Thursday, 30 December 2010

What a birth!

I love waterbirth.  Really love waterbirth, especially home waterbirths.  The babies seem to be so serene afterwards.  I may have mentioned how much I love it when they rise to the top of the water in their mother's arms.  Gorgeous.  And I love the fact that the water creates a natural barrier to the world so that mum can get on with the business of birth.

Some of my favourite waterbirths have been etched in my memory.  It doesn't take much to bring them back to life in my mind.

One is used as a birth story on my website MammyDoula.  Sara's story has brought many potential clients to my door.  One told me that she had tears streaming down her face reading it. I find it hard to believe that that beautiful baby is now 3 years old.  And so gorgeous still.  I'll never forget Sara vaulting into the water as soon as the Midwife said it was okay.  Who knew pregnant women could leap so high!

Another of my ladies laboured beautifully at home and when we arrived at hospital the Receptionist made the mistake of trying to direct her to the labour ward (she was booked into the Birthing Centre).  Whilst her husband and I tried to be diplomatic and make nice my lady said "I don't need to go there.  I'm going to the Birthing Centre".  The Receptionist told her she would have to wait to be collected by a Midwife but my lady was already gone, leaving her husband and me trailing in her wake.  We arrived at the Birthing Suite and my lady burst into tears (transition).  "I knew it would be too late.  I didn't get a water birth the first time and I won't get one now".  The Midwife filled the pool as quickly as she could and even before it was ready my lady climbed in.  "Push your bottom down" the Midwife cried, "At least push your bottom down".  A beautiful girl shot into the world and was so keen to say hello that she swallowed some water which meant an overnight stay in the hospital.

A repeat client laboured really well at home and was 10cm (fully dilated) but had to go to hospital because of a previous retained placenta and blood loss.  She had negotiated a waterbirth at the hospital as a compromise.  Her wish was a home waterbirth.  In the end being at the hospital was a good call because she had a large postpartum haemorrhage.  Before that, however, she got into the birthing pool.  It was the weirdest hospital birth pool I had seen.  It had the feel of a private sauna in an exclusive club.  The tiles were black with "glitter".  We kept laughing, even as we tried to maintain a quiet birthing space.  It was also the first time I had seen a Midwife try to practise directed pushing.  My lady zoned her out and listened to her body and breathed her beautiful daughter out.  She was in the water for less than 30 minutes.

My first waterbirth almost wasn't.  E had gone into the hospital to be checked because she had seen some blood.  It had been her show.  She had had a sweep early that week and been told that she was 2cm dilated.  She called to ask me what she should do, she sounded very tired.  I suggested that if they let her she stay and sleep and see what happened.  Her husband went home and I ordered a Chinese.  Of course she called as I lifted the fork to my mouth.  I arrived at the Birthing Centre and she practically yelled at me "GIve me a [add expletive] epidural!" I reminded her that the pool had filled and maybe she ought to give it a quick go.  She got off the bed and had 2 big contractions.  She climbed into the pool and gave one push and her son was born.

They're not all quick.  Some of them are slow and steady.  One Mum laboured long and slow in the water.  In the end she came out of the pool and the Midwife was ready to transfer her to hospital when the baby finally arrived.  For her second birth she thought she'd give the water another go but she had little faith that she would give birth in it.  Less than 20 minutes after getting in her second son was born.

Another had my lady falling asleep, that's how relaxed the water made her.  But the ones that make me chuckle are where Mum gets in the water, telling me that she's not sure it will help.  The water soothes them and makes the pain seem to float away and then suddenly they are holding their babies.

Yes.  I love waterbirths, long or short.  They are definitely my favourite.  

Possibly my favourite ever waterbirth, certainly two of my favourite people

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