Licensed Midwife Jocelyn Brown on Homebirth

Childbirth is fluid and has a life of its own. We can’t guarantee an outcome, but we can prepare ourselves throughout our pregnancy by making the best choices for our babies and our bodies.

We can choose a place of birth that gives us space to be private, and where we feel safe, and find a care provider who listens, answers our questions, and works collaboratively with us throughout our pregnancy.

For most families in the United States, due to accessibility, and medical insurance, that will be a doctor and hospital, but for a growing percentage, that means birthing at home with a midwife.

Jocelyn Brown is a licensed midwife who delivers babies in Los Angeles. Read on for her insight on midwifery and home birth.

Becoming a Midwife

What motivated you to become a home birth midwife? 

It was more of a gut thing and not a conscious motivation. I think I was drawn into the mystique of it all, that there was an “alternative” to doctors and hospitals and I wanted to be that. Then I learned that other countries use midwives as mainstream sources of maternity care and have *better* outcomes than we do in the US.  So now I don’t want to be on the fringe – I think it’s an injustice to our pregnant population that midwives are considered the “alternative.” We should be the go-to. 

Midwifery Model of Care

What can a family expect from midwifery care that is different from the care they receive from an obstetrician? 

Time. And more of a relationship with your care provider. Most midwives can offer up all the same low-risk prenatal testing and screening options as OBs do, but we actually sit with you, explain your options to you, give you alternatives if you want. We also are highly invested in keeping your pregnancy low risk, so we are going to give you tons of nutritional and lifestyle advice for good health. Many OBs have little choice but to see 20-30 patients a day.  They don’t have time to talk to you about nutrition and yoga poses for your sciatica and building your emotional support network. It’s bonkers!

Some midwives have offices that their clients drive to. I personally do all visits in clients homes, so that’s a huge perk. You get all the same care, but in your home with your kids and your pets and your spouse around. It makes the home birth aspect so intuitive.

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Victoria Chestnut 34 Weeks Premature Birth

The Golden Hour • Victoria Chestnut

34 Weeks

Victoria’s son Kylor Barry was born unexpectedly premature at 34 weeks for an unknown reason. He struggled in the NICU with jaundice and temperature regulation before being discharged 3 weeks after his birth.

During your pregnancy, when you thought about meeting your baby for the first time, what did you hope for?

I hoped for that special moment when you get to hold your baby for the first time, snuggle with them, latch them. The moment you don’t have to give them away to anyone and that babe becomes everything.

How many weeks pregnant were you when you gave birth?

34 weeks

What was your baby’s birth weight?

4lbs 11oz

Were you able to see, touch or hold your baby immediately after the birth?

He was placed on my chest for about 30 seconds. I looked and I was like he can’t breathe he’s choking. The NICU team was already trying to rush and get him but that made them pick up speed. They took him away and his Dad followed him.

Victoria Chestnut 34 Weeks Premature Birth

The very first time Victoria held her son.

When did you see your baby again after he was rushed to the NICU?

It was roughly an hour after he was born when my fiancé was able to take me down to the NICU to see him.

Do you remember the first time you touched your baby?

The first time was terrifying because he was choking, he wasn’t crying and he couldn’t breathe. They took him away so quickly when they realized after I told them. It was an experience like no other.

How many days old was your baby when you held him the first time?

1 day old.

How did it feel, to finally hold your baby in your arms?

When I was able to finally hold him and snuggle him I was so relieved. He was okay. He was clean, he fell asleep on me. He was finally here. He was my baby.

What would you say to the mother, who’s just given birth prematurely and hasn’t held her baby yet?

Visit them, hold their hand. Talk to them. Because that moment when you finally get them in your arms is the best moment you will have. It’s a feeling like no other.

Please join our NICU and Preemie Mom Support Group for community, advice, understanding, and connection with others who’ve had a similar experience.

The Golden Hour • Vicky Athanasiadou

24 Weeks 3 Days

The Golden Hour is the uninterrupted skin-to-skin time experienced by mother and baby in the hour immediately following birth.

As mothers of preemies and NICU babies, we often wait days, and sometimes weeks, to hold our babies for the first time.

And though we’ve waited, when the time comes for us to revisit the golden hour we missed following our births, we feel just as bonded to our babies, and the moment is equally unforgettable.

Vicky shares her story.

During your pregnancy, when you thought about meeting your baby for the first time, what did you hope for, what did you see?

I constantly dreamed of breastfeeding him.

How many weeks pregnant were you when you gave birth?

24w+3

What was your baby’s birth weight?

850g

Were you able to see, touch or hold your baby immediately after the birth?

