A Healing Natural Water Birth

by mamabearbri on September 6, 2013

This was a very healing birth for me. My first son’s birth I was induced at 41 weeks, had an epidural, and left in love with my healthy baby but feeling robbed of my birth experience. We suffered a loss 3 years later. Henry is our “rainbow baby”. It was amazing to learn to trust my body, and watch and feel it doing everything as it should. I am NOT broken! I am strong, and it was the first time I could honestly say I am proud of my body.

2 AM the day we hit 41 weeks, I woke with lots of pressure. I wasn’t sure if it was a contraction or not; it felt different this time. I woke with the same feeling of pressure at 3, 4, and 5. I gave up on sleep and woke my husband up asking him to take a hot shower with me – today may be it! Either the contractions would slow down and go away, or they would continue to get more intense. The shower brought immediate relief; these contractions were real! They were about 10 minutes apart, but more intense than the Braxton Hicks I had been having for weeks.

I let the warm water run on my belly and leaned into the wall or my husband for extra support. By 7 AM not much had changed, I sent my doulas a text message letting them know I was having consistent contractions. I truly did not think he would be born that day. I called the midwife and let her know I was in early labor. My 4 year old, Levi, woke up and sat with me on his own yoga ball. We continued with our day as usual until Levi (my mini doula) left for preschool around 11:40. Contractions still 10 min apart, but getting stronger.

While Levi was at school I tried to nap but it was not happening. Lying down was so uncomfortable for me; all I wanted to do was sit on my yoga ball! By the time Levi came home from school at 3 PM, contractions were still spaced about 8-10 minutes apart and I was starting to tire. He went down for a nap and my husband began preparing everything for the birth. We made “labor aid” and sat outside for a bit. It was beautiful outside but too warm to be out for long.

By 5 PM, I was beginning to get nervous, contractions were getting harder to handle! I live far away and did not want to cry wolf. I asked Courtney (doula apprentice and friend) to come over in an hour, I figured she could help calm me down and try different positions. It wouldn’t be a big deal if she went home soon after, she lived nearby. I STILL was in denial I was in labor! By the time Courtney arrived at 6, Amanda (doula) sent a message asking if she should head my way. She arrived a few minutes after Courtney. We updated the midwife’s assistant and she told me to call if anything changed.

My lower back was aching, and Amanda suggested I move onto my knees and lean over the ball. I rocked my hips from side to side as she dug into my hips during contractions, ah that was much better! Low moans also helped. I knew I had to let go completely so my body could do what it had to. I was a bit nauseous so Courtney was fanning me with a wet washcloth with peppermint and clary sage oil. I felt spoiled by these two!

Around this time my son left for a sleepover with his cousins. I ran outside to give him a hug and kiss goodbye. When he came back he wouldn’t be the baby of the family anymore.  I believe my contractions were around 6-8 minutes apart by now, I wasn’t the one timing and I made a point to not watch the clock. The contractions were pretty intense by now. We turned on my BANI hypnosis cd and I tried harder to focus on breathing and relaxation.

Amanda put a tens unit on my lower back to help with aching. Henry had been posterior, so I knew this could lead to back pain. I talked to the assistant on the phone and she began to head over, my midwife would come over after a nap. They believed I still had a long way to go. I went to the bathroom and lost a little more bloody show. I had lost a few tiny pieces the night before. For some reason I forgot to tell my midwife about the bloody show, I was in my own little world! This would have been helpful later on.

My midwife’s assistant showed up, checked Henry’s heart rate and my blood pressure, baby and mama were doing great – but lying down was so uncomfortable! How do people give birth this way?? I forced myself to eat, as I knew I would need the strength. I drank Labor Aid and choked down some peanut butter toast and a honey stick. Since I was running on close to no sleep, the assistant told me I should lie down and try to sleep/relax in the dark bedroom between contractions, maybe they would pick up.

They wanted them to last longer than they had been. But remember, lying down was awful for me! I did NOT want to move. I began to doubt how much longer I could deal with the contractions and I half joking asked for an epidural. I knew I couldn’t have and didn’t want an epidural but it felt good to just say it! With the assistant’s advice, I moved into a lunging position and could feel Henry moving into the right position.

