237: HOME BIRTH STORY – Cleft Affected Home Birth Story with Rebecca James-Esposito

What happens when you’re planning for a home birth and those plans could change because of a birth difference?
This is something that Becca and her husband Mark had to face when they were pregnant with their second son, Evan and planning for a home birth. Anatomy scans revealed that Evan had cleft lip and possibly cleft palate, potentially shifting not only birth plans, but Becca’s plans to breastfeed (there can be issues with forming suction in cleft-affected babies). This was a devastating experience for Becca, challenging her to stay connected through the remainder of her pregnancy.
However, supportive doctors gave them to green light to proceed with a home birth.
The birth itself was peaceful and “normal.” This was also after a traumatic experience with her first birth of her son Tucker, which led her wanting a “do over.”
We really appreciate Becca and Mark bringing this conversation to the podcast, because we haven’t shared a cleft-affected story before. Some of the things that Becca emphasized and wanted to make sure we share with listeners who are also going through this - to make sure your midwife (care provider) is very confident with resuscitation (this can be one of the things to be mindful of at the birth of a cleft-affected baby).
From Becca:
I think it's important for other cleft-mamas to know that my midwife had a laryngo mask and was experienced with it; she also does monthly refreshers on neonatal resuscitation. I also had 3 different cleft bottles on hand, syringes, and donor milk so that I could figure out feeding him no matter what, if his palate had been cleft. I also had a pump ready to go. I think these are important things to have if you're giving birth to a cleft kiddo at home. We also had a plan to meet with our cleft team within a week after birth or earlier, if there were feeding issues (within 24 hours). Also, mostly importantly, my home birth was the healing experience my mind, soul, body, and family needed! After he was delivered earthside, I physically bounced right back! He was 9lbs, and I didn't tear! I physically felt soooooo much better than I did after Tucker. I didn't even really need the peribottle...I felt great! Everything about Evan's birth was exactly what I needed in the end.
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