Having a Home Water Birth – Part 2: Laboring for Brooke

Brooke was born in Flagstaff, Arizona, to proud parents Mark and Clara,

under the care of Mary Ann Baul and Emily Dale of Womancare Midwifery.

March 23, 2013
8:54 pm
6 lbs. 8 oz.
21.5 in. long

Day 1_3 revAnd finally, here’s the story …

At 41 weeks and two days pregnant, I was getting rather impatient! (Not to mention, uncomfortable!) So, we decided to go downtown to walk around and also to look at mountain bikes for future purchase. It was a great distraction and we hoped the walking would help get labor started.

Later, I realized that I was probably already having contractions when we left the house around 3 p.m.! Several weeks before, one of the midwives had cautioned me that many second time moms don’t realize they are in labor because it feels quite different from the first time. I was absolutely sure that wouldn’t apply to me, as I distinctly remembered how my contractions felt the first time around.

Well, she was right! I had shooting pains down my right leg and spent much of our time out trying to get somewhat comfortable – walking, not walking, sitting, standing, massaging – hoping the baby would come!

After a few hours out, I was getting more and more uncomfortable. We decided not to eat out and arrived home around 6 p.m. Mark made spaghetti for dinner, which I gratefully ate while standing at the counter (sitting was too painful!) At about 6:30 p.m., I used the restroom and noticed a bit of blood after wiping. They call it the “bloody show” – it is actually a blood-tinged mucous plug releasing from the cervix when the body is ready for labor. I finally realized those pains for the last few hours were actually contractions!

I called Emily, one of the midwives, at 6:45 p.m. I described my pains and told her I had a bit of blood release. She told me things could be moving along and she would be over soon.

Comfortably awaiting the next contraction

Comfortably awaiting the next contraction

15 minutes later I welcomed Emily in and promptly went upstairs to try to get comfortable. Mark was giving Ethan a bath and putting him to bed. As soon as he was done, he ran upstairs to begin filling the birthing pool for me.

Emily checked my cervix and said I was at a “stretchy” 6 cm already. Being determined to have a water birth, I was not happy to hear that we may not have time to get the pool filled!

By now, my contractions were quite strong. However, because I was having a home birth, I was able to labor in any position, wherever I was most comfortable, with two midwives available to comfort and guide me … and no worry of having to drive to a hospital!

Getting a massage from Mary Ann

Getting a massage from Mary Ann

So, with dim lights and relaxing music, I continued to breathe through the pain while Mark and the midwives worked to fill the pool with warm water from a hose attached to the shower faucet, as well as water boiled on the stove.

My friend, Shauna, arrived to photograph, and managed to catch a few smiles in between the groans!

Finally, at about 8:30 p.m., the pool was filled and warm enough for me to get in. With Mark’s help, I climbed over the side in between contractions, welcoming the soothing warmth and buoyancy the water provided.

I asked the midwives when I should start pushing. Their reply, “Whenever you feel you need to.”

M. comforting me

M. comforting me

I kept waiting for the contractions to be more intense, assuming it would be as painful as labor was with Ethan. It just didn’t seem possible that I was almost ready to push!

After a short 15 minutes in the water, I was feeling the urge. I took a deep breath, bared down, and did my best to move that little baby towards the outside world.

Mark encouraged me to breathe deeply and held my hands for comfort. Another push, and the midwives assured me that I was progressing, as they could see a little head peeking out!

Emily caught Brooke and helped her swim up to my chest

Emily caught Brooke and helped her swim up to my chest

After a couple more pushes, I felt like my skin was going to rip apart. Emily assured me that my perineum was stretching beautifully and Brooke would be arriving soon. I just had to be patient and allow nature to take its course.

With the next push, her head was out. One moment to relax, and then another contraction hit.

I was thankful to have no intervention by the midwives. They were simply watching and waiting, allowing me to push and rest as I needed to. This was quite a different experience from giving birth in a hospital in Mexico, flat on my back (which is ridiculously painful for a woman in labor!) with my feet in stirrups.

Finally, one final push and at 8:54 p.m., Brooke’s body slid out!

Blue baby girl

Blue baby girl

Yes, Brooke came out a wee bit blue, but honestly, I didn’t even notice! I could only see our beautiful baby girl, curled up in my arms. (The midwives reassured us that blue babies are common at high altitudes.)

With help, I climbed out of the birthing pool and onto the bed. Brooke rested on my chest for the next hour while blood pulsed through her still attached umbilical cord. Finally, the midwife handed Mark the scissors and he cut the cord!

It was a beautiful experience. I am so thankful that the Lord allowed us to have our baby in the U.S. in a natural, comfortable home setting. We are enjoying each day with our two amazing children!

Mary Ann getting ready to weigh Brooke

Mary Ann getting ready to weigh Brooke

Mary Ann weighed, measured and tested for her Apgar score (8).

Weighing and Measuring 6 rev Weighing and Measuring 27 rev Weighing and Measuring 24 rev Weighing and Measuring 14 rev

Relaxing in bed before cutting the cord

Relaxing in bed before cutting the cord

Ethan meeting Brooke the next morning ... He liked her!

Ethan meeting Brooke the next morning … He liked her!

A big thanks to Womancare Midwifery for their fantastic support and an incredible delivery!


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