Ever since I read Sarah Buckley's article on Lotus birth, I have been much more open to the idea. I really feel like this baby wants this kind of a birth. Today I just read some very compelling paragraphs at http://www.lotusfertility.com/ that have all but convinced me this is what I want to do.
First, an explanation to what lotus birth is:
"Q: What is Lotus Birth exactly?
A: The practice of neonatal umbilical intactness - nonseverance of the umbilical cord - and absence of any potential portal of navel infection. The birth practice of the early American pioneers who produced some of the hardiest children known in American history... and valued everything they had. Also called "Umbilical Nonseverance." The baby, cord, and placenta are treated as one unit, as they are all originate from the same cellular source (egg and sperm).
This informed choice practice requests healthcare providers to follow the protocols of "Passive Management" of Third Stage Labor, and also forego invasive cord clamping. The baby is born and remains attached to its cord while the placenta is birthed. The baby's placenta-cord is kept in-situ with the baby, gently wrapped in cloth or kept in an uncovered bowl near the mother, and the cord is sometimes wrapped in silk ribbon up to the baby's belly. The cord quickly dries and shrinks in diameter, similar to sinew, and detaches often by the 3rd Postpartum day (but up to a week in certain humid indoor air conditions) leaving a perfect navel. Interestingly, extended-delayed cord clamping & severing (just waiting more than an hour after the baby's birth), results in quicker cord stump healing, with an average of only one week for detachment of the stump, which makes a big difference for diaper changing!"
Now, my favorite part:
"Q: Why bother to question cord-cutting protocols? Why change family traditions?
A: Care providers and parents who have experienced Lotus Birth babies observe that they are demonstrably more relaxed and peaceful babies who do not manifest the common (and stressful to baby and mother) 1 lb. newborn weight loss and breastfeeding jaundice that is associated with the first week of life after "normal" birth's cord cutting, particularly cord cutting within an hour of birth. These observations have yet to be studied by university hospital pediatrics, though hospital lotus births have taken place in Australia. Needless to say, a beneficial impact on child and family development is what motivates the exploration of non-severance options.
These intact Lotus babies lose no energy just trying to stabilize their systems in the early postpartum hours and this shows on all levels (relaxation, bountiful healthy weight gain, core muscle strength, fine & gross motor skills, and alert observation of the world around them). This could be called 'accelerated development' but that would be a misnomer: Lotus babies are simply undiminished by stress in a very stressful culture. Their greater capacity for relaxation, compared to nurslings who had early cord severance and placenta loss, is apparently a metabolic foundation for life, and makes teething and other developmental stages much less distressful. It could be concluded that Lotus birth gives babies lifelong coping skills."
An exaggeration? Maybe. But the more I read about it, the more I'm convinced Lotus Birth is nature's way of easing the transition from womb to outside world and giving a newborn baby every possible advantage to surviving and thriving in their new world.
No one can deny the "ick factor" involved in carrying around a deteriorating placenta for 3 days to a week, but despite that, I still want to do this for my baby. I just need to research how to reduce the unpleasant aspects.....
The article ends with this beautiful and interesting description of lotus-born babies: "Lotus babies typically grow, glow, and gaze with a uncommon infant VITALITY that brings total strangers to surprising spontaneous states of joy and reverance."
I say interesting because this was a common reaction to my baby Talita, who was not Lotus-born. She did have a peaceful homebirth, though. It begs the question: Are these noticeable characteristics in babies due to the non-severance of the cord? Or rather to the delayed cord clamping and the other gentle birth practices that usually go along with home-birth? I'd be interested to know the answer (although how could it ever be definitively ascertained?) because I'm also interested in the idea of drying and encapsulating the placenta for the maternal benefits of PPD reduction and increased milk production. Would the practice of delayed cord clamping for, say, 3 hours or so, and then placental ingestion be the best of both worlds? I mean, if the baby receives all the physiological benefits from the placenta within 3 hours, (I don't know if this is true or not) then why go through all that work of of managing the placenta for several days?
Talita did lose weight and she did get slightly jaundiced. Would that have changed if I had waited a couple of hours to cut her cord? Or would it have required a full lotus birth to eliminate those problems?
In absence of true research to determine the answers to these questions, I guess the decision to go full lotus or just delay the clamping for a few hours depends on how you view the metaphysical aspects of the placenta. I've read what I consider some pretty far-out ideas equating the placenta with guardian angels, with some cultures actually worshipping the placenta like a shrine. My own personal opinion is that this is misguided. However, I am intruigued at the fact that the placenta resembles the "Tree of Life" and I do seriously wonder how spiritually and emotionally attached the baby is to their placenta. Do babies really need and/or want to keep their placentas attached until they're ready to let it go? Or is this just a misguided new-agey idea that parents have come up with?
I guess I have more pondering, meditation, and prayer to do in order to know what is best for this sweet baby and what she actually wants me to do.