Vickie's Waterbirth Story

On March 26th, at 00:39 A.M. (GMT) Jennifer Nicole arrived right on time, after an amazing birth. My husband, Steve, and I opted for a home birth using a birthing pool, and now that it is all over with, I can honestly say that I would not have changed a thing.

The day started rather uneventfully. I was waiting for my home visit from the midwife. It seems that for the last couple of weeks my days revolved around these visits. My blood pressure was an issue for a while, but it stabilised near my due date, thank goodness! If it had remained high, I would not have been able to have the home birth that I wanted.

The midwife found that I was already 3 cm dilated when she arrived. I was in a state of disbelief! I wasn't even in labor yet, but was thrilled that I was already a third of the way there. Little did I know that that was going to be the easiest part of it all. She said there was a good chance I would go into labor either that night or in a day or two. After she left, I was surprisingly upbeat. I called Steve and told him the news, and he decided to take the afternoon off so we could get the pool set up. Good thing he did too! The rest of the afternoon was spent gathering everything we would need when labor hit.

I decided to take a bath and try to relax. Around 5pm I started to feel little twinges, but wasn't sure if it was labor or gas. Around 7 PM I was definitely having contractions and I needed to breathe through them, but they weren't unbearable. Steve and I took a walk around the block, and I thought it was kinda funny that I had to stop 5 or 6 times to breathe! As soon as the contraction was over I was back to myself, ready to walk on. We went back inside and he timed the contractions for me. They were coming every 2 minutes, lasting 30 - 45 seconds. I was breathing through every one and felt in control. Before I was certain that I would lose control during labor, but I couldn't have been more wrong.

When my midwife arrived she examined me and found I was at 7 cm! I couldn't believe I had gone so far and found the whole experience very "do-able" and definitely not as painful as I had expected. We came to the conclusion that I must have a very high pain threshold. There was a flurry of activity to get the pool filled since no one had expected me to get so far along so quickly with my first child. I really could have been in the pool at between 5-7 cm, but it took to an hour and a half beyond the 7 cm mark before the pool was full enough.

We put the pool in the living room and I had scented candles burning everywhere. I had also replaced the lightbulbs with lower wattage bulbs earlier, so I was guaranteed to have the dim lighting I wanted. I had an audio tape playing ocean sounds with whales and dolphins. I really think this tape helped me relax a lot. It also contained subliminal messages about feeling relaxed and at ease, which for most of the labor, I was! Before I could get into the pool, I spent the time between the contractions walking laps around it, stopping and leaning on a pile of pillows on a table when a contraction hit and then resuming the path around the pool. It was completely filled just as the contractions were getting a bit stronger.

The difference was amazing once I got into the pool. It helped to relax me even more. One of the midwives told me later that if it weren't for the 7 cm dilation, she wouldn't have believed that I was in labor. At one point I had to stand up so they could monitor the baby's heartbeat because the underwater monitor wasn't charged up properly. I stood up between contractions, but had one hit before I was able to re-submerge myself. I really don't know how women can manage on dry land with out some sort of pain relief! The difference in the pain level was dramatically reduced when I was back in the water. I must have been in the pool for about two hours, but it seemed like the blink of an eye.

When I told the midwives I was starting to feel shakey, they said the baby was probably going to be born soon. Then I had the urge to push. The midwives told me to push when I felt like it. Of the whole labor, this part was painful for me, though not unbearably so. The midwives used a flashlight to watch the progress. They let me do things at my own pace and encouraged me through it all. The baby's head was crowning for awhile and I even got to touch it. Then with a final contraction, Jennifer was born in one quick move. She just shot out like an Olympic swimmer! It caught everyone by surprise. The midwife quickly lifted her out of the water, though they say she was coming to the surface on her own.

I held her for a short while and Steve cut the cord. I delivered the placenta naturally and cuddled with Jennifer while waiting. Even with the quickness of her entry into the water, I had no tears whatsoever! Yeah! She was 7 lbs, 6 oz and 19 1/2 inches long. Her apgar scores were 9 at 1 minute and 10 at 5 minutes. I really think I couldn't have had a more perfect birth!