Thirty one years ago, I was present during the birth of the son of a friend and his wife. It was in a hospital, but the room was informal with soft music playing. The father was there during the birth, including helping his son from the mother’s body. There was a midwife who involved the father to the point that he basically delivered his son. No complications.
But it was reassuring to know that had there been need for medical intervention, it was close by.
It was unforgettable.
Several years after that, another friend and his wife had a home birth. Their baby boy was delivered by a midwife. After she left, their son was lying on his mother’s chest, and she noticed he was not breathing. His father, in a panic, tried to resuscitate, but their baby was dead.
I later told a doctor about it. He said that he is not opposed to natural childbirth with midwives. He also said that as a doctor, following the birth, “I want to have a look at that baby.” He described several symptoms he’d check for, including breathing patterns.
Perhaps the baby who died would not have been able to be saved even if a doctor had seen him.