This is not a document supported by science or coming from someone who has given birth in every manner of ways – I have birthed but one singular human and I did so in water. Having said that, I can’t imagine giving birth anywhere else but in water.
The build up to my arrival in the wonderfully deep and warm Jacuzzi size pool was not fantastic but once I was weightlessly in the water, all I felt was relief. After lumbering my pregnant body around, particularly in the last few months, being in a scenario where I could change position without any huffing or puffing was a natural high. This is the first point I’d like to make – I was comfortable. Even though my contractions were 3 minutes apart and I had just had an horrendous time getting there, none of it mattered once I was comfortable.
Due to my PCOS, I have always had periods that threatened to end my will to live but being in a hot bath always soothed my pain. This is what drove me to want a water birth but it was more than that because throughout my entire pregnancy, I had in my mind that everything was going to be okay if I could be in water. Mentally I had prepped my mind to be positive and strong before the event. This was done subconsciously but looking back it gave me something to hold on to, something to give me strength when I was at that breaking point.
The pool offered me a safe space that was mine. Personally, this meant a huge deal. There was talk of hubby joining me in the pool for support but we had pretty much known that I would have wanted that to be my safe space and it was. I was in control. My midwives didn’t touch me from start to finish except to lift my son to my outstretched arms once he was born. They empowered me by trusting my body to do what it needed to do. This sense of independence whilst doing such an amazing thing was magic.
Water births are known to offer a calm entry into the world for babies and this was very true for us. My son arrived and I held him on my chest. There was no shocked screaming or agonised face pulling (this is what I see in movies and one born every minute). It felt calm and without stress.
There are always two sides to every situation and of course there are things to consider. As everyone knows, pooping is very common when giving birth – fact. When in the pool, the midwives are very swift at deftly removing said offensive bits and to be honest you are so preoccupied you don’t notice.
After being in the water for a while, your body adjusts to the temperature and you do get a slight chill on. Again, easily resolved and the midwives will top up the hot within reason as it must remain safe for the wee sprog.
The blood. Now, when you give birth on a bed the blood won’t be as noticeable as in a water birth. The blood that follows your child is a little frightening if you don’t expect it – but blood loss is completely normal.
The whole baby under water situation. My son’s head was born at 14.01 pm and I didn’t have another contraction for 4 minutes. All this time I knew his head was out and under water and it was a really surreal experience because my heart was telling me to get him out and my body wasn’t ready. Rest assured, the baby is completely safe.
Will you tear? Maybe. I did, but not badly. I had a second degree muscle tear. I did have stitches – they are not pleasant.
Now the big one with water births is the restriction on pain relief. You can only have gas and air or pethidine. If you want an epidural and there is still time you can get out the pool and have one but you can’t re-enter the water. If you are at a birthing centre, you can’t have an epidural unless you are transferred to hospital.
In my opinion, the water birth was such a special experience and it made it a really lovely entry into the world for my little man but it may not be for everyone. I would not give birth any other way.
IF, I’m mad enough to do it again! HA!