There is no perfect birthing method. Each woman needs a different method. That is why I asked some blogging friends to write on their favorite methods for the Ways to Have a Natural Childbirth series. Today’s featured blogger is Shary of Atta Mama. Check out her post on why she prefers water births below.
My very first pregnancy wound up being very painful. Although I did not know that I had a knack for enduring childbirth, the pain aspect of having children always frightened me. I knew I wanted to go all-natural and have as little interventions as possible. But learning to cope with contractions and pushing seemed hopeless.
After finding my preferred method of psychological understanding in regards to birth, I began to research ways to find physical comfort. Since I had chosen a midwife and a birth center birth, the option having a birth pool was mentioned several times throughout my prenatal care.
Water births have several appealing stat boosters for the mother-to-be including (but not limited to) significant pain relief, energy conservation, and a reduction of the desire for drugs or intervention.
As a first time mom I was sold.
My midwife did not believe I was in labor with my daughter. I was 5 centimeters dilated when I finally arrived at the birth center and after several hours there my birth pool was set up and I was invited to float around inside to relax. It was not very warm, and I have a problem accepting hospitality so I never requested the temperature to be changed. I was determined to use the buoyancy to make it through the rest of my labor.
As I reached transition I looked at my birth pool from inside. I saw bits of “us” (my baby and me) floating around in the tepid water. I felt disgusted and uncertain. I begged my then-boyfriend to take me to the hospital. The doubt that comes with transition was strong! The midwife came in and when I told her my woes she invited me out of the pool and onto the bed. And I got very comfortable and I began pushing. After 36 minutes of pushing my little Gaia entered the world. Totally worth it.
When I fell pregnant again five years later I knew I needed to fulfill my dream of a water birth. I had torn with my first daughter, and I knew I could prevent that by actually giving birth slowly in the water under less physical stress. I was also having a home birth this time so I could be in my own environment, in the dark, alone if I wanted to.
My birth experience the second time was completely different than this first. My midwife the second time was very hands off and gave you complete control over your birth experience. She simply acted as as companion in the process, a shadow in the background waiting until she was needed.
However, much like the first time she did not believe I was in labor. I had to demand to be checked to verify my readiness for the birth pool. If you enter the birth pool too soon it can slow down labor. No one wants that, including me. But my contractions were strong and close together. I’m simply not too vocal, so I requested a cervical check. My midwife was surprised I had already reached 8 centimeters of dilation at this point and gave me the go ahead to get into the pool.
I loved being in the water. I immediately felt the relief I was seeking the entire three hours it took to set up. I sat in the pool loving my boyfriend and imagining my baby moving lower and lower. I got hot, so one of my three doulas fetched me a cool rag for my neck. She was a godsend keeping that rag cool, this perceptive doula of mine. When you’re in a warm pool doing birth work it gets hot fast!
I blew through transition without even knowing. I was told I could push whenever I wanted, so I gave it a try. It was like hitting a switch because once I started I could not stop! My son Anders was born effortlessly into his father’s hands. And I didn’t tear.
I did get out of the water quickly because he immediately passed meconium (his birth tar-like poop), and paired with the blood from birth the pool did not seem so relaxing anymore. He stayed connected to me for an hour (another difference from my first birth) and then we had to cut the cord to deal with my bleeding situation…
But all was well.
Water births can provide a relaxing environment for mama and a peaceful entrance into the world for baby. If and when I ever have more children I will at least labor in the water. Some hospitals offer water labors but not water births. Some hospitals, however, will scoff at the idea of water birth. There are several reasons behind this from inconvenience in regards to monitoring, sanitary issues, and bureaucratic nonsense. If you are expecting please do your research and choose a provider that does his or her unbiased research as well.
It’s been a pleasure being here on The Pistachio Project. Until next time!
Shary is a moderately crunchy mama with two kids, three if you count her gamer fiance. She loves crafting and cooking and tries to make the most of what she has each day. You can find more of Shary’s writing at her blog Atta Mama.