My water baby…

Here I am joining up with The Theme Game run by The Reading Residence and Red Peffer having missed the opportunity to do so last week when it launched. This week’s theme is Water. I have to admit that the first thought that came into my head (other than the recent flooding so close to home) was EJ’s water birth. Here I have slightly re-written an earlier post on the same subject especially to take part in this linky!

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I’m not a great swimmer, I don’t live by the seaside so I didn’t have much of a relationship with water until my pregnancies. I partook in a bit of aqua-natal when I was pregnant with JJ which was a lovely thing to do, but it wasn’t until I had experienced a bog-standard hospital birth (28 hours of it, pethidine, epidural and all) that I knew that I wanted a more positive experience the second time around. A few episodes of One Born Every Minute later and I was completely sold on a water birth. It was clear to see that there was a significant difference in the attitudes and outcomes of those who chose water births and I wanted to know why.

I attended an NCT waterbirth session which answered a lot of questions and made sure to visit the birth pool of my chosen hospital in the months leading up to my due date. It amazed me how much bigger and nicer and less clinical that room was than the rest of the labour suite and I knew that I would be back if circumstances allowed.

On the due date, about 7 in the evening, my contractions began and I thought that was it. They were a long way apart though, unlike the beginning of labour with JJ and they rolled into day two, ramping up to the point where I went into hospital to be monitored and felt like begging to be induced at that point. The following 24 hours were hell – I couldn’t even lie down without having to run to the bathroom to vomit and I was absolutely exhausted and trying to sleep sitting up with my chin resting on a pile of about 7 cushions & pillows.

By about 6pm my Mum pointed out that this was insane and I phoned the hospital to say that, despite what seemed to be completely irregular contractions, I was in constant agony and they confirmed that that was not normal and told me to come in to the ante-natal suite to be assessed. By the time we reached the hospital my contractions seemed to be five minutes apart and I couldn’t really walk so my mum pushed me up to the maternity department in a wheelchair. I was seen quite quickly fortunately and then the real fun began as, much to me huge relief, I was informed that I was nine cm dilated and promptly given the royal treatment (it was about 7pm on a Tuesday evening in July and the ward was relatively quiet). The birth pool was free! I grabbed my tankini and dived in! The room was amazing – the pool was like a big, warm hot tub with underwater lighting. My Seal Soul CD was playing in the background adding a delicious, relaxing, calming atmosphere. I was feeling every contraction – no drugs this time round.

One of the things that had worried me about a water birth was the fact that I wouldn’t have access to any pain relief other than gas and air which I’m not that keen on. I needn’t have worried though as water has magical properties when it comes to pain relief. I’m not saying there wasn’t any pain but just that it didn’t bother me the way I had feared it would. Being able to move around and float about a bit between contractions was really beneficial and calming.

After what seemed like a million years and no time at all, I pushed EJ’s head out without another person laying a hand on me. The next thing that happened was that the midwives called my mum and the hubster over to look down at the baby’s face and pointed out that he was still asleep – babies who are born in water don’t know they are being born! This was the icing on the cake – to realise that this way of giving birth is so beautifully absent of trauma for the baby.

In the months after giving birth the hubster and I became convinced that the waterbirth accounted, at least in part, for EJ being such a chilled out baby. Unlike JJ he didn’t suffer from colic and was just a dream in comparison.

I would definitely recommend a water birth to anyone. Even though labour and childbirth are not exactly anyone’s idea of fun, I can only look back on the experience with EJ with lovely happy tears in my eyes – such a good memory that I never want to forget.

The Reading Residence