Thirteen hours of water birthing

Guest post by Vanessa Green

I was 42 weeks and done being pregnant! Following advice of my midwives, I drank cinnamon stick and anise star tea all day long. In the evening I was definitely feeling rushes (contractions), but they mostly felt like the Braxton Hicks contractions that I had been feeling for like 2 months, but with a little more hotness and a more important, an almost pleasurable pain. I made a beautiful baked chicken dish for dinner and sat on the floor eating it slowly, experiencing my body do its thing, feeling hot and light-headed, hoping that finallymy baby and I would work on getting her out soon.

At 3am I woke up due to a popping sensation. I assumed it was the baby doing some crazy punching dance like she often did. I got up to pee and when I got to the bathroom hot clear fluid gushed forth and I realized that my water had broken. I practically ran back into the bedroom and woke up my partner Joe, feverishly excited I beamed, “My water broke!” and I sat on a towel on my bed while he called our dear midwives. They said to hang out and they would be around when the sun came up to check on me. We giggled with crazy anticipation.

I decided to get into the shower because I thought it might be nice. At some point in my shower the rushes turned more painful and I did NOT want to be in there anymore! I went back into my bedroom and labored on a chair for a while (I threw up at this point and it felt really good), talking to Joe, trying to integrate the ever growing pain/energy. Our midwife Constance showed up and told us to go for a walk.

We got home and our other midwife Rhonda was just pulling up with the tub. While all of them were setting the tub up in our bedroom I hung out in the bathtub with Joe. I made him squeeze a washcloth dipped in ice water over my head at the peak of my rushes (where I was the hottest) but then he HAD TO STOOOPPPP at the exact moment or I would get to cold. Who knows how long we were doing that before the tub was finally ready. Constance checked me and I was 5 cm dilated. Oh how delicious that tub was! Warm, deep and comforting. It did not take the pain away by any means but it enabled me to deal with it better. Joe remained faithfully by my side, telling me how beautiful and strong I was. I was lost in my brain, trying to cope with the amazing forceful primal energy surging through me. I stared at our bed and kept telling everyone how much I wanted the baby to be out and to be cuddling and sleeping in our bed.

I used my voice and said things like “om” and “home” and “open” during the rushes. I started to fall asleep for the minute or so in between them. During transition I looked at my midwives with huge eyes and told them how much I wished my baby was here already! They said I looked like a kid who wanted something and was using their puppy dog eyes to try and get it. They smiled their peaceful smiles and stroked my hair and told me I was safe, and that my body knew what to do.

I felt the urge to push and Constance checked me again and said that my cervix was almost all the way open but there was a tiny lip over the baby’s head still and I was told to blow air through closed lips like a horse to fight that urge so that my cervix would not get swollen. Somehow I managed for like 10 minutes and then, while my Joe held me up behind me in the tub, Constance reached her hand up there and manually pushed back that tiny part of my cervix and almost instantly I felt my baby come down into the birth canal and with one push her head was out. Constance didn’t see at first and was in fact trying to tell me that I should get out of the tub because the baby’s heartbeat was slightly slower and they wanted a better listen and then she was like “oh, nevermind, there’s her head!” one more push and she was out, into Constance’s hands and then up to my belly and I cried and Joe cried and I stroked and kissed my little wet squishy babe.

After the chord stopped pulsating, Joe cut it. I handed the baby to a shirtless new Papa and asked about the placenta. Constance had me lean forward and said “push a little” and it instantly came out. I later cut the placenta up, dried it in a dehydrator, ground it up, encapsulated and ate it for the benefits of a quick recovery and help with postpartum depression.

I was very lucky to have had an amazing birth partner (my Joe), wonderful midwives and a sweet support team. It was a very good day.

Comments on Thirteen hours of water birthing

  1. Oh! that made me cry! It was so much like my own waterbirth (48hrs first time baby!) and it made me relive the day – so beautiful. I wish I could experience it again a hundred times over. Wonderful reminder, thank you! Congratulations and enjoy your baby!

  2. How beautiful! I had a water birth – 8 hours of labor, about 2 hours in the tub. It was wonderful and exactly as I pictured it. You are so blessed to be able to do it in your home; it’s still a misdemeanor in our state.

  3. wow! these stories make me want to have a water birth . . it sounds so peaceful! but really, was there excrutiating pain? Also, I’d love to hear how the placenta pills worked for you, I would really like to do that to help w/post partum. thanks for the story!!

    • Hi Colleen, my son’s water birth was very similar to this story, so I thought I’d answer your comment. First, the pain and the perception of how painful it is vary a LOT from one woman to the next. For me the pain was tough but the warm water reduced it significantly. And after the birth I had 5 stitches with local anesthesia that I swear hurt more than the contractions.

  4. water birth really speaks to me, but there is one thing that confuses me. there are all these books that say don’t take a bath after your water breaks (even ina may says it in one of her books), so i don’t get it? why isn’t it an issue? i really am confused. there is nothing more that i love right now than submerging myself in a full bath.

  5. @ jill when the water breaks and you are’t having contractions (sometimes this can hapen weeks! before the labour) you can’t get into a bath because of chance of infection. But when you are actualy in labour you can.

    I had almost two waterbirth. I say almost becausewith myfirst born I was in the bath a couple of hours but in the end I had to get out becouse she hd trouble getting out so she was born on the bed next to it.
    My second child was onlyjust born in the bath as it was a very quick delevery

    At 06.30 my water broke and the contractions started.
    Meanwhile Michel was filling up the rented birthing bath. Around 9 I could go into the not yet completely filled bath.

    As I was expecting it to take some time I went to the toilet first. But there I had my first pushcontraction. So I walked quikly, while undressing, to the bath where I was checked to see how far I was.

    With the next contraction Finnley’s head was born. I held his head my self and with another contraction helped him in to the word.
    That was something very special. I held him onder the water for about a minute

    I can reccoment this to everyone and cannot imagine how to give birth without it!!

    If you are interested i made a you tube clip of my sons birth

    groeeting Berbel
    from the netherlands

  6. Thank you ladies!

    Colleen-I wouldn’t call the pain I felt was at times overwhelming but then I’d get deeper inside my head to integrate it and I used my voice a lot! The placenta pills definitely helped. They helped my body and mind and I could definitely feel the difference from when I had taken some and when I hadn’t.

    Jill- This has been studied. The risk of infection does not increase from laboring in the water, whether the water while the mama is in the tub, or whether it was already ruptured before she got in the water. (I love Ina May! ((but really who doesn’t)) )

    ASM- There are different kinds of tubs. There are tubs made to keep the water warm with different insulation, there are tubs with heaters, etc. I had a big rubber trough that the people around me kept “topping up” with hot water now and then, and also there was a hose from the sink so they could add more hot water that way as well.

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