Land or water birth? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 27 Old 01-11-2011, 06:14 AM - Thread Starter
 
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At my last appointment I was talking to my MW about birth stuff, and she asked if I'd thought about whether I wanted to deliver in a tub or on a bed (the BC has tubs in all of the rooms).  I haven't really thought about it, but it's probably time to start!  I've heard lots of pluses for laboring in a tub, everything from the warm water helping with contractions to the water softening the perineum so tears are less likely, but I haven't really heard any good things about actually birthing in water.  I have, however, heard several bad things about water birth, most notably the phrase "toilet water", which I know is an exaggeration but still can't get out of my head. 

 

So, ladies, can I pick your brains?  For those of you who are having or have had a water birth, what made you decide to go the water route?  And if you're opting for a "land" birth, what led you to that choice?  Anyone split the difference, and labor in a tub but deliver on a bed?

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#2 of 27 Old 01-11-2011, 10:44 AM
 
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I have had 8 waterbirths, no land births. One I had a few contaxs on land it was much more intense for me. I never want to labor and birth outside of water. I think it is gentler on mom and baby. I have never torn either, even my bigger ones and one over 10lb posterior. It could be the water helping. 


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#3 of 27 Old 01-11-2011, 10:58 AM
 
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I went to a waterbirth workshop that was designed for midwives. It was given by Barbara Harper, who runs Waterbirth International. You can go on to her website for more information.

 

I've never had a waterbirth, but I have several friends and clients who have. Water makes you more buoyant so gravity feels less intense, which often equals less discomfort/pain during labor. Water also helps your tissues relax more which can help prevent tearing. Being in a tub gives you a protected space so people can't really touch you as much or get in your face, which for many women is great. Being in a tub also puts your body in a supported upright or semi-reclined position, which works better with gravity to help your labor go faster. And then there is the psychological aspect of being in the warm water. It's pretty hard to feel stressed out or tense when you're in warm water. People relax almost instantly nearly every time they get into a warm bath or shower, it's kind of instinctive.

 

Many women will labor in the water, but feel the need to get out of the water once the time for birth comes. If you're interested in a water birth, read up on it and talk to people, and keep an open mind.


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#4 of 27 Old 01-11-2011, 12:12 PM
 
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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.


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#5 of 27 Old 01-12-2011, 09:08 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Thank you for the story, Kawa, that was beautiful.

 

The point about the tub being my own space is a good one, and just adds to the list of good things I've heard about laboring in a tub.  I guess where I get confused is when thinking about delivery and the aftermath.  I mean, at some point I have to get out of the tub, right?  :)  It seems like getting out of the tub and having to wash/dry myself would be more onerous than wiping myself with some wet towels.  But I have almost no idea what I'm talking about, which is why I'm asking to hear about other experiences!

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Thank you for the story, Kawa, that was beautiful.

 

The point about the tub being my own space is a good one, and just adds to the list of good things I've heard about laboring in a tub.  I guess where I get confused is when thinking about delivery and the aftermath.  I mean, at some point I have to get out of the tub, right?  :)  It seems like getting out of the tub and having to wash/dry myself would be more onerous than wiping myself with some wet towels.  But I have almost no idea what I'm talking about, which is why I'm asking to hear about other experiences!

 

While I got out of the tub my doc looked over the babe. His apprentice and my SO wiped off my legs, I suppose there was other drying off as well but don't recall. I put on panties, a pad and a light robe, got into bed for skin-to-skin time with my baby. I took a shower at some point but I wasn't what I consider filthy and in need of 911 soaping up.  
 


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#7 of 27 Old 01-12-2011, 10:44 AM
 
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Most homebirths I've attended as a doula where there is a tub involved end up happening IN the tub. Once women get in there they end up staying because it feels so good. I had a hospital/land birth with my first, so I'm curious about how I'll feel this time around having the water option. Something about me feels like I'll want to labor in the tub, but that I may want the solid ground for pushing. I suppose I'll see how it all goes...I'm visualizing this babe just sliding right out peacefully, so if that's happening maybe I'll stay in water, but we'll just play it by ear. The only birth dream I've had about this little one (before I was even pregnant) I was leaning up against the dressers in my bedroom for support...


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#8 of 27 Old 01-12-2011, 05:44 PM
 
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I labored in the tub for several hours.  When I felt the urge to push, I just spent a couple of hours (yes, hours!) exhaling as deeply as I could and allowing my body to open up and gently guide the babe down the birth canal.  Almost on instinct, after a while of this, I felt a strong need to get out of the tub and push on land.  Something inside of me knew it was time for her to come out and for some reason it was meant to be on land.  I stood for a couple of contractions and then got on my hands and knees, announced that I would be pushing her out now, and there she was!!

