My Favorite Waterbirth Story
Shirley M. Nurse-Midwife
Content from Karil Daniels,
Copyright 1995 to present
My favorite waterbirth story is the one that almost wasn’t. MyÝpatient “Ally” and her husband “John” were planning a waterbirth. At theÝtime I was working at a hospital in Chicago. I live in Oak Park which is the first suburb west of theÝcity and Ally and John live in a very far northern suburb near theÝWisconsin border many miles away.
It was Thanksgiving day and the couple had come to Chicago to a fancy hotel to spend the holiday with friendsÝand for a final amorous weekend in the city before the baby arrived. Ally was 36 weeks and 6 days pregnant. She and her husband spent their final amorousÝmoments together and within seconds of their pleasure, pop! Her bag broke.ÝShe called me, I left my Thanksgiving celebration and we all met atÝthe hospital. Our hospital-approved protocols required that Ally be 37Ýweeks before delivery in water was allowed. Ally and John, not thinkingÝthat they would be having a baby for at least 3 weeks, left an essential pieceÝof equipment, the hose, at home over 40 miles away. Initially we were allÝdisappointed that our planned waterbirth seemed to be going down the drain.ÝBut before giving up all hope, I called my backup MD, who was very supportiveÝof our plans, and he agreed to let Ally labor in water and if the birth tookÝplace around midnight, she could then deliver there. Now we only had oneÝproblem – a hose to fill the tub. I called my husband and heÝagreed to try to find us a hose. After 7 trips to various stores open on Thanksgiving Day he could find no hose. It was a very quietÝThanksgiving night in what is normally a very busy birthing centerÝso the nurses formed a bucket brigade and filled the tub for Ally andÝJohn. Ally tolerated the labor quite well in the tub and and 11:30 PMÝbegan spontaneously pushing. Happily, baby M was born at 12:05 AM in water,Ýat 37 weeks gestation. The excited father announced immediately that the babyÝwas a boy and we all remarked at how beautiful he was. I waited about 10 minutesÝfor Ally to relax with the baby. She then left the tub, the placenta wasÝdelivered, and the parents continued to spend some very special quiet timeÝwith the baby. About 30-45 minutes after the birth the nurse asked if sheÝcould take the baby to do an initial assessment. Upon bringing baby M toÝthe crib she said “I thought you said this baby was a boy, this baby is aÝgirl. John, in his excitement, had mistaken the cord for a penis. AllyÝbeamed, “Oh, I’m so happy, I got every thing I wanted, a baby girl and a waterbirth.”