I recently posted about how I am planning on having a home birth this time around, and how I’d come to that decision after the slightly traumatic and quite public birth of my second baby in a car park. I really enjoyed writing that post, and sharing the links to other bloggers I’d found who shared their home birth experiences. So I wanted to write some more, this time about my hopes to birth (or at least labour) in water.
We finally got round to trying out our birth pool
This has been niggling at the back of my mind for a while now, as we had no idea how long it would take to set up, whether the hose would be long enough to fill it up from the bathroom if it was set up in the living room, and whether attachments we had all worked. Thankfully it inflated fine, and the hose was plenty long enough.
We didn’t try filling it, as at the time I felt pretty confident – we have a great combi boiler which I’m sure will be up to the task, and calculated time based on filling the bath. But now the nerves are kicking in and I’m thinking we should do a full trial run…I can’t wait to see Hubs’ face when I make that suggestion! I did see someone else mention that it’s a good excuse to chill out in it with a Netflix binge, so that might convince him.
Why we bought a pool rather than hiring one
Our pool kind of fell into our laps – after making my wish for a home birth known, the midwife encouraged me to look at buying rather than hiring a pool. She said there wasn’t a lot of difference in the cost, so I did some research and for some of the models she had a point.
I’d decided to go for the Birth Pool In A Box, based on reviews and the fact it came with everything you need, when Hubs spotted someone selling the exact same one at half the price on Facebook. It had never been used, as the previous owner had bought it thinking she could have a VBAC at home only to find out this wasn’t the case.
It looks like a great bit of kit, with support handles and even a seat, so I’m excited to use it when the big day comes. I can’t believe we were able to buy one cheap in our local area. I’m not spiritual or superstitious, but it isn’t often you see something like that being sold on Facebook – that’s got to be a good omen. It’s a lot bigger than I expected – when it was blown up the four year old was running around shouting “we’ve got a swimming pool!!”
Why a water birth?
To help me be active in labour…
I’ve already blogged about why I love swimming during pregnancy, and a big part of that is the freedom of movement and lightness being in the water gives me. Being active during labour is so important, both to encourage your baby to get into the best position for a smooth birth as well as for your own comfort and sense of control. Water helps you to change your position easily, because you don’t feel like a ten ton weight! But it also helps you stay in positions like all fours or upright longer than you could otherwise, because of the support it gives you.
Being able to chose your position or move when your body tells you to is so empowering. I was induced with my first baby, and as a result I spent my labour lying on my back in a bed, strapped to monitors. It wasn’t an awful experience, but I definitely felt very much as if labour was something I had no control over.
I also think that being stuck in the bed meant I needed more pain relief and spent a longer time pushing. There is loads of research that backs that up too*. With my second baby, although our long journey to hospital meant he was born before we got there, before things went cray-cray I felt much more in control and part of the process. That was maybe why I was able to labour to the pushing stage before needing to head to hospital – I didn’t feel desperate for pain relief. It’s probably also why he was born so quickly, because he was in such a perfect position that nothing could stop him!
To help me chill the hell out…
Of course, you can be active in labour without a birth pool, so I want it for more than that. For me warm, deep water is magical when it comes to relieving stress, tension and pain. I’m actually more of a shower than a bath type of girl normally, but I know that when I sink into warm water something special happens. As I’m also hoping to use hypnobirth techniques during labour, it makes sense to me that water would be the most peaceful and relaxing place to be.
To give my baby a gentle welcome…
I love the idea of my baby being born in water, it seems like a smoother transition into the world. I always think it must be a bit of a shock to the system for babies, coming from the warm and muffled world they’ve known for nine months into the cool air and noise of the room (or car park) they’re born in. Water births always seem a bit gentler, especially if the baby is brought up calmly and their body is kept in the water for some skin-to-skin right away. Neither of my previous babies were delivered on to my chest and both were taken away before I held them (one because he was unresponsive thanks to diamorphine, and the other because we were in a cold car park), so I’d like to be the one to guide this baby gently up for snuggles and to be with him right from the start.
Water birth blogs
I said last time that I love reading other people’s birth stories, and like last time I want to share the ones I came across that touched me. There seem to be less blogs with waterbirth stories in them, but these three are lovely.
Did you have a water birth? I’d love to hear about it! Or if you know of any other bloggers who have shared their stories, please let me know.