 

I say follow your body.  It will tell you exactly what you need to do! thumb.gif

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#9 of 27 Old 01-12-2011, 06:25 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tracymom1 View Post

 

 

I say follow your body.  It will tell you exactly what you need to do! thumb.gif



Absolutely!


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#10 of 27 Old 01-12-2011, 07:26 PM
 
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So I do think I will probably enjoy having some water during labor. I didn't last time and was fine but I really do enjoy water - everything from showers to hot tubs to the ocean, I love water. However, I have pretty much no interest in birthing in the water. Though I suppose it could happen if I had a birth pool. So what would you all recommend? Will my shower and regular sized bath tub be enough to get some relief, or should I go ahead and rent a birth pool and deal with the hassle of setting it up even though my intention is to actually birth on land?

I hope this doesn't hijack...I think it's part of the topic...

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#11 of 27 Old 01-12-2011, 07:44 PM
 
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Originally Posted by tracymom1 View Post

I labored in the tub for several hours.  When I felt the urge to push, I just spent a couple of hours (yes, hours!) exhaling as deeply as I could and allowing my body to open up and gently guide the babe down the birth canal.  Almost on instinct, after a while of this, I felt a strong need to get out of the tub and push on land.  Something inside of me knew it was time for her to come out and for some reason it was meant to be on land.  I stood for a couple of contractions and then got on my hands and knees, announced that I would be pushing her out now, and there she was!!

 

I say follow your body.  It will tell you exactly what you need to do! thumb.gif

I had a very similar experience TWICE!  My first LO was born at a FSBC with a beautiful tub...i fully expected to give birth there - but i just couldnt get myself coordinated and after a while i just got up and walked around , tried several different positions on land and just wound up staying there...with my third i was adamant that this baby would be born into water - same thing happened - two hours in the tub, loving it ...and then an overwhelming feeling of "i have to get out of here'  - i wound up just leaning over a chair and pushing this time - on my feet.  

So its important to stay flexible ...if you have access to water for labor - TAKE IT! 

whomever posted 'will their regular bathtub be enough' - i say resoundly NO!  you want something BIG and sturdy- yes, its a pain to clean up - but it was so worth it! - my birth tub was set up nearly a month before DS arrived and i went into it just to relax a few nights  a week...unless you are a size 4 (while pregnant) i dont think a bathtub provides enough room - the big tub allows for greater position change.
 


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#12 of 27 Old 01-12-2011, 07:52 PM
 
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Your regular tub also doesn't allow (in most cases) for you to have enough water in it to create the buoyancy that makes water labors/births so beneficial. You need at least 18 inches of water and in most household tubs that would mean that the water is pouring over the edge and flooding the house.


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#13 of 27 Old 01-13-2011, 08:31 AM - Thread Starter
 
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So I do think I will probably enjoy having some water during labor. I didn't last time and was fine but I really do enjoy water - everything from showers to hot tubs to the ocean, I love water. However, I have pretty much no interest in birthing in the water. Though I suppose it could happen if I had a birth pool. So what would you all recommend? Will my shower and regular sized bath tub be enough to get some relief, or should I go ahead and rent a birth pool and deal with the hassle of setting it up even though my intention is to actually birth on land?

I hope this doesn't hijack...I think it's part of the topic...


I was wondering the same thing!  I'm not planning a home birth, but I'm not about to rush to the BC the second I start having contractions.  They actually suggest I wait til the contractions are only 5 mins apart, so I was thinking about taking a bath to relax and kill some time until I'm ready to call our MW.  We have a tiny apartment tub, though, and it sounds like that probably won't work very well. 

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#14 of 27 Old 01-13-2011, 09:05 AM
 
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Love reading all the stories!!

 

I had a homebirth with my first and ended up delivering in the comfort of my bed amidst my loved ones...this one, however, I am planning for a water birth and hoping to do it outside in my backyard (if weather provides).

 

Curious if anyone has ever giving birth outside before?  Hmm...

 

I do have neighbors (I like in a residential neighborhood) but I have privacy fencing on all but one side of my yard....

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#15 of 27 Old 01-13-2011, 09:17 AM
 
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I think it's definitely an individual preference and you aren't going to know if it's for you until you actually experience it. I had babies 1 and 2 on dry land because a water birth was not an option but longed for the calming water experience that I saw in so many birth videos. With baby #3, when I finally got into the big birthing tub, I was not impressed.  The deep round tub was hard to get comfortable in since there was no incline or wall to really lean against. On my hands and knees or hanging partially over the edge was very uncomfortable too as I couldn't handle the sensation of my heavy belly and breasts hanging down and over the edge hurt my arms and tired me out quickly. Once it was time to push I had to move to the bed to find a comfortable position. It definitely sounds like I am the rare minority though but I wanted to share my experience too. Perhaps if the tub was not completely round, it would have been better for me.

