Brittney’s First Birth: Water Birth at a Birth Center

September 19, 2011

We had decided to birth at a birthing center because we felt that our OB would not support our wish to deliver unmedicated. We discovered we were right when at one appointment the OB completely freaked out when we were discussing our options and informed us that if we birthed naturally with a midwife we were surely going to kill our son and “go back to the middle ages”. After that wonderful visit, there was no way we were going to have that office help in the delivery of our son. We found Birthing Your Way thanks to our Hynobirthing class and immediately felt a connection to the midwife.

On Friday, July 22 I had my prenatal appointment with my wonderful midwife Heather Shelley. I was very sad to discover that my cervix was not dilated and, in Heather’s words, very thick. I thought that my baby was never going to come! We were supposed to move in two weeks so I was very worried I wasn’t going to heal in enough time to move. Heather gave me some homeopathic pills and we talked about doing a natural induction the next Saturday if nothing had happened.

That night I made a plan to do a fear release and listen to the birthing affirmations to change how I was viewing my body. I never made it to doing the fear release because as I was laying down to go to bed at 1:20 AM my water broke! I was so excited and ready to get the show on the road. I woke my husband up and we made a plan for what we were going to do. We called Heather and let her know my water broke and told her we were planning on laboring the majority of the time at home. She told us to call when the contractions got closer together (at this point I wasn’t having any).

We went to Walmart to get snacks and drinks so I could keep my energy up and stay hydrated. I loved the education part of hypnobirthing because it all made sense. Of course I would need calories to burn when my uterus was working out! After our trip we went for a walk to get the contractions going. This worked and an hour after my water broke I was finally feeling contractions. However, they didn’t really hurt at all so I decided to listen to my birth affirmations on all fours. I would sway my hips back and forth whenever a contraction would hit while reading the birth stories on the hypnobirthing website:). They made me SO excited. I started to time my contractions and they were 4-5 min apart and lasting for a minute plus. This went on for about an hour, but they still weren’t very intense. I decided to take a bath in case they started to be more intense. I did not like laboring in the tub at home because I felt so cramped, so I got out.

After my bath the contractions were closer together. I found my favorite birth position (bending over the birth ball and swaying back and forth). I would hum through every contraction. They still weren’t very intense at all so I thought it would be awhile before we would have to go to the birth center. My husband was timing them and was anxious for us to go because they were less than a minute apart, but I was insisting that we not go in because they weren’t hurting me at all, and contractions should be more intense. We compromised and called Heather and told her what was going on. She suggested that we come in.

We left for the birth center and I had three contractions in the car. These were the only ones that bothered me because I wasn’t able to get in a comfortable position and hum through them. Once we arrived at the birth center it was 6:00. The student midwife, Jessica, checked me and I was only at a 3. For some reason this didn’t discourage me at all. Jessica mentioned that she thought it was going to be awhile before anything happened since I didn’t seem too uncomfortable at all. I labored on the birth ball and hummed through contractions while Jessica pushed on my hips and my husband offered me support. I was still surprised at how the contractions weren’t so intense. I was just humming through them and not tensing my body at all. I was so relaxed and in my own zone focusing on my body and embracing what it was doing. Heather arrived and they started filling up the tub. Originally, I just wanted to labor in the tub and birth on the birthing stool as I wasn’t totally comfortable with my baby being born in water.

I loved being in the tub, but soon after my contractions started to get really close together and more intense, but still not unbearable. I really had to focus on my humming. At one point Jessica could tell I was starting to tense while I was humming and suggested I hum lower. This made a huge difference. Jessica was wonderful and such a great help during my labor. I started to feel a lot of pressure and started “breathing down” with each contraction without really saying what I was doing. Jessica could tell what I was doing though and checked me. I was only at a 5, but they still encouraged me to do what I felt my body was telling me to do. This was at about 7:30. I really had to focus on my body at this point and each time a contraction would hit I had to find a new position to make it through. My husband was great at allowing me to hang all over him if that was what I wanted.

I really started bearing down and kind of grunting at around 8:30. Jessica checked me quickly and announced to Heather that my baby was a fingertip away. It was at this point that I really started vocalizing. I was SO surprised by the pressure on my bottom. The pressure up front wasn’t anything to me, but I thought my bottom was going to explode. I started pleading with my son to come out, which still makes me chuckle. I was still so focused on my body though that I didn’t notice what was going on around me. My son’s heart rate was really low so they put me on oxygen. Then they noticed a lot of blood was coming out. I was progressing too fast and my placenta had started to detach before my son was out. I never, not once, felt worried or scared. Heather and Jessica were so competent and calm that I wasn’t even aware that something was wrong. My baby was born at 8:58 not breathing. Heather and Jessica again were amazing and after allowing me to hold him for a second resuscitated him. After 2 minutes of pumping oxygen into him he started to cry and breath and I was able to hold my baby. Heather let us stay in the tub as long as we could, but because there was so much blood she wanted me to push out my placenta. I was so weak that I couldn’t get my body to push at first, but out came the placenta and we bonded on the bed. Five hours later we went home.

My birth was perfect. The care I received was outstanding. I am certain if I would have birthed at a hospital my baby would have been taken away from me for the entire day and put in the NICU- which was completely unnecessary. I have said over and over, I would never call my contractions “painful” or “unbearable” even during transition. I credit this to hypnobirthing and learning the fear=tension=pain cycle. I embraced what my body was doing and worked with it. Thank you hypnobirthing and thank you Laura!!!

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