Water Birth Story – Baby #3

water birth

This is a water BIRTH STORY. To the uninitiated, there may be details you would rather not hear, so if that is the case, this is your cue to exit.

Still here? Enjoy!


All throughout my pregnancy I felt like this time would be different. Both the boys were late. To read the birth story of my first son, in which NOTHING went according to plan, click here. My first by two weeks and my second by 4 days. But somehow this time felt different. However, my motherly intuition has often proven to be no more than wishful thinking. I was due on May 15th, which was also the day Justin was graduating with his Bachelor’s degree. Justin’s mom flew in the Monday before (May 10th) and I was feeling more than ready have the baby. My feet and ankles were swollen and looked positively obese, which made it hard to walk.

Wednesday morning the 12th I woke up at 5 am feeling crampy and sort of gassy like I needed to go to the bathroom, which I did. I went back to bed and every fifteen minutes I was lightly awoken again feeling crampy. by 6:15 I couldn’t really sleep through them any more and vaguely thought, “this might be it”, but then didn’t really believe it in the back of my mind. At 7 we got up with the boys as usual and I was starting to feel more sure of it. These didn’t feel anything like the very powerful braxton hicks contractions I had been having. These radiated out of my back and lower belly like a tight, wide belt being squeezed around me. The only way I was comfortable during them was to get on all fours on my bed with my butt up in the air. Pretty unromantic.

So I went about my business that morning, making my son’s lunch and helping the boys get dressed and breakfasted. Anytime a contraction started I would quickly retreat to my bedroom, climb on my bed and hug a pillow with my butt up in the air. Justin’s mom asked how I was feeling and for some reason I felt weird saying I was in labor, so I just said I felt crampy. a little before 8, Justin was getting ready to take one son to school and the other to his dentist appointment. Suddenly I felt a little panicked by the thought of him leaving, but he kissed me and said, “Don’t worry, I will be back in an hour or so. Even if this is it, we have time.” I agreed uneasily and continued retreating to my room for contractions.

As they get harder and closer together, I decided to call my mom and the midwife, just to let them know what was going on. I also admitted to Justin’s mom, Debbie that I thought this might be it, although I continued to hide in my room during contractions, trying to deal with them alone. At 8:30 I started crying during one and realized I couldn’t do it alone anymore. I called the dentist to tell them to send my husband home and to reschedule my son’s appointment, but when they said they didn’t have any more appointments until July, I gritted my teeth and told them to do his fillings quick, because I wasn’t about to reschedule (again). I got on Facebook to distract myself and chatted a little bit with a couple of friends, Denise and Abby. When the contractions came I found I could deal with them a little bit better by leaning against the desk in our room and putting a lot of counter pressure on my lower back. A little before 9 I knew I couldn’t hide in my room any more, because Debbie was supposed to use skype on the computer to talk to her husband. So, I went into the living room when she came in and sat on the couch to wait for the next contraction.

I could hear my friend Anna (also a singer and she rented a bedroom from us) warming up for her vocal jury and so I called her (on the phone, because I didn’t want to walk all the way down the hall). She answered and I told her I was in labor. She asked where I was and when I told her I was on the couch she came rushing in asking me what she should do. She was literally vibrating with excitement and energy, which was hilarious but a little overwhelming. I told her not to do anything, but get ready for her jury. I just wanted her to know.

She left the room and another contraction came on almost immediately. I was having a harder and harder time handling them alone and all I could think about was how much I wanted Justin home. I used the time between contractions to make phone calls. I called the guys who was going to sub for me singing at church. I called my sister, Karin. I called my voice student to reschedule lessons and I called Nathaniel’s school to let them know he wouldn’t be coming in that day. The contractions kept coming quicker and quicker. I felt like I couldn’t quite get on top of them like I remembered doing with Anthony’s almost 5 years ago. When Justin’s mom finished on skype she came in and asked what she could do, so I had her apply counterpressure with her fists on my lower back. This seemed to help a little. Justin finally got home around 9:30. I was overjoyed to see him and I think he was a little surprised to see how ‘in labor’ I actually was. He timed a couple of contractions and they were very obviously 5 minutes apart and a minute long. We called the midwife (who was actually out of town, but was our contact to get in touch with the midwife who was subbing). She told us to go to the birth center, So Justin’s mom went to pick up Anthony while we gathered all of our stuff and headed out.

Once Justin was home I finally found enough support in his presence to ‘sound’ during contractions, which is one of my best tools during labor. Sort of a deep, low moaning, groaning, which really helps me get control of a contraction and release tension. I had wanted to do this earlier, but somehow without Justin there I couldn’t. We finally all loaded into the car and drove to the birth center which was about 20 minutes away. The contractions in the car were really hard, because I had no way to put any counter-pressure on my back, so I just sounded louder and Justin had to remind me to relax and breathe in between each one. My poor 5 year old stuffed his earlobes into his ears as earplugs, because he didn’t like the noise. Debbie told him mommy was just ‘singing’ to help the baby come out, but he didn’t like that kind of singing at all. My 7 year old apparently thought it was funny. My children are so strange. I had 5 contractions in the car and when we arrived at the birth center at 10:45 the midwife and her assistant were there to meet us.

