Now Joy’s Water Birth Story


                            My Water Birth Story of Now Joy


I’d like to share a story with you. This story is about a journey, a kind of journey like no other. Occasionally predictable, but mostly and profoundly unpredictable!  In fact it was so unpredictable at times, it was like living on the edge of reality and certainly in the now moment and totally in faith about the next. You see I am about to have my first baby. It is so close, we have the labor/birthing warm water tub set up, our midwife on call, and the video cameras focused.


First I would like to start by going back about 8 months ago to June of 1989. We were living in Sedona, Arizona and it was then that we discovered that I was pregnant. Being my first pregnancy I knew I had a lot to learn, so I started reading everything I could get my hands on. We even bought video’s showing the different methods of childbirth. It wasn’t long before I knew that I wanted to give birth to my child without the typical hospital confinement and physician intervention practices. I also knew that no one knew my body better than I did and that I was the one in control of my thoughts and feelings. Also, being a nurse gave me the experience of what changes were occurring physiologically. I read everything I could get my hands on and connected with people and different sources of information about pre-birth bonding, home birth and gentle birth practices, water birth, rebirthing during pregnancy and many others.


One of the best information resources I came upon was Karil Daniels’ video and information book “Water Babies”. The video shows four live water births, interviews three obstetricians, who practice non-intervention childbirth, which means the doctors allow women to adopt any position they choose during labor and to deliver their own babies, only stepping in when it is absolutely necessary. The video also shows Igor Tjarkovsky, a Russian Midwife and the pioneering researcher of “Water Birth” and water training for newborns and children.


There seemed to be a strong coincidence that Igor was in this film, as I had met him in Moscow a few months earlier when I was there on a business trip. He and his assistant Vladimir showed me pictures of the women they had assisted and filmed giving birth in the water and one was even in the ocean with dolphins swimming a few yards away. At the time I thought “how fantastic”, but I never gave it much thought after our meeting as I wasn’t pregnant at the time and wasn’t planning to be any time soon. Funny how your life can change in a moment!


Now looking back at Igor’s and my meeting. I remember that we had an unusually special connection. Very spiritual and even though he spoke no English we both felt a connectedness that is rare, one that is felt deep in the heart.  I knew I had to call him and tell him that I was going to have a baby. I immediately started calling the Soviet Union. It took me several days before I even got through to Moscow, and when I did, there was no answer at Vladimir’s. I continued calling with no avail. Frustrated as I was my persistence was even greater, so I kept calling every other day or so and I wrote Igor a letter hoping it would reach him quickly. Several weeks went by and finally a call came in, it was from Moscow! Igor had received my letter and had his interpreter, Nina call. What a coincidence, my name is Nina!  I was so excited I could hardly speak, let alone understand what Nina was saying. But after a few moments we both were carrying on as if we were best friends. Nina said that Igor would like to invite me to meet him in Spain where he was doing research with women giving birth in the warm waters of the Black Sea with dolphins present, and that he would love to assist in my giving birth. At the time I thought, Oh my Lord, what a chance of a lifetime! To think that I would actually be with Igor Tjarkovsky, the pioneering researcher of Water Birth. It was still quite early in my pregnancy and I had traveled to Europe before, so I thought why not, I can go a couple of months early, get settled in Spain, and all would be great. But as the days went by I started thinking more about the details and realized that it would be winter when the baby was due and much too cold to deliver in the ocean. Feeling some disappointment, I got on the phone and called Nina, telling her of my feelings, she said, “not a problem, you can come to Moscow and deliver the baby here in one of Igor’s birthing tubs!” Needless to say I was every bit as excited as before and I immediately started making arrangements. Little did I know, it wasn’t going to be that easy.