Yes, I saw him and then they rushed him to the NICU.

When did you see your baby for the first time?

At birth and then again more than 24 hours later when I was able to stand up and walk to the NICU.

Do you remember the first time you touched your baby?

Very clearly.

How many days old was your baby when you held him the first time?

42 days old.

How did it feel, to finally hold your baby in your arms?

It was the best day of my life so far!

What would you say to the mother, who’s just given birth prematurely and hasn’t held her baby yet?

It’s worth the wait!

The Golden Hour • Carrita Flie

26 Weeks

The Golden Hour is the uninterrupted skin-to-skin time experienced by mother and baby in the hour immediately following birth.

As mothers of preemies and NICU babies, we often wait days, and sometimes weeks, to hold our babies for the first time.

And though we’ve waited, when the time comes for us to revisit the golden hour we missed following our births, we feel just as bonded to our babies, and the moment is equally unforgettable.

Carrita shares her story.

During your pregnancy, when you thought about meeting your baby for the first time, what did you hope for, what did you see?

After having two miscarriages, I just prayed that I’d be able to give birth to strong and healthy baby. I prayed for a full term pregnancy and no complications.

How many weeks pregnant were you when you gave birth?

26

What was your baby’s birth weight?

1lb 13oz

Were you able to see, touch or hold your baby immediately after the birth?

No.

Do you remember the first time you touched your baby?

Absolutely. I remember it vividly.

When did you see your baby for the first time?

I saw him the day after giving birth and it was 19 days before I could hold him.

How did it feel, to finally hold your baby in your arms?

I was ecstatic but terrified at the same time. He was so fragile and full of wires.

What would you say to the mother, who’s just given birth prematurely and hasn’t held her baby yet?

I know that it’s incredibly hard, but the moment you finally hold them it will be unforgettable!

The Golden Hour • Paula Cruz

27 Weeks

The Golden Hour or Magical Hour as it’s sometimes called is the uninterrupted skin-to-skin time experienced by mother and baby in the hour immediately following birth.

As mothers of preemies and NICU babies, we often wait days, and sometimes weeks to hold our babies for the first time.

And though we’ve waited, when the time comes for us to revisit the golden hour we missed following our births, we feel just as bonded to our babies, and the moment is equally unforgettable.

Paula shares her story.

During your pregnancy, when you thought about meeting your baby for the first time, what did you hope for, what did you see?

I thought the first time meeting Cédrik would be in the delivery room with the doctor putting him on my chest so we could bond while my husband would be hugging us after cutting the umbilical cord.

How many weeks pregnant were you when you gave birth?

27 weeks

What was your baby’s birth weight?

720 g

Were you able to see, touch or hold your baby immediately after the birth?

No, I wasn’t aware in the moment of birth, I lost too much blood and probably passed out.

When did you see your baby for the first time?

48 hours after in the incubator.

Do you remember the first time you touched your baby?

Yes, it was 3 days after he was born and he was doing his “solarium” 😀 UV lights for the skin and I touched his feet.

How many days old was your baby when you held him the first time?

It was 21 days after he was born and I for some reason decided on that day to go a little bit prettier to the hospital and when we arrived there the nurse asked if I wanted to hold him, I had no fear or concerns I just wanted to hold him finally.

How did it feel, to finally hold your baby in your arms?

It felt right it felt warm and loving a great accomplishment.

What would you say to the mother, who’s just given birth prematurely and hasn’t held her baby yet?

It will happen sooner then you expect but it will happen. Don’t worry about anything, just enjoy the moment, take as many pictures as you can, and keep something that’s allowed in the incubator in your bra, so when you leave, he or she will still feel you around.

The Golden Hour • Noemi Becerra

27 Weeks

The Golden Hour is the uninterrupted skin-to-skin time experienced by mother and baby in the hour immediately following birth.

As mothers of preemies and NICU babies, we often wait days, and sometimes weeks, to hold our babies for the first time.

And though we’ve waited, when the time comes for us to revisit the golden hour we missed following our births, we feel just as bonded to our babies, and the moment is equally unforgettable.

Noemi shares her story.

During your pregnancy, when you thought about meeting your baby for the first time, what did you hope for, what did you see?

I just wanted to see her. See her moving and breathing. All I saw was beauty and a miracle.

How many weeks pregnant were you when you gave birth?

27

What was your baby’s birth weight?

2 lbs 3 oz

Were you able to see, touch or hold your baby immediately after the birth?

No

When did you see your baby for the first time?

On day two after birth.

Do you remember the first time you touched your baby?

Yes

How many days old was your baby when you held her the first time?

On day 3 after birth.

