Water birth with a bad hot water heater - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 11 Old 12-16-2005, 01:53 AM - Thread Starter
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I am interested in having a water birth this time around but have 2 concerns...

#1. concerned that its possible I won't be in labor long enough to set up and really use the tub (rental is nearly 300 dollars).

#2. our hot water heater sucks. we can barely get one good shower out of it...

and no one can use any hot water for anything else (like dishes) for several hours... we would literally have to boil water to fill the tub...

is this doable?

plus is set up, clean up etc. too big of a hassle...

I'm wondering if its better to just use the small bathtub, squat and enjoy my babe, instead if wrestling with the tub....

any thoughts...
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#2 of 11 Old 12-16-2005, 02:13 AM
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Well, I'm biased - I rent tubs and have had one at both of my births. My 2nd baby was actually born in the water and my labor was 90 minutes from the first contraction to the birth (about 15 minutes before my first contrax my water broke so we began filling the tub shortly after that - maybe 10 minutes later & the tub took between 30-45 min to be completely filled although I got in before that point). Anyway, we didn't have a bad water heater but it didn't get us real far with the hot water. We still had to boil pots and add those (4 or less of various size - I know dh boiled 4 pots but I'm pretty sure we didn't need them all). My advice - when you're approaching due date time, crank your hot water heater all the way up. That way the hot water you *do* get out of it will go further. As soon as labor starts you can begin having your dh boil water. Hopefully that will be all you need (have him boil as many pots as you have burners for - you could always throw a microwave safe boil of water in the microwave as well). Between all of that plus the cold water you'll then let flow into the tub you'll probably be okay. Another idea if you're concerned about speed of labor (which I am after last time so this is my plan)... if the tub your renting has the ability to maintain heat (and I'm guessing it does at that price) then fill the tub around the time you get to 37 weeks and drain & refill every 2 days. Not the most ideal setup but at least the water will be there and ready to go as soon as you need it. Don't add any chemicals in this case - just fresh water (which is why you'd need to change it often). Cleanup is not hard or very time consuming. Draining of these tubs using a submersible pump takes maybe 30 min??? The rest of the cleanup (what I require of people) entails a refill of the tub with fresh water (cold is fine), some chemicals are added, allowed to circulate for about 30 minutes, tub is drained again, dried off with a towel, then wiped down with antibacterial wipes. I dunno - maybe it sounds like a lot but it really isn't. Plus you won't be the one who has to do it. Anyway, those are my thoughts.

Mama to four remarkable kiddos, all born at home.
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#3 of 11 Old 12-16-2005, 03:21 AM
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You could always buy a small kiddie pool that has padding on the bottom for about 30 bucks, and I've heard of something that can keep your water warm, but I really have no more info on it. I saw it on craiglist once and didn't snag it.. It seemed to be a portable water heater for tubs... You can make it work Good luck!

mama kidlet 1.11.06
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#4 of 11 Old 12-16-2005, 06:57 PM
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Well, for the same amount of money as you'd pay for the rental of that birth tub...you could get the fishy pool and a brand new water heater.

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#5 of 11 Old 12-16-2005, 11:58 PM
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My birthpool was a kiddy wading pool and it saw through my labour & birth and my housemate's too!
It's circular and about 200cm wide, maybe 70cm high with inflatable rings.
It cost me $100 and I still can use it for my older kids to splash around in.
Our water heater is pretty shoddy too and for the most part the pool was heated by kettles & heaps of pots on the stove. With my housemates birth we ended up overheating the poor dear for a bit and had to bucket in a whole heap of cold water.
It still took at least an hour to get the pool ready.
It is good to make sure you have helpers on hand who can concentrate on that task. People who are comfortable with physical work, not folks you want to be one-on-one with you when you're labouring.
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#6 of 11 Old 12-17-2005, 08:51 PM
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Somebody else said it, but for that price, I would assume that pool comes with a heater. THat means that the only time you have to get hot water in it is the first time (or each refill). YOu can let water sit about 3 days before replacing it. Most labors last long enough that the 15-30 minutes to fill it isn't a big deal. If you are worriedabou tpaying that much for it, kiddie pools work well too, but you do have to do all of your own hot water and keep it hot yourself through repeated adding/subtracting of water. You should also find some type of cover for it and you canlet it sit for a day or two liek the other pools. The big pools usually come with a cover which helps keep it warm.

Namaste, Tara
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#7 of 11 Old 12-19-2005, 03:22 PM
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Join Freecycle, maybe someone will give you their old water heater! Have you tried to fix it? In an electric h2o heater, it would be a faulty thermostat (there are two), or heating element. In a gas h2o heater, if the burner flame is orange, not blue, then maybe the air shutters need to be adjusted. I am totally not mechanical and I have fixed similar problems with multiple sources- a couple fixit books and the internet.
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#8 of 11 Old 12-19-2005, 05:28 PM
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Well, for the same amount of money as you'd pay for the rental of that birth tub...you could get the fishy pool and a brand new water heater.
: And you'd enjoy the benefits of enough hot water for years to come.
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#9 of 11 Old 12-21-2005, 11:41 PM
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I had a waterbirth at home last time... my mw supplied the aqua doula (for free ) that she and my DH set up in our kitchen while I was laboring with my doula elsewhere in the house. Our water heater was dependable but tiny; DH got as much out of it as he could, then started boiling water in the microwave and on the stove in every and any vessel he could find. In the end, it only got deep enough to cover a little up over my knees while I was kneeling- not too deep at all . But it was still soothing. I got in just for pushing. I had wanted to be in water earlier, but due to all the hot water going to the birth tub, couldn't, and it wasn't worth getting in the tub until it was deeper. During pg I find regular tubs too confining (and I'm fairly small) and hard to get into and out of. So, the boiling thing can be done, but it isn't very efficient

I know someone who has an on-demand water heater; she had an endless supply of hot H2O while in labor. Maybe this would be a good time to update your water heater?
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#10 of 11 Old 12-22-2005, 11:12 PM
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Originally Posted by sierratahoe
I know someone who has an on-demand water heater; she had an endless supply of hot H2O while in labor. Maybe this would be a good time to update your water heater?

Turn the temperature on a water heater up to the high end and it can function virtually like an in-line water heater. We have to do that to my mother's when we're all staying there just to get more than one shower available, lol
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#11 of 11 Old 12-30-2005, 01:35 AM
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I rented a tub and am SO glad I did. We turned our hot water heater all the way up the moment I went into labor, and filled the tub with extremely hot water. Then we added more water boiled on the stove, and filled it still more with cooler water. It actually turned out to be much faster and easier than I had imagined. It took about an hour all told, and our water heater is total crap. It was an enormous help. I was in total misery whenever I got out of the water, but I was managing okay as long as I was in it, and our baby was born in the water.

DEFINITELY worth it.
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