this afternoon, she was regularly contracting.
We three midwives arrived in the late afternoon, had a listen to the babe and checked the mom. She was about 6cm dilated with contractions 3 minutes apart. She labored on with intensity for a short while before we asked if she'd like to get into her bathtub. She wanted to pee first and wow does sitting on a toilet kick things up for people. It's just a natural place to relax, let go and push as Ina May so often points out.
MW R: "I don't want her to push that baby out on the toilet."
Me: "She's only 6 cm, she's not going to."
MW R, giving me the look: "Yeah, but she stretched tons. Don't be surprised."
We walk over to the mom and get through two contractions helping her to calm down. On her next contraction, I feel her pushing as she holds onto me, our foreheads touching. Hey, wait, if you are going to push, let's get you into the tub! Goodness that was quick. We help her into the tub which relieves lots of the intensity for the mom. She rests for a minute and then is full on pushing. MW R says, "Do you want to catch this baby? Let's switch places so you can." YES!
My main role here this season is as the Volunteer Coordinator. A role I am really into. I totally dig it. But, let's be honest, I miss catching babes and caring for them and their mamas. I haven't put myself on the schedule at the clinic as of yet. I just picked up one shift for a student who wanted the day off and only did prenatals. I have attended births as the eyes and ears but not donned gloves. How glorious it feels to slip into a pair after patient appreciation.
Well, the glory was to continue. This special babe was born in the next two pushes totally in the caul! That means the amniotic sac was covering it's face as it was born. The babe turned to it's mom's right thigh and then straight up and back to the right, again. As it was facing straight up with eyes shut, I could not take my eyes off of it. It's little lips pursing in and out, bits of goo floating around, black hair floating around inside, the thin membrane covering it's whole head. I was mesmerized. As the rest of the body was being born, MW R swooped the caul up and over the babe's head and we placed it's body on the mom's tummy. I was jolted back to reality. Oh, right, yes, we are at a birth. It was just so amazing to see that lil face that I got very caught up in the moment. This was my first time seeing a babe born in the caul! What a special gift. We told the mom that there is a belief that babe's born in the caul are very special; some say they are healers. MW R's grandmother was born in the caul and she is a healer.
I am so thankful to attend my very first homebirth in Bali and it be my first catch of this season as well as my first born in the caul birth. Such a peaceful experience.