By Melissa Grant
When Alice Banfield was born, the sun was setting on a beautiful autumn day as her parents sat in an inflatable pool on the deck of their Steels Creek home.
Alice was caught by her father Ben, an incredible end to what was a trouble-free labour for mum Indi on 3 May this year.
Wedge-tailed eagles flew overhead as Indi, Ben and Alice soaked up their first moments as a family of three.
It was an amazing home birthing experience, although Indi had initially planned to give birth in hospital.
A song performed by Archie Roach at Healesville is actually what convinced Indi to deliver her first child at home.
Indi knew more than most about homebirth – her little brother was born at home, and one of her godmothers is a doula and the other a midwife.
But with some anxieties and concerns about living off-grid without reliable power and a long way from the hospital, she initially wasn’t convinced homebirth was for her.
She only decided to have one when she saw Roach, a popular Indigenous singer-songwriter, perform late in her pregnancy.
“I went to see Archie Roach when he came to Healesville and the first song he sang was about taking care of the land, because that’s where the children were born,” she explained.
“I knew then that I really wanted to have Alice at home because it is important to me for her to have a connection to where she was born.”
Up until that point Indi had been planning to give birth at Casey Hospital, an option then available with Yarra Valley Midwives.
“I wanted to go with a model of care where I had the same midwife at every appointment – that’s why I contacted Lisa and Robbie (Robyn) at Yarra Valley Midwives,” she explained.
“Up until 37 weeks I was planning to go with the Casey Hospital option.
“But I was leaving it as long as I could to decide.
“It was a big thing for me – I’m quite anxious but I decided to let it go and put my trust in Lisa and Robbie.”
The decision to proceed with a homebirth delivered Indi and her partner Ben a beautiful birthing experience against a picturesque backdrop.
“Alice was born right on sunset and into the water – Ben was able to catch her,” Indi recalled.
“We stayed in the water and looked at her for an hour. We had some lights set up.
“It was beautiful. We had set-up beds and slept in front of the fire inside.”
Indi says the support she received during her pregnancy, birth and breastfeeding journey had well and truly exceeded all expectations.
“It was absolutely above and beyond what anyone could expect,” she said.
“I’ll definitely use them (Yarra Valley Midwives) for my next baby if I have one!”