Paula’s Waterbirth Story
Waterbirth: let me be fully absorbed in my baby’s birth
Mum of four little angels, I have experienced the benefit of water during each labour and gave birth under water three times. For me without doubt, giving birth naturally has been much more satisfactory than giving birth under the effect of an epidural.
During the birth of my first baby, due to shortage of staff and a very busy ward, I was asked to leave the bath as no midwife was available to attend me. Although I was, until then coping pretty well with the contractions, once I got out, the pain really started to intensify and after few hours I was offered an epidural which I accepted. As soon as the analgesic drug was injected, my baby’s heart beat dropped dramatically and within seconds the room was filled with doctors and nurses. Thankfully the initial shock passed, my little boy recovered quickly and his heart beat got back in track. The pain relief from the epidural was immediate and after this little scare I was able to rest completely. It is true that from this moment, my labour became 100% pain free, however this did not mean that I enjoyed it and still today I wish things could have been different. Once you get under the effect of drugs sadly you are not in control any more of your own body. It felt like it was the midwives who were giving birth to my baby and not me. I needed to be told what to do, when to push and how to push.
Second time around, I had the chance to experience a full water birth, delivering my baby into my own hand with no one interfering. Water did not equal a pain free labour, and yes as the birth became imminent, the pain become overwhelming. However, somehow being in a birthing pool did help me to stay in control and give birth naturally. Although I had previously experienced the pain relief of an epidural, it did not cross my mind once to ask for one, even at the worst of the pain. I was fully absorbed by the birth of my baby and working hard to help him coming into this world. The satisfaction and high, I got from this experience would never compare with my first birth. I was ecstatic and still am today when thinking about it. Since I had two little girls both born at home, in La Bassine, a birthing pool that I personally designed for their birth.
The warm water helps the muscles to relax and the buoyancy effect allows one to effortlessly maintain an active birth position, such as squatting and kneeling. A well designed birthing pool can provide the optimum environment.
As Michel Odent rightly pointed out, women, like all mammals, need privacy to give birth. In today’s society where birth has become a very public affair with partner, doctors and midwives coming in and out, a birthing pool is an excellent way to achieve this privacy and be able to give birth in a quiet secluded place, as we are supposed to do.
As women have now automatically have access to gas and air to cope with labour’s pain, they should equally be offered a warm pool of water before being offered an epidural or a shot of petidine. Most of them will forget about the drugs as soon as they step in the water.