Before I decided to have a baby, I had decided that I wanted to have a water birth. I wanted a hospital birth in case things became complicated during the delivery and was shocked at how few options there were in our area. Fortunately, thanks to a campaign led my the Midwives of New Jersey, there are still water birth facilities at Morristown. This was a 50 min drive from our home, which caused my husband some concern that he’d end up delivering our first-born on the shoulder of I-287, but the midwives were able to reassure him that unlike in the films, babies tend not to come that quickly!
I spent the second half of my pregnancy running a PSA campaign on water birth; no, I would not have my baby at the pool at the YMCA; yes, it would be a hospital birth; no, the baby won’t drown; yes, we can both be monitored underwater….
Women I spoke to talked about how calming they found a hot bath or shower and how a water birth made sense – but most couldn’t reconcile their understanding of birth with the concept of a drug-free water birth.
Labor is hard work – that’s why they call it labor – a test of endurance rather than your pain threshold. But the worst part of my labor was lying on the bed for the couple of observations before I got to 6 cm. If I had been forced to endure my whole labor lying on my back, I would not be writing about a natural birth.
My back labor literally washed off of me as I got in the tub. I cannot describe the relief I got from the warm water. They call it ‘the midwife’s epidural’ for a reason. I felt safe, supported and calm – and my body was able to get on with the job it was designed to do. My husband was able to support me physically from the side of the tub as well as emotionally and the Midwives of NJ team provided all the reassurance I needed, while allowing me the space I wanted.
I am a passionate advocate of water birth, and a woman’s right to choose this type of birth, supported by caring professionals who can ensure that both she and her baby stay safe. I could not have asked for a more supportive team than the Midwives of New Jersey.