|up until a few months back, it was supposed to be "labor in the tub, get out to push." However, she has mentioned quite a few times that sometimes mamas didn't make it out of the tub, and it sounds like they didn't do all that much to "help" them.
Hospital midwives and freestanding birth centers are being restricted by insurance requirements - its not their fault, and we're lucky any of them are still practicing with all the garbage they have to deal with.
So they have this rule. The question you have to ask is, how strictly do they enforce it. Maybe they enforce it 100% because they are scared of the consequences - maybe they have to *tell* you the rule but can look the other way and say "oops" with moms who really feel strongly in the moment. They may not be able to give you the answer you want straight out, but there are many situations where the midwives will "wink, wink" at you, even as they are informing you what the policy is.
Its not just waterbirth. I've heard of midwives saying something like, "well, you are not supposed
to eat in labor at the hospital" by which they mean "just don't do it in front of the nurses"... And same thing for having your water break - my CNM said 12 hours was the limit for labor to start after AROM, but when I challenged that policy, it became clear (but not stated aloud) that she would be perfectly happy if I delayed the ticking clock by not calling her right away.
Its a really tough situation. As pp's have said, homebirth is the only way to *truly* get out from what the medical establishment dicates. Even then, state laws place restrictions on it (in NJ, attending an HBAC is illegal). But if homebirth is not an option, I hope things can still work out wonderfully for you at the birth center.
BTW, I totally thought I would use the tub for birth #2, and by the time I got to the hospital I was so far along I didn't want to do ANYTHING except lie on the bed and try not to die while pushing. And my birth was perfect, I wouldn't change a thing. So you never know!