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I have been pregnant every year since 1998 with the exception of 2004. We lost 2 in that time, but I have effectively been either pregnant and/or nursing for the past 14 years.
 
Just because I have been pregnant and have birthed a lot does not mean the next one will be easier. Your body doesn't stay stretched out. You have to do it all over again. You have to contract, you have to open, you have to efface and dilate. My 7th birth was harder and needed way more intervention than my 6th, so when #8 came around, we really had no clue what to expect!
 
I was due July 14th, but was walking around in labor for 2 weeks prior to the 4th of July. I was dilated, stretchy, 4-6 centimeters and my bag of water was bulging- to my midwife's amazement. I had bloody show, I passed the plug constantly (as it renews itself). My pubic bone was separated so I was super uncomfortable. I PRAYED for it to end, I had never felt so 'done before!
 
Late on the 3rd of July, I noticed the contractions I had been enduring for the past two weeks were every five minutes now.  I started timing them at midnight and finally decided to call the midwife at 1 AM to discuss if I should come in. On one hand, the contractions were regular and, knowing I had Group B Strep and needed the antibiotics, should get in sooner than later so I could get the full two recommended bags of IV fluids in before birth. On the other hand, I didnt want to be premature and drag everyone in only to have everything stop, like it had in the past.
 
By 2 AM after chatting with the midwife, she finally said, "Jyn... come in and have your baby!"
 
I gathered my husband, woke one of my daughters and got any last thing we needed which felt like the equivalent of a backback prepared for a week's stay in the wilderness. I texted my mom to come stay with the rest of the kids, and we left.
 
We got to the hospital at about 2:30 AM fully expecting it to be busy because, after all, it was now the 4th of July. It wasn't.
 
They had the birthing pool ready and hot- but I couldn't get in yet. They had to monitor me first. I actually didn't even get into the tub until 3:30 AM. Enduring contractions in the hospital bed was awful.
 
As the contractions came closer and harder and he moved down more- the pain in my back got worse and worse. I attribute that, now, to my separated pubic bone which was probably pinching in the back. I was worried about a stretchy but not fully dilated cervix being dragged down with the baby's head. This is what happened two years earlier with my 7th. So I was prepared with some Astroglide to help ease the baby's head through the cervix and out with minimal scraping on the inside. With each contraction I eased the cervix around his head myself, but really- he felt more like he was going to come out the other end!
 
Finally, at 9 centimeters dilated my water burst with a sonic boom and he was coming and the contractions were harder.
 
With a primal roar, out came his head and shoulders at 6:17 AM on the 4th of July- and up to my bosom with a great big sigh of relief and "Ohhhhh!"
 
The water was quite warm as I had insisted and I started bleeding a little more than we wanted- so they had me get out to an awaiting bed. The whole ordeal, on video, looks so quiet and collected and calm- absolutely the farthest from how it felt! I felt, most of the time, like I was on the edge of insanity!
 
Jude Elias was officially 7 lbs, 9.5 oz and 19 inches long- beautiful and full of life! The placenta was huge, with 2 lobes (like a heart) and a very thick long  umbilical cord that pulsated forever, it seemed!
We rejected the Vitamin K injection as well as the silver nitrate. He was my second child to not receive the Vitamin K shot and my second child to leave the hospital with absolutely no jaundice! It also took them 30 minutes to get a proper PKU sample because... his blood kept clotting. 
 
Published in Birthing Stories
Saturday, 28 May 2011 08:47

10 Common Questions about Water Births

1. How long is the baby under water after birth?

The amount of time the baby is under water will not harm or help the baby. Many practitioners usually bring the baby up within 10 seconds or mom or dad can lift baby out of the water themselves. There is no physiological reason to leave the baby under the water for any length of time. There are several water birth videos that depict leaving the baby under the water for several moments after birth and the babies are just fine, because babies can breathe under water as long as they haven't taken their first breath of oxygen.

