I had a water birth….
Little ol’ conservative, traditional me… who dresses her children in smocked clothes… I had a water birth. And it was amazing.
While I have entertained the idea of laboring in the tub, and heard stories of great water births, I never really considered myself a water birth kind of gal. So, we discussed it the week earlier and we both decided to just stick with what we did best--- good Natural Childbirths out of water.
But a Water Birth was exactly what we needed. It was an unplanned, though not accidental, Water birth.
One thing it definitely was…. providential.
I am not trying to over spiritualize our birth story here…
But, have I mentioned Henry was 10lbs 5 oz??
There is a good chance I could have ended up in a c-section. However, a series of events occurred that we whole heartedly believe allowed us to birth Henry naturally with no emergency interventions necessary.
So, how did we get there?? Let’s rewind….
We arrived at the hospital around 3:00. It was the most uneventful arrival. Dave dropped me and our bags off while he parked the car…and I just sat in the cafeteria contemplating if I wanted a smoothie or not. All the while having contractions every 3-5 minutes…getting more painful, but not painful enough to be doing what I knew they needed to be doing.
We checked in, and they got us in our L/D room. And I felt kind of silly… Here I am a 4th time mom, and I am at the hospital WAY early. I should know better. We should have stayed home longer…. this might be another 12 hours. I started having major self doubt. I am supposed to be the Natural Childbirth Expert here, remember?? (not that I ever claimed to be one) But I’ve done this 3 times before. I should know the signs better.
Then they put me on the monitor, and we all realized that my contractions were hard and going very long, just not coming very close together.
My midwife, Laura, checked my dilation around 4:00pm and announced---I was only 4 cm dilated. And I began crying. Yep… that whole day of that slow labor with no consistent pattern had gotten me 1cm dilated. This was not how I labored. This was not the birth story I wanted. I came face to face with my chidlbirth pride. Thankfully I had a husband who reminded me that each baby has their own story, that each baby comes in their own way, their own time. And a midwife who reminded me we WERE having a baby soon… and I hadn’t come too early, we were just fine. This was going to be Henry’s story.
Enter Lisa--- our L/D nurse who happens to be a trained Doula as well. This was our first sweet gift from God. At first I thought Lisa was a little too involved. Dave and I have our groove… we like doing things our way in labor. Childbirth pride, check # 2.
But we quickly realized Lisa knew WAY more than we did. And she knew exactly what we needed.
Lisa looked at me and said “he is big…he’s real big and he’s not descending… that’s probably why your labor’s been going so slow and not picking up” She then said she was going to hold my belly up while I contracted, that it would hurt, but it would help to sift him down into the birth canal more. And WOW…. it surely did. These contractions were working, and Lisa knew what she was talking about. From then on I was convinced I would do just about anything Lisa said.
My midwife suggested she stretch my cervix a little (similar to stripping the membranes for all those who’ve experienced that lovely event) and we decided to do that…. within 15 minutes that kicked in the contractions we had been waiting for all day.
Lisa then tied a rebozo sling (out of a sheet) around my waist to hold baby in while I was contracting to encourage him to sift down into the birth canal. I had read of this method for getting bigger babies to try and descend into the birth canal…. I just never thought it would be used on me. I think this is where I officially became a hippie.
We did a lot of positions that helped to open up my pelvic bone, to help him sift down. Swaying, deep squats, pressure on my hips, hands and knees. Lisa was the labor position queen.
I am not sure what time the labor tub was suggested… 5:30?
My midwife Laura and Lisa both suggested a change in positions and contractions were definitely getting harder. The tub was already filled and warm, and when they offered I seemed uncertain (as we had kind of talked about not wanting to do the tub thing) But David encouraged me to just try it… I could always get right back out. He said later that his thought was that I might as well try it… and he knew if I didn’t try it I would probably look back and wish I had. So thankful for a husband who knows me enough to encourage me in this way.
We absolutely believe that the tub and the water enabled me to deliver Henry at 10lbs 5oz. The positions I was able to do in the tub I could not have done on dry land. Like a full squat on the ground for over 30 minutes. These positions truly helped my pelvic bone to and open more, allowing Henry to make a good descent through the birth canal.
We had an amazing hour of hard labor in the tub. Yet we continued to chat in between contractions about delivery, and the possibility of a water birth. I had no questions about the safety of water birth, but was more concerned about the logistics…. this was new territory for me.
But we made the decision to stay in the tub, and it was an amazing experience. Around 6:40 my water broke, and at 6:55 we began pushing through some very hard contractions. Henry was delivered in the water at 7:11pm.
I know the above picture is blurry…. But the memory is certainly not blurry at all. I literally turned to Dave and said something like “Unbelievable!” or “I can’t believe we just did this”. I was a bit in shock by how fast he came (after just pushing 12 minutes) and that we had just had a baby in the water!
God’s provision and protection were clearly seen in this little child’s grand entrance into the world. We know the possible complications and challenges that can come with birthing such a large baby. And no one knew how large he was. But God Knew.
And God prepared exactly what we needed.
So after all the waiting… the long, slow and steady start we had to labor, we went fast and furious in the end. And 4 hours after our active labor kicked in, we were holding an absolute perfect little baby boy.
By God’s Grace, Henry David arrived safely and healthy. And we praise Him for this sweet miracle of another child to love and raise.
I can confidently declare with Eve that
“With the help of the Lord
I have brought forth a man.”