Last updated on Jun 11th, 2021 at 12:36 pm
One of my friends knew a lady who decided to have a water birth at her home. It was the first time I had ever heard of something like that. I never knew one could hire midwives and do this kind of thing in South Africa.
Curious, I started to research it and found only positive information…
A calm experience
The most positive piece of information that I could find, was that birth for the infant was a traumatizing experience but when a child is brought into this world through a water birth, the experience is less traumatizing. This is because the infant goes from water in the amniotic sac, through the birth canal, into water again.
The water that the infant is birthed into has a calm and soothing effect. The researched I did also suggested that this will also make for a calmer child.
Another huge plus is that waterbirth assists in pain management. I wanted to go natural as I am scared of hospitals and injections. I would rather experience the pain of an active birth than have an epidural or a c-section.
An individual, rather than a patient
I wanted to be an individual, not a patient with a medical condition which nurses treat as it’s their job. I wanted someone who is passionate about birth and babies to take care of me.
The more I researched water birth, the more I knew in my heart that this was the route I wanted to go.
The best of both worlds
Once I had decided on a clinic, I chose a gynaecologist and a midwife I felt comfortable with. They were both affiliated with the clinic that I had chosen.
I got to have the best of both worlds, as I saw the gynaecologist regularly and had my midwife on standby at all hours of the day. I messaged her on a regular basis and she always responded to all my silly questions and worries.
By the time I was ready to give birth, I knew my midwife personally and we had a great relationship. She knew what kind of experience I was looking to have and made it her mission to give it to me.
My birth story
The morning my water broke, I phoned my midwife immediately. She was calm and shared my excitement.
Researched suggested that labour for a first time mom who has chosen active labour could be anything from eight to 24 hours. So we had plenty of time. Or so we thought.
My midwife told me that I could wait at home, where I was comfortable, until my contractions were three minutes apart for at least an hour.Only at that point, would I need to make my way to the clinic where she would be waiting for me.
I downloaded an application to time the contractions. It started slowly, and could be timed at 15 minutes apart for a few seconds each. After about an hour it escalated to six minutes apart, lasting for about 30 seconds each.
Suddenly, I couldn’t determine where one contraction started and were one ended. It was just one big pain, which confused both my husband and I.
My mother kept advising us that we would need to make our way to the clinic. But, they had taught us at prenatal classes, that the husband should wait until the wife is ready to go to the hospital, as she will tell him – there is no need for the husband to force it. So, not knowing any better, my husband stalled our trip to the hospital, waiting for me to give him the go-ahead.
In the meantime, my pain continued to increase. I couldn’t talk nor could I comprehend how I was going to make it to the clinic which was about 20 to 30 minutes away. So, I kept quiet and dealt with the pain.
Suddenly, my pain changed. The intensity dissipated and I jumped up exclaiming that we had to leave.
I couldn’t sit normally in the car, as I was in too much pain. I pushed the back of the seat down and kneeled down on the front seat. I could tell that my husband was speeding but it still felt like we took forever to reach the clinic.
On our way to the clinic, my body felt the urge to push and I did. I couldn’t resist it or stop it. I thought this was the norm as I was so early in the labour process. When we stopped at the clinic, the staff was ready for us and my midwife led me to the room that they had reserved for me.
The midwife examined me and uttered to my husband and her staff that I was fully dilated. She looked at me, smiled and said: “Your baby will be here in a few minutes. It’s time to get into the water.”
The staff was so efficient and knew exactly what needed to be done. One of the midwives on duty stood behind me and massaged my back. It took all the pain away.
Within a few minutes I was in the water and pushing. The warmth of the water calmed my pain. My midwife guided me as to when I should push and when I should stop. This assisted in a gradual birth and thus I did not experience any degree of perineal tearing.
My husband assisted the midwife in pulling our son, Vincent out and he was also given the opportunity to cut the umbilical cord once it had stopped pulsating.
When I took him out of the water, he did not cry. He was perfect and so happy. He laid on my chest and I couldn’t stop kissing him. He only cried when they took him away from me to weigh him. The moment they brought him back to me, he stopped crying again.
My birthing clinic encourages moms to breastfeed and spent hours with me until I was comfortable and Vincent had latched properly.
It was the most amazing feeling to know that my body supplied Vincent with nourishment.
A love for water
At home, when Vincent is unsettled for some reason and I can’t settle him, I put him in a nice warm bath, keeping only his nose outside of the water. He falls asleep like this or becomes extremely calm and settled. He loves to bath and he loves water. Because of his birth experience, I believe water is now his comfort.
An experience I would go through again
My birthing experience was so positive, I will not hesitate to do the exact same thing again. I would also recommend a physiological birth (100% natural without any medical intervention, including pain medication) to any mom-to-be.
It’s well worth the experience.
For more information on natural and water birth, visit Genesis Clinic www.genesisclinic.co.za