Physiologically, the placenta is supporting the baby with oxygen during this time though it can never be predicted when the placenta will begin to separate causing the flow of oxygen to baby to stop. The umbilical cord pulsating is not a guarantee that the baby is receiving enough oxygen. The safe approach is to remove the baby, without hurrying, and gently place him into his mother's arms.

2. What is the cost of a water birth?

The cost of a water birth is significantly less than that of a hospital birth and some provinces and states are now insuring them as standard coverage. The rental of the pool can be anywhere from $0 if you use your own home tub or a pool (or your midwives have them to borrow), if you rent or purchase it can be a few hundred dollars.

3. What should the water temperature be in the pool?

Water should be monitored at a temperature that is comfortable for the mother, usually between 95-100 degrees Fahrenheit. Water temperature should not exceed 101 degrees Fahrenheit as it could lead to an increase in the mother's body temperature which could cause the baby's heart rate to increase. It is a good idea to have plenty of water to drink and cold cloths for the mother's face and neck. A cool facial mist from a spray bottle is a welcome relief for some mothers as well.

4. When should I get into the water?

You should get into the water whenever you feel you are ready. When you begin to feel strong contractions, you brain will desire comfort, this is usually a good indicator. However, test the water prior to immersing. When you enter the water, your brain sends relaxation hormones to your body within 20 minutes of entering the pool and peak around 90 minutes. It is recommended to get out and walk around as a change of scenery and reimmerse to re-engage the relaxation chemicals in your body.

5. Who should I have with me?

It is recommended to have a midwife or doula at all times. A midwife is a trained medical professional who can monitor you and the baby throughout the labour and delivery. A doula is a trained birthing professional who is there to support you through the labour and delivery. However, a doula is not a medical expert, nor should they be used in place of a medical professional. You may have any other support people around to encourage and relax you as this is the most important goal. You can even have a spouse or partner in the tub with you for periods of time.

6. What should I wear in the pool?

You can wear anything that feels comfortable that will not impede the delivery of the baby or many women wear nothing at all.

7. How long does a typical water birth take?

A water birth takes as long as any natural birth. The water is a means of relaxing. There is no evidence that it speeds up or slows delivery.

8. What if something goes wrong?

Have a backup plan and be flexible. A birth does not go always as planned and may move faster or slower than expected. There are many things that can be remedied by itself through birth and listening to your support staff and doula or midwife for their guidance. If a medical intervention is required, ensure you have items packed prior to the birth and any other support measures needed on call.

9. What can prevent the baby from breathing under water?

There are four main factors that prevent the baby from inhaling water at the time of birth:

- Prostaglandin E2 levels from the placenta which cause a slowing down or stopping of the fetal breathing movements. When the baby is born and the Prostaglandin level is still high, the baby's muscles for breathing simply don't work, thus engaging the first inhibitory response.

- Babies are born experiencing mild hypoxia or lack of oxygen. Hypoxia causes apnea and swallowing, not breathing or gasping.

- Water is a hypotonic solution and lung fluids present in the fetus are hypertonic. So, even if water were to travel in past the larynx, they could not pass into the lungs based on the fact that hypertonic solutions are denser and prevent hypotonic solutions from merging or coming into their presence.

- The last important inhibitory factor is the Dive Reflex and revolves around the larynx. The larynx is covered all over with chemoreceptors or taste buds. The larynx has five times as many as taste buds as the whole surface of the tongue. So, when a solution hits the back of the throat, passing the larynx, the taste buds interprets what substance it is and the glottis automatically closes and the solution is then swallowed, not inhaled.

10. What types of pools can I use?

There are many types of pools women choose to use or rent. There are designated water birthing tubs you can rent for about $300-$500. Many women suggest using a deep kiddie pool, a trough or your own tub if it is large enough as these are often the same benefit and a smaller price.

Further Reads and Resources Sources

1 http://www.waterbirth.org

Published in Birthing Styles

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