There are so many things I could say about this beautiful home birth, but I'd like to focus on one of them: delayed cord severance and burning.
The video shows the baby being separated from the placenta well after the cord has stopped pulsing, and it is not clamped, or cut- but burned. I was very intrigued by this, as I have never heard of it before. It is such a beautiful way for the baby to be separated from the placenta, as you can see by the ritual manner in which it was done.
First of all, there are many documented benefits to delaying cord severance. As long as the umbilical cord is pulsing, the placenta is providing nutrient and oxygen-filled blood to the baby. It can provide up to 30% more blood volume if left unclamped. This will give the baby a MUCH better store of iron to sustain the first months of life, and the continued flow of oxygenated blood allows the baby a much gentler transition to breathing on his own. This series of photos from Nurturing Hearts Birth Services shows the clear transition of the umbilical cord from being blood-rich and pulsing, to "empty".
The difference is astonishing! You can clearly see that if the cord was cut and clamped right away, the baby would be missing out on a lot of blood and nutrients.
Now, what really intrigued me was the burning. As I said, I have never seen it before and it is not common in Western culture. In the video shown above, the cord is stretched over a bowl (to keep the cord tight in place for burning, and to catch wax drippings). A foil pan is used to deflect heat away from the mother and baby. Later on, as dad is taking an herbal bath with the baby, you can see that the cord has been neatly wrapped in gauze to keep it from snagging on clothing.
What I love about cord burning is that it is a ritual. The people who supported the mother through the birth are the ones to sever the cord. In typical Western culture, it is one person who cuts the cord- usually the father, an older sibling, etc. Cord burning allows a group experience. I also loved the beauty of taking time. There is a website dedicated to the art of cord burning, which you can find here. The author of the website speaks beautifully when she says (of cord burning) "I have found it preferable to cutting because it is a more mindful act. Burning the cord takes time. Just as we did not rush the baby or the placenta so too do we not rush the separation of the baby from the source that nurtured it on the inside."
The placenta has sustained the baby for the duration of his life so far- it seems rather ignorant that we would be in such a hurry to separate the two. I am now convinced that cord burning is something I would like to see done more often. I would love to incorporate it into my future births. Certainly though, it isn't for everyone. Would you consider cord burning? Why or why not?