Waterbirth Experience

Celeste - posted on 10/02/2009 ( 12 moms have responded )

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Just wanted to introduce myself and let anyone interested know that I gave birth to a healthy son by waterbirth in the Tampa Bay area and am a strong advocate of this birthing method. I had an OB for the first part of my pregnancy and then switched to a midwife after much research and learning that my OB practice did not support waterbirth. Therefore, we used a midwife that works with an OB who can be called in should the need arise, and we had a waterbirth in one of the few local hospitals (Mease Countryside) who have waterbirthing facilities and allow them to be used as intended.



Side note: you would be surprised at the hospitals who have waterbirthing tubs but will not allow you to labor in them once your water has broken - not really a waterbirth then, is it?



If you have questions or want insight into the research I did on OBs, Midwives, and hospitals in the area before making my decision, feel free to ask.



Anyway, my labor story is this: I had an appointment with my midwife that morning, and I was 37 weeks to the day. I had been dilated about 1cm for a couple weeks, and I was under instructions to take it easy. Well, when we made it home after lunch, I stepped from the car, and right there in front of all the construction workers trying to finish our renovations before the baby arrived, my water broke. One guy said, "Ooh, I remember when my wife looked like that. You need to go to the hospital." So after calling the midwife and confirming this, off we went.



I was still not sure that I was in labor because I wasn't having contractions as far as I could feel, but any large amounts of fluid exiting you require you to be checked out. So we got to the hospital, had the amniotic fluid test confirm the liquid was indeed my "water", and were checked in to the hospital. I didn't start feeling any contractions until I was around 3 or 4cm about four hours later, but then I progressed like lighting from 4-8cm.



Since being in the water before 4cm can sometimes slow your labor and since my water had already broken meaning slowing things was not a good idea, the nurse starting preparing the tub/pool for me when I got to 4cm, but I was progressing so rapidly that I didn't wait for it to fill up but crawled in and laid on my side in the water to feel the warmth surround me. Boy was it a difference in the pressure I felt when I went from laboring in the shower and on the ball to being in the tub - heaven! And thankfully my husband, who had insisted beforehand that he would not get into the water with me, joined me in the pool and held around me for extra support.



Anyway, since my midwife thought it would take me longer since this was my first, she had not yet made it to the hospital (it was pretty late at night), but when I went from feeling only slight pressure in my contractions at 5cm to a great deal of pressure at 8cm in the span of 30 minutes, the nurse was on the phone telling her to make it fast, which she did - she must drive like a race car driver. When she arrived, I was feeling the need to push, but she wanted me to wait a little for the effacing and dilating to "finish". But once she gave me the green light, we went to work, and aside from me constantly telling them that I just wanted to take a nap, especially when my son decided to pause as his head entered my pelvis, I gripped the sides of the pool, leaned back into my husband, and pushed out my boy.



Once out of me, he was in the water only a few seconds before the midwife took him and laid him on my chest. It was really a beautiful feeling, though he looked ooky with the white crumbly stuff on him, but thankfully no blood or other nastiness like what I have seen in birthing videos of "normal" births. Anyway, my husband and I just leaned there in the pool for a little while scooping the warm water over our little boy who was looking up at us without crying, and then my husband and son got out of the water to do the "cleanup" routine with the nurse while I stayed in the water to deliver the placenta.



Now normally women will be asked to leave the water to deliver the placenta, but my midwife saw I was too tired to move that far yet and was so impressed with how unmessy I had been that she said I could stay in. So when I felt the need to push again, she just put a bowl in the water and caught the placenta as it came out - no busting or gooeyness at all. After a few more minutes relaxing in the warm water, I was ready to get out, and with the help of the midwife and nurse, out I went.



I had two small tears that required one stitch each, but that was likely because of my rapid progression at the end and the water not having time to really soften me before being strained. And having come through it, I have to say that I felt more "pain" from those stitches that I did from my son exiting my body. From my water breaking around 14:30 to my son emerging at 00:33 and throughout the ensuing recovery period, I never needed any pain meds, not even motrin or whatever it is they offer you when you're in your room afterwards, and if we decide to have another child one day, I will aim to give birth in the water once again. I really can't see why anyone would do it another way if they have the choice.



