My positive water birth experience.by Claire Chircop
A water birth was never in my plan. It was when we arrived into triage after hours of counting contractions that the idea was posed to me. After reaching 4cm dilated and being told I was ready to go down to the delivery suite the midwife flippantly asked ‘would you like a regular room or one with a pool?’ To which I shrugged my shoulders and replied with the latter. I’d gone nine months without considering a water birth to switching my mind literally at the very last moment, but it was honestly the best thing I could have done! My water birth experience was such a positive one and if that was to be my last pregnancy, I feel I’ve gone out with a bang.
Preparing for childbirth.
Like with my first birth I’d been practising hypnobirthing in the run-up to my second labour. Instead of a medicalised birth, I wanted to use breathing techniques, visualisation and positive affirmations to bring my child into the world. With that being said I didn’t go into childbirth naively; I knew if I had to have medical intervention then so be it. But that’s the beauty of hypnobirthing, even if I had had to go down the medicalised route, I knew it was always one step closer to meeting my baby.
The second time around my birth was completely different but the idea behind hypnobirthing was still exactly the same. Despite the water playing a huge part in my positive birth experience, I can’t deny that hypnobirthing didn’t also play its part.
The decision to have a water birth.
I chose to have a water birth on a bit of a whim. I hadn’t done any research previously, nor had I really given it a second thought beforehand. The only thing which made me change my mind was the thought of ‘what if I never get the opportunity to do this again?’ We’re undecided on the prospect of more children so if this was my last birth I wanted to at least have experienced something new.
My decision to have a water birth really was as simple as ‘why not?’
My water birth experience.
I walked into the birthing pool room in the early hours of Friday 17th September. After an internal examination and being told it was ‘go time’ the midwives began filling the pool. The water was warm, LED tea lights had been switched on and music was playing. Although the setting wasn’t the most luxurious, it was calm, serene and as relaxing as it could have possibly been.
I undressed and got myself into the pool, with my husband stretched out on a mattress next to me. The midwives left us in the pool room, situating themselves in the adjoining room. We were given privacy right from the beginning, it was lovely as it felt like I could have been in the bath at home. This home from home, or bath from bath put me at ease so much. Having the familiarity of it just being my husband and I in the room massively relaxed me making my water birth experience such a positive one.
The water temperature was kept at 37℃ meaning for the full six hours I was in the pool I was kept warm and composed. There was something about being immersed in warm water that felt almost spa-like. It sounds bizarre likening my birthing experience to being at a spa, but I was in such a state of zen that I even asked the midwives ‘is it normal to be so chilled?’ It felt so unusual being so relaxed during such an intense experience. I was worried at one point imagining that my labour wasn’t progressing. Thankfully however it was!
In terms of midwife intervention through the labour, there wasn’t actually that much. They’d come in every fifteen minutes to check my temperature, the temperature of the water as well as the baby's heartbeat. The non-invasive checks were done within a couple of minutes (contraction depending) before the midwives left us both to continue through the labour. The level of privacy we had during the water birth was everything I could have asked for during birth.
When it came to the final stages of labour and pushing my baby out my mind was so clear and I was in full control over what was happening. I kept saying ‘I can do this, I can do this, I can do this’ over and over again in my head. This newfound level of empowerment really took over me and I was soon catching my baby and bringing her up to my chest. The final moments felt like a bit of a blur. I’m not a terrific catch at the best of times, so when it came to scooping my baby up I was a bit flustered. This was only for a split second and I was soon cradling her in my arms.
My water birth experience was such a positive one for so many reasons. The whole time I was labouring it felt like it was just my husband and I. It was so private making it feel like we did it together, just the two of us as a team. My water birth feels like such an achievement, even now three weeks later I can’t quite believe my body did that. I’m in awe of what my body has achieved and how my mindset played such a huge part in such a relaxed, positive labour.
I was in the pool for six hours before welcoming my baby into the world. My feet were the wrinkliest I’ve ever seen, but my water birth experience was the best ever! I had a positive experience with my first labour, but this was just something else!
I’m so glad I opted for a water birth. I had the best, most empowering experience that I’d 100% recommend to anybody! It was out of this world.
Have you had a water birth before? Is it something you'd consider?