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Intimate Early-morning Home Birth with Birth Options Midwifery {Bowen} | Cape Town Birth Photographer

When I walked into their home in the dark hours of the early morning, I saw this was really happening. With the candles flickering and hushed whispers and low groans, these parents were deeply connected and working through each surge, lost in labour land. There is something really sacred about someone’s home. You tiptoe even lighter. I was aware of not interrupting this incredible oneness they had going.

So I did the only thing I could think of: hide behind the couch!

Staying out of the line of sight, I quietly would lift my head every few moments and take a shot. The strength and power I saw in front of me were breathtaking. She completely trusted the process and her body.

This birth was attended by Glynnis Garrod of Birth Options Midwifery Team (here’s a great interview with her) and their doula, Harriet Came. What I especially want to point out is watch how Glynnis and Harriet come close for the care they each provide, and pull back at so many points to give this couple time to bond with their baby. This birth really showcases the beauty of those first couple of uninterrupted “golden hours” right after a baby is born.

Their birth had me on a high for days. The birth playlist they had going was the most incredible soundtrack to these beautiful moments, at times filling all of us with emotion. They created a sacred space to welcome their son, and it was my pleasure to document not only the events but the atmosphere. My thanks to them for hiring me.

Be sure to work through the photos as well as the video. I’ve asked this mom to answer some of our burning questions on why she chose a home birth, what it was like, and what was on her birth playlist. Those will be intermingled in the photos, so don’t miss it!

All shared with family permission. *This birth took place before Cape Town’s severe water restrictions.

If you are planning a home birth in Cape Town or South Africa, here’s a great article I put together with another home birth mom to help in your research.

If you would like your birth story documented, here’s where to contact me.

 

1) What drove you to choose a home birth? Were there any objections or obstacles to this decision?

I had always thought that I might have a home birth. I don’t have anything against hospitals (in fact my dad is a surgeon) it’s just that when I picture giving birth it was often in a home setting in my mind. Prior to being pregnant with Bowen I had an ectopic pregnancy and had to have an emergency laparoscopy at Vincent Pallotti. The team there were amazing and really looked after me but it was a scary experience which turned out to be the spark for what became our birth journey as I began to read more about the birth process, the different support structures and health services available here in South Africa (we were so ignorant as foreigners). The logic of home birthing just became increasingly clear to me. My husband, always supportive, was however not as convinced not least after our previous scare had required such urgent hospital treatment. It was our hypnobirthing training with Nicolette Hadden that convinced him. Seeing birth videos of women completely in sync with their bodies and their babies, with the freedom and support to birth in the way we have naturally evolved to do. Incidentally, we watched a lot of birth videos and it’s one of the reasons I was keen to document and share our experience – so that other women can also gain the confidence to trust their bodies.

2) Can you share any great labour & birth playlist tunes?

Harriet Came shared her yoga playlist with me which I love but I actually developed my own Spotify list. I built it up in the later days of pregnancy. I used an Epi-No to prepare physically for birth and would put my playlist on and practice my yoga birthing positions. I really think that this preparation with helped me to get into the zone on the day. Some of my favourites from my list are Find Love by Clen Snide, The First Days of Spring by Noah and the Whale, To Build a Home by The Cinematic Orchestra and Our Love is Easy by Melody Gardot. I still listen to my birth list often, it brings back such warm and wonderful memories for me.

3) What was it like giving birth at home? Would you choose this again?

Amazing. Honestly, it was really such a fantastic experience for me and for us as a couple from the preparation, to being in the moment, to reflecting on it together now. It has also been an incredibly empowering experience for me as a woman and a mother. We do plan to have another child and we have already said we would plan for a home birth and get our dream team back together!

4) What was the cleanup?

Honestly, it’s a complete blur. I just remember Harriet handing me a cup of tea on our sofa and then helping to tuck us all into our bed a little later that morning.

 

If you missed it, here’s Bo’s meeting the family session{LINK NEEDED AFTER APPROVAL***} with his grandparents and his parent’s maternity picnic session {LINK NEEDED AFTER APPROVAL***}.

 

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