Friday, August 13, 2010

Waterbirth or Bust!

After my wonderful experience with my guest bloggers last week, I have decided I would like to highlight some other bloggers through guest posts on my blog from time to time. I'll always try to post these on Friday with my Weekend Reading posts! This week, I'm kicking this off with Gretchen from That Mama Gretchen. She is currently pregnant with her first child & is planning to have a waterbirth at Andaluz Waterbirth Center. I asked her to share her story of how she came to choose a waterbirth. Please visit her blog for more posts & follow her on Twitter!

It isn’t every day you hear of someone giving birth naturally, let alone in the water. It kind of makes you think of something a sea creature does while wondering how exactly the baby avoids drowning. These are all common questions, even similar to the ones I had before deciding that a waterbirth was the best choice for my family. Today, the bun is in the oven and my husband, Dominic, and I are just 2 months away from welcoming our first little one into the world ... via water!
When Dominic and I began researching our birth options we opted to “test the market”. We both have business degrees so what else would one expect! Like all industries, the field of medicine offers a product and/or service to their client. When it comes to birth, we as the parents are the consumer and Dominic and I felt it was our responsibility to seek out what was available. Birth is unchartered territory for us which is why the right birth team is crucial to our success.
Our journey started with three birth experts - an OBGYN, a hospital-based midwife and a birth center-based midwife. We interviewed each, created a pros/cons list, did some reading and bounced our ideas off of family and friends. I’ll admit, the first trimester is an emotion-filled time ... okay, so, our entire pregnancy has been emotional! We have encountered pure surprise, fear, excitement and much more. Focusing on our birth research has been a wonderful opportunity to gain perspective on everything going on. Becoming a parent is such a powerful position to be in. There are so many resources available online, in parenting books, birth classes and even people we know who have been through this process. It is definitely overwhelming which is why I was so adamant on connecting with an expert; someone I could trust, someone who has seen birth in multiple settings, someone who was willing to offer me more than just medical support.
Having never been in a hospital I figured my first experience shouldn’t be on my baby’s birthday. With a 30% c-section rate at the hospitals in our area, we liked the idea of partnering with a birth team who was trained in the art of birth (midwives) rather than the art of surgery (obstetricians). I felt very encouraged by Dominic, our families and the midwives we met at our birth center. My body was designed to birth a child and with the proper education, environment and preparation throughout my pregnancy and birth, I knew I could do this! One of the clinchers in committing to our waterbirth center were their fabulous statistics. In January 2010 alone, they facilitated 25 non-medicated births, two of which were breech (in a hospital environment, this would normally result in an automatic c-section). This attests to the midwives’ expertise in the art of birth; they know how to connect with moms and babies while helping them journey through the twists and turns of birth.
My mom initially introduced us to the option of waterbirth while she was working on her childbirth educator’s certification. Come to find out, Dominic’s mom considered a waterbirth back in the 1980’s. Talk about a blessing! At this point, our moms were on board and after reading Gentle Birth Choices, we were quickly becoming intrigued by the option. Was waterbirth for us? I love to take baths so I was feeling pretty convinced that this might be a good route to go :)
Many questions ran through our minds as we weighed our options:
  • Why would we consider a birth filled with medication when I’ve spent my entire pregnancy charting nutrition and avoiding painkillers?
  • Do I want to try recovering from a major surgery like a c-section while caring for a newborn?
  • How much control do I want to have over my labor? 
  • What type of atmosphere will be most relaxing when I am enduring the pain and discomfort of birth?
After researching these questions we decided that a non-medicated birth was right for our family. In many cases it turns out to be a battle of truth and consequences. One medical intervention leads to another and we felt our first choice as parents was to have our birth in a location and with a birth team which would allow us to achieve the most natural birth possible. Finding Andaluz Waterbirth Center fit our family perfectly; from the midwives to the birthing suites to the prenatal and postpartum care we had found a great match.
Waterbirths in general have great statistics whether they be in a home, birth center or hospital. Labors tend to be shorter and more relaxed. Women dilate more effectively and the baby descends quicker. When gaining a grasp on the aspects of a waterbirth these were some of my favorite resources:
I’ve compiled many other articles and tidbits about waterbirths on the Andaluz/Midwives and Birth is for Bombshells section of my blog.
All this to say, I’m only on the preparation side of birth. The big event is still to come so take this all with a grain of salt ... and sugar :) But, please ... do your research and find out what is best for you and your family. God gave us 9 months for a reason! I'm not an expert by any means, but if any questions come to mind feel free to email me at I’m confident in our choice to pursue a waterbirth and am excited to share the outcome some time this Fall!

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The Planet Pink said...

First of all, congratulations on your soon to be bundle! Secondly, it is so refreshing to hear of a young couple actually researching birth options. Far too many walk into it blind and don't put in as much research into choosing a provider as they do buying a car! I'm on the path to become a CBE, so this is very near and dear to me. Finally, I wish you much success. While I did not have a waterbirth, I did hydrotherapy with 3 of my 4 births and the water helped tremendously. Best wishes to you in the coming months!

Tennessee Mom said...

I had also researched options and had decided on a water birth at a birthing center. The midwives were excellent throughout my whole pregnancy and did a lot of preparation in training me for the water birth.

What they did not tell me, nor did I plan on, was that after going into labor and traveling the 45 miles to the center was that the water birthing room they had was the only one there. It so just happened that there was another water delivery earlier that afternoon and the "pool" hadn't been cleaned or sterilized by the time I got there because it was a weekend. So that's something you might want to double check with the center you're using.

Congrats to you and best wishes for your impending arrival!

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