The days and weeks passed, I was staying in great shape, practicing Yoga, swimming, and doing brisk walking almost every day. It was also getting colder in Sedona and my desire to be in the water was growing. I would take hour long baths, practice deep breathing and commune with my unborn child. It was in the warm water that I felt the closest to the baby. I would love to sing and rub my belly, knowing that life was growing inside of me, feeling very safe and warm. I also had this intense desire to be in the water all of the time and I couldn’t seem to get enough. The pool at the Health Club was getting too cold to comfortably swim in, so I would spend most of my time floating in the Jacuzzi. The cold weather also gave me more of an idea of how cold it would be in Moscow in February when we thought the baby was due and I started thinking that it wouldn’t be appropriate.  Brack, my mate had been very supportive from the beginning and was still very open to whatever I wanted to do, but after long thought and conversation, we decided not to go to Russia. I remember feeling disappointed.  We hadn’t connected with a midwife in Sedona that was supportive of water birth and my desire to be free to swim in warm water and possibly interact with dolphins during my pregnancy and even birth, with dolphins present, led us on a journey West, instead of East… to the warm waters of Hawaii!


It was January when we arrived on Maui, and I was entering what I thought was my 7th month of pregnancy. I hadn’t seen any Doctors or midwives to be sure, so we were kind of guessing the due date.  Brack had lived on Maui before we met and knew of a place we could stay. It was a small rustic lodge in Ioa Valley. Not expensive, fairly remote and so beautiful! It was known for its’ healing water springs and beautiful jungle like environment. Before we had left Sedona I had found out about a Midwife who practiced Water Birth in my Water Babies Resource book and as soon as we got settled in the Lodge I started calling her.  As soon as we met her it was a perfect match!  She accepted us with open arms! We also wanted to connect with someone who knew where dolphins swam and soon found a woman who was referred to as the “Dolphin Lady”. People would say that all she had to do was jump in the ocean and dolphins would magically appear. The hump back whales were also swimming near the Islands. Just as I was drawn to the waters there, they too came to Maui every year to birth and frolic in the warm ocean.


We would swim and snorkel almost everyday and watch the dolphins and whales breach out of the ocean.  You could hear the whales’ song so plainly just swimming slightly under the surface of the water. Their energy and playful behavior would always take me to a state Joy and childlikeness, it was as if time stood still. I felt so nurtured by this Island. In fact, in the Hawaiian culture, Maui is known and called the “Mother Island”. I knew I was in the perfect place to have our baby. 


Well, time didn’t stand still at all, another month had gone by and we still hadn’t found a place where we wanted to actual birth the baby. We kind of felt like Joseph and Mary searching for a place to lie down. Our midwife lived in Makawao and very close to Mount Haleakola. She offered to let us birth the baby in her portable birthing tub if we couldn’t find a place. So we had an option if nothing else showed up.


I still had a very strong desire to swim with dolphins in the wild and hadn’t yet. I called “Star Heart” the Dolphin Lady and asked if she would assist us in finding dolphins. She had had a lot of interaction with them on the big Island of Hawaii and suggested a trip there. So, off we were to another Island in search of a dream.


The dream came to fruition when we were led to Kealakeakua Bay, a place where over 100 pod of spinner dolphin came most every morning to feed and play. We arrived about 8:30 in the morning and waited till about 9:00. I still remember the anticipation I felt, I had had contact with dolphins before, but never in the wild. Suddenly we spotted them! They were about a quarter of a mile out. It seemed to take forever putting my fins, mask and snorkel on. Even though I was in my eighth month of pregnancy I had been swimming almost everyday and wasn’t concerned about making it out to them. My excitement grew with each stroke and finally after what seemed to be an eternity, I slowed down to rest a bit and took time to empty my leaking mask. When I looked around I didn’t see any dorsal fins, but when my face entered the water I was surrounded, there were dolphins in every direction. I had swam with captive dolphins before and had numerous dreams with them, but this was different. My body was tingling and I felt like giggling one moment and crying the next. The baby also seemed to be swimming and excited as I felt lots of movement inside of me. I had been practicing the undulating movements of dolphins when I would swim and my body seemed to automatically take on this type of motion. I felt as though I was a dolphin! I don’t know how long we had been swimming but I didn’t tire, even though I would dive deep and hold my breath for long periods just to get a little closer to them. And just when I thought I would never get close enough, right in front of me, not much more than an arm’s length, a dolphin stopped and looked straight at me. I could hear the familiar clicking sounds that dolphins make and we stared at each other for a few seconds. I felt so safe and protected and sensed that it was communicating to me, so I closed my eyes and said, “you are so beautiful and I love you” and immediately I heard a voice that said, “You are my mirror beloved and I love you dearly”, then it moved directly towards me, just barely brushing the side of my body! My body tingled with excitement and joy! This telepathic connection had exceeded all my expectations and I felt so blessed by this awesome experience! It turned out that we swam over 2 hours with them and again my experience of time stood still! Thank you, thank you sweet dolphins!!!


