"I didn't cut or clamp my baby's umbilical cord" - mother's lotus birth story
Are you considering having a water and lotus birth at home? Let mother-of-two Normi Alvaira Herrera's experience help guide your decision.
After learning that I was pregnant with my second child, a son, I knew I wanted to bring him into the world naturally. So I prepared myself to have a birth that would grant my son a good headstart: a home water and lotus birth. I wanted him to come out in a gentle and peaceful manner — and having a familiar environment (our home) with a calming setup (water) would give him that wonderful welcome.
I gave birth to my baby boy last April 11, 2014. He weighed 7 pounds, 8 ounces and was 47 centimeters long.
The water birth helped me manage the pressure and pain of pushing my son out naturally. My labor happened so fast that our midwives were not able to arrive in time for the baby. However, while they were on the road, there were able to guide me and give instructions on what to do on the speaker phone.
Because it was only me and my husband, he was the one who caught the baby. My baby’s cord was wrapped around his neck so I immediately uncoiled it and placed him on my chest for skin-to-skin contact and breastfeeding.
Our midwives arrived shortly after to check on me and the baby. I had to be stitched up because I tore due to my previous episiotomy. My midwife also prepared a shake with ice cream, banana and a piece of the placenta for me to drink. After some time of monitoring, we were declared well and good.
What is a water and lotus birth? Read on to the next page.
Where can one find information on home water births in the Philippines?
Waterbirth is becoming a preferred childbirth delivery by mothers around the world, although it is not much known in the Philippines yet. When I was doing my research, most of the information I got were from other countries.
Thankfully, I was able to join a local group on Facebook advocating homebirth which connected me to people (like our midwife) and mothers who also seek to have a natural childbirth. Because of these women, I was empowered to have the birth I wanted for my child.
What is a lotus birth?
Aside from waterbirth, we also did a lotus birth. Lotus birth is leaving the placenta attached to the baby until the cord naturally dries and falls off on its own. There is no cutting or clamping of the cord.
By leaving the placenta attached, it provides the baby with much needed nutrients like iron and healthy blood to aid in stabilizing his body as it adapts to its new environment outside of the womb. Since nothing is cut, the risk of infection is also lessened.
What is done with the placenta?
For our son’s lotus birth, our midwife cleansed the placenta and placed it in a steamer tray with a bed pad to absorb the excess blood. Then salt, rosemary and lavender pure essential oil were applied to help in the drying process and alleviate the smell. This was done everyday until the cord dried and detached on the fourth day. Normally it takes 3-7 days for the cord to separate.
As with my son’s placenta, I planted it with some seeds. Other mothers consume the remaining placenta (called placentophagy) by drying it further and pulverizing it for encapsulation. These capsules will be taken like vitamins as they help provide oxytocin to mothers as they recover from the childbirth.
Find out what the author has to say about the benefits of a water and lotus birth on the next page.
I’ve seen a huge difference in both of my children’s delivery and recovery after childbirth. And I can confidently say that all that I’ve wanted to achieve in this birth and everything I desired for my son to have, he received. Now at 3 weeks old, my son is very healthy and adjusting to his new environment well.
Most of my family and friends say I am a super mom for having gone through with waterbirth and lotus birth. But truth is, I am just like any mom who wants the best for her children and would go through anything to give them that.
I also did this because I wanted more women to be aware of the strength they have within and to empower them to also have an informed decision when it comes to pregnancy and childbirth. As for me, I am blessed to have gone down this path that led me to discover an entire new dimension of motherhood.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: NORMI ALVAIRA HERRERA
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