Water Birth Stories
I have experienced both hospital and water now and I know which one I would chose every time.
I had planned to have my first child in water but after 12 hours and not much action in the dilation department I was taken into hospital where after much interference by the hospital staff my son was born a further 12 hours later. Having hired a Birthworks pool for this and having had the benefit of the five star option and relaxation beforehand it was not wasted.
When I was pregnant with my second child I was a franchisee for the company. I therefore had full use of one of my own pools. My daughter began to arrive at 4 in the morning and by 9.30am I was in the pool. It was amazing as I had not laboured in it with my first. I was relaxed and although spending most of it on my knees there was only one point right before she was born that I thought I cannot do this.
The water was really calming and as a result she was born 2 and 20 minutes after entering the pool. The best thing was that she and I were reasonably clean and I did no tear like I did with my first.
I have experienced both hospital and water now and I know which one I would chose every time. I was able to get into my own bed and feed my daughter just 10 minutes after birth. It was the best experience apart from breastfeeding that I have.
I’ve had three wonderful births…
I feel very lucky as I have had three wonderful births – all of which have been very different, but which without water would have been quite different. My daughter Ella was born in May 1999 and I knew nothing about birth but the use of water appealed to me after having done a bit of reading. I hired a pool and waited for her to come. She was nearly 2 weeks late and after labouring for about 15 hours with a TENS machine and using yoga as pain relief I finally got into the pool. I stayed in the pool for 7 hours without getting out, except for during transition when I genuinely believed I wasn’t in labour anymore and that everyone could go home! The following 2nd stage lasted around 3 hours and had I been in hospital I’m quite sure it would have been an assisted birth with either ventouse or forceps. However, Ella was simply taking her time and as she progressed down the birth canal she gently made her way into the world without causing any tears, which the water greatly helped with.
My second birth in February 2002 was incredibly quick. I had bought the birthing pool franchise but due to limited space decided against setting a pool up beforehand, seeing as my last labour was 24 hours long. Little did I know! As Ella had been so late I refused to believe I was in labour for quite a while until my friend insisted in calling the midwife. We proceeded to fill a pool but Theo was born an hour later after a two hour labour with a pool still filling downstairs. I found the use of a birthing ball invaluable and the presence of my friend very calming, but missed the use of water. After the birth I used the pool to establish breastfeeding as the warm water and the buoyancy it provides is ideal for both mum and baby during this special time.
In October 2006, with the due date of number 3 coming quickly I set up a pool with the heater and filter and had my own hot tub – in which I spent my evenings reading or watching television. During a film in the tub one evening I realised that the pre-labour pains I’d been having for a week or so hurt a bit more. I got out of the pool and decided to try to get some sleep – which I immediately realised would be impossible as the contractions were strong enough for a bit of moaning. I spent the following night pacing and waiting for the quick labour I was expecting to come. It didn’t and after 5 hours of really irregular contractions I called my friend who was to be my midwife. We decided to wait for the contractions to become more regular until she came over but they never did and so about 4 hours later she came to see me. I discovered that I was 5cms dilated but that the little one had decided to spin round into an OP position – with the head facing the wrong way and flexed back. I knew that this would mean a more painful labour and that I would need to dilate more to be able to deliver. I decided to get into the pool and what bliss! I waited in vain for my waters to break so that the contractions would come more often but they never did. Owen was born after a thirteen hour labour still in his waters – which broke as he came out – facing up instead of down. However, he was tiny so it didn’t matter and for the third time no tearing! This time I had quite a painful 3rd stage and the pool was invaluable during this time. After this I had a quick bath and soup with my midwives thinking that a fourth labour wouldn’t be too bad!
Home Water Birth
I’d been having crampy feelings on and off during the week and had been taking it easy as a result. Started having different coloured discharge starting Wednesday which made it’s way to pink by Saturday. Saturday I was feeling crampy pretty much the whole day. Phoned the mid-wife mid-way through Saturday to let her know what was happening and phoned my parents to warn them that something might be happening too. Pretty much sat around and supervised Devan and Jared while they put together Connor’s dresser which arrived after lunch from IKEA.
By 4:00 though I was feeling pretty good, so I showered and changed and went out for ladies dinner night. At dinner I asked Diane if I could borrow her watch. For about 40 minutes (starting around 6:00) I was having fairly mild contractions every 7 minutes or so and then they started to spread out and by 7:15 or so they had pretty much stopped. Had a lovely dinner and lots of conversation.
On the way home, the contractions started again about every 4-5 minutes. Phoned the mid-wife around 10:00, after we had put Devan to bed to let her know I was having actual contractions now (again very mild in feeling). She told me to try and get some sleep. I did fall asleep, after Jared and I had packed an overnight bag, for about an hour, an hour and a half. The contractions woke me up about 12:40 or so and had two bouts of labour diarrhea while Jared was putting Devan back to sleep (Devan was very restless – must have sensed something was up).
I phoned my parents around 1:00 or so (Dad says it was 1:15) and told them it was time and then phoned the mid-wife (her comment was the contractions were now getting my attention – “heck yeah”). I assumed the same position I did when labouring with Devan (had my Enya CD’s playing in the background) – on my knees, upper body draped on the couch. However, I found that the contractions were much stronger/intense than they were with Devan and I felt I was having a hard time dealing with them (apparently I was doing okay). Even though they were so intense I did manage to somehow stay relaxed. Devan woke up again a couple of times and Jared finally let my mom go in with him. He “helped” Mom and Dad get the pool ready for me (took about 45 minutes or so).
I finally told Jared I couldn’t handle much more and desperately needed to be in water so he ran and disinfected the tub and filled it right up for me. As soon as I got in I felt much much better, but that didn’t last too long. The pool was brought upstairs when I got into the tub and Jared and my father started running water into pails and rushing it into the pool in the bedroom. I remember my Mom bringing Devan coming to see me to see that I was okay. After that it’s pretty much a blur (Jared says I was only in the tub for about 20 minutes or so). It got to the point where I was no longer comfortable lying on either side in the tub and needed to be on my back. Beckie checked the baby’s heartbeat and asked if I was feeling any pressure. I told her YES. The only relief I could get was by pressing my hands into the small of my back/tailbone area. Shortly after that I started feeling quite a bit of pressure and started pushing a little bit. Jared came and said the pool was ready, I gave a very large push in the tub, he somehow got me out, walked the 10 feet and deposited me in the pool (while Beckie was saying that it might be too hot). Jared filled two more buckets of water and put them in the pool before I yelled quite loudly for him twice and he came running.
I gave two more pushes, my water broke and Connor crowned. Another push and his head was out, Beckie had to clamp and cut the cord as it was very tight around his shoulder and part of his neck. Two more pushes and he joined us in the world. I got Jared to go and get Devan and then my parents. Connor’s Apgar was 7 when he was born (he didn’t cry right away – and still doesn’t cry much at all) and was 9 when they did it a few minutes later. At some point we transferred to the bed. My parents went home around 4:45 am and Beckie went home shortly there after.
Connor Burke was born at 3:01 am, was 6 lbs 14 oz (he was 6 lbs 12 oz on Aug. 26th) and was 19 inches long.
We’re all doing well. Connor’s a very calm and quiet baby (for now). He nursing very well but I’m having similar problems with my slow left breast that I did with Devan but Connor’s more persevering (although the nipple is now quite cracked and sore so that doesn’t help). It’s still pretty hard (milk came in two days ago) but it’s getting better. The hormone fluctuations have started so I’ve been getting teary for next to no reason but hopefully it’ll pass soon.
Mandy, Jared, Devan and Connor