Med-free water birth — The Bump
Birth Stories

Med-free water birth

[sorry so long and not-well written...time is tight these days!]

Monday started like any other day.  We got up, dressed, fed.  Marlee's first dance class was that morning.  We went to Target first to grab a couple of things, including some supplies for my hospital bag.  After dance and lunch, I put her down for her nap.  I had my usual nap time chat online with Katie.  Here's a snippet:

1:26 PM me: whew- i am having some serious contractions. forgot what these felt like!
1:31 PM Katie: uh oh :)
1:32 PM me: nah, nothing exciting

Around 2pm, I decided to start timing.  They were 4-5 minutes apart.  I was in major denial that it could be labor, and made every effort to stop the contractions.  I took a nap.  Then a shower.  Then a bath. Still 4-5 minutes apart.

My dad was planning to come by and visit with Marlee after nap.  I called and asked him if he could take her somewhere instead so that I could focus on myself and try to figure out what was happening.  By the time he got to the house, I was pretty sure I was in labor, but I figured we had hours.  Why I thought this, I don't know.  I had been having contractions every 4-5 minutes for several hours.  I am a certified birth professional.  I was in denial.  I called my mom to let her know she probably needed a sub the next day (she was planning to keep Marlee), but that we would all be going to sleep in our own beds.  I sent a message to my doulas to see who wanted to be called in the middle of the night. 

An hour later, after a talk with my doulas (who were very good at handing me a virtual mirror and making me evaluate my situation), we got ready to leave for the hospital.  At 8:00, with Marlee settled with Giggy and Jenna along for the big ride, we hit the road.

We arrived at the hospital around 8:30 and checked in.  By then, my contractions were 2-3 minutes apart.I was placed on fetal monitors for 15 minutes and checked for progress.  I was thrilled to learn that I was already nearly 6cm!  I labored around the room for a bit while the nurse set up the tub.  As soon as it had a bit of water in it, I got in.  The water felt HEAVENLY.  I hope that sometime in the future it will be more widely offered as pain management.  Being in the tub gave me a bit of a break from the intensity of my contractions, but it wasn't long before I was in transition and things picked right back up.  At this point, I was having terrible back labor.  Michael and Guina (one of my doulas) were squeezing my hips with every contraction to relive some pressure.  It helped, but not a ton.  I had about an hour of these strong contractions in my back when I asked my midwife, Margaret, to check for progress.  I was 8cm.  I was frustrated and asked her to break my water so we could be done with it.  She said she thought I had only 3 more contractions to go and I'd feel ready to push, and she was right!  Three contractions later, I was at 10cm and felt like pushing, but the pressure was not quite right.  Margaret broke my water, and it was such a relief!  I actually said, "Thank you, God!"  I instantly felt the pressure of the baby's head and felt like I could push productively.  I have no idea how long I pushed.  I'll have to update this story with times once I get the write-up from my doulas.  I'm guessing it was about 30 minutes.  Eloise was born posterior (face up), explaining my back labor.  She was plump and perfect, with apgar scores of 9 and 9.  8lbs 15oz, 20 1/4 inches long.

My birth experience was WONDERFUL.  Having my husband, sister, midwife, and two doulas there for support was really neat.  The mood in the room was light...everyone there trusted me to do what I needed to do.  I directed everything...when I was still, when I moved, when I got in the tub, when I pushed.  No one shouted instructions, no one intervened (except for that water breaking at my request!).  I never had one pill or needle stick.  I just did what I instinctively knew how to do.  Perfect.

Re: Med-free water birth

  • Sounds like an ideal birth situation - how wonderful!  Congrats again!!!! :)

  • Awesome story!!!  Congrats on a perfect birth, and on another beautiful, healthy baby girl.

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  • What a great birth story. Thanks for posting it and congratulations again!
  • Congrats Renee!  She's so beautiful!

    I TOLD you this was it!  LOL

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  • Lovely - thanks for sharing! 
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  • what a great story.  thanks for sharing!
  • Inspiring birth story - thanks for sharing! I am planning a waterbirth and love reading about them!

    Congrats Mama!

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  • Beautiful and inspiring!  Thank you for sharing and congratulations on your new little one!
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  • Glad it sounds like everything went swimmingly.
  • Sounds like things went really well for both of you. That's wonderful news, congratulations!

    I had to laugh when you mentioned being in denial about being in labor. I was in early labor twice with my son and had no clue. My back was hurting and I couldn't get comfortable so at my appointment I told my OB "my back hurts". We timed it and I was 5 minutes apart, back to the hospital to get the IV's to stop the labor. Twice, couldn't get over how it literally felt like just a back ache in the beginning. Connor ended up being transverse breech at delivery and my cervix was too scarred for a vaginal delivery. So I was the lucky winner of a c-section.

    **I love the pic of the baby checking the dog out. Too funny.

  • Thanks for sharing!  I really enjoyed reading your birth story!  Congrats!
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  • Congrats on your new baby! When my time comes (soon I hope) I want to have either a water birth, or at least be able to labor in the water. Not sure what I want to go with yet. But your story helps me a lot with knowing that what ever happens when i have my baby, water will be envolved, and that my body knows just what to do. Thanks for your story.
  • How lucky you are to have the option of such a natural childbirth in the hospital! Right now I am battling between OB and hospital I haven't really "bonded" with or home/midwife that I don't even know. :(


  • Congrats!  I agree that the tub should be more widely offered as well.  I actually think my hospital is renovating all of their rooms and adding a tub in each one, which is great.  What a wonderful experience you had.  Congrats again!
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