I loved my water birth! The combination of the heat and the weightlessness was amazing for me. All three of my births were drug free but this was by far the most comfortable. I feel so lucky to have been able to experience this and I couldn’t recommend it more highly!
I was so glad to be able to birth in the water. At one stage it looked like it was going to end in a much different way but thankfully my midwife allowed me to try the pool and I’m certain that if it hadn’t been for that, I would have ended up having an emergency cesarean. I had a very long and slow first labour with my son, initially I wasn’t dilating so for 2 nights and days I laboured, by the middle of the second day my contractions were very strong and close so I was allowed to go to the hospital where I intended to give birth – my husband wasn’t keen on a home birth so our birth plan was a compromise of water birth at the hospital.. I was devastated to be told I was still only 1 cm, I was exhausted, it seemed my contractions were almost continuous – I was delirious with pain, begging for it to end, begging for a caesarean or epidural – I won’t lie, it was pure hell and I was pretty much loosing control, (but my husband kept saying – “you said you’d say this, you can do it by yourself Phoebe!” I was hating my non labouring self!) unfortunately I had to wait to get in the pool due to another birth before me and the fact that I had not dilated meant my back up midwife felt the pool my slow things down. However My LMC arrived finally and gave me the go ahead to get in the (now free) pool at around 5 o’clock. I could tell she was slightly concerned about me being able to carry on as she put a cannula in my hand and had called an obstetrician for a second opinion. But oh, as soon as I got in the pool I felt my whole body just relax and open. It was heavenly, I no longer existed in only a world of pain, but I was floating in a cocoon or warmth, enveloped in the safely of the water, I could finally handle the contractions and rest in the brief time in-between them. The water allowed me to forget about the weight of my body and breathe, I used gas as well to help myself focus, I was making a deep primal sound with each contraction but no longer screaming in agony. I was deep inside myself but in a place that was focused, whereas before I was free falling into an abyss of pain, flailing about like a mad woman, I was now climbing a mountain with determination and strength. Every contraction saw me getting closer to my baby. My midwife suddenly realised that my cervix had got stuck behind the back of the baby’s head, so although I wasn’t dilating it was paper thin – she hooked a finger in the 1 cm gap and pulled it around, I was quickly 5 cm, then 8, she then broke my waters and I was 10 – I had been labouring for over 45 hours, in the pool for a about 2 hours, but as soon as my waters broke I knew it was game on – I got this wave of strength and the urge to push, so I dug from the depths of my soul and pushed with all my might, in 4 pushes, 20 minutes after my waters broke, my son slid gracefully into my husbands hands. I will never be able to top the relief I felt at that moment! He passed him through my legs and I lifted him out of the water – I could not believe the miracle that was staring up at me. I felt super-human, invincible, and fell instantly, deeply in love. It was, and still is one of the best moments of my life.
My husband and I were fortunate enough to give birth to our second child in a birthing pool and we really enjoyed the experience. With our first child, I was given a pitocin and an epidural drip at 2cm, so I wasn’t able to really experience all aspects of the labor and birthing process. Also, our daughter was a bit distressed in the ending part of my labor and needed to be observed a little bit longer after her birth, which didn’t help the important first bonding moments between her and I. I honestly was a bit hesitant this time around thinking about not having a more clinical kind of birth, since I had my first baby in the U.S. and that’s what we are more accustomed to hearing about and going through ourselves.
Our birth plan this time around was pretty straight forward. I wanted an epidural, but I wanted to use less invasive pain relief before getting one. My body of course had different ideas of what it was planning on doing. My labor progressed fast enough that within a little over a hour from initially getting examined and a bit of moving around with the help of gas and air, I was examined again and found to have dilated to 7-8 cm. Needless to say, I wasn’t very amused when my midwife informed me that I wouldn’t be able to receive an epidural at that point in labor. After nearly ripping my husbands face off (since he promised I could get the epidural when I was pregnant..oh boy did he regret that move), I pulled myself back together and realized the best place to help my body cope with giving birth would be in the pool. I was also fortunate enough to have great support people with me and that also helped keep my mind calm and motivated on getting to the light at the end of the tunnel.
The pool helped me in numerous ways. It helped ease a lot of my lower back pains since I was able to submerge my body in the warm water. The weightlessness I experienced from the water was great, it allowed me to transition in to the different birthing positions easier and helped me relax my joints and muscles. It also helped my pelvis and bones move in to the positions that needed to be in easier with out the added pressure from lying on a solid surface. My husband was able to get in the pool with me and help support me through all of it. He felt much more involved and connected to the whole process since he was only really able to hold my hand and help hold my upper back when I was pushing with our first birth. He was able to support my weight when I was resting on him, which gave made me relaxed and comfortable to actually rest between a few contractions.