She told me to go pee and try to lay down, she was going to rest downstairs, too. I went to the bathroom and my water broke into the toilet. I wasn’t positive if it was my water or pee.. I threw up and then knew “I must be in transition!” Contractions were one on top of the other the moment I stood up. I leaned against my bed for support and had a slight urge to push. No way was I going to sleep, Henry had other plans! They started to fill up the birth pool and I could not wait to get into that pool.

With each contraction I could feel a little gush of fluid, but not enough to splash on the ground. That’s when I realized my water had actually broken. The pool was taking a long time to fill. I got in even though it was only a few inches deep and sat on my knees with my chest leaning over the side onto my husband. Towels were thrown into the dryer to heat up, water boiling on the stove.

My body began to push very hard on its own within seconds of getting into the pool. I was never checked so this freaked me out a bit. Courtney asked if I was pushing, and I said, “I don’t know!” Once she reminded me this was ok I said I felt lots of pressure, and had to push. At some point my midwife was called and began speeding to my house.

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I did not expect it to change this quickly and neither did my midwife or her assistant. I continued to push on my knees and I tried to feel his head but couldn’t. I changed positions to almost lying down in the pool, to get into the water as much as possible and my body continued to push with each contraction. I was screaming with each push, and the doulas reminded me to use low tones, and my screams turned to deep roars. My body was working so hard whether I wanted it to or not and roring helped.

I could feel Henry’s head coming down, it was amazing. Once he was crowning they told me to slow down and ease his head out, I didn’t want to tear so I tried my best to not push super hard. His head was out! I felt relief immediately. I reached down and felt his soft head and hair, I was in total shock. I asked how long he could be like that; did I need to push his body out immediately? No he is ok, I breathed and took a little break between contractions, and then my body pushed very hard with the next, his shoulders came out.

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His cord was wrapped around each shoulder, almost like he was wearing a vest. They lifted my knees up and I pushed out the rest of his body. It felt so overwhelming! Our bodies are so powerful! They un-wrapped his cord, and handed him to me. I was in total shock and could not believe I did it, or that he was here, it all was so surreal.

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His cord was pulsing for a long time, we were in no rush to cut it, and we would wait until my midwife arrived. I did not really have urges to push the placenta out. And it did not want to come out. I held Henry and did not really have a care in the world. I was told sometimes it can take up to 40 minutes. We got out of the pool, me walking next to my husband; he was holding Henry and I still had the placenta inside, Henry’s cord still attached. I laid down into bed and held my baby. Shortly after my midwife arrived, she was sad to have missed it but immediately got to work.

She helped push on my tummy a little to get the placenta out and I pushed a bit. It was huge. By now Henry’s cord was not pulsing and she clamped it, my husband cut it. I wanted to burn it off but had not prepared things ahead of time to do it, so I said go ahead. I was checked and cleaned up – I had no tearing!

Henry and I took a warm herbal bath together. I held his neck and head and floated his body in the water, he looked so peaceful. While we were doing this everyone else was cleaning up. It was such a nice bonding time. I still could not believe my baby is here.

We got into bed and checked on baby. He is perfect! The midwife weighed and measured him and everyone guessed how much, we all laughed when he was 10 lbs 8 oz. Amanda said “that’s not a newborn!” His skin was perfectly pink when he was born, he really did not look like a baby just born! He wasn’t interested in nursing in the birth pool, but once we were in bed he latched on great. I was on cloud 9. Everyone made sure we were comfortable and about 2 hours or so after the birth they left us to ourselves. Henry slept great that night, he worked hard too!

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Levi came home at around 9 am the next day and was so excited when he saw his brother. He was very proud and still calls him “my Henry”. I am so proud of the amazing big brother he has become. Finally our family of 4 is all together! I had my healthy rainbow baby in my arms and a new faith in my body.

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{Photos are by: http://smallbeginningsphoto.com/}

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