By the way, for those concerned about cost, when we checked out a few days later (we had to stay a little extra because our son was a little jaundiced - common in early arrivals) our total hospital bill was only $2000, of which insurance paid all but $200 - much cheaper than other birthing methods that employ drugs/meds of some sort and cheaper than the birth centers we had also checked out before deciding to be in a hopsital in case something went wrong.



So that's my story. If there is some detail that I glossed over or omitted and you are specifically curious about it, just let me know.

12 Comments

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Kim - posted on 03/04/2011

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I am expecting my 7th child, and have had natural childbirth 6 times (before miscarrying twins last year). This time I took a hypnobirthing class and also became interested in water birth, and this sounds encouraging. I'm seriously checking into options!

Kim - posted on 03/04/2011

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I am expecting my 7th child, and have had natural childbirth 6 times (before miscarrying twins last year). This time I took a hypnobirthing class and also became interested in water birth, and this sounds encouraging. I'm seriously checking into options!

Tara - posted on 01/19/2010

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I wanted to have a natural birth with my son, and with my daughter I wanted to try a water birth, but unfortunately I couldn't find anywhere close enough that did water birthing. So I again gave birth naturally. I hope if I decide to have another baby, that I can find somewhere that gives water births.

Jessica - posted on 01/19/2010

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I had two of my babies in the hospital which was hard and then one at a birthing center which was great. I lived in a state that didn't allow water births. Now I am going to have a water birth in my home for my birth so I am excited. I labor quickly and I always tear but hopefully I won't with this one. My longest labor was 23 !/2 hours but that was my first, second was 5 hrs 8 mins to push out, and my third was 4 hrs and less than 5 mins to push I remember it was like three pushes and she was out. Hopefully this waterbirth experience will be great

Krystal - posted on 01/17/2010

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I LOVED LOVED my waterbirth too. We had a lovely home waterbirth, and i wouldn't have done it any other way! I labored for 27 hours, in the safety and peacefullness of my own home. I had 3 lovely midwives at my birth and a doula. It was so great. I delivered my own baby...no one else! The midwives were there in case we needed them, but it was completely hands off!

On the $ part....that stunk. We pay over $400/mo for insurance which we hardly ever use, but they refused to pay a penny of it...since it was a homebirth. Gotta love those insurance companies. So...my husband worked 2 jobs so that we could have the birth we wanted. It was worth every penny. :-)

Phoenix - posted on 01/15/2010

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I have had one full waterbirth at my home and one waster labor where I decided to move elsewhere to deliver my son. I have to say on my thrid I will be doing it again and having the waterbirth because it seems to be more relaxing and just seems so natural! This will be my third homebirth and I pray all goes as well as the last two!

Carmela - posted on 01/13/2010

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I am a big advocate of waterbirth as well. Although my birth was not quite as quick or easy as yours sounds like it was, it cut the contaction pain in half when I climbed in the water, was lubricating once my son began to come out and did seem less messy. My son didn't cry either and seemed like a natural swimmer! I was instructed out of the tub to deliver my placenta though, which took me awhile. I think next time I will request to deliver it in the pool too, although on the toilet which we finally tried worked well too! Total I was in labor for 9 hours and pushed for about 45 min. but definately was thankful for that tub of warm water!

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waterbirth isn't allowed anywhere near by home at all. we are planning a waterbirth at home with a midwife for our 3rd baby, due in march 2010.

Chelsea - posted on 11/19/2009

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i labored in a tub and wanted so badley to have a natural water birth but i live in michigan and the nearist place that allowed it was 100 miles away. like i said i labored inthe bath tub on and off during my 15 hour drug free labor, i actually told the nurse i wasent getting out of the tub. lets just say they made me.

Erin - posted on 10/10/2009

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I have been rather discouraged to find that there's only one facility that offers water births in my area, and it happens to be about 40 min outside the city.

It is a private facility that isn't covered by insurance or health care and I have yet to find out how much it costs, though I'm guessing around the 2-3,000 range. I'm in Canada, so that makes a huge! difference compared to the free delivery I would receive anywhere inside the city. Sadly I can't even find a hospital that offers a tub during the earlier stages of labor, let alone one you can actually birth in. Another option would be a home birth with a midwife, but not only would that be just about as expensive, but I am scared that it would not be adequate in the case of an emergency.



I would love to have a water birth, and am hoping that the one facility offering it will be within my price range.



Either wise, I guess it's the birthing bar for me.

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