When our son decided to make his debut, the pool helped comfort him as well. He let out a few healthy (loud!) cries and then relaxed in the water as I got to hold him on my chest. It was the most rewarding experiences of my life! I would honestly recommend having a water/pool birth to other women since it helped me achieve giving birth in a much more natural and peaceful way, which benefited all of us.
At the age of 17 I found out I was expecting a baby, I had so many mixed emotions….Was I to too young? am I ready for this? I knew in my heart that I was ready, so I decided ‘yes’, I’ve got to do this. My whole pregnancy was smooth and easy except the odd back pain and Kobe kicking me in my ribs.
On the 31st of May at 2am I started to get some pains so I went in and woke mum up and said ”I think something is happening”. She told me to try and get some rest. By 4am I called the on call midwife to tell her it’s all happening. I was freaking out, I didn’t know what to expect. I was also vomiting and my bowels were having a ‘clean out’. My midwife arrived at 9:05am. Once she got there my contractions were lasting up to 2-3mins and coming one after the other.
I wanted to have a water birth, so we filled the pool. When the pool was ready I striped down naked and was in the pool at 10:15. By 10:30 and my son’s head was felt. I didn’t have any drugs or gas as this was the easy part compared to the earlier contractions. I loved having cold water running down my back and a flannel filled with ice to bite! At 10:50 my son’s head was crowning, ouch! And at 10:58, still in the pool, we welcomed the newest member of our family, Kobe. The first thing I noticed was that he wasn’t crying, he was relaxed, and just staring at me. We had skin to skin, then while I was giving birth to the placenta he had skin to skin with his dad. It’s definitely hard work, but the pool helped a lot!
I was 18, at home with a great midwife and my partner, and I wanted a water birth. So after 48 hours of contractions, I hoped in the bath at my midwife’s insistence (she knew it was my birth plan) and I was so glad I did. Being in the pool really helped me to disconnect from the stress of the situation and focus on me and baby, and on my goal to bring her into the world as calmly and peacefully as I could, and I did.
The Birth of Eli.
On Thursday I woke up at around 4am, and felt something go ‘click’. I then had 5 contractions roughly 10-15min apart, I woke Paul at 5am & we gradually got out of bed to get the pool ready and I packed the last few things for Alexis…
I rang Janine (who was going to look after Alexis) & woke her up but didn’t actually get hold of her, and after that the contractions were 4-5min start to start, and I didn’t get round to ringing back! Meanwhile Paul was filling the pool in our lounge, and Paul started putting pots on the stove to heat more water, then managed to ring Janine back around 6.30-7am, and he ran Alexis round for the day, while i hopped in the pool…
Even though it was shallow the pool still felt very nice & at that point i could still relax through the contractions.. When Paul got back just after 7 we timed them at 4min apart/1min duration, so Paul rang my midwife who had breakfast & got herself ready, and we were to ring her back in 30min with a progress report..
30min later the contractions were 2.5min apart/1.5min long, so she decided to come. She arrived at 9am, along with her student midwife, and they started unpacking, I was still in the pool (which was considerably fuller by now, thanks to many saucepan trips!) just kneeling & leaning on the side, while Paul rubbed my lower back through the contractions.
At 9.20 I finally had a show, followed by a spectacular pop as my waters broke! The next contraction I felt like pushing & my midwife said that if thats what felt right, then to trust myself & go for it! And after just 7 minutes of pushing Eli was out! It was 9.29am
He weighed 7lb/3.18kg, head circumference of 34cm, length 50cm, apgars of 9 & 10, and was beautifully healthy & pink, with no bumps or marks and not even a slight cone head!
I really couldn’t have asked for a better birth!
The birth of Keira Marie Bird.
On the Tuesday before she was born, I had plans to go to a La Leche League (breastfeeding) support group meeting with my friend Jess . As it turned out my husband happened to be home sick that morning too, a rare occurrence. Sick is not always something he does well and we (my elder daughter and I) were more than happy to get out of the house, in fact I decided on the way to the meeting that maybe I’d stay out for the day and give him some space.
So the meeting came and went, and then we headed back to Jess’s afterwards to finish our lunch and so that the kids could play and wear themselves out a bit more. As we chatted and supervised the kids, I kept feeling this immense pressure in my pelvis, the strength of which came and went to varying degrees but I dismissed it somewhat and just put it down to my baby having been engaged for the last six weeks or so.
I finally got a text from my husband later on in the afternoon worriedly asking where I was, because as it turns out in my irritation I had forgotten to tell him of my plans – oops! So I let him know that we’d probably be heading back home soon as I prefer to avoid the worst of the afternoon traffic if I can, and that as I was getting tired and rather uncomfortable that we’d just get takeaway for dinner once I got in.
Our evening passed uneventfully, and so at around 6am on the morning of Wednesday, July 29th, I heard my daughter stirring as she is quite the early bird (Haha! Pun intended!). She eventually came in to our room around 6:30am, and feeling the need to at least attempt a lie-in of some sort, I turned the TV on for her in the lounge and headed back to bed.