The next day we were back on Maui and it was time to find our birthing place. I wasn’t exactly sure how close I was but was feeling this overwhelming desire to nest. I guess all pregnant women go through it at some point in their 3rd trimester. We had been talking with some people and they mentioned a place about 3 miles up Mt. Haleakola. It was a private home and was often used as a place for retreats and seminars. It had a pool and Jacuzzi, Island views and large tubs. It sounded perfect and we immediately called and made arrangements to see it. And it was closer to Merrily!


The drive up was absolutely beautiful! The road was slow and winding and seemed to take forever. Finally, in wild anticipation, we came to the place, drove down the long driveway and there appeared a beautiful 2 story mansion. We were greeted by the owner and led around to the back. The view was spectacular! You could see the rest of the Island and more Islands in the distance. The house was surrounded by native Koa trees and gardens of Protea flowers. There was an Olympic size pool and a separate Jacuzzi. Next was a tour inside. We specifically asked to see the bathrooms and were led to the master suite which included 3 bedrooms and a huge bathroom with a large magenta colored Jacuzzi tub and separate shower. You could look out a window while bathing and see almost the same view we had seen from outside. As soon as we saw the tub we looked at each other and said, “this is the place”! We were at the peak of excitement! What an awesome place to have a baby!


After talking with the owner of the house and it turned out the house had been already booked for a group of mountain bikers at the time we would require it, and even though the owner was just as excited to have us, there wasn’t much he could do. We left feeling very disappointed and discouraged. We were, we thought, just 14 days away from delivery!


That afternoon like most, we went snorkeling. Swimming in the warm water always gave me such a feeling of freedom and lightness. It also would help with the heaviness as the baby was at its’ peak of growth. Throughout the pregnancy, Brack and I would often sit in meditation to clear our minds and it always seemed to help when things weren’t flowing. That day we sat on the beach knowing that we wanted so much to be at that house to have our child, even though it looked, at that time, impossible! We did a meditation and prayer. We asked that all details be taken care of, let go of the need to bang it into place and went back to our little rustic room at  Ioa Valley Lodge.


A few days passed, and still no word about the house. We knew we didn’t want to have the baby at the Lodge, as it was a very small room, lots of noise and just didn’t feel right. Our very close friend, Beverly, (we call her our “Galactic Godmother” because she’s a very skilled Astrologer with an incredibly far out personality) was to arrive from the mainland. Magical things would always happen when she was around so we called her and said it was time for her to come. We had already asked her to come and be with us for the birth before we left Sedona. We thought that maybe her presence would turn the tide.


By now, after almost 2 months on the Islands, our money was running out. We had charged Beverly’s airline tickets on our already over the limit credit card, and had only a few dollars in our pockets. Brack had some things still in storage at the Lodge from when he lived on Maui and one of the items was a fairly new computer. We knew we could sell it if we had to and we weren’t too concerned as there had been times during our relationship when money was tight. Brack and I did Spiritual Healing and consulting and hadn’t worked conventional jobs for a while. We never let the lack of money stop us, in fact, Brack always said he loved it when the bank account got low because it meant that the universe was ready to deliver more. And it has always worked. The thing to do is not to worry, be in appreciation for what we did have and act as if it is already done!  


