Real story: at-home water birth part two
bh: What do you think the benefits of having a water birth are?
Jane: It’s a very natural way to give birth. It felt like it was really helping my body to do what it needed to do. It was a tool that helped me to relax and support my body. Having it in the comfort of my own home and being able to be in my own bed with my baby and my own bathroom was such a luxury. Having a water birth is also very private. My midwives would often say to me that birthing is a similar mindset to having sex, as in it’s a very private, very personal, loving act and you can imagine how you’d feel if five different people were walking in and out on you doing that. If you’re not distracted and the people around you are people you know, you’re in a much better mindset. It was only me, my husband and my midwives in the room.
bh: What sort of things did you have to organise in preparation for the water birth?
Jane: It was a bit of an undertaking, but I was very determined. We had the pool all blown up and set up in a separate room before I was due. My husband was a great support guide and did all the work setting up the pool, making sure the water temperature was right, getting the hoses attached and getting it filled. The water has to be perfect body temperature of 37 degrees. It’s very strict. I also really needed the support of the local hospital and my local GP, so we made sure that they were all aware of what was happening. We called the hospital when I was in labour just so they knew and in case anything went wrong. The hospital was only 20 minutes away. They were so supportive and so happy that we’d collaborated. I think that’s really important.
bh: If you were to have another child would you have a water birth again?
Jane: Absolutely. I don’t know if I could have another home birth though. My midwives were at retirement age and I’m very restricted in the country. There’s also a lot of legislation and insurance you have to go through to do it. It’s a very political thing. There are some hospitals that allow water births but it can be very restricted.
bh: What advice would you give to those who are considering a water birth?
Jane: When you go through your first pregnancy you get so excited. Excited about the clothes, the baby names, the baby’s room. But I chose to put all my energy into researching labour and all the alternatives. We’re not really encouraged to do that. You are given an obstetrician and you just go for it, but I highly encourage every mum to do as much research as they can and get a lot of different viewpoints. All obstetricians are different. Talk to lots of different people and talk to midwives, they’re the best. Obstetricians are great for surgery and when things get difficult but midwives help you to do it the way you want and what you’re comfortable with. I’d also recommend giving birth in a birthing pool as opposed to a bath. The birthing pool has soft edges that are really comfortable and support you throughout the labour.
Would you consider having an at-home water birth? What do you think is the best way to give birth?