I immediately went to the birthing room and the boys stayed out with Debbie. I had another contraction and was starting to feel heavy pelvic pressure build up. I asked the midwife if I could labor in the tub, hoping that would relieve the back pain. She rain the bath and I had another contraction, which I almost lost control during. Another one came almost immediately before I could get in and I just remember hanging on Justin’s neck sounding loudly and crying too. This was happening so much faster and harder than Anthony’s birth!!!

I finally got in the tub and the next contraction came, but thankfully as much as it hurt I felt a little more on top of it. She checked me and asked if I felt like pushing and I said I almost did, because of the pressure, but not quite yet. She said the baby was still a ways up, but that I couldn’t start pushing whenever I was ready. I had one more contraction and the pressure was building but I didn’t have the overwhelming urge to push yet, which I was sort of waiting for. Then she said my bag of waters was starting to come out and asked if I wanted her to break it. I said no, not yet and then on the next contraction, it began to come out even more. I reached down to feel it and it was like a huge water balloon. I told her she could break it, which she tried to do, but apparently it was really tough. I transitioned almost immediately and felt the urge to push.

She encouraged me to push and as I started to scream, she looked me in the eye and said, “hold your breath and you will do more good.” I had a flash back to vocal pedagogy class last semester and learning about how the vocal folds close when you hold your breathe to lift something heavy, eliminate waste… or babies… So I held my breath and pushed with all my might. That was very satisfying and after that contraction I remember thinking about how important it was for me to relax and rest before the next contraction. I closed my eyes and took a deep breath and then another. I tried to let out all the tension. I said my hips were starting to hurt and she said that was because the baby was separating them. She said the baby’s head was right there. She asked if I wanted to touch it. I vaguely wanted to but couldn’t summon the strength to reach. So I just rested until the next contraction. As it came on I started to panic and then heard myself with a voice of authority to “RELAX”, so I held my breath and just pushed as hard as I could. It hurt and burned so much. When the contraction was done it still hurt and she said the baby’s head was crowning. I didn’t remember having this burning with my second son and she said that might be because of the episiotomy, he slipped out quicker. Or something like that. In any case, this burned like hell and the pressure was unbelievable. I remember telling Justin I loved him and he said something about how I was doing a good job, “Lets talk about that later,” I said. She asked if I wanted to feel her head and this time I reached down and felt her wrinkly, hairy little scalp. This gave me incredible motivation and as the next contraction started I pushed with purpose and intensity. She provided some perineal counterpressure which REALLY helped and she continued to coach me and help me position myself to push more effectively. The contraction finally ended and I asked if it were almost time and she said something non-committal about how we were getting closer. When the next contraction started I pushed and pushed, somehow determined that I didn’t want to have another one. I felt like I simply couldn’t do this anymore, but I knew I couldn’t give up.

Suddenly I felt her burst out of me like an explosion! The midwife scooped her up and placed her on my chest. It almost seemed surreal. I wanted to be more excited to see her, but to be honest I was just relieved that it was over. That feeling only lasted a moment. She was beautiful. I looked up at Justin and asked, “What is her name?” “Molly” he said. Unfortunately she was a little bit blue. They rubbed her a little bit with a towel, but they wanted to give her some oxygen, so they cut the chord and took her to the bed to give her a good rub down and some oxygen. This part was now fun at all. I wanted to get up and go be with her, but they said to wait until I had birthed the placenta. The tub was no longer comfortable and I was eager to get out. Son they brought her back to me all wrapped up and she had a little more color. Finally the placenta was birthed and they helped me wash up and get out. I went to the bed and nursed her for the first time, which was the most perfect feeling in the world. We called the boys in to meet her for the time and they were amazed. Apparently Debbie has taken my five year old outside to distract him, but my seven year old stayed attentively right outside of the door and listened the whole time. When he first heard her cry he ran outside to tell Grandma and his brother, but they didn’t believe him, because we only been there a little over an hour. As they crowded around the baby and looked at her with wonder it was perfect. Just the way it should be.

We rested for another hour or so. Justin made a sandwich for me. They weighed her (8 pounds and 4 ounces), measured her (20 and 1/2 inches) and made sure she was breathing and nursing well. Then they ran an amazing herb bath. It was like taking a bath in the most delicious smelling tea. I got in and they handed her to me. When I lifted her into the water she just relaxed and spread out her arms, She obviously loved it. I washed her tiny body and we took the first pictures of her. It was so wonderful to have my other children close by.

big brothers seeing baby

We rested another hour and my mom finally arrived. Then we went home. It all happened to fast it seemed surreal. I was delighted to go home the same day since hospital stays stress me out.

water birth in a tub

Overall, it was really a wonderful birth. The biggest difference in the labor between this one and the last one was the speed and intensity. It felt like running a five minute mile instead of a nine minute mile. It was just a lot more intense. And in my back. But I did it and once again I triumphed and did the amazing job of bringing a baby into the world. And now my sweet precious daughter is here and she is just about as perfect as can be.

If you want to read about my fastest labor ever birth story, click here.

Feel free to share your birth story in the comments or link to it! I love reading other people’s stories. Birth is so amazing!

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