As I lay there trying to drift back off to sleep I began to experience the same sensations of immense pressure that I had felt the day before, and I think that somewhere in my subconscious, I went “Oh crap, I’m going to go into labour today aren’t I….” whilst my half asleep self battled to ignore it. Around 7am my husband got up for his shower, and I gave up on the idea of sleeping in. I asked him if he was going to his local office or whether he’d be in town, and reminded him to take his cellphone with him.
As I pottered about getting dressed, the sensations continued to come and go, and still perhaps in denial somewhat, I asked my husband whether he REALLY needed to go all the way into downtown, as it would take him longer to get back than if he was at the main office closer to our home.
At that same point I texted my midwife with an ironically vague text (ironic as she knows I am not prone to texting unless there is a definite reason), saying something along the lines of “I’m not sure if this is really it, but the energy has definitely shifted, so thought I’d let you know.” This was around 7:30am.
I wandered down to the kitchen, and it was at this point that things started to build up a little, so I called Jess as she was going to be my main support person and a possible distraction for my daughter . It took me a further half hour or so though before I was completely out of my denial, having been unable to complete the small task of boiling the jug for a cup of tea, as I would have to stop and actually focus inwardly until the sensation passed.
I probably spent about half an hour or so until just after 8am on the kitchen floor, leaning over one of the chairs at our dining table with my top half. Roland had fortunately clicked on and rung his work already to tell them he likely wouldn’t be in, and then set about organising something for Erin to be occupied with, which would then enable him to set up the birthing pool in our lounge.
I ended up back in the master bedroom eventually, positioning myself on one side of the bed with my left leg up and partly under me, my torso and arms supported by pillows, and my right leg at 90 degrees to the floor as my support. I pulled the curtains to darken the room as it was getting increasingly light, and I felt more and more the urge to retreat within myself and make a birthing ‘cave’ of sorts.
This is where things began to blur a little more. I remember my midwife phoning me back to say she was on her way over after having dropped her kids at school, and me telling her they were coming more often but not lasting a whole lot longer, so we still “probably” had a bit more time. Ha!
I remember Jess arriving with her babe Lorelai strapped to her back in a woven wrap, but not being able to verbally communicate much more to her than “I think this is it!”
So I continued on, surrounded by pillows and vocalising through each contraction, keeping it as low, soft and open as possible.
Anna arrived (my midwife), and I recall her briefly being in the room to check in with me before heading to the other end of the house to set her own things up and lend a hand with the pool and my birthing altar.
The last glance at any kind of clock or watch that I can remember was at 8:44am, and I think not long after this Anna asked if she could check baby’s heart rate and take my blood pressure. I said yes, but as long as it was in between contractions when she started. I had shifted to the other side of the bed by that stage, as my right leg needed a bit of a break if things were going to carry on. However when the next contraction came I couldn’t stand anything being on me or up against my skin so I believe what I muttered at Anna was “off, off, OFF !!!!”.
Not long after that point, things kicked up a notch, and I felt the need to rock my body back and forth as well as continue vocalising quite loudly through each contraction. I managed to get my shirt off, as by this stage I was rather sweaty, but didn’t quite make it to getting my pants off.
The next thing I know, I am completely overcome by the urge to get off the bed and kneel on the floor with my arms up against the bed. I was alone again in the room and it took what little ‘outward focus’ I had left to yell for Anna and Jess, who in turn yelled for my husband who was still filling up the birth pool.
That, as it turns out, was my brief journey through transition… I remember spontaneously emptying my bowels and then announcing “Awesome, I’ve just shit myself!” but still being reluctant to take my pants off as it was just taking too much effort away from my inwards focus on birthing this baby.
Fortunately though, with a group effort we managed to get them off, as moments later my beautiful baby came flying earthside with such a roar from within that I even surprised myself! The next thing I know she was bawling lustily on the floor in front of me and I was being gently prompted to scoop her up, my beautiful, mucky baby! I could scarcely believe all was said and done, so quickly and powerfully, in my OWN home, surrounded by my friends and family.
So as you have already probably guessed, we never made it to the birthing pool – but it didn’t matter to me by that stage, I had done it! In little more than two and a half amazing hours. The second midwife didn’t even make it.
My husband only just made it in the end, to see her born, and as we were wrapped in towels I introduced both him and my elder daughter to their new daughter and baby sister. We proceeded out to the lounge, and all had a laugh about the pool having only just completed filling, and perhaps we’d hop in later after the placenta had been birthed.
The biggest contrast for me, at that point, was how ALIVE and strong I felt – after Erin’s birth I lost a lot of blood and felt like death warmed up, and could barely get up off the bed. This time was different though, this babe clearly had her own plans, and the Goddess had been watching us both. Not long after, the placenta was born, and the opportunity came for Roland to have a cuddle with his newest daughter as I went back down the hallway for what felt like the best shower ever… again in my OWN shower – absolute bliss.