I had a waterbirth just recently. Third baby, first
This is my birth story (starring Amanda Grace).
After what seemed to be an eternally long pregnancy my body finally began to labor 2 weeks after due date. First, I had awakened in the wee hours of that morning with contractions every 10 minutes for 4 hours, but by the time I got out of bed at 8:00 a.m. they abruptly stopped. Needless to say, I was disappointed. I called Melanie, my midwife, who seemed unmoved, calling it false labor. But after I hung up with her around 9:00 a.m. contractions began again. Over time they proved to be progressive. When I was having contractions every 6 minutes for about an hour I called Melanie again. She said that I sounded too happy. Ha! Of course I sounded happy!! I'd been praying, even pleading, to God for many days to have this baby! Even so, we agreed that I would labor some more at home and call her again later.
I noticed that it definitely made a difference if I focused my thoughts during contractions. What worked best were thoughts like, "This is good, opening the cervix. Open cervix! Open!" and "We're gonna have a beautiful baby girl. We'll get to see her soon." I would not have been the first to say that I believed that kind of thing could work, but it definitely did!
We got into the tub as soon as we could and stayed in the soothing water throughout the labor and delivery. Wow! Water really does help with pain management and relief. The environment made all the difference! The lights were turned down low, candles were lit, and music from the movie City of Angels played in the background. Melanie was there as well as her daughter Anissa and Sally who is a montrice. Everyone who attended the birth showed the utmost respect as I endured each contraction.
Sally was very helpful with words of encouragement and soft but firm massages for my tired shoulders. Anissa was more quiet in her helpfulness. She held my hand in moments of struggle and with a servant's heart made runs to get water and Coke as needed. Melanie had already done so much by caring for me and my baby throughout the preceding months. During labor she held my hand (even during "rest" times), checked the baby's heartbeat, and of course helped to actually deliver Amanda. I am sure her jobs that day were even more than I realize but what was most significant to me and my husband was that she was there, our friend and alibi.
I have not yet mentioned my invaluable partner through all this, my husband Derek. He was a true blessing as well as truly blessed throughout our time at the birthcenter. Because of Melanie, Sally, and Anissa, Derek was able to be there for me as moral and spiritual support. I cannot discount his helpfulness with physical support-lower back rubbing and support, a strong hand to hold, careful to aide me in finding and settling into the most comfortable positions possible. The support he was able to give me, as my husband, partner, father to our children, and best friend, was a blessing beyond words. We were able to enjoy this birth as a couple. It was wonderful!
I am so very grateful to our precious birth attendants for making this labor and birth such a great experience for Derek. He was truly given the opportunity to enjoy and be with me as the Lord brought our baby into the world. Labor continued steadily but not hastily, allowing for rest between contractions. Only several times (as opposed to many, many times!) did I have contractions that I was not sure I could handle. I cried out in pain and even screamed as I crashed through those harder-to-handle ones. Soon my cervix was near completion. There was one small "lip" that still needed to pull back in order for the cervix to be completely dilated and ready to allow the baby to pass through. Melanie asked me to try some contractions leaning forward, to encourage that lip to disappear. It was more difficult to handle the pain in that position but apparently it worked and my cervix was "complete."
Next, it was time to push. The urge to push was greatly subdued by the water. I felt grateful that I had had experience. I do think that perhaps my pushing was less efficient because of the lack of definite overpowering urge. I know that I felt like I had to work much harder to push out this baby. The first push really just only got her down all the way and ready. After the second push I reached down and could feel just a small part of the top of her head. By the third push we could see the top of her head and I felt much pressure. As I continued to push and scream out in pain her head finally had completely emerged.---She presented OP and this accounted for the extra pressure and effort I had to endure and exert in order to help her come out. After her head was out I expected the next push to be rather easy and less painful. I was wrong. Her shoulders and body were quite painful to push out but finally she arrived! We brought her face up to the surface but let her remain in the water still attached to her beloved umbilical cord.
It was obvious that the water was a comforting medium to her. She did not show the kind of stress and tension that babies show when they are born into the cold air. She felt secure and relaxed. After about 10 minutes or so Derek cut the umbilical cord. I lifted her up out of the water and held her close to my chest and neck. We were both tired. But here she was!! Beautiful and big. Amanda Grace weighed 9 pounds and 3 ounces and was born at 9:03 p.m. Twenty minutes or more after the birth the placenta was expelled and the birthing process was complete.