The next day we got up full of energy, we had found a birthing place and Beverly was on her way. It was time to swim and be near the whales, dolphins and little fishes. I was really feeling the heaviness of pregnancy now, and the water was so warm and inviting. We spent most of the next two days just basking in the waters and sunshine.

When we picked up Beverly at the airport, we thought we had only a week or so before the baby was to come. We went back to our little rustic lodge to get her settled in. More than any other time we felt like this was not the place for our baby to be born in and decided to look for another house, roomy enough for all of us. Of course, we told Beverly about the mansion on Mt. Haleakola, and of our desire to be there, but it just didn’t seem at all possible, with the baby being so close so we bought a newspaper and started looking for another place to rent.


There was one fairly close to our beautiful mansion, it was vacant and ready for occupancy. We called and spoke to the owner, “Jeaney”, and she said the house was also for sale priced at $450,000. From the conversation we could tell that it was a really nice place. She told us that her Realtor would let us in if we wanted to see it that day, because she was on the other side of the Island and wouldn’t be back until the next day. We told her a little of our situation and she seemed really anxious to meet us.


We did see the house that day and it was beautiful! We wanted to move in right away, but how, we didn’t have any money. Brack said that it never stopped us before and that we just needed to meet Jeaney in person and all would be taken care of. We went to bed that night counting our blessings and knew all would be handled.


The next day we met Jeaney at a little expresso shop in town. She had already arrived when we got there. Now was the time to explain our situation and I was feeling very nervous. Brack did most of the talking. He told her that we really wanted to move into the house that day, that we had no money to give her, but we could give her a post-dated check that wouldn’t be good but that we had a computer that was worth about $4,000.00 and we would sell it. It may take a week or so, but eventually it would sell.


Miracles do happen! Jeaney was so sweet and understanding! She had been going through a divorce and had moved out of the house and was living in Hana. She explained that the house was in need of some repair and really wasn’t sure if it would be right for us, but if we loved it so much she would be willing to take a chance on us paying her later. She had had 2 children and knew what it was like. Thank you, Jeaney! We moved in that day. Oh! I forgot to mention, the house was beautifully furnished, everything we needed and more!


Present Day:


It has been 2 weeks since we moved into Jeaney’s house and still no baby. The due date we thought was to have been the 14th came and went and it is now March 4th. We have the water in our portable birthing tub heated and ready, our midwife on call, and the video cameras focused. All that’s left is to have our baby. We have found someone to buy the computer and we have raised over $500.00 selling some stored items of Brack’s. But most importantly, another miraculous gift from God has happened. Will, the owner of the mansion, called us today and said the mountain bikers had canceled, due to the wet weather and that he had decided to take a month’s trip and the house would be available after all!!! All we had to do was give him a $500.00 security deposit and it was ours for 30 days for $2000.00 rent! This to us was another confirmation that faith and knowing and especially allowance, without worry does make what seems impossible totally possible! Thank you, Thank you, God/Goddess! We plan to call will tomorrow to set a time to move in. Tonight we will sleep comfortably knowing that our baby will come soon, that we can move into one of the most beautiful homes, have our baby in a glorious tub and that miracles can happen!!!  It’s funny, looking back, I really think it is the baby orchestrating all of this!! Goodnight, and again thank you God/Goddess!!!


2 weeks later:

The date is March 14th , I am sitting with a beautiful baby girl on my breast and one hand on the keyboard typing this story and I’d like to share with you my experience of birth!!! 


Lets go back to the night of the 5th of March the day after Will called us about the Mansion being available. It was about 10:00 p.m.. We had been in bed about one hour. I woke up and felt that old familiar call to go to the bathroom and also a kind of cramping, almost like a menstrual period. I went to the bathroom and when I sat down on the toilet, I heard a kind of a plop, looked down and saw what the books refer to as the ” bloody show or mucous plug.”


I remember my heart pounding and feeling a really warm sensation come over me. I went back to the bedroom to tell Brack that the baby was coming. He jumped out of a sound sleep and said, “OK, what do we do now?” I said “let’s call Merrily” (our midwife). So I did, and she said not to be too excited as I had plenty of time. In her experience, first time baby’s don’t come too fast. She suggested that I start timing my contractions (we call them “expansions” as this is what you truly want your cervix to do) and try and rest as much as possible.


