Friday, October 16, 2009

A Water Birth Story

The Gentlest of Gentle Births

Savannah’s birth was beyond anything I ever thought birthing a baby could be. She was born in a warm tub of pure water, about the most gentle and serine way possible. You might cringe at the thought of a baby being born in a tub, but actually it is very safe and much gentler on the mother and baby.

How did all this come about? Well, it started with my first child. He was born at home with my midwife, Liz. But I was not as educated, as I should have been, and when it was all over; there were some things I wanted to change. First, I wanted the pushing stage of labor to be as short as possible without any pressure, burning sensation, or tearing. I wanted to have more energy so I would be able to be in charge and in control birthing my baby.

So, I started reading some books. “Gentle Birth Choices” by Barbara Harper made the biggest difference for me; it opened my eyes to water birth. The more I read and thought about it the more I wanted to try it. So, needless to say, when I got pregnant with Savannah, I was thrilled to give it a try.

I went into labor about an hour after my regular weekly check up, where Liz had determined that I was dilated to a five. My labor was very irregular, so I questioned if I was really in labor or not. After about two hours I knew. My contractions got very close and I had to work hard to stay relaxed. During those two hours I had been in the tub, but chose to get out because I needed to have more movement to help my labor progress. But for the last 30 minutes or so I got back in, allowing the warm water and it’s buoyancy to reduce the pain.

 At this point my contractions were very close and I think I was going through transition. I still thought I had a long time to go because just an hour before my midwife had checked me and I was only at a 6. It’s at this stage of labor that I think most women begin to doubt weather or not there going to make it, transition is a very difficult part of labor. This was no exception for me, I began to doubt weather I would be able to make it, I was wrong, within 30 minutes of getting in the tub my midwife came over to check the baby’s heart rate.

 She looked at me a little strange and asked to check me. She just smiled and said your baby’s here. What? She was right, I reached down and just an inch or so up the birth canal was my baby’s head. All I had to do was push her out, but I felt no urge to push. (I think being in the water eliminated my urge to push, because it is a very low gravity environment, and there isn’t any real pressure on the perineum.) Liz helped me by applying pressure on the perineum and in one easy push Savannah slipped into the warm water of the tub, water that had been her home for 9 months. I birthed her myself; gentling gliding her through the water till she surfaced and I laid her next to my breast. It was wonderful. I had never dreamed I could have such a lovely labor and delivery.

Water birth is truly the most gentle of gentle births; the water creates a comfortable holding environment for the mother and a warm, safe, and familiar environment for the baby. Everything I had read proved to be true in my case, and I am so happy to have been able to experience labor in this way. I hope that through my experience other women will choose this kind of a birth. My experience goes to show that there are options for having easier birth the natural way.

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