I’ve been trying to work on this post forever since I shared Rowan’s birth story on the blog months ago. I didn’t always want a water birth and I didn’t always want a non medicated childbirth. But when I first found out I was pregnant with Rowan, a water birth at a birthing center felt right.
Why I Decided to Have a Water Birth
Before I was pregnant, I actually knew a few women who had water births with their babies. When Brady and I started talking about babies, I knew a water birth was an option and I was curious. I guess I run in some pretty crunchy circles. I knew people who wore their babies, cloth diapered, and co-slept before it was all over Instagram and Pinterest. But honestly, it was my miscarriage that convinced me that I needed to be under the care of midwives and birth in water.
I chose to have a water birth based on my miscarriage experience
There’s no way to put it lightly, a miscarriage is hell. Because of that you would think the health care providers would be kind, understanding, and have some sort of empathy in response to the situation. Maybe I’m too sensitive, but at the time, I just wanted to be treated like an individual with feelings and not just a bed in the ER.
Let’s start at the very beginning: We had a positive pregnancy test and were so excited to welcome a baby into our lives. I knew I was pregnant for a week and a half before I started spotting. I spotted for a couple of days before I decided something was wrong and called the nurses line with our insurance company. Long story short, I found my self in the ER waiting in a cold patient room.
The nurse who had orders to take my blood had to take it four times. Three times in my arm and once in my hand. For weeks, I had horrible bruises from where she tried to take my blood. The ultrasound technician was blunt. The doctor just acted like I was something to check off his list and sent me home saying that the pain and the bleeding will get worse and I needed to see my doctor Monday morning. I know it’s the ER and they are busy, but still there’s no excuse for basic kindness.
The doctor I saw on Monday morning asked me if I wanted to be on birth control.
So, medical healthcare providers: maybe I just happened to work with people who were having an off day, but I still felt like I was just a do to for them to take care of.
I wanted more personalized prenatal care. I wanted to feel taken care of and important.
So four months later, when I found out I was pregnant with Rowan, I with straight to my local midwifery group (If you are in Orange County, go see the women at Beach Cities Midwifery). From the moment I called to make an appointment to tour the birth center and find out more about the prenatal care to my six-week postpartum appointment, I felt as if I mattered, the choices I wanted to make mattered, and my baby mattered.
My appointments were at least 30 minutes long. Most of the time, I was in the room with the midwife five minutes after walking in the door. The midwives and I talked as if we were old friends. My choices were never wrong and questions never stupid. It was like they welcomed me into a family. I honestly felt at home.
I wanted to do what I wanted and when I wanted during the hours (ha ha) before the birth.
With a midwife in a birthing center, I could eat and drink. In a hospital, you survive on ice chips alone. I could give birth in a tub, on the bed, on the floor, standing up, in a chair…whatever felt right. To me, water was the answer. I know I was in pain during Rowan’s birth and yet, I can’t tell you to what degree. I honestly feel that because of my water birth, pain did not define my experience.
I had read that a water birth is a stress free way for the baby to enter the world.
The womb is full of water. I used to say Rowan was swimming around in my belly even. The idea that my baby would be born into a room with bright lights and cold air seemed shocking to me. The more I researched, the more I wanted a gentle transition for my baby. Expects also say, that babies who are born into water are calmer from day one. I don’t really know the research or truth behind that, but Rowan was a pretty calm baby and he is a pretty calm toddler. Yes, he still does have his moments.
After the birth, I would be able to go home.
I have always hated the hospital and I didn’t want to have to stay in one. Being able to spend time with my baby and husband without machines and random check-ins from nurses seemed right to me. I wanted to start recovering somewhere I felt comfortable. I had also heard that mamas who gave birth outside of a hospital recovered quicker and easier.
I will say, we didn’t advertise that I was having a water birth in a birthing center with a midwife. Family and friends had voiced their concern and we always had our responses: Yes, its safe. No, the baby will not drown. Yes, we have an emergency plan just in case. But some people were down right hurtful and negative about my choice to have my baby outside of the hospital. I was greeted with horror stories. At some point during my pregnancy, I just didn’t want to hear it anymore.
That being said, I don’t think a water birth is right for everyone and I feel a woman should be able to choose how she wants to give birth. I support women and their birth stories no matter how the baby enters the world. A baby is a baby no matter how he or she comes out in the world. Write your own story and do your own thing!
Anyways, did you have a water birth or a birth outside of the hospital? Leave your story in the comments. Did you have a positive hospital birth experience? Leave your story in the comments. Let’s fill the internet with positive birth stories!