 

ETA: Just realized I was due date club crashing. D'oh!


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#16 of 27 Old 01-13-2011, 09:26 AM
 
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I had a waterbirth/homebirth with my second. I knew after the birth of my first that I definitely wanted the water to labor in. I was okay with either birthing in the pool or on the bed and just figured I would see how it went. Once I was in the water I did not want to get out! I loved it and felt so much more relaxed and open while laboring. I did tear a bit but I think that was partly because of my previous episiotomy and my urge to "get on with it" once the contractions get that intense. I did not have any poop in the water and actually needed to get out while laboring because I needed to go. I think my water broke as my son was born, none of us ever really saw it happen.

 

My midwife and her assistant dried me off and helped me to the bed where they did all the baby checks and stitched me up. It wasn't a big deal.  I'm done with birthing any more babes but if I weren't I would always have a birth pool/tub available even if just for laboring.

 

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#17 of 27 Old 01-13-2011, 12:56 PM
 
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     Quote:

Originally Posted by tracymom1 View Post

I say follow your body.  It will tell you exactly what you need to do! thumb.gif

 

Absolutely! 
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by BarefootScientist View Post

Will my shower and regular sized bath tub be enough to get some relief, or should I go ahead and rent a birth pool and deal with the hassle of setting it up even though my intention is to actually birth on land?


I took a shower while in heavy labour with my 4th babe. If it's all you have access to I think it's better than nothing but it certainly doesn't measure up to the relief a proper pool can provide. There are some very inexpensive pools that can be used for birth so shelling out $$$ for a rental isn't the only option. I also didn't think it was much of a hassle. Before hand, before I sought out the knowledge I thought it would be a tremendous, unneeded pain. Most everything was set up before labour so the biggest hurdle was living with a big fishy pool leaning against my bedroom wall for weeks.   

 

     Quote:

Originally Posted by motherhendoula View Post

 

you want something BIG and sturdy- yes, its a pain to clean up - but it was so worth it! 


This wasn't our experience but it sounds like we had different sorts of tubs. Mine was just a fishy pool so after the water was siphoned out my SO popped it and threw it away. We didn't know anyone who would want it and lived/live in an apartment so there was no point in cleaning it out.  

 

    Quote:

Originally Posted by WeAreAllOne430 View Post

this one, however, I am planning for a water birth and hoping to do it outside in my backyard (if weather provides).

 

Curious if anyone has ever giving birth outside before?  Hmm...

 

I do have neighbors (I like in a residential neighborhood) but I have privacy fencing on all but one side of my yard....


Well I'm sure SOMEONE has birthed outside orngtongue.gif We're planning on moving sometime before June so, if that actually happens, I would love love love to birth this LO outside. We may be able to swing it regardless though at someone elses home. 

 

 

     Quote:

Originally Posted by Lauren82 View Post

The deep round tub was hard to get comfortable in since there was no incline or wall to really lean against. On my hands and knees or hanging partially over the edge was very uncomfortable too as I couldn't handle the sensation of my heavy belly and breasts hanging down and over the edge hurt my arms and tired me out quickly.


Was it a hard sided tub? I spent most of my labour in that position and found it fantastic but my pool was squishy and I had a soft towel draped over the side. 


     Quote:

Originally Posted by beebalmmama View Post

I did tear a bit but I think that was partly because of my previous episiotomy and my urge to "get on with it" once the contractions get that intense. 


I didn't tear but this is totally me. I have a really difficult time, once I feel pushy, to take it slow. I push like I want the baby out YESTERDAY. I aim to be more gentle this go round and ask my attendants ahead of time to help me remember to take it easy. 


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So I do think I will probably enjoy having some water during labor. I didn't last time and was fine but I really do enjoy water - everything from showers to hot tubs to the ocean, I love water. However, I have pretty much no interest in birthing in the water. Though I suppose it could happen if I had a birth pool. So what would you all recommend? Will my shower and regular sized bath tub be enough to get some relief, or should I go ahead and rent a birth pool and deal with the hassle of setting it up even though my intention is to actually birth on land?

I hope this doesn't hijack...I think it's part of the topic...


What about just a kiddie pool, that has worked lovely for me.


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 yes, its a pain to clean up - but it was so worth it! - my birth tub was set up nearly a month before DS arrived and i went into it just to relax a few nights  a week...

 


 

I have had 7 waterbirths in a kiddie pool and it was always an easy cleanup. 