How did it feel, to finally hold your baby in your arms?

I felt complete. I cried.

What would you say to the mother, who’s just given birth prematurely and hasn’t held her baby yet?

You’re not alone. There are so many moms feeling what you feel. Look for support in other NICU mommies. And don’t give up. Never lose faith. Stay strong… You’re baby is stronger than you think. They were born fighters and they will conquer the world.

The Golden Hour • Katie Freeman

36 Weeks

The Golden Hour is the uninterrupted skin-to-skin time experienced by mother and baby in the hour immediately following birth.

As mothers of preemies and NICU babies, we often wait days, and sometimes weeks, to hold our babies for the first time.

And though we’ve waited, when the time comes for us to revisit the golden hour we missed following our births, we feel just as bonded to our babies, and the moment is equally unforgettable.

Katie shares her story.

During your pregnancy, when you thought about meeting your baby for the first time, what did you hope for, what did you see?

I was planning to have a repeat section, I hoped for the opportunity to transition to skin-to-skin ASAP. My baby came out at 60% O2 sat, was immediately put on oxygen.

How many weeks pregnant were you when you gave birth?

36

What was your baby’s birth weight?

6 lb 4 oz

When did you see your baby for the first time?

Saw baby right after birth, it was 18 hours later I was able to visit her in the NICU.

Were you able to touch or hold your baby immediately after the birth?

Yes, momentarily, I was able to hold her for 1 minute before she was taken to the NICU.

How many days old was your baby the next time you were able to hold her?

2 days

How did it feel, to finally hold your baby in your arms?

Uncertain, amazing, scary, complicated. However, I was then informed that she got too cold while I was holding her and they would need to be more careful next time, which shook my confidence.

What would you say to the mother, who’s just given birth prematurely and hasn’t held her baby yet?

You are his/her mom no matter what they are going through. Lean into this time and know that every little thing you can do to help is an act of love. Learn everything you can now so that when you can hold her, when you take her home when you have to manage her health independently, you are ready. Soak it all in, and don’t be afraid to cry. Processing your emotions now is so important!

The Golden Hour • Ashley Willis

31 Weeks

The Golden Hour is the uninterrupted skin-to-skin time experienced by mother and baby in the hour immediately following birth.

As mothers of preemies, we often wait for days, and sometimes weeks to hold our babies for the first time.

And though we’ve waited, when the time comes for us to revisit the golden hour we missed following our births, we feel just as bonded to our babies, and the moment is equally unforgettable.

Ashley shares her story.

During your pregnancy, when you thought about meeting your baby for the first time, what did you hope for, what did you see?

I hoped that he would be born and be immediately put on my chest so that I could love on him.

31 weeker preemie

The first picture of Alexander.

How many weeks pregnant were you when you gave birth?

31 weeks

What was your baby’s birth weight?

4lb 6.4 oz

Were you able to see, touch or hold your baby immediately after the birth?

I saw him for a second but did not get to hold or touch him.

When did you see your baby for the first time?

I saw him when he was born but didn’t really get to see him until he was 24 hours old.

Do you remember the first time you touched your baby?

Yes! It was when I saw him when he was 24 hours old.

The first time I got to touch him.

How many days old was your baby when you held him the first time?

I held my son when he was 7 days old for the first time.

How did it feel, to finally hold your baby in your arms?

It was overwhelming and scary. He had so many wires and tubes and was so small.

The first time I held Alexander.

What would you say to the mother, who’s just given birth prematurely and hasn’t held her baby yet?

Take pictures!!! You’ll treasure those forever!

This is us now!

The Golden Hour • Merrissa Shutt

28 Weeks 5 Days

Merrissa welcomed her baby girl prematurely after being induced due to preeclampsia.

During your pregnancy, when you thought about meeting your baby for the first time, what did you hope for, what did you see?

I imagined immediately holding her and having skin-to-skin time. I was looking forward to begin breast feeding, bonding with her, and having that time to memorize every little feature on her face.

How many weeks pregnant were you when you gave birth?

28 weeks

What was your baby’s birth weight?

7lbs 15.5oz

Were you able to see, touch or hold your baby immediately after the birth?

No, I was not.

When did you see your baby for the first time?

I briefly got to hold her before they took her to the NICU to prep for transporting her to a higher level NICU hospital.

Do you remember the first time you touched your baby?

I was able to briefly touch her before they transported her, after that I was kept at the birth hospital for 2 days before I could go to the hospital she was at. Then the moment I was able to go see her, I was bombarded with doctors.

How many days old was your baby when you held him/her the first time?

3 days

How did it feel, to finally hold your baby in your arms?

