I had four land births and when my OB suggested a (home) waterbirth for baby #5 I wasn't convinced. It seemed like a pain to set up, more things to think and/or worry about. At my 36w visit his apprentice handed me a fishy pool. My SO and I did a test run and when I got out I felt so. incredibly. heavy. I was sold.
My 5th babes birth ended up feeling surreal (in a good way) and incredibly calm. I remember being able to feel the good parts of labour more acutely - my daughter wriggling into position, the sensation of the contractions opening my cervix - rather than a smooshed together sort of sensation of previous labours. I felt in touch with my babe and the process of her birth. I was able to totally relax due to the buoyancy and soft tub side so much so that I fell asleep during transition.
About icky pool stuff - my water broke just prior to pushing. I don't recall peeing or pooping in the pool but it's possible, of course. The poop would have been scooped out. I delivered the placenta there and stayed in long enough to nurse my babe. It didn't gross me out. My SO cleaned the pool and, while he can be a squeamish fellow, didn't complain and would like to be in the pool with me next time.
In short, I cannot imagine going through labour and birth outside of water again.
Here's the short story:
I don't know how to form words so close to God. The birth of my second daughter was a happening beyond them.
The bodily work is not harsh or sneaky but rolls in slow tides and so I spent my day like any other - acutely aware of the borrowed time, the nearness to her moving from a cozy nest. When it was dark I slept beside her feverish papa. Rest punctuated with knowing. I woke and readied. He made phone calls while my head was at the open window, while I knelt. We talked, washed by dim light, and in the space of one rush I went from laughing and looking to a quiet place with no eyes.
On a dark and rainy night a baby was born from me. He filled the bedroom pool. His hands and presence, sometimes a voice out there. I cannot write a story without him. He stopped touching when I shrugged him off, did not sweep hair from my face but he was there close enough to reach breathing being waiting and watching.
People arrived hushed, I don't know when. No one touched me, no one spoke. Often I knew only the sound of rainfall and my own breath.
The waves came from me and I felt myself open. It is what I remember most vividly, this terrific and intense force of opening body and soul. When they drifted away I receded limp easy and wet. During the lull my daughter would move, an instinctual dance, alignment. It was a feeling I could not ease into but hands on belly. Just she and I taking one step at a time in this beautiful sea leaning back hands and knees hair trailing wet.
There were times I almost cried. My body felt powerful, it felt humble.
A perfect hush came, I slept loose floating in the most lovely rest. The return was shocking, it gripped me heavy. My eyes were open to the flashlight lit shine of his face when he saw her head. Deep in the night of October 14th she was born, from my genuflection, and there were the perfectly still moments. A wet someone quiet, slick and warm my baby baby baby.
Our placenta was born in the murk and shadow. Our daughter, a perfect beacon.