Brack and I both were too excited to sleep. We started talking about how wonderful it would be to be at the Mansion and we decided to call Will the owner, and ask if we could go ahead and move in that night. It was Monday and we had already planned to move in the next day. We told him I had just started labor and had time to still deliver in the beautiful bathtub. He was just as excited and said come on!!! He had been packing for his trip and would be leaving in the morning. My expansions were still about 20 minutes or so apart and I felt there was plenty of time. So we gathered all our belongings and headed to our birthing place.

That night our drive over to the mansion seemed long. We reminisced about the day on the beach and recalled how impossible it seemed, at that time, for all of this to be happening now. On the one hand it didn’t really surprise us though as our life together was always full of magic on the other we’re humbled by the awesome power of our Beloved Source!


When we arrived at the mansion on the mountain I wasn’t at all tired. It was about 12:00 midnight and my expansions seemed to still be 20 or so minutes apart. I decided to take a nice warm bath thinking maybe this would relax me. It felt so wonderful to finally be able to let go of everything and just BE. Up to this point it was like living on the edge of reality, but now the reality was quite clear, I would have a new born child in my arms in a few hours and we were in the most beautiful spot on earth!


In the bath I could completely lie down at I felt so weightless, calm and protected. During my pregnancy I had read a lot of books about birth. One of my favorites was “Birth Reborn” written by Dr. Michel O’dent. He feels that labor, birth and breast feeding are in part sexual events and that privacy, intimacy, calm and freedom to labor in any position are crucial to a spontaneous first stage labor. Floating there in the water I thought how blessed we were to be in this kind of environment.


Brack would come in often to check on me and I finally asked him if he’d join me, the bathtub was plenty big enough. As he climbed in I noticed there was such a calmness about him, it was as if he had experienced this many times. We tickled and giggled in the warm water like two frolicking dolphins. And soon the tenderness of our touching brought us both to a state of ecstasy.  I know this will sound impossible to some, but the process of birth can also include orgasms.  Orgasmic birth… WOW!!!!


Right after our liquid love experience we looked out side and the sky was glowing green!  It was incredibly bright and we though OH! My Gosh it’s a space ship hovering over the house.  It turns out that the next day there were many reports called in regarding people seeing green lights and UFO’S!!!  I know this sounds really Way out there 


It was now 8:00 a.m. and I had been in mild labor for about ten hours. Merrilly checked me and I was only about 2 cm. While she was examining me she said that the baby’s head wasn’t coming straight down on my cervix and was tilted to the left side a bit and suggested that I lay on my right side as much as possible. I could also walk around if I wanted. So for the next few hours Brack and I laid together, he would massage my back with each expansion and I would breath deeply and affirm that with every expansion I was closer to delivering our baby.


We didn’t look at any clock and we didn’t have any fear about the time it was taking but at some point, my expansions seemed to increase in intensity. With each one I would take deep cleansing breaths, and hold Brack’s hand in a certain way, utilizing the pain relieving “pressure points” on the inside of the fingers. This hand position really did lesson the pressure. I also visualized an ocean wave gradually swelling, rising, rising until it reached its’ height and then dropping off quickly and calmly. I had been practicing visual imagery and meditation and Yoga throughout my pregnancy and now was the test of whether all of my focussed time would make this birth happen with ease.  Well it did and it was very powerful now that I was well into labor! 


When we did look at the clock again we were surprised that I had been in labor for 20 hours. Merrily checked me ever so often and I was still only 6 cm. but my water had broken with the exam and she said all was well and things would probably speed up now. 


