When I chose Gentle Beginnings birth center as the ideal place and environment to birth my baby, it did not occur to me that the name had a lot to do with the way the birth center and their midwives treated their littlest patients. After having my baby there I understand now.
Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee...
~ Jeremiah 1:5
When a baby has just been born it has never been away from his/her Mommy, never been touched before, never seen a bright light and never felt cold. Everything a new baby goes through right after birth is miraculous and amazing. It is also a lot that the little one has to adjust to. I consider it cruel to immediately take them away from the Mother for reasons that could afford to wait.
At the hospital where I birthed my two older daughters they treated my new healthy babies like emergencies, like an accident waiting to happen!
They came out, was literally plopped on my belly for no more than 60 seconds, so that I could see them. Then their umbilical cord was immediately cut, leaving behind up to 25% of their necessary blood and nutrients still in the placenta. That in itself is a shock to their system. Then they were picked up and placed under a heated little table where they start to give them a shot, poke their little foot to get blood, they got gel placed in their eyes, and flopped around while the nurses rubbed them roughly trying to get all the blood and vernix off of them as if it is something highly dangerous and contagious. They weighed them and measured them and got their footprints immediately. Why is that so important mere minutes after birth I wonder?
I lay watching from a distance helplessly stuck to my hospital bed. I watched the whole process knowing that something was not right about it, something was just wrong and my arms ached to hold my baby. MY baby! The whole time my sweet little girl was screaming and upset, and all I could do was raise my voice and speak sweetly to her hoping that at least she could hear something familiar and be comforted from it but there were loud machines, loud people and distracting bright lights and too much distance between us. She was too upset and too busy being man-handled to hear me.
I tear up thinking about it.
I truly believe that she cried because she was scared.
She had just taken her first breath and what a cruel world she comes upon, being treated like a second rate human. She was new and did not understand what was going on but my precious little baby was not second rate.
After a while she was once again taken far from her Mommy, down to the nursery, where she got her first bath and was scrubbed clean from any remaining offensive vernix or blood, and they scrubbed her new delicate little skin as if she were an iron skillet! My baby screamed the whole bath only stopping to gasp in shock as bitter tasting soapy water drips down in her little eyes, nose and mouth. Yes, I've tasted baby soap, it's nasty.
You would NEVER see a new Mom or Dad handle their squishy little helpless newborn like that!
What is sad is that this is the norm, it is the average treatment of a healthy newborn hospital baby.
Sure, my babies 'survived' and don't seem to be permanently damaged because of it but who wants to 'just' survive? Nobody! Why not treat the new one with common kindness that we show to each other as adults?
At Gentle Beginnings as soon as my baby was born she was immediately placed in my arms, on my chest skin to skin. Her little face was right next to my heart beat. Where it had been for 9 months.
She could hear my voice and got nothing but gentle hugs and kisses from me. Our midwife checked her up and down all the while I was holding and loving on her. Neither my baby nor I even noticed she was there. We were in a sweet little world of our own!
It was a loving, sweet, warm, candle lit and quiet atmosphere she was introduced to. It was a calm yet a very joyous time for all of us.
I was the first one she heard, saw, felt. It was a comfort to her, since her little body was still learning to breath and get adjusted to wide open spaces she was introduced into that in the most gentle, calm and soothing way possible, by the one who loved her the most.
After a few moments of a sweet welcome to this world she was lovingly placed on my chest to nurse. Which was another natural comfort for her. She ate as much as she wanted for as long as she needed. When the placenta had expelled all it's blood, iron, oxygen and vital nutrients it stopped pulsating and then, and only then did they cut her cord.
After a while my baby and I settled down into the warm and soothing herbal bath. Where I held my baby in the warm water softly swaying her back and forth, while my husband reached over into the tub and gently massaged his daughters little scalp with a soft baby brush. It was so soothing to her that her eyes started to droop and she calmly fell asleep in my arms, contented and happy.
When thou liest down, thou shalt not be afraid: yea, thou shalt lie down, and thy sleep shall be sweet.
~ Prov. 3:24 from KJV
She never cried or complained, because we gave her nothing to be upset about.
When I had to get some stitches and get 'fixed' up, or when I went to the restroom my baby was safe in her Daddy's arms, receiving cuddles, kisses and coos from him. She never was placed in a plastic tub, heated lamp or behind a glass window, she was warmed by her Daddy's body heat, or my own with no glass wall between us.
After her gentle introduction to the world we laid her down on the bed and the midwife very tenderly checked her vitals, her length, weight and etc. Her Daddy and I are right there watching and enjoying it all. It was a fun and sweet celebration! No blood is drawn, she was not an emergency. Blood works could wait at least a couple of days. She didn't cry or get upset because she was treated like a first class citizen, made of flesh and blood, that had real human feelings and fears. Like the precious jewel that she was!
That night we went home and enjoyed the comfort of our own bed, surrounded by the sounds and routines we were both used to, and slept. It was a deep and healing rest that can not be had if it weren't for a sweet and loving GENTLE beginning.
A gentle beginning is the best birthday gift my baby could ever get. It will always be a place and a time in my life that when I look back on it I will always have that soft glow in my eyes and a contented sigh on my lips. No matter how big my baby will get I will always hug her close to my heart beat and with sweet memories I'll cherish our first gentle moments together, and whisper a prayer of thanksgiving for that little unforgetable blessing, a moment and a memory that will forever be engraved in my heart.
Behold, children are a heritage from the LORD, the fruit of the womb...
I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.
~ Psalm 139:14 from KJV