Waterbirth Stories:

Lynn's Story

Never 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.

LynnThen, 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.

Christmas afternoon 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.

After 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!

Jennifer 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 time.

I 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.

Here 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 will listen! — Lynn