My expansions began to get sharper, more intense and came every 2 minutes or so. I hadn’t been in the water in a while and decided to enter the bathtub again. We also had Merrily’s portable birthing tub set up and ready with fresh clean water but I wanted to wait to get in it after the birth. The warm water seemed to help ease the pressure and the weight. It also seemed to slow down my expansions. Merrily suggested that I walk around for a while and let gravity help my opening. It didn’t take long and I was nearing transition. Merrily asked me if I wanted to get back in the tub as the baby would be coming soon. I had read that transition, or second stage labor, is the point where a woman may have an overpowering urge to bear down. In my experience it was exactly like that, it was like a force that rushed through me with such intensity and felt very close to what Dr. O’dent refers to as “overwhelming sexual excitement”! I also felt like I was experiencing another dimension. I hadn’t taken any drugs but I was feeling very light headed and euphoric. Powerful hormones!  It was great!!!


The expansions seemed very close together now. I was in the beautiful tub laying back on a bath pillow against the side, Brack hadn’t entered the water yet and was sitting along the edge. I remember that Merrily would check the baby’s heart tones after each expansion and would tell us that the baby was doing fine. Another expansion and another, but the baby’s head wasn’t pushing through. It had been 30 hours since the onset of labor, I hadn’t slept much and  I was exhausted! Merrily said it might help if I would get on my knees. I would still be up to my waist in the water but being on my knees would give gravity a better chance to help. Two more pushes and the top of the baby’s head pushed through. The phrase “Ring of Fire”, describes it perfectly!!! It was an awesome burning feeling beyond all description! I reached down and felt the baby’s head for the first time. It was so soft, she had lots of hair! Now that the head was pushing through I knew it wouldn’t be long and I really wanted Brack to be able to catch the baby, so I laid back against one end of the tub and he sat directly in front of me.


Merrily was watching very closely now and had her hands in the water feeling the baby’s head. She said it was okay to push if I felt like it. So I took a deep breath and pushed with what energy I had left. She said “good the baby’s head is completely out”. I reached down and felt this small, round head sticking out of me. Just a few more deep breaths and Merrily said calmly but firmly “now lets bring this baby out. She asked me to push a little to bring the shoulders through. So I gave one last big push and out she came! Brack described it this way . . . “She shot out just like a dolphin baby and I got to catch her”! There she was submerged, our little baby girl, her eyes were opened and she looked up at me and then Brack. It was truly a miracle! We both had tears in our eyes and smiles on our faces. She lay there basking in her pool of “Liquid Love”, so aware, moving a little, stretching a little. She looked fully awake and alert with her eyes gazing at us. What a Miracle!!! About 2 minutes went by,  Brack was still supporting her underwater. The cord was still strongly pulsating and Merrily kept a close watch.  She seemed very relaxed about everything and didn’t push us to bring the baby up. I’ll be forever grateful for such a loving, allowing and supportive midwife. Thank you, Thank you, Merrily! After another minute we decided to bring her face up to the surface. To us, the birth was complete, she took her first breath at 5:00 a.m., March 7th, 1990.


The next 20 minutes were the most awesome 20 minutes of my life bonding and caressing our baby in the water. She was so alert just looking intensely at us and her surroundings. The cord had stopped pulsating and she was breathing perfectly on her own and it was time to cut the link between us. It was a very emotional time for me, as I loved being pregnant and didn’t know what it was going to be like… not being connected to her. Merrily handed me the cord clippers, and I started cutting, I was surprised at how hard the cord was… it was really hard! Finally, after nine months of being physically connected to this tiny entity, we were now joined, only in Spirit.


The final step of the birth was when I delivered the placenta.  What an amazing experience that was! There was a couple of mild contractions and out it came. All I can say is WOW!  Merrily showed us what she referred to as the “tree of life” it looked truly awesome!!!


The 3 of us finished with a dip in the clean and warm portable birthing tub. Our little Goddess was so content lying there experiencing her new found freedom.


It was quite an adventure an adventure of love, trust and allowing!  It isn’t the end of our journey and I know I could go on, but I’ll leave the rest for another time.  I do want to tell you what we named our little Goddess. The name came to me while I was singing a song,  about a week before her birth. Her name is “Now Joy” Now Joy reminds us to stay in the Now moment and to see Joy in everything!


Written by Nina Joy