Eva's Birth Story

This was to be our second home birth, and one which I was much looking forward to, in our own house this time, with a different midwife, and quite possibly in our large whirlpool tub. I had done some research on water birth and thought it  would really make a difference in my birth experience. Thankfully, my husband  totally agreed with me that home birth was the way to go for us, despite the traumatic and difficult home birth of our son, which was nonetheless a joyous  miracle to us. He was also very open to the idea of water birth but always kept me in check that it may not work out that way so I shouldn't have my heart set on it.

Except for some nausea for a couple weeks in the First Trimester,  my pregnancy went very smoothly and my baby was very active and growing steadily. I was hoping for a girl and believed throughout my pregnancy that I  was carrying one; I had had two ultra sounds but didn't want to be told outright the sex of the baby. The midwife later admitted that she hadn't had a clue what it was!

Our baby was due February 15, but I was hoping it would make an  early entrance for Valentine's Day. My mother flew down for the birth and arrived on the 10th of February. We waited impatiently for something to happen, guessing when the big day would be. On Valentine's Day I was still huge as ever. We decided to have some family over for a Valentine's fondue, and just before they arrived, I lost my mucous plug and notified our midwife about it. Could be anytime soon she more or less said. I decided I would relax and enjoy myself and had my first half-glass of wine in nine months. I really wanted things to get started though.

During the night I awoke at 2:30 a.m. to find that I had either lost bladder function or my water broke. Sure enough, there was a slow trickle and we called the midwife early the next morning to let her know and she told me about keeping super clean to avoid any infection. I still hadn't  the slightest contractions until that afternoon, when they very slowly increased in frequency and intensity. I tried to wait patiently, knowing from previous  experience that progression could be very slow. In the afternoon my good friends and neighbors paid a visit to see how I was doing and unexpectantly expressed a  desire to be present at the birth when I remarked that I didn't have anyone to document the birth on video or photos. I was pleasantly surprised and welcomed the support from friends whom I had assumed thought I was a little strange to be planning a home birth!

When the contractions became more intense  during the late afternoon and evening, my midwife and her assistant came with all their bags and paraphanalia and walked around the block with David and I to help get things going. An herbal tincture was also given to me as my labor was progressing sporadically and I hadn't dilated more than 4 cm.

Right when dilation was being assessed, my midwife received a call from another client who apparently was also in labor. My heart sank. This was my only fear and I knew that, as with my first labor, things would get going just as my midwife left me.  She assured me that the other client would deliver very soon and that she would be back to deliver me, but just in case, told me of a back up midwife very close by in Katy could come if necessary.

Well, there is a plan for all of us, and mine was to be delivered by Cathy. By 11 p.m., my contractions were coming  fast and furious. My mother kept time on her watch and logged the duration of each one and I could see she hated seeing me in such pain every minute but felt  some solace in being busy doing something while I squeezed her hand. By this time David was as tired as I was and lay behind me in bed dozing on and off. He  called our midwife who then called Cathy at 11:00 p.m.. Shortly thereafter, my friends arrived just as I started to get the shakes and was throwing up in the bathroom. I definitely wanted to push, feeling the pressure and feeling the  contractions getting unbearable. I asked David to start filling the tub. I  couldn't wait to get in. As soon as I did a wave of relaxation came over me as Cathy and Debbie arrived. After the next contraction, I looked over to meet her for the first time and felt an inexplicable peace and happiness come over  me; I felt like I had known her all my life and was totally reassured that things would be okay when she told me she was fine with water birth and had had  a water birth herself. The baby's heart tones were great and Cathy and Debbie were an awesome supportive team, always reassuring me that I was making great progress and reminding me to slow down my breathing when I struggled to stay on top of contractions. David and Cathy stayed with me as the hours wore on and I  demanded both ice water! to drink and hot water for the tub as it had to remain at  a certain temperature and kept cooling off despite how hot I became with the hard work I was doing. My friends and my mother were all there once I was fully dilated and it was time to push. I was so totally focused and tuned into what was going on with my body that I hardly noticed their physical presence though.  It was more of a spiritual support that I felt from them. I became ultra  sensitive to my surroundings. The lights were dim, everyone whispered, David held my hand as he kneeled next to the tub and I chanted my water mantra to stay loose through each contraction.

During transition however, everyone  burst out laughing as I stated "It tickles" as the baby's head was moving around trying to get out, no doubt. Everyone scrunched in together beside the tub as I pushed my baby's head out with perineal support from David, Cathy and myself. I  was able to see what was going on in the mirror one friend held for me. David marveled at the softness of our baby's cheek as he stroked it. I couldn't wait to see our baby and I pushed hard to get her out faster than I needed to. At 3:28 a.m. her body popped out into the tub all at once and I swooped her up onto my chest. I cried tears of joy and was overwhelmed at how amazing this water birth had been and finally realized what giving birth could and should be like.  Our beautiful baby girl pinked up immediately and cried angrily at the shock of being out of water. I tried to nurse right away but she wasn't quite ready and I handed her over to David to keep warm while I delivered the placenta right there in the bathtub after Cathy let the water out and the cord was cut.

Eva  Marie weighed in at 8 lbs. 10 oz. and was so quiet and content with everyone  after I nursed her. I required a stitch or two which I had dreaded but Cathy was awesome and did a great job of it while my friends held my hand and tried to distract me from the pain.

At about 5 a.m. our son came home from his sleep over next door and saw his baby sister for the first time. He was so gentle and sweet with her and fell in love with her immediately. In short order he became very protective of her.

In the end I was so thankful for how things worked out and for the most beautiful birth experience I could ever have in the presence of my husband, mother, my friends and the excellent care of Cathy and Debbie. If anyone were to ask me if I would recommend water birth? I would triumphantly and emphatically say yes!!