Today I’m speaking with an experienced midwife, Teresa Walsh, about an extraordinary part of birth!
As you’ll discover in this story, private midwives are incredibly valuable because of the way they 1) know what an undisturbed birth looks like, and 2) know how to let the mother do her thing, trusting that the birth process will work if they give it some space. The result is quite remarkable.
Let’s dive into my interview with Teresa.
Teresa: [Another midwife] Wendy [in her private practice] was saying to me this morning…”On Saturday I saw a client have a fetal ejection reflex.” And I said, “in the hospital?!” (because you never see it in the hospital).
Me: Wait, what? I missed that.
An Instinctive Birth
Teresa: What happens when a woman has a physiological birth. Sometimes. Not always. When she feels safe, and 100% of the environment is right. (However, that is for her). Sometimes you see what’s called a “fetal ejection reflex”. When she’s ready to birth. She grabs you like this [both of the birthing woman’s hands reach out and clutch onto the support person’s arms firmly]. Then her pupils dilate, and she pushes the baby out [in one contraction like the photo above].
Me: [Giggling] Wow!
Teresa: You don’t see it very often. It’s so primal. It never ever happens unless she’s in the sweet spot. So, I don’t think any hospital midwife would have ever seen one!
The Most Uncommon Type Of Natural Birth 🦄
Me: So it’s like the unicorn of birth!
Teresa: I said, “In the hospital?” [to Wendy]. [And Wendy replied], “Yes, well I was looking after her to I had all the lights down and the doors shut.” She had this experience with her first baby.
Undisturbed, Private, Protected 🗝
Me: Come on! 🥳 [Note: The type of care you have in your labour can significantly determine how your labour and birth go. Wendy, also an experienced midwife, knew how to set the room up (undisturbed, private, protected) so that the birthing women could “do her thing”.]
Teresa: That’s the type of thing that’s possible and common in physiological birth. We see it all the time in home births. Midwives who work in hospital think we make this stuff up, because it’s not part of their experience. They never see these things.
Me: Yeah, yeah.
The Most Incredible Water Birth Story 💦
Teresa: [There’s one story that always stands out for me].
I’d been there for a few hours.
She was in the pool.
Her partner was great.
It was just the four of us.
She was labouring beautifully.
Then, she starts to slow down a bit. I thought, she’s probably hungry. She’s working hard. So, anyway, typical young couple… not much food in the house. I looked in the fridge, and I was like, “Hmm”. 😂
What Kind Of Biscuits Were Those?! 🥛🍪
Teresa: He had this packet of biscuits and this milk. She was having this drink of milk in the pool and this biscuit. Alex and I were sitting over here, having a cup of tea and a chat. Then, all of a sudden, this enormous contraction [came] and there was a change in her voice. Alex and I looked at each other, put our cup of tea down, and went straight over. And she just pushed the baby out, just like that.
Teresa: All we said to each other was, “What kind of biscuits were those?!” We’ve got to get some of those biscuits and take them to every birth!
Teresa: It was the most fantastic thing.
You would just never see that in the hospital, ever, because she was just completely 100% relaxed. And having her little snack.
She did exactly that.
She grabbed me by the arms.
Her pupils dilated.
Then she was trying to stand up.
And I said to Alex, “You’re going to have to catch because she’s holding me!”
And it was just like, “Wow!”
Me: That’s just incredible. My goodness.
Teresa: You see some lovely things. It’s such a privilege. It really is such a privilege.
See A “Fetal Ejection Reflex” In Action
Want to see what it might have been like to be Teresa at the birth she talks about? Here’s a video of a water birth where the mother experiences the same FER urge and her baby sort of “shoots out” as a result. Powerful stuff!
Teresa is one of Australia’s most experienced midwives. She is the director of New Life Midwifery in Australia. Teresa says that “being ‘with women’ as a midwife has been her privilege and honour for many years”.
Want a quicker, easier birth?
If you’d like to prepare more for your birth, check out the Original Design Workshop. It walks you through God’s blueprint for childbirth so you can have a quicker, easier birth.
Stephanie Renee Cluff