Once labor and birth were finished, the reality of being at home really kicked in. The midwife weighed Harrison (7 pounds even) in a sling right by my side. She did her check up of him beside me on the bed. There were no heel pricks. No Hep B vaccines. No sugar water on the tongue. No discussion of circumcision. No incubator. No one saying they were taking him away for a bath.
My husband rummaged through the dark to find the baby something to wear -- no standard issue hospital garb. I jumped in the shower and gingerly got back in bed. My husband made me a sandwich and brought me a big pitcher of water to slake my thirst and we toasted the midwives and Harrison with some champagne and cake, which the midwives ate downstairs to give us time alone.
Harrison was born at 5 minutes past midnight. The midwives stayed to check on us all until close to 4 a.m., when they finally said goodbye, with assurances of a visit later in the day. We were too excited to fall asleep, and stayed in bed marveling at the baby. At 5:30, our 4-year-old came in and did a double take when he saw his new brother in the bed. It was like Christmas morning. He crawled in with us and we all stayed happily together until my parents, grandparents, aunt and cousin arrived with breakfast. It felt so great having them all there at the house, knowing they could stay as long as they wanted. My 85-year-old arthritic grandfather endured a long car ride, and even climbed a big flight of stairs to the bedroom, to see Harrison. He scooped up the baby and there we both cried. My grandfather was the one, throughout the entire decision to have a VBAC at home, to support it vocally. Having served on New Guinea during World War II, he saw many indigenous women give birth there. That exposure made him appreciate, respect and understand the process in ways that my grandmother and mother -- who had never known birth outside a hospital -- could not. I was grateful for his support. And loved that he could be there that morning.