When actress Lake Bell gave birth at home to her first child, she says it made her feel empowered.
In fact, as she explained on Dax Shepard’s podcast, Armchair Expert, the feeling she had after giving birth to her daughter in their Brooklyn home felt so good, she wanted to do it the exact same way when she got pregnant with her second child.
She explained to Shepard:
“We had two home births. So my first was with Nova in Brooklyn. I felt very empowered, like Scott and I had gone through a schism in our relationship for the first time right before we got pregnant. […] The home birth was this amazing bonding, primal [experience]…
When my daughter came out, she had the cord wrapped around her neck, the umbilical cord, and it was very scary. She was on my chest and she wasn’t breathing. The midwife gave her three lifesaving breaths on my chest and my husband was there. She came to life and we saw it.”
However, as Bell admitted, her second birthing experience was nothing like her first.
Bell described her second home birth as the most “egregious up and down” experience of her entire life:
“I got pregnant again, and this time we’re in L.A. and things were different. And I said ‘I want a home birth again.’ We had Ozzy at home. I was huge, he was 11 pounds. The same thing happened. I was at home and he had the cord wrapped around and he was on my chest. And he was not coming to. […] Now you’re in f—ing really life and death, okay. Your child is there and the entire room is trying to resuscitate him and they can’t. The paramedics are on their way, he’s still there. This person you don’t know. […] We couldn’t get him to come to.”
When the paramedics finally arrived, Bell’s husband went in the ambulance with their newborn son as Bell still laid there, recovering from having just given birth.
Then, as her midwives were tending to the mom-of-two, she received a text message from her husband:
“I was looking at my phone as they were sewing me up…and I get a little video from Scott, seeing 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.”
Ozzy then survived an 11 days stay at the NICU. As Bell explained, their son “was hypoxic” and “he was without oxygen for longer than the four minutes that is associated with being okay.”
Doctors told Bell and her husband that Ozzy “could be cerebral palsy or never walk or talk. That was our reality.”
Bell said it was Children’s Hospital of Los Angeles that saved her son’s life. She also admitted that she blamed herself:
“I took it on because I was insisted on having a home birth. I’ve dealt with that since. You could blame the midwife, you could blame yourself, but ultimately the result is the only thing that matters. I’ve gone through therapy and was medicated for a year-and-a-half. I did wean myself off but I was on antidepressants to help kind of regulate. I barely take Advil but I was like, this is absolutely imperative in order for me to function.”
Thankfully, despite all of the trauma and the unknowns, Ozzy is now thriving.
Bell said, “I had this incredible little boy who rolled over at two months and walking at nine months as if to say, ‘Mom, I got this. I’m working my a** off to hit these milestones early so you can chill the f*ck out.'”