Sunday, April 13, 2014

Water Birth?

My wife originally wanted to do a water birth with our second baby but was unable to do so due to preterm birth. So with the third baby on the way, she said she still wanted to try for a water birth. Instead of brushing it off as just some weird hippie voodoo akin to acupuncture and reflexology, I made myself give it some serious thought.

Being doubtful of the benefits of a water birth, I decided to look at the risks.
There are none.
Seriously, if there is any real concern, they won't let you do it. If you do give birth in the water, the baby goes from one fluid filled environment (the womb) to another (the water) for only a brief moment then is taken out of the water and given right to Mom. (At least that how it went at our hospital.) Not really significantly different than a conventional birth in a bed.

Ok, so as close to zero risk as possible, What are the benefits?
"Less traumatic for the baby" Bullshit. I'm not buying it that the baby gives a crap about being born into water before being taken out into the cruel world we all know and "love". Can the comfort of being born into water really compare to the violence of being squeezed through the birth-canal? Recognizing that I am none of a doctor, baby nor mother, I just don't see how the baby really benefits much.

So benefits for Mom?
The buoyancy offered by the water can relieve some of the pressure on my wife's spine. Being that she has a bad back, this gets my attention. Now I'm interested. So I recap and see that there is no real safety concerns, especially since they only allow it in pretty much perfect scenarios, and that at the very least, my wife's back will get a little help. So why not? Let's go for it.
Of course I realize that she doesn't need my approval to do it; she seems to prefer to have my support in her decisions. So despite being slightly apprehensive all the way through, I'm on board.

Now I'd like to have some amazing story to share about the birth, but it was really quite calm and without surprises. I realize it's easy for me to say it was easy, but I was there for the other two and I really think this was considerably easier in comparison. Maybe it was her experience, or the oddly calm nature of the midwife, but it just seemed to go very smooth. My wife seemed very aware of what was happening and what her body needed to do, and was able to do it. I felt like an unnecessary fixture in the room as compared to the other times when I was helping coach her through the birth.
And when the baby was born, she lied on her mother and seemed simply content to be in our world with us. There was no drama, there was no screaming, there was no fright. It was the easiest most perfect birth I've seen (of the three).

So is there something special or magical about water births?
No, not exactly. What I learned it that birth is all about Mom. I think the baby is going to experience pretty much the same thing in nearly all cases, but mom's comfort is where the secret is. If Mom wants to listen to Parliament Funkadelic during birth, then you better find a George Clinton CD! If she wants to have candles and vanilla incense, well first you talk to the hospital about that, but you (Dad, Sister, Grandma, whoever you are), you do what needs to be done to make Mom comfortable. Because that's what matters most when giving birth. Give your woman love and support and she will do amazing things.

(P.S. I'm so proud of my wife, I could only wish to be as tough as she is!)

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