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#20 of 27 Old 01-13-2011, 06:17 PM
 
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I've had two waterbirths. Labouring in the tub is an absolute dream. I have fairly short labours (4.5 hrs) and we have on-demand hot water so heat was never an issue. I'm planning to labour in the tub again but get out once my body starts pushing. I've pooped in the pool twice blush.gif - no one scooped, they just put a towel over it in the pool. It really bothered me that I pooped inthe pool (though I had zero control over it!!!) so I'm really aggressively planning to get out this time and birth on land - easier clean up ;) My DH was a trooper and cleaned the pool both times, siphoning the contents outside into our rhodo. 


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#21 of 27 Old 01-14-2011, 02:31 AM
 
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One land birth, one waterbirth (one cesarean, but I'm not counting it for sake of this reply!).

 

Land birth was WAY harder to push baby out, and I got "skid marks": not real tears but sort of like little splits in the skin from stretching a lot. She was 6lbs 14oz.

 

Waterbirth was amazing. I can't say enough about how different it felt. The ring of fire felt better, the push felt easier, and even though baby was almost TEN POUNDS I didn't have a single tear, split, or even a freakin' bruise! The following morning I was sitting cross-legged in jeans without even the smallest amount of discomfort. I'm not saying that if you get in the water you're guaranteed not to tear, but I AM saying that it definitely makes a difference on your body. Never doing land again if I can help it!! Waterbirth is easier, and more comfortable, hands down!

Labour was also way easier in water deep enough to float my hips a little. Night and day from being out of the tub.


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I really want to try for a water birth this go round.  I am birthing in a hospital, but with my CNM, and this hospital is completely midwife and natural birth friendly.  It is where I had my son, and I had a great experience.  In 2006, when I had my son, the hospital only had one room with a labor pool, and I was not lucky enough to get that room.  During my labor, I tried laying in the normal tub in the bathroom, but it made me feel extremely claustrophobic.  I just didn't have enough room, and I had to get out!  Now, all of the labor rooms have labor pools; so, I really want to try the water birth.  I'm a Pisces - water really does it for me!

 

Thanks for this thready, by the way.  It reminded me to go register for a water birth class at the hospital. 


Mama to my 4-year-old lil' man and with a new little one on the way.
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#23 of 27 Old 01-14-2011, 07:23 AM
 
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Quote:

Originally Posted by cuddlemama0507 View Post

Now, all of the labor rooms have labor pools; so, I really want to try the water birth.  


This is awesome. While my hospital is fairly natural birth friendly they only have 4 rooms with tubs and are very busy so it's luck of the draw. 


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#24 of 27 Old 01-14-2011, 07:34 AM
 
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Like a couple other mamas already posted, I labored a lot in the water but when it was time to push, I absolutely H A D to get out of the water and on 'dry land'. I can't believe my obese, 42+ week pregnant self hoisted myself out of the water so fast to get on the birthing stool lol.gif but ya' gotta do what ya' gotta do... I did enjoy laboring in the water though. I don't think you can say 100% what you're going to feel like in the actual moment but it's good to have options! That's what I love about home birth in general.


Christ-centered loving wife & mama to 2 miracles! One & one . We live simply and mindfully. Expecting another blessing Feb 2015
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#25 of 27 Old 01-14-2011, 07:58 AM
 
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I've had waterbirths with all 3. But my mindset has always been - i know I'll labour in water because it feels so much better but for the actual birth I'll do what ever feels right. I did tear with all three but I think that's due to big babies and my intense pushing urge that is so hard to hold back from...oh, and no moulding to speak of on my babies heads! But I will say that now that I've had three in the water I'm not sure I'd know how to do it any other way. WIth my 3rd baby I was on my bed when I felt him drop down and I needed to push badly but I just couldn't let it happen there. I didn't think I could make it to the next room to get into the tub but amazingly I did and a couple pushes later, he was in my arms. For me it feels more private and easier to let go in the water. 

With this babe, I'm not sure I'll be able to have a homebirth and I'll be honest, I'm freaking out a bit about not having the option to have a waterbirth.

As others have said, it IS safe to have a waterbirth. It usually really helps mums relax in labour and cope better. the deep water helps you float, change positions and 'let go' more easily and in the end do what feels right for your baby and your body. It is a great option to have on hand though. my two cents!


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#26 of 27 Old 01-16-2011, 05:07 PM
 
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I'm hoping for water this time!  With my second, I labored in my bathtub until about 15 minutes before he was born, and man do I wish I never had to get out(tub was too small for me to push in).  I'm hoping this time around I can borrow a tub from someone.


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#27 of 27 Old 01-19-2011, 03:11 PM
 
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Hoping for a waterbirth (or at least a water labour...will "wing it" as I see fit).  I wanted one for the last baby, but when we got settled into the room, they informed me the tub in that room was out of order.  Grrr.  They couldn't move me at that point, either.  Busy night.  So hopefully this time I'll have better luck.  I've heard wonderful things, and with the shifty pelvis issues, I've heard labouring in water will make it much less painful.

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