Esther and Erik

Water Birth at Home

My labor started on Tuesday August 5th, 2003.I had been running a few errands that afternoon with my sister and niece.I was a little anxious that day; this was the day after my due date.My other three children were born right around their due date.To make time go a little faster and to keep my mind occupied we decided to go shopping for the rest of the afternoon. I did feel some tightening of my belly now and then; it felt like I was carrying a basketball.It was a fun and exciting feeling and made me feel connected with my baby, I knew it wouldn’t be that much longer till we would finally meet and get better acquainted.

When we came home it was time for dinner, we talked about labor and about the baby and speculated that things could start happening pretty soon now.We put our three boys in bed and told them that there was the possibility that their sister would be born that night.Michael, our six year old asked if he could be there and watch.He was present during the birth of his younger brother.He was only 2½then and it had made such a big impression on him back then that he talked about it for Weeks. We had prepared the boys this time also to be present at the birth.

Around 8 pm the house was nice and quiet, the kids were asleep and I sat down on the couch to relax.The first real contraction (surge as we called it) started at 8.45pm.I had just finished two big glasses of water and I was ready.Surges started coming fairly close together with maybe 3-4 minutes apart and would last 30-45 seconds.I decided to take a shower around 9 o’clock and had 3 surges while in the shower.

I had learned how to relax and work with my body during the HypnoBirthing classes given by Launi Anderson. It was a series of six classes and I had practiced the relaxation techniques at home during the final weeks. I wanted to let my body do the work of labor nature had intended, without me interfering.We had had the last class on Wednesday July 30th, five days before my due date.The following day I had picked up my sister Ingrid at the Salt Lake City Airport.She came to help me with my other three children during birth and to help me with the baby for three weeks following the birth.Our third son Jason was also born at home, we lived in Texas then, it was an awesome experience.This time I had my mind set on having a water birth, I had heard lots of wonderful things about it and I became even more determined after seeing it on a video.It wasn’t easy to get a rental hot tub in our area, and when I finally found one it was so big that it would have to be set up in the middle of the living room, it barely fit through the front door.Although my midwife had a Birthing tub, I wanted to have it ready and set up, I wasn’t planning on having a long enough labor to mess around with filling a Birthing tub.Our sons Ryan, Michael and Jason loved it, we let them swim in it now and then; they thought it was great to have a heated swimming pool in the middle of the living room!

At9.15 pm I called Cathy O’Bryant, my midwife, to tell her that labor had started, she lives almost 30 minutes away and I wanted to give her some advance notice.She told me to call her back in an hour or so and to watch how things progressed.About 15 minutes later when things started to pick up my husband Erik called her back and told her to come over.Meanwhile I went to the bedroom where I laid on the bed and started listening to my HypnoBirthing music and just relaxed.Cathy came at 10pm, I was at 3½ cm.Surges were lasting about 45 seconds.A few minutes later Julie (Cathy’s assistant) arrived from Salt Lake.All my babies have been Posterior and this baby was also OP.I started laboring on my left side for a while with my left leg curled up in front of me and my right leg stretched behind me, in an effort to get the baby to turn.Then I had to be on all fours (polar-bear position) for 15 minutes.It was uncomfortable but it would help turn the baby into the proper position.Erik and Cathy applied counter pressure on my lower back during each surge.Then I plopped down on my left side.When Cathy checked me again and I was dilated to 5 cm and Rachel was now in the right position, no longer Posterior.It was a little before 11pm.We went to the living room where I sat down on a Birthing-ball while Erik sat behind me and applied pressure on my lower back during each surge.I leaned my arms and head on the edge of the hot tub.Around 11.20pm I got in the tub, the warm water felt great, I was now at 8½cm.My membranes ruptured in the water a little while later (15 min.).Little pushing urges came another 10 minutes later (11.45 pm) and that’s when Erik got into the tub to help deliver and catch the baby.Although we had planned to have the boys there during the delivery now that time was nearing I was so focused that I didn’t want them there.Rachel was born a minute before midnight and the whole birth was smooth and wonderful.Total labor was 3 hours and 15 minutes and it was a beautiful experience, with hardly any discomfort.It was definitely something special.Rachel weighed 7 lbs 14 ounces and was 21 inches tall.Just the prettiest little baby!I held her on my chest and we delivered the placenta in the water also.

It took me several hours to fall asleep, I wasn’t tired, I felt refreshed and excited, just happy to be with my new baby after a wonderful start of a new adventure together.

Esther and Erik




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