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Water Birth


Now for a longer version of my birth story which you are welcome to put on the birth page. I will start at the beginning. I actually had thought a little about using water in my second birth, but the midwives I was using in California were a bit shy about it. They said I could labor in it but they wouldn't let me deliver in it. The way my labor went I wasn't able to use water anyway but that's another story. When I found out I was pregnant with our third child I decided I was going to use water for this birth even if it meant that my husband and I would have to deliver this child alone. Fortunately the midwife we chose was game to try it. She said she had done one other and wanted more experience with it. We checked into renting a birthing pool and found the cheapest way to go was to order a pool directily from the manufacturer. The type of pool we bought has I-beam construction in the sides so an adult can sit on the side and it will support them. It is just under 4 and 1/2 feet in diameter so with all of our bedroom furnishings against one wall it fit. We bought it with about 8 weeks to go in the pregnancy and it was a good thing because within days of getting via UPS I went into premature labor. I was 2 cm dilated and 20% effaced due to a calcium deficiency that allowed contractions to begin.

I was put on bed rest and lots of calcium and magnesium. When my contractions would come in clusters that were too many, too close, or just too painful I would either lie in the bathtub (really difficult at 8 months pregnant!) or put water in the pool and stretch out in it. I did that several times over the next 5 to 6 weeks. Finally on February 18th I was 37 weeks and the midwife let me out of bed. If I went into labor, fine. If I didn't, it was fine. I was finally past the critical point. I started to have my normal prelabor clusters that day. I used the water to help me rest, relax and focus on the job ahead. The next day I thought I was in labor actually. I went for long walks and had some very hard long contractions that worked themselves into a 1min/4min rhythm. The midwife came by a couple of times that day to see how I was and I was effacing and slightly dilating but nothing major. I was awakened at 3 am that night by another round of hard long contractions that lasted three hours. I lost my mucous plug at 6:30 that morning when my contractions fizzled out. I got up, took a hot, hot shower, ate light labor foods and grabbed my hubbie and went for another long walk. I didn't notice too much until we were home and I was resting for a bit. I went from virtually no contractions to contractions that were 90 seconds 4 minutes apart. This was at 11 am. I had my husband and my mom refill the tub with 100 degree water and waited for the midwives. I wanted to get in that water so bad but they asked me to wait to be sure I was beyond four centimeters so that the hot water wouldn't slow things down.

When they arrived at 12:00 I was 5-6 and 90 % effaced. The pool was filled at about 12:15 or so, but the baby seemed to be a bit high so the midwife asked me to let her really assess the baby's position through the next couple of contractions. FINALLY at about 12:30 or so they let me in the water. I never felt anything so relaxing! I felt just like I had slipped into a hot bath during one of my rare alone moments for mommy. Within 15 minutes I was fully dilated and was waiting for the urge to push. I had never felt that sensation with my other two babies and couldn't believe the surging power going through my body. I held on to the side of the pool as my baby's tiny head emerged without any additional pushing from me. She had a tight double loop of cord, so it had to be cut for her to be born. It was cut and she was quickly pulled out and up onto my chest. She needed a tiny bit of help breathing because the cord was so incredibly tight around her neck and right arm. While one midwife was stimulating the baby to breathe a bit more regularly, I put a birthing stool on a towel in the pool and sat up to deliver the placenta.

After the placenta, the midwife checked me and said that I didn't appear to have just had a baby. The water made my tissues so soft and pliable that there weren't any "tread marks". I healed incredibly fast.

The whole birth experience sold me on the use of water. I will never birth without water again!

Stefani Schultz



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