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The Advantages of a Home Water Birth
I have known for several years that when I did get pregnant, I wanted to give birth in the water. To me it seemed a very natural thing to do. I didn't realize until I became pregnant and started looking for a place to have a waterbirth that the general public thought of it as a very strange thing to do.
My original reason for wanting to have a water birth was that it seemed to be a much smoother transition for the baby after essentially floating in water for nine months. After doing months of research on the benefits and risks of waterbirth, I found that risks were very minimal and benefits were countless.
I have always turned to water as a natural way to relax and relieve pain. During labor, the water essentially made me weightless and allowed me to concentrate on letting my body do the work it was meant to do. The combination if being at home in a relaxed environment and being in the water, a naturally soothing atmosphere, allowed me to remain calm and in touch with my body during labor.
It is amazing how uneducated the general public is about what "normal" birth is. Women have been giving birth without medical intervention for millions of years. There is absolutely no reason our bodies should no longer be capable of this. Unfortunately, the medical field has been successful in taking control of the birth experience and allowing people to believe that pregnancy is a medical condition rather than a natural process.
After months and months of reading about natural childbirth, I actually felt safer being at home with a midwife than being in a hospital. Hospitals routinely use so many unnecessary interventions that statistics have shown put the babies at higher risk. One prime example is the use of Pitocin (a labor-inducing drug) to speed up labor. This produces un-naturally intense contractions, which are much harder to cope with and will almost always result in the use of an epidural to ease the pain. However, the epidural lessens the "pushing" urge (causing women to push less effectively, and increases the risk of fetal distress which in many cases results in Caesarian section. Epidurals have also been shown to inhibit the baby's natural suckling instinct and also decreases the sucking reflex causing many women to resort to bottle feeding even if they had intended to breast feed.
I'm very happy I stood my ground and did things the way I wanted to do them -- completely drug-free. There were several people who felt that I "belonged in a hospital" and tried to "talk some sense" into me. These people have no concept of how beautiful the birth experience can be. My birth plan was not without an emergency backup plan, and had something abnormal arisen, we did have a doctor to back us up.
I wish that more people understood how incredibly beautiful the birth experience can be. Chloe was born by candlelight as we listened to Peter Gabriel's Passion CD, and was caught by her Father and lifted up onto my chest. She was totally alert and breathed immediately. The cord was left intact for 30-40 minutes to ensure that she received the maximum oxygen supply and blood volume during her first moments. She nursed for nearly 45 minutes within the first hour after birth. She is a very healthy thriving newborn, and I feel we owe this to her birth experience.
I encourage any future mothers to educate themselves on all the possible birthing options, and to not let go of your dreams of having the birth experience that you desire.
--Heather Sotnick (3/29/96)
Joy, & Raspberry Leaves
Go HERE for more information on the waterbirth video!