On the morning of April 22, 2002 I felt different. As I rolled out of bed I felt water dribble down my leg. But just a tiny bit. So I wasnıt sure if it was the real thing or not. I went about my day but stayed at home. It was the first day of my 38th week. About 1:30 PM I felt cramping. Again I didnıt think much of it, so when I talked to my husband, who was at work, I told him not to come home. He reminded me that if this were it, he would need to come home and fill the hot tub, which was in the backyard, where we planned to have the baby. So I told him to come home then.
I called my midwife and told her how I felt, and she said to keep in contact with her, that this was most likely it. Well it was. When my husband came home I began to need his help timing the contractions. I kept walking around throughout each one. I felt like my body was starting to transform. Change was happening fast.
At 7 PM I phoned my midwife again and as we were speaking my water gushed out and down like a broken water balloon onto my carpeted floor. After that the contractions were pretty strong and fast. I stayed on my feet rocking back and forth, trying to ride them out. Circling my hips really helped. My midwife had said to phone her when I needed her, so I did. I felt he was coming soon.
When my midwife arrived I felt like it was just in time. The contractions were starting to overwhelm me a little. She suggested a shower, so I jumped in. The shower was calming. But I was itching to get into the real thing; the hot tub. I had read every story on the Waterbirth Website (this site) twice. I think I had them memorized. I was really looking forward to getting into the hot tub. My midwife checked me and found that I was already 5 cm! I told her I wanted to get in the tub, and she said to go for it, so in I went. This was at 8:45 PM. The water felt really nice. It was a warm spring evening. Night had just begun to set in and it was quiet outside, even though I live in the city (Silicone Valley, California). However, it could have been a little warmer in the tub.
My husband and I had done many test runs with the hot tub to see how long it took to fill and heat back up again, and it was a good 5 hours. Well my labor was going fast and it had maybe been 4 hours since we put the fresh water in. So the temperature was then about 83 degrees. Luckily it was a warm night. But once I got into the water the contractions slowed down a little. So my wonderful husband connected a garden hose to the hot water inside the house and started pumping it in. The water circled around my body like a warm blanket.
The transition stage came on fast. I remember looking up at the stars and letting out a scream that felt animalistic. I moaned and moaned while feeling the head making its way down. My husband was gently rubbing my back. The midwives only took the fetal heart rate a couple of times. When I was ready to push, they asked me to get out of the tub. They said they felt it wasn't hot enough for the baby. Well I thought it was damn close enough. Nothing was getting me out. It wasn't 98 yet, maybe only 92, but I wasn't moving. I said, "Babies have been born in the Baltic sea in Russia, I'm not getting out." They looked at each other and said "OK." I knew my baby would be just fine, something deep inside told me. I trusted my instincts.
The pushing went fast. When the head started coming down I gave some really strong pushes. I remembered reading that many women enjoyed reaching up and feeling the head. So I did. Then I grabbed my husband's hand and had him feel. The baby's head was covered in hair. That gave me a lot of encouragement to push the head out. At this time we had the hot tub light on low so we could see. When he came out he had his eyes wide open. I looked down and there he was. Staring back at me. I rested then pushed the rest of his beautiful little body out. My husband put his hands underneath him and gently brought him up to the surface.
The cord was kind of short, so I couldn't nurse him right away, so my husband and I just held him for a few minutes in the water. It was amazing to see this new person emerge into the world. We had in seconds gone from a family of two to a family of three.
We got out of the tub and walked inside. Our family room was quiet and warm, with soft music in the background. Just like a dream. We sat on the couch and got acquainted for a while. After several minutes with the lights very low, my husband said "so what is the sex of our baby???" We hadn't had any ultrasound tests so we didn't know ahead of time. I had been so caught up with everything until this point. I felt like I had just run a marathon. My adrenaline was pumping. But with it being so dark outside and dark inside we didn't see. I said "I feel little balls, Iım pretty sure itıs a boy." And it was. Logan James had been born. My husband cut the cord. About 25 minutes later, I got on my hands and knees and gave a huge push and out popped the placenta onto my floor. It was big and beautiful and totally intact.
The birth was more wonderful than I could have ever have imagined. It happened so fast. From the time I got into the hot tub to the time he was born was about an hour. With the total labor being about 4 - 5 hours. I know it was because of the water. The birth was wonderful, without interruptions and distractions. Just like I wanted it to be.
I didn't want a circus of people around me. I love my family very much, but I felt that it was important to have very few people there. I believe we birth naturally like animals when we are left alone. Our bodies naturally take over. I think water is a miracle. It makes birth wonderful and enjoyable. I'd do it again right now and again tomorrow. I look back on the experience and I get excited to do it again real soon.
With this wonderful website out there and with the help of many books, I have come full circle. From years earlier thinking I would have a hospital birth with drugs and maybe not nurse, to a home birth (naturally), and being a proud member of La Leche League. Thank the heavens for the Internet, which brought me to this site. It literally changed my life.
I hope this story inspires someone somewhere like the other ones that inspired me. Having a waterbirth is a beautiful experience. Not to mention the benefits it has on the baby. Logan is stronger and healthier than many of his friends the same age. (The doctor even said so.) Logan also loves the water. He enjoys his baths and likes to be in the hot tub.
I am so thankful for the waterbirth. It has been a dream, not to mention an empowering experience as a woman. It has made me realize that I am strong and capable of anything. Well, almost anything.