Micah Belle's Waterbirth Story

I have three children. Liska is now 4. Her birth was at a hospital with a doctor; pitocin induced. Donovan is now 2 and his birth was with a midwife at a free standing birth center. Micah is 6 weeks old today and this was the easiest best birth of them all.

I had been thinking Wednesday would be a good day to have this baby, in part because my mom had the day off. Also, I was ready to have this kid. We were were busy during the day with post-move stuff and after lunch we were going to mom's. I had our second appointment with our midwife that afternoon at 4. Right before we left for mom's I went to the bathroom and found I had lost my mucus plug (I never did that knowingly with the first two). Then, as the afternoon progressed, I had some fairly mild contractions - anywhere from 20 to 30minutes apart. We ended up leaving the kids at mom's and going to the appointment. While there I mentioned that I thought I might be in labor, so we ended up checking me and finding out that I was 4 cenimeters and 80% effaced. I didn't think the 4 cenimeters was any big deal but the effacement was. We talked about it a little bit and decided to go back to mom's for dinner and call the midwife when the contractions got closer together.

I started seriously timing the contractions at about 6 PM, and they were about 12 minutes apart. Gradually over the next 2 hours they came to be about 7 to 9 minutes apart and were growing stronger. We called the midwife and verified with Liska (age 4) that it was OK with her that she stay with grandmother overnight and not be at the birth (in retrospect a very good decision for my benefit - not hers). Then we headed out for the birthing suite.

The drive was reminiscent of the day Donovan was born, when I went into a contraction as we were going around some sharp curves. I really don't like the combo of contractions and curves :) When we got to the birthing center it turned out that the RN had filled the tub that afternoon, so we didn't have to wait at all. We got settled and I slipped into the tub. Chris put on the Peter, Paul and Mary CD we had brought with us and made a pitcher of juice and I was good to go.

8:30 PM - The contractions were fairly regular at this point, about 7 minutes apart and getting stronger. Now my midwife told me that it's a myth that the tub can slow down labor - in her experience it actually speeds it up because you are so relaxed. I missed a contraction or two when I first got into the tub but they soon came back in full force, regularly getting closer together.

A tub birth is definately the way to go. Now remember, I have had a pitocin-induced, full IV hookup with demerol for my first birth; a birthing center delivery on hands and knees for my second, and now a birth center waterbirth. I remember with the demerol how it took the edge off the contraction and gave me a little rest and relaxation between the contractions. Well, that's one of the very large benefits of the hot water. It worked as well or better than the demerol to relax me between contractions and it took the edge off the pain during the contractions. All this without the very annoying side effect the demerol had of making me fairly unaware of my surroundings and very ineffective when it came time to push.

Another very good effect of the tub is that you can change position very easily. During the contractions I wanted to be on my knees bending over the edge a bit. Between contractions I mostly wanted to sit and stretch my legs out so they wouldn't cramp up. Because the water supported my weight and bulk, moving back and forth between these positions was very easy. Another thing I noticed was that although my lower back has been sore for months and I assumed that I would want some counter pressure there, I really didn't need it. I think the heat and the support of the water made that unnecessary.

Meanwhile the contractions had started getting more intense and closer together. At 10 PM we decided to break my waters as I was getting tired and Katherine said that while it wasn't a necessity, it would speed things up. I thought it would be a good idea because I didn't know if I had a lot more hours left in me (one big problem with late evening births). Well, the contractions were now about 2 minutes apart and definately getting more and more intense, but I could mostly talk through them. Then suddenly they were getting fierce and I felt like I had to rest after them and not go back to my sitting position. After about 10 minutes of these fiercer contractions I started feeling mild pushing sensations but when I tried them out it didn't feel right.

My evil alter ego showed up right about now. I was saying please and thank you and not vocally complaining up until this point. I won't tell you all the different things I said and yelled about for the next 10-15minutes. This is why I'm glad my daughter Liska didn't come because I don't know if I could have let go enough to scream like I did if she had been there and I REALLY needed to scream. A couple of more contractions and then the pushing urge came stronger. When I tried pushing this time it felt right. I had two pushes where nothing seemed to happen, then suddenly Micah's head was in the birth canal. The next contraction I had the wildest strongest urge to push and did so hard and kept pushing even taking a couple of breaths in the middle. I so much wanted this baby out of me when I could feel the contraction leaving. I didn't want to wait for another contraction. At this point Micah's head was out to the chin. Fortunately I didn't have to wait long until another contraction came and I gave one more big push and she was out.

I was on my knees hanging onto the edge of the tub at that point. I took a couple of minutes to pant and rest while Chris, the midwife, and the RN floated Micah in the water and cut the cord. Then I turned around and beheld my absolutely beautiful daughter, who had lots of hair. I held her with me in the water and then I felt it was time to deliver the placenta. While they took her out and dried her I delivered the placenta, then got out of the tub and went to the bed.

Then came the worst part and it embarrased me that I was such a baby about it. I had a small surface tear that was about 1/3 the length of my previous episiotomies. I am not really having any difficulties with that now except for a little stinging in the bathroom and not wanting to sit on the computer stool for very long.

I nursed Micah for a long time. She is the suckingest baby I've ever seen. As soon as she was born she tried to stuff both fists into her mouth. About 2 AM I got up and had a shower and we packed up and went home. We slept away much of the morning and got up about noon. Boy, was I glad that my mom was taking care of the other two.

-- Kathleen in Oregon