“Our Daughter Born Today in Perfect Waterbirth”
By Ray Rosenthal, MD
Content from: http://www.waterbirthinfo.com/
Today our daughter was born at home in a home waterbirth. What a remarkable experience it was. Cece labored for about 10 hours. At 5 cm (2 hours before the birth) she entered the water (98 degrees Farhenheit) in a huge bathtub surrounded by glass on 3 sides. The water relaxed her and reversed the feeling of coolness she had. Over the course of the next few hours the baby crowned and emerged LAO position, swimming into the water as it darted out after the shoulder was released.
A naturopathic physican, Jeanette Abel, N.D. and a nurse-midwife attended the birth to support Cece and me. They just let her be. No stress, no guilt trips, no worries. Cece made up the rules as to what position she wanted to be in, only reminded occassionally to center herself and not be lost in the pain. The intense desire to push the baby out increased her heart rate to 168 but the baby was never in distress. The atmosphere of home, the water and the energy of the assistants helped. The pain became more tolerable. Yet the pain of labor was present, no question about that!
The child was taken out of the water, placed on her mother’s lap and the cord was promptly clamped. The child was bluish but began pinking up by 3 minutes and had Apgar’s of 9 and 10 at 1 and 5 minutes. The cranium was molded from the process but minimally so.
Total labor time was about 10 hours, possibly 9, depending on when one starts thinking about the beginning. The transition from the womb to water resulted in the child feeling less distress and going through stages of awareness over 20 minutes, which she concluded with solid eye contact. There were a few superficial superior labial tears that were sewn up by the naturopathic doctor and the bleeding was minimal. No toxic antibiotics or drugs were given. The mother had a beautiful day and recovery and the child, somewhat cranky and new to life, ended the day sleeping soundly.
The birth experience was proceeded that night by a ritual of foot washing of the parents, a group showering of plumeria flowers over the parents, a sharing about parenting from some of the elder people present, good wishes formed into a colored paper collage/ring that held feathers and little plastic babies, a song, and the reading of poetry, in addition to storytelling and a blessing of sage/incense by a renowned Reiki Master.
The water symbolized the stability and absorptive quality of nature and also its safety. I believe the physiological benefit of waterbirth is real, yet it is an option only for those women who can separate themselves from their preconceived fears. The medical profession puts the fear of guilt and infanticide in the hearts of women who want to experience a birthing process rather than a medicalized birthing procedure. This must be reversed, as the harmful effects on the children and mothers cannot even be fairly measured.
Birth is a joy! Ours was. In freedom, choice and alignment with nature, there is joy. The gross misues of fear as a marketing tool by the medical profession is well known by women. The unnecessary suffering this avarice, driven consciously and unconsciously by greed and ignorance, causes does little to expand the safety net for women or bring them home to their heart center – estranging them from their true nature.
Birth is a divine force that should be allowed to to manifest through pregnant women. It is not something we should do TO them, as medical professionals. The integration of mind, body, and spirit, achieved by proper prenatal exercise, diet, supplements and psychological support contributes to a birth that liberates and gives confidence to the mother.
Responsible professional guidelines for women wanting waterbirths or home births in the U.S. can be written and circulated. Europe has an excellent track record of safety in doing home births. The cavalier attitude of the medical profession in the U.S. does not properly define the breadth of scientific, experience and knowledge about the essence of the birth process.
One only needs to be part of one such experience to understand this at a cellular level. I believe that 80-90% of women (albeit a guess on my part) can deliver their child confidently and safely at home, or better yet, in water with the support of a caring and professional midwife. The cost of professionalizing the birth process and introducing unacceptably high and unwarranted C-section rates is dramatic, running in the billions of dollars yearly.
Professional relationships between an expectant mother and an obstetrician require honest communication based upon ancient wisdom and folklore as well as modern, scientific knowledge. The fear of a lawsuit should not be used as an excuse to brandish flawed scientific information about the risks of birthing. Lay women must emerge from the shadows and uphold their right to experience the sacred transformation that occurs in birth. They must not forget to trust themselves. May they not forget to trust themselves and their knowing. They must not yield to the voice of marginal, modern science when it speaks. May they not do that. May they have the wisdom to seal and make visible their connection with the creative force of nature and preserve it for the generations who will follow us.
And may truth set us free.