Actress Lake Bell is a mama to two healthy children, daughter Nova and son Ozgood, and she recently (and bravely) shared how her birth experiences were not what she thought they would be. On the latest episode of Dax Shepard’s podcast, Armchair Expert, she opened up about her two home births.
Lake describes the first experience, when she gave birth to her daughter, as very intense—her daughter had the umbilical cord wrapped around her neck, and the actress’ midwife needed to give her “three lifesaving breaths.” Ultimately, her daughter was fine and Lake found her home birth to be an incredibly empowering experience.
And so she decided to try home birth again when she became pregnant for the second time and it was another challenging experience. “The same thing happened, I was at home and he had the cord wrapped around and he was on my chest. He was not coming to,” Lake shared with her Bless This Mess co-star during her podcast appearance.
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She goes on to explain that paramedics rushed to the scene and cut the umbilical cord before Lake received more unsettling news: She’d have to be taken to the hospital and induced to deliver her placenta.
“I was looking at my phone as they were sewing me up and I get a little video from [my husband] Scott [Campbell]: little Ozzy just barely taking breaths with the oxygen mask and I just passed out. Because I was like, ‘He’s alive,’ and then I just passed out,” Bell says of her son, who spend time in the NICU. “He was hypoxic, he was without oxygen for longer than the four minutes.…We were told that he could [have] cerebral palsy or never walk or talk. That was our reality.”
Luckily, Ozgood is a healthy, thriving boy (he even walked at just 9 months old!).
Bell says that she grappled with some guilt over her decision to have a home birth in the aftermath of this experience—though, to be clear, the choice to have a home birth is a valid one.
According to Motherly’s Digital Education Editor Diana Spalding, a nurse and midwife, “Home births are a wonderful option for women with low-risk pregnancies, who want to have low intervention births in the comfort of their own home. The American College of Obestricians and Gynecologists states that while they believe hospitals and in-hospital birthing centers to be the safest place to have a baby, women should be supported when they choose home birth in the presence of ‘a certified nurse-midwife, certified midwife or midwife whose education and licensure meet International Confederation of Midwives’ Global Standards for Midwifery Education.'”
Spalding continues: “The American College of Nurse-Midwives (ACNM) and the Midwives Alliance of North America (MANA) recognize home births as a safe options for low-risk women. If you are considering a home birth, a bit of research is involved. Reach out to local home birth midwives to have in-depth conversations about your specific scenario. And don’t forget to contact your insurance company—it’s not always covered.”