Sunday, March 27, 2011

Why I Love Water Birth: part 2

Before Ana could start walking, we were looking at two happy pink lines again!  We had been in IL for Isaiah's birth, MI for Ana's birth, and now we were in CA looking for a midwife.  We couldn't possibly have more than one baby in any state, could we?  We found the best midwife for us, and began planning another home water birth. 

I knew I was in labor at about 1:30am.  I labored in bed for a while on my side.  I got on my knees and leaned over a chair, all the time moaning through contractions.  By now, Isaiah was about 1 month from being 4, and Ana was about 2 months from being 2.  I had practiced these birth noises with them so they wouldn't be scared when the time came.  It worked.  They weren't scared at all.  I had nice breaks between contractions too, which really helped.  Isaiah wanted to help me so badly, but kept getting in people's way.  So, I asked him if he could hug me through my contractions.  He was my doula for this birth!   
The pushing stage for this birth was way more intense than it had been with Ana's birth.  For the first time during active labor, I called out to God, thanked Him for this baby, and that "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me" (Phil 4:13).  When it was time to push, I pushed like I had never pushed before.  His head came out.  There was a small break before the next contraction (seemed like forever!).  Then, I was pushing again.  He was so huge that I thought he was completely out when he was only out to his waist!  Elijah was 10lbs 14oz!  I couldn't believe it!  His birth was so gentle, and he was a beautiful chubby newborn.  Four months later, we found out he had severe hemophilia.  I am so thankful that we had such a gentle birth for him.  I believe the water birth was a major reason why he was so big and did not have any bleeds or bruising, and I did not tear at all. 

By the time we were expecting our fourth little one, we knew that I was a carrier of hemophilia.  I have written all these stories before, and have recently posted the story of "Our Journey".  Please read it to get the full story of how we began birth planning with the knowledge of hemophilia being a possiblility.  We moved from CA to NY when I was 6 months pregnant.  I found a midwife, and we started planning a homebirth with the goal of drawing cord blood and transporting the specimen from home to a lab.  That plan did not work out.  We had to consider a hospital birth.  I met with the perinataltologist.  I explained to her that water birth was the safest, most gentle way I knew how to birth, our large hemophiliac baby had been born in water at home with no problems at all, and I insisted that our fourth baby's birth was just as gentle.  Malakai was the first water birth ever for this hospital.  His birth was so gentle that his water never broke until his shoulders were born. 

I know I've shared all these stories in length before, but I wanted to give a fresh review to illustrate where I'm coming from with water birth.  Based on my experience, I love water birth because:
  • It calms my pain and discomfort.
  • It relaxes my body.
  • It softens my perineum, and helps me not tear.
  • Because I am so relaxed, I can get in the best possible position for my pelvis to be at maximum size.
  • I can easily move to different positions at will.
  • Because I am so relaxed, my whole body opens to birth my baby as gently as possible.
  • It gives me my own space, and I feel safe. 
  • Being in the water helps me feel covered, and I don't feel so exposed and vulnerable.
I am now 13 1/2 weeks pregnant with our fifth baby.  Malakai is 16 months old, Eli is 3, Ana is 5, and Isaiah is 7.  In about 5 weeks we will find out if this baby is a boy or a girl.  There is no question that we will be planning another water birth.  We hope to have a home birth, but if we must consider a hospital, we will plan a water birth there.  Hemophilia babies need a gentle birth even more than other babies do, and I am so thankful that we already practiced such a gentle way of birthing even before we knew hemophilia was a part of our lives.

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