I wanted a water birth for the birth of my daughter. There was a huge, private birthing tub sitting right in my hospital room. I had my husband get the water running as I started getting all my annoying paperwork and questioning out of the way. I was so excited.
But it never came to be. My OB flagged my file in the hospital’s computer. He made it say, “Do not ask about previous births.” Because, as I have mentioned before, my first daughter was stillborn from chromosomal defects and I told him I didn’t want to be asked about the details while I was in labor. I saw it flagged. But, even still, the nurse that was getting me settled in my room asked me anyway. I told her to please check my files on the computer because my doctor flagged it to explain, but I didn’t want to talk about it. She insisted. Round and round we went until I was sobbing. Of course, then she said that I needed to be checked out by a doctor, given I was sobbing, before I could get in my nice warm tub.
So, I waited.
Before long, I was not a candidate for a water birth because, at that point according to the OB on call, it was simply too late.
Meanwhile, only a few months before, in the United Kingdom, their National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence was saying that all expectant mothers should be offered water births, which are the safest form of pain relief during labor. Only they spelled it “labour” of course- and I love that, because it looks cooler.
So, not only do they spell labor in a way cooler way, but they approach it in a cooler way too. If I had been labouring in the United Kingdom instead of the United States when I had my daughter, my request to labour in a tub would have been fully respected, instead of shrugged off as an inconvenient, quirky request.
If I had opted for a midwife assisted water birth instead of an OB instructed hospital birth, it would have been too.
When I mention this to people, my concerns are trivialized and I am told to be thankful my daughter was born safely. Is that really ALL we can hope for? I mean it’s certainly paramount, but can’t we also want a nice birth too? An enjoyable, peaceful birth? Is that too much to wish for? Is that too much to have expected?
I am not telling you to have a water birth assisted by a midwife. I’m just telling you that I wish I had. And I’m saying it because perhaps if enough people say it, things will change.
Did you have a water birth? What was it like? If you have pictures will you post them on our facebook page so we can seed the images of peaceful birth?