Lake Bell Opens Up About Feeling Guilt After Son's Traumatic Home Birth
Lake Bell said her second home birth and what quickly happened took place after was the "most egregious up and down of [her] entire life"
Lake Bell is revealing the “amazing magical mayhem” that was her home birth with son Ozgood in 2017.
The actress, 40, opened up about her labor experience in a new episode of her Bless This Mess costar Dax Shepard’s podcast Armchair Expert. Bell, who welcomed her second child with husband Scott Campbell in May 2017, recalled the “egregious up and down” of giving birth to son Ozgood at her Los Angeles home.
“We had two home births. The first was with [daughter] Nova in Brooklyn. I felt very empowered … the home birth was this amazing primal bonding,” the mother of two said. “When my daughter came out, she had the [umbilical] cord wrapped around her neck, 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.”
Bell added, “I felt very empowered by that experience,” and wanted to do it again.
However, her second home birth didn’t go nearly as smoothly.
“I got pregnant again, and this time we’re in L.A. and I said, I want a home birth again. We had him at home. I was huge, he was 11 lbs. The same thing happened, I was at home and he had the cord wrapped around and he was on my chest,” Bell shared. “He was not coming to. Now you’re in really f—ing life and death. 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.”
Bell continued, “The paramedics come in, the cord is still on so he has oxygen through my blood. They cut the cord and Scott ran out half-naked [with their son] and I was naked after my seven hours of laboring.”
Shortly after their baby boy was born, the midwife told her she had to be induced to birth her placenta.
“I was looking at my phone as they were sewing me up and I get a little video from Scott: 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 remembered.
The star said her son was “in the NICU for 11 days,” adding, “He was hypoxic, he was without oxygen for longer than the four minutes that is associated with being okay. … We were told that he could [have] cerebral palsy or never walk or talk. That was our reality. … Children’s Hospital Los Angeles saved his life.”
Bell revealed she had never shared the story about her second home birth before, but wanted to share “because it’s really Ozzy’s story and I’m proud of him. Proud of walking out of that hospital with a clean bill of health.”
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Looking back on the “most egregious up and down of [her] entire life,” Bell said there was a period of time when she felt guilt.
“I took it on because I 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,” she said. “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.”
Bell proudly got her kids’ names tattooed on her body after the two home births. “Labor and birth, experiencing twice now, being in your house is very strange,” she shared.
“It was like war, but what I find about labor and birth is it’s the most extraordinary ordinary thing because every motherf—er goes through it. There’s no getting out of it that it hurts, or that it’s extraordinary, or that it’s life and death or high stakes, it is what it is,” she said.
Following his arrival, Ozgood developed well and showed his mom that he was a fast learner.
“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 these milestones early so you can chill the f— out,’ ” Bell joked.