What if my baby doesn't breathe right away?
The most important thing to remember is not to panic. As long as your baby remains connected to the placenta and the placenta is pulsing, he is receiving oxygen. The normal color of a newborn is purplish, turning more pink as baby breathes. Your baby should also have good control of his muscles, being able to resist external movements. The APGAR rating is used to determine the overall health of a newborn, and if you hired a midwife she will be trained to assess the baby using the APGAR rating. A baby with a low APGAR score may have health issues that need to be monitored.
I didn't have a problem with my son breathing right away. When I discussed the possibility with my midwife her advice was as such: Infant CPR will probably not be helpful if the baby has not taken a first breath. Let the baby's skin touch the colder air, which can stimulate a breath. Talk to your baby and rub his back to stimulate a breath.
In the hospital if they "suction" the baby, it means they get mucus and other debris out of the baby's mouth and possibly throat or lungs. Homebirth midwives have suction equipment they can use if necessary. We knew if the birth was fast we would have no suction available (and no one to use it anyway), so my midwife recommended using some gauze pads or a cloth to wipe his mouth and nose - not to clean it out but to begin above the nose and wipe down the face gently to pull some of the mucus out. Healthy babies have a tendency to sputter and spit out the mucus anyway, so this wasn't a big concern for my midwife.