Home Birth Center Births Jack's Waterbirth By Kimberly
Jack's Waterbirth By Kimberly PDF Print E-mail
Birth Stories - Birth Center Birth Stories
Wednesday, 14 January 2009 08:52
We arrived at the birth center at 1am . I had been trying to get to sleep when I got the urge to 'nest', it was now or have it at home. My contractions were steady but mild. When we arrived I was about 4cm. By morning I had gotten to 6cm, I was still only having mild contractions but could not be sent home.

My husband was there and my mother who had offered to take care of my two older children, Faerin (6) and Benjamin (2). They all spent the day camped out in the waiting room of Yolanda's birth center. Yolanda is a Certified Nurse Midwife who runs her own center where waterbirths are the rule. On my initial tour I was shown the birthing room and told that in 3 years the bed had only seen two births, most babies are born in the tub room. She has a large birthing tub with a spotlight, a horseshoe shaped seat and two little footrests to push against. It was love at first sight for me!

I spent all day pacing the halls trying to speed things along. I was allowed to eat and drink whatever I wanted (Yolanda made waffles for breakfast in the kitchen area). Clinc visits went on around me, I felt like a sideshow attraction, "Step right up and see, the amazing laboring woman!" I made very slow but steady progress through the day, the baby was apparently in no hurry. It was shortly after 10pm when Yolanda announced that I was at 8cm and the baby had finally dropped far enough for her feel safe breaking my waters. I couldn't believe that I had hit transition already, my contractions were still very mild. We agreed that breaking the waters was a good choice for me (no one wanted to camp out for yet another night) and away we went!

The next contraction hit with a bang. After two of them I sent my husband out to see if the tub was ready for me. Yolanda and Douglas (hubby) lit the candles I had brought and arranged around the tub room earlier in the day, warmed up the water that had grown a bit cold waiting for me and brought me in.

A nurse that I had met earlier was called in and another woman came to observe. I was told that this new woman was the mother of 5 children and that soothed me some. Yolanda had only one child, Lisa, the nurse had two, but I was on my third and somehow, the presence of a woman who had been there before was very comforting to me.

Getting into that warm water felt so good. My contractions were still intense, but far less painful and I was able to float in between them and really relax. I was able to stay 'on top' of the contractions and the next hour passed very quickly, for me. Douglas was given the job of mopping my face with ice cold water. It felt great to me and gave him a very structured job to do. He felt like he was actually helping me and mentioned later how much he preferred that role to my last birth where he was asked to 'support' me without any clear instructions on how to do it.

The thing that impressed me the most about my labor was the attitude of the staff. All three women sat in a corner of the tub room and had a little chat. Not about birth, not about me, just a pleasant little chat. Whenever I started a contraction they would stop talking and when it passed they would continue talking as if I wasn't even there. I don't know how this sounds to you, but it was great for me. Their 'indifference' to my laboring spoke so powerfully to me of how well I was doing. 'I must be doing this right,' I thought,'or they wouldn't be able to ignore me.' It may sound odd, but it works. The silence during contractions was key too. If they missed the beginning of a contraction and kept talking, I became irritated and unfocused. They didn't miss very many.

With every contraction I began saying 'Oh'. As I said it I focused my attention on my cervix, watching it open in my minds eye. Using the 'Oh' mantra helped me keep that round, open thought going.

Because I was in water I was able to change positions very quickly. Toward the end of my labor, when the contractions were coming very close together, I could flip into a new more 'comfortable' position before the next one hit. I remember being unable to move at all during this stage of my 'dry' births. I believe that my being able to move into the 'right' position made this birth a lot easier, and possibly faster, than it might have been. Another rarely mentioned, but significant, advantage to water birthing is that it eliminates the trips back and forth to the bathroom. It may sound very unpleasant to you now, but, when you are in the final stages of labor, the last thing you need is to worry about needing to waddle off to the bathroom to relieve yourself of those seven drops of urine that have accumulated in the twenty minutes since you last went! As vulgar as it may sound, urine is sterile when it leaves the body and does not compromise the water, the baby or the mother in any way. Just one less thing to worry about.

After what seemed like 20 or so contractions in the tub, I was pushing. It was so amazing to me to feel the doubling over sensation of my body pushing all on its own that I ignored my midwife's 'pushing lessons' for a few more contractions. My other births had been so 'over-managed' that I had never felt the urge to push before. Finally Yolanda said that I could wait 5 more hours and let my body do this on its own or I could help move it along a little. That got me going, as neat as these new sensations were I didn't want to wait that long, so I pushed.

I sat up on the little horseshoe seat and pushed my baby into my husband's hands. He brought the baby up, out of the water and onto my chest. It was 12:20am, less than 2.5 hours after Yolanda broke my water. My mother was called in and then my daughter. Benjamin was asleep (finally) and we chose not to wake him.

I "knew" that I was having a girl. I had seen her in dreams and in flashes around the house for 9 months. I had named her, Julia Rose, and spoke to her every day of my pregnancy. I called out to her as I was pushing her body into the world, "Come on Julie, Mama wants to hold you." When she was placed on my chest I didn't even bother to check her sex. I held her for 2 minutes or so before Lisa asked what I had. In order to turn her so that I could peek I reached down to support her bottom and caught hold of the suprise of my life. "Julia, you've got testicles," I cried out. Douglas began to weep with joy, another son, John Paul, named after my father and his step-father.

I let Jack float in the water a bit while I held him. He seemed to relax some and opened his hands and arms wide. I slipped back down into the water and we began to nurse. Yolanda kept checking the cord and encouraged us to feel the blood pulsing through it. How anyone can cut a live umbilical is beyond me, Jack was still receiving blood and oxygen through it for a good 10 minutes. When it stopped pulsing Yolanda clamped it off and let Douglas sever it.

My baby was wrapped in a towel and handed to Douglas so that I could be helped out of the pool. My aftercare went very quickly as it was late and we all wanted to sleep in our own beds. I waived all injections, procedures, drops and surgeries (circumcision) with Yolanda's blessing. Jack's most traumatic moment was being weighed and measured (9# 2oz.). By 3am we were home with a very content, very peaceful baby and the most wonderful feeling that we had just experienced birth the way it was meant to be. At least, until next time. I still want my homebirth!!