Real story: at-home water birth
There are a lot of questions and much curiosity when it comes to giving birth. Those who have never undergone the experience find it hard to relate to and for those who have, giving birth is hard to describe. But one particular type of delivery tends to raise even more questions and bewilderment: an at-home water birth. Perhaps it’s the way labour is portrayed in the movies, but while water births are not so rare anymore, they are still considered out-of-the-ordinary. We were lucky enough to have the opportunity to chat to mother of two Jane to hear about her experience.
bh: How many kids do you have?
Jane: I have two children. Ned, who is seven-years-old and Archie, who is five-years-old.
bh: Talk me through the birth of your first child (Ned), were there any complications or anything? Did you give birth naturally?
Jane: With Ned I had a caesarean. I was very under prepared for his birth. I didn’t do any research. I went down the ‘normal’ path; I got an obstetrician and went to the hospital. I ended up with a caesarean because the birth was taking too long, it was only up to about eight hours but I wasn’t dilating at the normal rate. They recommended a caesarean and I also had an epidural, which caused a few problems.
bh: Why did you decide to have a water birth for your second child?
Jane: I had a miscarriage after the birth of Ned and I started talking to a lot of midwives and other mothers when I found out about water births. The miscarriage had prompted me to reflect on my first birth. It was life changing losing a baby. It was a catalyst to finding out more. I’m big on education and I felt very uneducated the first time.
bh: Talk me through the water birth… So you’ve just realised you’re going into labour, then what happened?
Jane: I was ten days overdue when I went into labour with Archie. I had already had a few false alarms. It was around midnight and my husband was asleep in the bed. I waited to make sure it was the real thing and then woke him and told him to go fill up the birthing pool. At this stage I had been in labour for about two hours. We rang the midwives and they told me to hold off getting in the pool for as long as possible. I really needed to be in the water when I went into labour. I found it was the only place I wanted to be. It took my midwives a few hours to get there and so it was about four hours before I got into the pool.
bh: What happened once you had given birth?
Jane: Archie came out in the water. Some birthing suites make you get out of the water for the final stages of the delivery but I was in there the entire time. He was in the water for a while. The baby’s breathing isn’t stimulated until they take their first breath. After that I held him in shock and bliss and put him straight on my breast. My husband jumped straight in, hugged us and we stayed in the water for as long as wanted. It was wonderful. Then after a while I was able to have a shower in my own bathroom where my placenta came out all intact and healthy.
bh: How different was the water birth to your first birth? Was it more painful/less painful?
Jane: It’s hard to explain, some women may not feel like they should be in the water, but for me I felt like I had to be in the water. My only pain management was the water. It took pressure off my body and supported me. But I’m not going to lie. It was still extremely painful. The pain of birth is so hard to describe. You sort of understand the pain and understand that it’s what your body has to do. The long-term relationship with my midwives also really helped. I couldn’t have done it without their support throughout the entire pregnancy and the labour. I can’t stress that enough. They were there for me from around the fifth month of my pregnancy and I couldn’t be more grateful.
Would you consider having an at-home water birth? What do you think is the best way to give birth?