Asher Birth Story
Just Shy of 10 lbs. and not a Tear
Jennifer Pressdee’s Birth Story…
Birthing in water made all the difference to me. My son was just shy of 10 lbs! I am positive that I would not have been able to give birth without loads of intervention had I not been in water. It was also a very special experience for my husband to be in the water at the very end to catch the baby!
The baby boy in the pictures, Asher, is actually my third. After a second degree tear with my last delivery and severe back problems, I was determined to avoid some, if not all of those problems this time around! I knew about water births (I laboured in the water with my first) and initially decided to book into St. Thomas’ to take advantage of their birth centre and pools. I had had a home birth with my second but it was not in water and I had torn so badly I had to go into hospital anyway to get stitches, so I thought if the hospital facilities were just down the hall it would be a better deal. I really believe in the whole idea of home births so it was a hard decision to make, but I was afraid of a repeat of what had happened before.
Anyway, to cut a long story short, through tremendous support from my midwives I decided to try a home birth again- as long as I could have a pool. I had read that water could help in all sorts of ways to prevent or at the least minimalise tearing. Having the pool was the final confidence booster I needed! I did use the pool in the weeks leading up to the birth as my pelvis did give me a lot of problems. What a relief! It was also great to experiment with different positions beforehand and I looked forward to the relief I knew the water would bring when I was in labour. I started having contractions on a Friday evening and was positive it was the real thing- until Sunday morning came and I was still only having erratic contractions. My midwives came over to have a look late Sunday morning and we decided that I should get into the pool for a few hours. Either that would relax me so much it would make it all stop and I could get some rest- or it would kick everything off. As much as I wanted to have that baby, I have to confess that I was hoping it would all stop so I could rest! However, a few hours later we had to call the midwives back because labour was in full swing. I mentioned before that if I had not had a pool I would not have given birth to this baby without loads of intervention and this is why:
Although it took awhile for labour to be established, the contractions I had this time around were different and more painful than the ones I had had in my previous deliveries. So even though they were erratic, they were quite painful from the beginning. If I had been in the hospital- even in the birth centre, I would have requested to be taken to a place for an epidural! If that had happened I would have been on my back trying to push out a nearly 10lb baby, which wouldn’t have worked and would have required at the very least an episiotomy and vontuse- or worse. All my worst fears multiplied! The water made all the difference. It was still intense, but the mobility I had made it possible to cope right until the end when some gas and air did the rest! Being in water took all the pressure off my back and pelvis and made it 10 times easier for the midwives to examine and help me. I finally delivered a beautiful baby boy on my knees. And the best bit? I didn’t tear! Not even a scratch! My husband and I also decided that he would get in the pool at the very end to catch the baby. What a magical thing for him to have been able to do! He loved every minute of it. What a difference in my son as well.
When I think of the measures it could have taken to get him out and yet he came out in the most natural and peaceful way- it shows in his demeanour as well. He is so peaceful and relaxed. So after the euphoria and relief of finally having the baby out, there I was at home, in one piece, with a peaceful, huge baby boy and I can’t imagine it gets better than that! I am more grateful than I can say for having had access to a pool for labour. I know that it is a blessing that we live in a time were medicine can save the lives of babies and mothers- and offer pain relief when the mother wouldn’t otherwise cope, but if I didn’t believe in births with the least amount of intervention possible before, I am a full-on convert now. If you had told me that I would be able to give birth to a nearly 10lb baby without tearing and without any intervention, I wouldn’t have believed it- but it just shows that given the right support and encouragement, and the right environment, women really can do what they were wonderfully designed to do!