Overwhelming. Scared. There were tons of cords and wires and I was angry she was in pain.

What would you say to the mother, who’s just given birth prematurely and hasn’t held her baby yet?

That it’s ok to be angry, but your baby will know who you are. That even though it feels like a piece is missing right now, you will have lots of time to make up for it. Your baby will not forget you.

The Golden Hour • Amber Vogler

30 Weeks 6 Days

Amber Vogler gave birth to identical twin girls prematurely.

The Golden Hour is the uninterrupted skin-to-skin time experienced by mother and baby in the hour immediately following birth.

As mothers of preemies, we often wait for days, and sometimes weeks to hold our babies for the first time.

And though we’ve waited, when the time comes for us to revisit the golden hour we missed following our births, we feel just as bonded to our babies, and the moment is equally unforgettable.

Amber share’s her story.

During your pregnancy, when you thought about meeting your babies for the first time, what did you hope for, what did you see?

I hoped to deliver VBAC, healthy babies I could cuddle and take home. Everything would be picture perfect. And my family would be complete.

How many weeks pregnant were you when you gave birth?

30 weeks and 6 days

What were your babies’ birth weights?

3lbs 3oz and 3lbs 2oz

When did you see your babies for the first time?

For a brief second after the c-section, and then 12-hours later.

Do you remember the first time you touched your babies?

Yes. I held their little hands on my finger.

Were you able hold your babies immediately after the birth?

No, I held one after my catheter was removed at 12 hours. And the other 2 days later when she was a little more stable.

How did it feel, to finally hold your babies in your arms?

Relieved to hold my baby that was breathing on her own. Scared to hold my baby on cpap.

What would you say to the mother, who’s just given birth prematurely and hasn’t held her baby yet?

It gets better. Just being there for your baby is all they need. When their little body is ready you will get to hold them.

Ashley Doelling / 28 weeks and 5 days

The Golden Hour • Ashley Doelling

28 weeks 5 days

The Golden Hour is the uninterrupted skin-to-skin time experienced by mother and baby in the hour immediately following birth.

Mothers of preemies often wait days, and sometimes weeks to hold their babies for the first time.

And though we’ve waited, when the time comes for us to revisit the golden hour we missed following our births, we feel just as bonded to our babies, and the moment is equally unforgettable.

Ashley Doelling is a Kansas City, MO-based Postpartum Doula, and mother of 2.

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Deborah Carlisle Solomon

Deborah Carlisle Solomon on RIE and the Newborn

Resources for Infant Educarers® (RIE®) is a way of parenting that remained on the periphery of my own parenting until my first child was almost two. During his infancy, I was unsure how to practice RIE alongside attachment parenting (AP), but as he grew increasingly mobile, I was looking for a structured way to discipline, that would be respectful of him as an individual and allow him his own thoughts and ideas.

I began to read blogs and joined a RIE Facebook group for parents with toddlers. Then I discovered a book called, 1, 2, 3 … The Toddler Years: A Practical Guide for Parents & Caregivers, and it completely changed my perspective on my role as a parent. I learned to give my son space to figure things out on his own, and I saw him begin to trust in himself and his own abilities.

Deborah Carlisle Solomon

Deborah Carlisle Solomon

A year later when I was pregnant with my daughter and seeking resources on how best to use RIE from birth, I discovered Deborah Carlisle Solomon’s book, Baby Knows Best. What I was taught in Baby Knows Best enabled me to feel confident in practicing RIE with my new baby. It was especially helpful after the delivery, when I didn’t have the energy to adhere as closely to the tenants of attachment parenting.

Baby Knows Best educates about RIE from birth to 2 years old. It walks us through caring for our newborn, managing infant sleep, and even how to support developmental milestones naturally through freedom of movement.

Deborah is a leader in the field of child development and I’m overjoyed to share her wisdom on the topic of RIE and the newborn.

Resources for Infant Educarers® (RIE®)

For families unfamiliar with RIE, how would you summarize the philosophy succinctly?  

RIE® is a way of being with and caring for a baby that supports the baby to feel more peaceful and secure. When a baby feels peaceful and secure, he is easier to care for and this creates greater harmony for the whole family.

Magda Gerber co-founded RIE in 1978 with pediatric neurologist Dr. Tom Forrest. Her Educaring® Approach is comprehensive and addresses all aspects of a baby’s development and daily life. It includes gross motor, fine motor and socio-emotional development of the baby; respectful, attuned caregiving practices; sensitive observation of the baby to understand his needs; the importance of play and appropriate play environments; and consistency and clearly defined limits and expectations to develop discipline, among other topics.

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