Having a water birth was an amazing experience for me. And yet, unlike most of my life, I didn't plan it. I had used water during my second child's birth and it was an amazing relief. I climbed out of my bath tub just as he was born. I planned a water birth for my third child, but the tub never got set up. After that, I just decided I'd use my bath tub for labor pain relief and not worry so much about having a water birth.
Sure, I'd attended some water births, both at hospitals and in homes. It looked amazing and the moms spoke very highly about it. I could articulate the benefits of water birth, but it just never really sunk in. Then came baby Ocho, our eighth baby.
The long and short of Ocho's birth story is that I labored for a very long time, about 45 hours to be exact. I was quite comfortable and pleased with my labor. The last hour or so, I'd been pushing. I rarely pushed more than a few times and out came a baby, so pushing for an hour had me a bit perplexed. The three doula brain cells I had that still worked said, "Get up an go to the bathroom, a full bladder can prevent your baby from descending." I got up and stomped off to the bathroom with my husband following me, saying nothing.
I rested my head on the wall as I sat on the toilet. Out of the corner of my eye, I saw the bathtub. "Water," I commanded. My midwife scrambled to have someone bring me something to drink when my husband said, "I think she wants us to fill the tub." He was right. I sat there while he filled the tub.
My bathtub had been an amazing source of pain relief all during my pregnancy. Pain relief was what I needed now and I was going to try the tub. It took a couple of minutes to fill, as it was a deep bathtub. I climbed over the edge and felt my entire body relax as it slipped into the water. No sooner than I had immersed my belly when I felt the baby shift. The baby was coming... NOW. I hiked my leg up to the edge of the tub and out slipped my baby into the hands of my husband as everyone came rushing into the bathroom.
This was not the birth I had planned. But it was amazing. Despite Ocho weighing in at 10 lbs 2 oz and being born with her hand up over her head, I walked away from her birth with no swelling, tearing or pain. That was an amazing experience...