did I think I would be giving birth at home, let alone in a birthing
tub! My husband and I wanted a nice, normal birth in a private birthing
room in a hospital with a midwife. When we visited our first midwife
in Florida, within five minutes she had convinced us both that having
a home birth was much safer than having a hospital birth. Some of
the reasons she gave were that often the hospitals dont have the
supplies needed for a truly comfortable birth (not enough pillows,
blankets, etc.); the infection rate in hospitals is incredibly high;
we associate hospitals with being sick and that subconscious message
can increase the likelihood for complications; a birthing woman
feels more comfortable at home because she is in her own space which
is accompanied by a sense of safety and the ability to focus fully
on the birth process rather than the strange equipment and people
in the room. That pretty much did it for us.
we moved to New Mexico and chose Jennifer West as our new midwife.
We asked her what the advantages were to using a birthing tub. It
sounded very weird to me, a little too Earth Mother-like. Jennifer
explained that the water helps support and relax the body so that
the uterus muscle can do its job. The birthing woman in the water
doesn't have to use the rest of her muscles as much to hold herself
up in whatever position, freeing that energy up to push her baby
out. Made sense to me.
is when my contractions started. For a long time, they were very
light. My husband and I had a relaxing Christmas evening watching
videos as I kept track of the intervals between contractions. Around
10:00 PM, they were stronger and about five minutes apart, although
not consistently so. I had read so much about false labor that
I didnt want to get my hopes up.
I had a half
glass of wine to see if the contractions would subside. They did
for a while. Around 2:00 AM I awoke to strong contractions and couldnt
go back to sleep. I filled the bathtub with water and soaked for
a while. Finally the contractions were strong enough to wake my
husband. He sat in the bathroom with me and timed them: three minutes,
four minutes, two minutes, three minutes. He wanted to call Jennifer
right away, but I wouldnt let him for a long time. I hadnt lost
my mucus plug, the contractions werent consistently two minutes
apart and I wasnt feeling the birthing pain that I was expecting,.
This was way too easy! It couldnt be time yet.
another hour, my husband insisted that we call Jennifer. I followed
him into the other room to get the telephone.. While I was out of
the water, I had another contraction. IT WAS AWFUL!! I had no idea
how huge of a difference the water made until that one contraction!
The pain was sharp and intense. One was all it took for me to jump
(well, maybe not jump) back into the water! The water made the contractions
feel like nothing in comparison!
hurried over to our house and started setting up the birthing tub
in our living room. I was still convinced that it would be a long
time before this kid was coming out, but when Jennifer checked me,
I was 8cm dilated and l00 percent effaced! I couldnt believe it!
It was supposed to hurt more, and there I was, almost done! By the
time I was ready to push, Jennifer and my husband helped me to the
birthing tub that was all set up. The water was perfectly warm,
without being too warm, and it was much more comfortable than the
bathtub. I am six feet tall, and need that extra room. Both the
water and the soft tub made it easier and more comfortable to sit,
squat, kneel and lean. None of which I could have done in the bathtub.
It was also easier for my husband to be closer to me during this
pushed for an hour before my baby was born. Everyone has fears about
childbirth, and my biggest fear was of tearing as the baby came
out. Jennifer had mentioned that being in the water also softens
the perineal tissue and helps it stretch as it needs to. She was
right! I didnt need stitches as I had feared.
I am with my beautiful daughter. What a joy! It was nice to rest
against the side of the tub and enjoy my baby for a while. Since
my own experience, I have recommended birthing tubs to anyone who
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